Dear Los Angeles Area News Outlets,
Last week CurbedLA ran an informal Twitter poll which asked if people would prefer having the Olympics in LA in 2024, 2028, or not at all.
This is remarkable because it’s the first poll - informal or scientific - by any media outlet in California measuring public sentiment regarding the LA 2024/2028 Olympic bid.
There had been two polls measuring public support and opposition to the Olympics prior to this, neither conducted via media outlets. The first was conducted by Loyola Marymount in early 2016, and has been frequently cited by the bid committee and various media outlets for the “88% support” for an Olympics in L.A.
The second was a poll released weeks ago by the IOC, with dubious methodology. Publicly available information about this poll is limited to when it was conducted (early 2017), who conducted it (a company called Sports Marketing Inc. whose other clients include Speedo and Garmin), and how many people were polled (600 in LA, 600 in California, 600 in other parts of the United States). Bid chairman Casey Wasserman has noted that the methodology for this poll was “different” than the Loyola Marymount one, but neither he nor the IOC have explained that in any more detail. We don’t know critical information like whether this poll was conducted in person, online or on the phone, how questions were phrased, and how responses broke down across key demographics. There’s a lot we don’t know about this poll and very little we do know.
Both of these polls predates the foundation of NOlympics LA, our opposition campaign to the Olympic bid which was launched out of the Housing and Homelessness committee of DSA-LA in May 2017. NOlympics LA stands in staunch opposition to the Olympic bid on grounds another L.A. Olympics would accelerate gentrification, displacement, homelessness, deportations, and police militarization all in the name of profit. We alerted our followers and coalition partners to this public Twitter poll on Tuesday morning.
Notably, there has been absolutely zero public polling by the L.A. media in the past several years of this bidding process. This is highly unusual and, in our opinion, extremely irresponsible. In Boston, for example, NPR-affiliate WBUR conducted monthly polls from the time the bid was announced until a year after it was dropped.
It appears as if L.A. news collecting agencies either thought there was no public backlash (there is) or that national politics are more important than local politics (they aren’t). We understand that many news collecting agencies are having funding issues, but we don’t believe that diverting resources away from local polling and putting them into digital elements is a wise move for publications that are struggling to remain relevant.
But we believe it’s highly relevant that Californians consider all the frightening propositions another Olympics in L.A. presents, like more Olympics Sweeps, the Department of Homeland Security (ICE, CBP et al.) being in charge and collaborating with our local law enforcement, more displacement, more evictions, and the dozens of other terrible things the Games will inevitably bring with them.
So last Tuesday - when CurbedLA launched this Twitter poll, we were both surprised and excited to see at least one publication which seemed curious as to whether Angelinos actually want this roving state of exception to commandeer their town or not.
Over the next twenty-four hours, thousands of respondents overwhelming voted “No Olympics” at all, gaining a whopping 69% of the vote. The total number of votes was 5,466, which means that 3,771 people expressed a strong opinion that they do not want the Olympics in L.A., regardless of year or plan.
While we agree that no single poll or survey should be given too much weight, we believe this 69% is significant and should be evidence enough that the 88% number which has sadly been unquestioned by the media to date should be re-examined.
So to the LA Times, KCRW, KPCC, KCBS-TV, KTLA, KNBC, KABC-TV, KCET, LA Daily News, and any of the other local news outlets in town: do you think the situation now merits further investigation into whether the support for this event which could affect our lives for decades is actually weak?
Can you justify this on your budget sheet? Have you considered the toll on tens of thousands of lives - from the 60,000 homeless to the even more who live at risk of being displaced, deported, evicted, or shot by police - who will be affected by the Olympics?
Don’t all Angelinxs’s voices deserve to be counted and included in this process? Or are they insignificant too? To wit: what do we need to do to you to demonstrate that this is an issue that is by no means settled or resolved?
The 88% number that’s been floating around for the past 18 months was a farce. We know it. Now everyone else does too.
Please do the right thing and support public polling on this issue.