Concept "Brisbane Baylands" Olympic Stadium

A group dubbed ‘SF No 2024 Olympics‘ sent the United States Olympic Committee a stern warning letter last week, signed by former San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly and eighteen others:

“If your committee selects San Francisco as the U.S. host city for the 2024 Summer Games, we are prepared to take political action to ensure that Bay Area voters have a say in ensuring that no public funds are spent to host the 2024 Olympics in our region.

We have great admiration for our Olympic athletes and we respect the efforts of the United States Olympic Committee to advance the spirit of the Olympic games. However, selecting San Francisco as the United States 2024 Summer Games host city would jeopardize your efforts to bring the Olympics back to the United States.”

In other words, it’s the threat of a ballot initiative aimed at stopping the games before they begin, similar to the initiative which stopped the 1976 Winter Games from being held in Denver, the only city to have rejected the games after having been selected by the International Olympic Committee to play host.

And while anybody can pen a letter and raise a stink, San Francisco does have a well-earned reputation when it comes to the ballot box, especially when gentrification and affordable housing are part of the battle cry.

The USOC is expected to announce which U.S. city it will support in its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games on Thursday.  Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. are the four cities on the committee’s short list.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by R

    Chris Daly with another great idea….

    • Posted by Ham

      Yes, Chris Daly, the man who responded to car break ins in his district thus: “If you have a car, you are well off, so you should not complain.” Then, after ruining the city as much as he could with his weasel initiatives, moves to Fairfield to raise his family. Kick him back to the east coast.

  2. Posted by Hitman

    Typical hater behavior

  3. Posted by Invented

    Opening ceremonies on a dump in Brisbane? Can we possibly find an uglier more underwhelming location?

    • Posted by San FronziScheme

      Crissy fields, and make it look like Starfleet Command!

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Seems to me it’s a great re-use of the dump – a far better use for that site than it being a dump, that’s for sure.

  4. Posted by San FronziScheme

    The aftermath of Chris Daly’s stint as a supervisor was such an eye opening. He has no trade, no discernable skills (except if delirious rambling is a skill) and absolutely no clue on how to make a honest buck.

  5. Posted by Christine Gehring

    Doesn’t Daly live in Fairfield?

  6. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Just look how the Panama-Pacific Exposition ruined this City – why it hasn’t been the same since, what with that whole neighborhood called the Marina and all, and that eyesore the Palace of Fine Arts.

    Why can’t people just leave the Olympics in forrin countries where they belong?

  7. Posted by Fishchum

    Can’t believe I’m siding with Chris Daly, but…I agree with him. The history of the Olympics is cost overruns with absolutely zero benefits to the host city. Let’s someone else host it.

    • Posted by Comment

      It would be awesome if we got a Velodrome out of the deal… other than that, I’m with you.

    • Posted by friscan

      There are success stories (London 2012, Salt Lake City, Barcelona) and not-so-success stories (Sochi). What’s so inspirational about London and Barcelona was the strategy: use the Olympics as a catalyst to jump-start and advance infrastructure, especially transit. London finally made the East End an integrated, well-connected part of the metropolis…and used temporary venues to avoid the burden of immediately-obsolete structures. Barcelona famously, skillfully transformed brownfield to a new waterfront and housing. If the Bay Area leverages the Bid and the accompanying private-generated funding to push forward BART, Caltrain, Muni Metro and Muni BRT projects that would otherwise take 15/20 years — as the BAOC pledges — it makes the effort too promising to discredit.

      • Posted by j_blu

        Exactly – use this to leverage a new transbay tube which ends in Brisbane via the west side of SF; a new muni metro line down Van Ness to connect the new playing fields in the Marina with Brisbane…all kinds of projects we’ve been holding off on for decades this could catapult into reality.

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          Unfortunately Brisbane is the wrong place for a new BART station. For many reasons. I don’t think that the games could light a big enough fire under the seats of those delaying our transit projects. If anything HSR is poised to be the marquee ribbon cutting for the games but even that is a reach.

