Wednesday, December 09, 2009

You made Daley angry...

When Mayor Richard Daley spoke at the private and final meeting of Chicago 2016 volunteers, he was, according to one attendee, "in rare form." Another described him as "on a rant. It was straight off the cuff. ... He looked angry, and he was angry."

Now, we weren't there. The press was barred from last week's meeting at the Aon Center and the reception that followed at the private Mid-America Club on the top floor of the building. About 150 to 200 volunteers attended, and four shared their impressions on the condition of anonymity.

Daley started his remarks by calling on the federal government to financially back all future U.S. Olympic bids. It was too difficult for U.S. cities to raise the necessary funds in such short amounts of time, while their competitors often received financial assistance from their national governments, he said.

"He started by saying we spent $75 million, and the next city was going to have to spend $100 million, and we didn't even have a chance," said one attendee, paraphrasing the mayor, who was the driving force behind the bid. "It was all politics and all money. All politics and all money. (The International Olympic Committee) didn't care about the athletes, and they didn't care about the quality of the bid."

Another attendee said she came away from the 15-minute speech believing the city never understood the depth of its disadvantage. And Daley reportedly told the group that had the city known from the start that the International Olympic Committee was intent on taking the games to new regions of the globe, they never would have spent the time or the money on the effort.

"We were seeing the mayor's real feelings -- how he was really disappointed and frustrated," she said.

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