Could the Olympics be worth it for the city?

September 5, 2013

Rows of residential property lie in the borough of Newham, with the London 2012 Olympic Park seen on the horizon. (Simon Dawson/Bloomberg News)

As a shadowy group of local bigwigs starts exploring a 2024 Olympics bid, know that the city already has an interesting connection to the games. Former city planner Andy Altman, who left D.C. in 2005 for Philadelphia, went on to manage the remaking of a blighted London neighborhood for the 2012 games. Altman tells The Washington Post’s Robert McCartney that, darn the naysayers, the Olympics can be worth it: “The Olympics are a great motivator to mobilize people regionally around a vision for future growth,” he says. In London, the games left 20,000 units of housing, one-third of them affordable, built under “a very deliberate strategy with local communities to make sure this was going to benefit them afterward.” Could the District and the region muster that kind of vision and planning?

In other news:

Jeff Bezos says The Post must grow, or die (Post)

Marijuana advocates encounter AG’s doubts, send ballot initiative back to the drawing board (PostWAMU-FMWashingtonianLoose LipsWJLA-TVDCist)

Will more taxpayer money help the District’s star-crossed statehood quest succeed? (City Paper)

Deputy fire chief handling equipment has been demoted after allegedly failing to alert supervisors about jury-rigged ambulances (WaTimes)

Tommy Wells says FEMS has been “one inexcusable catastrophe after another” (WTOP)

David Grosso experiences the “tough part of urban living” when his house is broken into (Post)

Former D.C. planner Andy Altman, who went on to role in London Olympics, says the games could be good for D.C. (Post column)

Can new buildings improve school performance? Maybe. (Housing Complex)

Soccer-stadium skeptics show their hand: Council should cap costs (DCFPI)

Phil Mendelson was “crass” for invoking MLK in wage debate, Chuck Thies says (WRC-TV)

“5 Myths About Living Wage Laws” (Time)

Eight D.C. high schools get grants to become “career academies” (PostWAMU-FM)

Police say patrol boat was responding to call when it struck pleasure craft (WTTG-TV)

UVa. student fell ill at club before death (Post)

Could “Molly” be to blame? (WVIR-TV)

The deputy mayor for education explains just what it is she actually does here (GGW)

Nine DCPS schools have longer days this year (Informer)

Should Adams Morgan — gasp — ditch its liquor license moratorium? (Blade)

If for some reason you’d like to go to Baltimore on weekends, you may take the MARC train starting in December (Post)

Enterprise launches another car-sharing option (City Desk)

Two shot, one fatally, at Greenleaf Gardens (Post)

It was “as if a bomb had gone off” in Leon Harris’s pancreas (WJLA-TV)

Rendezvous Lounge is OK’d to reopen after violent weekend incident that has left man on life support (Post)

Some bozo driver hit 13 cars and a school bus on East Capitol Street Wednesday afternoon (Post)

Did you know you can petition the city to cut down that smelly ginkgo tree? (G’town Metropolitan)

Did you know Barnes & Noble not only closes bookstores these days, it opens them? (Capital Business)

Tommy Wells cuts ribbon on Shaw beer garden (PoPville)

Your chance to tell the DGS story, in animations (WBJ)

The New York Times and AP will keep on using “Redskins” (Forbes)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis · September 4, 2013