  8. Posted by stucco & ayn rand

    We live in a zero-sum-game town — and Chris Daly helped make it that. There is no middle ground now but there was in the past — when ‘the new’ was thoughtful and intrinsically respectful. Now we swing between the Daly F. U. to everything, and Ed Lee’s creepy urban hellish dystopia. It’s just a wow of awfulness and its all that the people I know are talking about.

  9. Posted by WinnersCurse

    I love having a huge party with other people’s money, except when it means taking on a generation’s worth of debt being serviced with my taxpayer funds. Has Montreal paid off the debt from the 1972 olympics yet? Figure conservatively about $20 billion (yes BILLION) in public subsidy. Let some other sucker nation enjoy the winner’s curse.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Have you read anything about the proposal? Please identify the public funds being used, let along “a generation’s worth”.

      • Posted by WinnersCurse

        Do you know anything about the Olympics? Bids are not accepted unless the host city agrees to backstop any financial shortfall. Proposals mean squat.

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          Actually yes, I know a fair bit about the process. Super Bowls and World Cups are all conducted the same way, too. But just because there’s a government backstop does not mean there’s going to be a government outlay, and everyone both public and private will want to avoid such an outlay.

  10. Posted by WinnersCurse

    The Montreal Olympics were 1976, not 1972, and they did finally pay off the debt in 2006. Only 30 years of crippled finances.

    • Posted by Mystery Realtor

      They also have Expo ’67 wrapped up into that debt. The ’76 Olympics were supposed to make enough money to retire those costs; but they were simply added on.

    • Posted by SciLaw

      Why are you cherry-picking Montreal? Why don’t we talk about US Olympic Sites and whether they crippled the city–L.A. made money, Atlanta didn’t have debt, Salt Lake City didn’t have debt. Recent Olympic sites (similarly situated to SF) in Vancouver and London are projected to help the economy. And yes, I’m arguing that Vancouver and London are more akin to SF than Sochi and Athens.

  11. Posted by R

    @Fishchum Im not sure thats entirely accurate… in outcome or even in practice. Regardless, the Olympics are a fantastic platform for civic improvement. If not only ideologically, than in ambition.

    It’s absurd to write off the entire Olympic bid just because you don’t think it provides any direct benefits to the host city. If anything, approaching the chance to host industriously could benefit the entire Bay Area quite a bit.

    • Posted by Fishchum

      There are countless articles written about the cost/benefits of hosting the Olympics, and very rarely do they endorse hosting the games. I also simply don’t trust our political leaders to not shift the cost of hosting the games onto the taxpayers.

      • Posted by shza

        Agree, and Fishchum’s info squares with everything I’ve read as well. Moreover, the trend has been worsening as host cities/regions now all feel obligated to build insanely expensive legacy stadiums as part of their set-ups. (What did the one in Beijing cost?)

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          maybe we could get an NFL team and put in one of those stadiums

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      It could certainly lead to a lot of spillover benefits, which often aren’t counted. For instance, it greatly increases the likelihood (and decreased the timeline) for extending the Central Subway to the Fisherman’s Wharf area. That would be an incredible benefit, but not one that would actually be counted in an accountant’s ledger book as a gain offsetting the cost.

      • Posted by david m

        why would you think that? nothing in the olympics would speed up the studies, lawsuits and funding. the america’s cup vision included extending the f-line to fort mason, at least that was suggested with reasoning behind it: viewing area, embarcadero activation, shuttling marina people to the AC staging area. with the olympics, there’s not even that, just somewhat more people visiting.

        • Posted by Fishchum

          Extending the F-Line to Ft. Mason was never part of the AC deal; only that the AC was offered as another reason to extend the F-Line into Ft. Mason. But the AC organizers never guaranteed it getting done as part of the deal; nor did The City stipulate the F-Line extension be completed as part of the deal to host the AC.

