2028 Olympics Contract Gets A Speed-Up From LA City Council Committee
The draft contract between the city of Los Angeles and LA28, the local group organizing the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, moved closer to final approval Monday with a few changes intended to improve transparency and coordination with labor and community groups.
The contract was modified during a public hearing of the council's Olympics committee to include conditions sought by City Council President Nury Martinez. The committee vote of 6-0 sends the contract draft, including Martinez's recommendations, to the full City Council for final approval by Dec. 8.
The draft agreement is a framework for the city and LA28’s relationship, but the details will be hashed out by working groups on various topics including transportation, public safety, art, business and jobs.
Martinez wrote to the committee, asking it to require the city's executive team to set benchmarks and deadlines for when LA28 must establish these working groups.
She wanted those groups to include labor and community group representatives.
Martinez also asked for more frequent progress reports from LA28 than the annual reports called for in the contract. She wants them every six months. And she wants LA28 to list the names of all the groups the organizing committee is contacting about important aspects of the games. Those include making contracts and jobs available to local businesses and workers and making the games environmentally sustainable.
'Belt and Suspenders' vs. Disaster Risk
The issue of the city's financial risk remains a concern for some members. Councilmember Paul Koretz prodded LA28 Chair Casey Wasserman for reassurance that if a fire, earthquake or other disaster cancels the games, it would not lead to a billion-dollar debt for Los Angeles.
"I still think we are underestimating the worst-case scenarios," said Koretz.
Wasserman replied that as in 1984, the 2028 games will take place using venues that already exist, and that other host cities that suffered cost overruns had extensive building projects that put them in the red.
The city does have a measure of control over the venues because it must approve any location changes. The city also controls half the votes on the LA28 board.
Wasserman said that LA28 had already contracted with sponsors for half the revenue it needed to stage the games, and that, if needed, it could put on the games with just that money, although he expected more to come.
Councilmember Paul Krekorian, who chairs the city’s budget committee, described the contract as having "belt and suspenders" redundant safeguards against the city going into debt, and said he was satisfied that the contract bore little risk for taxpayers.
Contracts For Whom?
Councilmember Curren Price wanted to know more about the specific ways in which Black and Latino business owners and workers would be included.
Councilmember Gil Cedillo went further, calling on LA28 to ensure that the city's Mexican, Mexican American and Latino populations receive at least half the contracts and jobs the games produce, an amount in line with their portion of the city's population. He also named a few Latino labor leaders he wanted included on the workforce development committee of LA28.
Wasserman said it would be a mistake to offer specific numbers of underrepresented companies or workers who would receive contracts or employment from the games. He said the working group to be formed on business and workforce development would include people from underrepresented and labor groups to help guide decisions.
Alyssa Peterson, a staff attorney with the hospitality workers union UNITE Here Local 11, said the agreement should be delayed for 30 days while it is amended to make sure labor and community organizations are included on the working groups.