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Now LA Can Return to Improving For the Good of It

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The United States Olympic Committee just announced that Chicago has won the honor of representing America as possible host city for the 2016 Olympics.

Before you go kick the dog or jump off the Hollywood sign, you should be sighing a breath of relief.

Today's vote in Washington doesn't mean that Chicago will get the Summer Olympic games, it just means that they can spend more money over the next two years to compete against international cities like Tokyo, Dubai, Rome, and Tel Aviv to try to woo the eye of the International Olympic Committee in October of 2009.

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As LAist contributer Kemp Powers wrote last month, even if Chicago wins again in two years, it will come at a cost of $6 billion.

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While there is no doubt that improving a city for the good of winning and hosting a successful Olympics is good for a city socially, civicly, and economically, there's no guarantees for any of that.

Indeed, one would think that if the same speculators, investors, and businesspeople could find value in raising billions of dollars of investment for improvements to LA for a few weeks of running and jumping, surely there must be some value in raising those funds to improve Los Angeles JUST CUZ.

Imagine if over just the next two years while Chicago spends millions to get their act and city together LA spends just as much time, effort, and money solely focused on improving the LA public schools.

Couldn't an argument be made that an infusion of cash for teacher's salaries, more schools, more books, more supplies, and more after-school activities would help put a dent in crime, gang activity, and increase not just the quality of life in LA, but the overall quality of Los Angelenos?

Sure, it's not as sexy to say, "we spent $10 million on getting several dozen LA high schools science equipment - microscopes, beakers, charts, chemicals, etc" as it is to say, "we're sponsoring the US women's rowing team's media brunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel", but there are tradeoffs for everything.

Let's hope Mayor Tony and the rest of the movers and shakers who were all pumped up about LA 2016 will now shift that energy for making LA 2008 and LA 2009 and LA 2010 as great as it can be.

photo by Miss Maria