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          There are no guarantees, ever; and to be clear I’m not suggesting that the SF bid committee is saying anything about the F line. Howeever, per the Chronicle a few weeks ago, the City itself has said that it would increase the priority of the extension if the City were awarded the Games. (Right now it’s a low priority, so not even being studied in detail, and it lies behind several other potential projects in the timeline. Raising it to the top of the pile obviously would accellerate it’s conclusion quite a bit.)

          • Posted by friscan

            To be clear: the F line did make its debut for America’s Cup: streetcar service from Mission Bay to the Wharf. It was a popular success and will be integrated this year into regular (summer) service this year. The new F service did not include the Fort Mason extension in part because time between the SF getting the agreement to host the Cup in 2010 and the actual races in 2012 and 2013 didn’t allow for the funding and construction.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      the benefit is that it highlights the beauty of SF and more people will want to visit and or move here.

  12. Posted by Ham

    Where is Rose Pak and the iron fist when you need it?

  13. Posted by James

    It sounds like they don’t oppose the Olympics, just using public funds for it. Which isn’t unreasonable when you consider the Giants ballpark was privately financed, and the America’s Cup left the city in debt. Which would you rather repeat?

    • Posted by CH

      Not unreasonable but a non-starter with the IOC. Host cities are required to guarantee cost overruns and public funds if needed.

  14. Posted by Schlub

    The Olympics ain’t what they used to be.

    An Olympic challenge for our city is to deal with the homeless situation. For real.

    • Posted by wiger toods

      That right there is the reason to host the games. SF would finally have to deal with the homeless problem or face international embaressment.

  15. Posted by MoneyMan

    What I don’t understand is the idea of a pop-up stadium, which would be dismantled after the Olympics. If you’re going to spend 1/2 of a billion dollars on a disposable stadium, then build a permanent one in Oakland for the Raiders and let them pay for the rest of the costs above that.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Not a bad idea… except no SF politician is going to want to see the “San Francisco” opening and closing ceremonies held in Oakland!

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        Brisbane isn’t SF either.

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          But it’s hardly seen as a competitor city to San Francisco. Let’s put it this way – the media will say “the opening ceremonies in San Francisco”, if they’re in Brisbane, because no one outside the Bay Area knows where Brisbane is. But if they’re in Oakland, the media would say “the opening ceremonies in Oakland”.

          Of course IMHO Brisbane, and several other northern Peninsula cities, should be annexed by SF to streamline governance and decrease balkanization, but that’s an entirely different subject.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        we need an NFL team in SF, and this would be a perfect way to lure one after building a nice stadium

  16. Posted by MikeNSF

    Chris Daly continues to be a total jerk and an embarrassment to SF. IMHO, he was one of the worst Supervisors in San Francisco history (and indeed San Francisco has had many bad Supervisors) and he has NEVER been interested in the best interests of SF.

    • Posted by david m

      is anything of what he’s saying there wrong though?

      • Posted by friscan

        Yes. Some cities did well hosting the Olympics, including LA, London, SLC, Barcelona, Atlanta. Aside from making money, each of these cities also saw legacies of strategically-improved infrastructure benefitting the city well after the games ended. It’s inaccurate to characterize the post-Olympic outcomes as failures.

  17. Posted by Not Bashing

    While I don’t necessarily disagree that the Olympics are likely to pose a huge tax burden on the city, Daly is such a wanker. About everything. In a close race between 4 cities, I imagine that was he final nail in the coffin for the bay area.

    This could be an opportunity for some positive change in the city…but the reality is our “leaders” would probably screw it up. In theory, I’d love to have the Olympics here…but could we get someone else to plan it?

  18. Posted by Brisbainng

    I applaud Brisbane’s generous offer to host the 2024 Olympics. 7 Mile House will be hopping.

  19. Posted by Emo

    I was against the Olympics coming to SF until Chris “Donkey Kong” Daly took a stance against it. It can’t be that bad if he feels that strongly against it.

    • Posted by Anon

      The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics created close to a $200 million dollar profit, so it can be done. Los Angeles used a lot of the existing facilities of USC and UCLA and we could do the same with Stanford and Berkeley. Los Angeles has a lot more huge existing stadiums than we do however.

    • Posted by Fishchum

      I’m no Daly fan either, but he was right about the America’s Cup.

      • Posted by Comment

        Good point. It was nice to have here, but the public paid too much of the cost.

        • Posted by Orland

          Oh, really? Several hundreds of $millions were spent in the City along with additional long-term salutary effects from the exposure. And some beancounters determine the City had an $11 million ledger sheet “deficit.” What’ll that get you…. several blocks of curb-and-gutter work in the Richmond? You call that an overall negative?

        • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

          You mean that sailing regatta where 75% of the contestants were no-shows through no fault of the organizers (other than Larry’s ridiculously expensive boat specs)? If all the teams had actually competed as planned it would have been a massive financial success.

  20. Posted by joey

    No city in modern times has EVER even broke even on OGs.

    SLC is still paying off their OG debt and that was 20 years ago.

    They are a boondoggle that will make the America’s Cup loses look like lunch money.

    Most of the events will be outside SF and so most of the hotel tax revenues will no go to SF.

    • Posted by sausalito_res

      Worse than a boondoggle, they are a grift…Oslo Norway told the IOC to get lost on account of their ridiculous demands to be treated like royalty (namelink).

      Establishing a permanent venue for the summer and winter games would be so much more sustainable.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      “Most of the events will be outside SF and so most of the hotel tax revenues will no go to SF”

      So, the benefits will be dispersed, commensurate with the burdens, then. Sounds like a good thing to me.

    • Posted by SciLaw

      Cite a source? I think SLC received 1.5 billion in federal dollars so there was limited OG debt.

  21. Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

    So, this simply tells me that the SF 2024 Olympics committee needs to immediately step up their marketing efforts, both publicly and with the US Olympic Committee.

    They’ve been pretty quiet, at least publicly since the initial announcements not too long ago. The longer they’re silent, the more the public will start to believe Dr. No.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Agree completely – this has been very under the radar, compared to the 2012 bid effort, back around 2000. Of course that may have been deliberate, specifcally to avoid the negative press (such as this) that could sink the bid proposal, but if so I think such risk mitigation has come at the expense of not having any groundswell of support or excitement in the City.

    • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

      What happened to the half dozen or so posts?

  22. Posted by MDG399

    Nice to see such civic mindedness and pride in the Bay area….Try and host the games. they bring all sort sorts benefits. Maybe one of them could be using Chris Dalys head as a hockey puck or a shot put….Thereby reducing the costs of equipment….

    Just a thought….

    • Posted by anon

      San Francisco is becoming “Daly” City if people let it.

  23. Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

    Pains me to agree with Daly on anything. But on this one he is right. The Olympics has turned into a debt monster for host cities. If they can garner private funds – great. But public funds should not be used.

    The Olympics are now too big and should not be hosted by a city but by a country. There are plenty of existing venues in the U.S. and even in California. Just use those. Makes no sense to build a bunch of new athletic facilities in one city that will never be used again. So all the athletes can’t stay together in one village. Who cares? The Olympics is a TV event now, and for 99.999% of those who care about this event, the experience would be the same whether the venues were all in one spot or spread out across a number of cities.

  24. Posted by g

    If a games could be accommodated largely with existing facilities (and some temp ones) without breaking the bank it would be good for the region. I don’t think any US city is interested in a Athens/Bejing/Sochi/London style spectacle. If the total cost can be kept under 1-1.5B and a goodly chunk of that going to lasting local infrastructure improvements instead of white elephant venues it could be worthwhile.

  25. Posted by Rillion

    The LA games in 84 turned a nice profit. Of course back then no other city wanted to host the games because the last few had been economic disasters for the host cities. This allowed LA to win by default and it did not have to promise to spend millions/billions on new facilities. I’m not in support of this bid because it requires too much new construction (basically if we can’t do it with the existing infrastructure, we shouldn’t host it).

    • Posted by anon2

      How Los Angeles was able to put on such a great Olympics AND turn a profit is really interesting to anyone who cares to do a little reading online. They did a brilliant job of dressing up their existing stadiums with banners and flags and put on one of the most successful Olympic Games of the last 50 years.

      What was interesting is that their Olympics, like the London Olympics, were a bust for high end restaurants, shops and hotels since most Olympic spectators are not the same type of patron who would shop on Bond Street or Rodeo drive. I am not convinced how much economic benefit San Francisco would see from an Olympics.

  26. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Hosting the Olympics helps raise awareness and bring tourism to the host city. SF is already a top tier tourism destination and doesn’t need any help. Other big cities like Denver, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, etc. who aren’t as prominent stand to benefit greater than SF.

  27. Posted by sf

    I can’t believe all of the too cool for school party poopers who don’t want to have an Olympics in SF! Wow, SF used to be a place of civic pride. Now it seems like it is a place for old, withering sourpusses angry at the world and doing everything they can to destroy everyone’s good time.

    This is the OLYMPIC GAMES. Symbol of international comraderie, hope, spirit, being the best man or woman you can be against all odds, good sportsmanship. I thought maybe SF was into that. Guess not. These things must be sued out of existence and we must ban happy meals instead.

    What a joke SF is becoming!

    Yes, hosting the Olympics will be expensive and cost taxpayers. But so is giving homeless people cell phones, or drug addicts free housing, or any of the thousands of ludicrous things paid for by the city’s $8 BILLION annual budget.

    Surely a small percentage of that could be put aside for hosting the Olympic. Freaking. Games.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Yup. In 1945, we were almost made capital of the world. (UN initially considered putting the HQ here, given that it was founded here.) Now we don’t even want to aspire to host the Olympics. So sad.

    • Posted by frog

      I am one of the many in the bay area who could care less about sports and “amateur” athletes. A few thousand very toned individuals get to have sex with people from other countries in the Olympic village and we all cheer for them while they care very little about us. This isn’t diplomacy and nothing substantial is being made.

      We have some amazing world class research centers that have collaborations with hundreds of different countries. There are grad students at Berkeley from 10 different countries working on poverty problems in 20 more countries throughout the world. This is the stuff that matters and this hard and unsexy work is where change is going to come from. Not to mention the thousands of businesses here that buy and sell products to every corner of the globe.

      Then again, I was a non-athletic nerd growing up, so that probably colors my perspective a bit.

      • Posted by Ham

        Stanford and Berkeley are known for their athletics as much as for their research.

        And there are many more in the Bay Area who disagree with you and would love to have the Olympics here.

        • Posted by Frog

          Most places are known for their athletics and not for their research. This has more to do with the fact that we as a society value entertainment over progress. But in terms of impact, it’s the research programs at these institutions that dominate.

          Also, I’m being bitter with a bit of a knowing wink.

          • Posted by Ham

            So we can’t have both? Should we kick out the 49ers and the Giants too? Are only computer nerds now allowed in the city limits (well, it’s getting to be that way already).

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            Ham, 49ers are already gone

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            UCSF is much more of a global research powerhouse (at least scientifically) than both berkeley and Stanford

          • Posted by Jake

            In medical/health research yes, UCSF is renown, world class, etc. Cal and Stanford both have a much wider range of excellence in the sciences and humanities.

          • Posted by frog

            If public money could be used, I’d rather support 100 researchers at UCSF or build another global center for something-or-other than spend a couple hundred million on an Olympic games. It would be better long term for the city and better for the world.

            As I’ve said on other threads, I do think we need a stadium within the city, but I could care less about sports. I just think I should be able to see Miley Cyrus and not have to go outside of the Muni system.

          • Posted by Ham

            Then the Olympics are just what we need to build up the transit infrastructure. A 2024 Olympics would ensure that HSR would be built and completed to Transbay Terminal, CalTrain electrified, MUNI improved, highways and roads improved. A win win. Real scientists and researchers don’t think short sightedly. Olympics in SF would be awesome for the city and Bay Area in the long term.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          berkeley has athletics programs?

          • Posted by frog

            I think I heard something about Berkeley athletics during the tree sitter incident. Maybe something about a stadium. I’m not sure.

          • Posted by anon

            Berkeley’s mens rugby team is #1 in the country. Football, not so much. When I attended college there, quarterback was Mike Pawlawski took Cal to a bowl game. Teammate, Kale Wedemeyer, is now a physician — his dad was Charlie Wedemeyer (a coach with Lou Gehrig’s disease.) Matt Biondi (Olympian) was from Cal’s swim team. Missy Franklin (4 Olympic Golds in swimming) is attending Berkeley. My favorite, however, is Alex Morgan of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team (played for Cal.)

            Everything is expensive. 550 sq. ft. of Brazilian Cherry hardwood flooring is over $3K, after discounts.
            Pass on using public funds for more UCSF (Useless) Research.

          • Posted by EBGuy

            What could be more representative of the Bay Area than hosting the Opening Ceremonies on an active fault line. See you at Cal Memorial Stadium.

  28. Posted by UpNest

    I would absolutely love to have the Olympics, I just don’t see how it would work out, though. We would most likely be economically fine, but having the space for it and accommodating all of the people would be a nightmare.

  29. Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

    Dumby me. The San Francisco 2024 Olympic Bid committee has a website ( Check it out. Also, with Larry Baer apparently leading the charge, you have somebody who has a track record of building sports facilities with private money. And I believe he was somehow involved with the 1984 LA plan, which as others have noted made money.

  30. Posted by anon

    Relax folks. 2024 is a long time away. Technological advances may be able to reduce costs, calculate best travel and location venues, and best ways to route traffic in driverless cars by then. We have nearby Cal Berkeley stadium, Levi Stadium, GG Warriors arena, Stanford atheletic fields. Our city is well-known for being Tech Capital of the World so there are many who may want to visit for that reason alone. Lots of opportunities and time for a steep learning curve.

    As for the London 2012 games, many tickets and hotel accomodations were priced too high in anticipation for the Olympics thereby driving a LOT of visitors away. Oxford Street, normally a packed shopping street, was eerily empty as people stayed away fearing massive traffic jams.

    • Posted by Jake

      We have plenty of driverless cars today. I often see folks operating their phones while riding in the front left seat of their cars, hands off the steering wheel, apparently without any need to attend to traffic, road signs, pedestrians.

      Haven’t found the automobile-autopilot iphone app yet, but it must be there somewhere.

      • Posted by anon

        Slight quibble re semantics: you mean brainless drivers. Lights are on but no one is home. Couple of fries short of an Eric Mar Meal. Supervisor Jane Kim. Big hat, no cattle. All flash, no cash.

        • Posted by frog

          The wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead?

          • Posted by anon

            lick a poisonous frog and you’re dead (esp. if you get treated @ UCSF.) You get the drift. Where is Miss Piggy, frog?

  31. Posted by sausalito_res

    If you think getting around the Bay Area is difficult now, just think how much fun we’ll all be having when a few million more people show up for a couple of weeks. I’m already making tentative plans to be on vacation and out of state in August 2024.

    • Posted by anon

      I am making signs which state, “Olympic Village” pointing to the direction of my house. As another poster mentioned, there is the side show of Olympic sex in the Village which is far more interesting.

  32. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    Give it 10 more years of Ellis Acting and we’ll be mostly rid of the sort of NIMBY losers who would ever pay any attention to Chris Daly.

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