[Hpn] Olympic organizers reneging on social commitments - Salt Lake REPORT CARD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sun, 3 Jun 2001 22:18:05 -0700 (PDT)

http://newsfinder.arinet.com/fpweb/fp.dll/$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302 6/_itox/starnet/_svc/news/_Id/721251121/_k/Jfb2hp18kI2JZp9l FWD Associated Press - AP Wire Service - May 31 2001 OLYMPIC ORGANIZERS SAID TO BE RENEGING ON SOCIAL COMMITMENTS By PAUL FOY Associated Press Writer SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Olympic organizers are failing to deliver on promises of affordable housing and could end up worsening the plight of poor and homeless people, community groups said Thursday. The Salt Lake Organizing Committee was given a C-minus in an annual report card on housing, ethics and leadership, community involvement, civil liberties and disability compliance. Critics cited a lack of progress and said time was running out for organizers to leave the city with more housing after next February's Winter Games. The coalition Salt Lake Impact 2002 and Beyond has graded organizers' efforts since 1996, never awarding an overall grade higher than a C. This year's assessment reverses a four-year improvement trend. SLOC took some flack for the failure of city and state officials to help rescue a floundering residential project called City Front. ``City Front was our last hope for the housing promised six years ago. It's disappeared,'' said Heather Tritten of Utah Issues. Organizers took full blame for a slipping commitment to donate hundreds of pre-manufactured houses after the games. Bruce Quint, director of the nonprofit Community Development Corp., said SLOC may end up leaving few or no units for low-income families. SLOC got an ``incomplete'' on civil liberties because of delays by city police and the Olympic safety command in designating protest zones for the games. SLOC was also criticized for a decision by the International Paralympic Committee to ban mentally disabled athletes. Kay Fox of the Salt Lake Community Action Program called the ban an overreaction to the scandal that exposed ringers on the Spanish basketball team at last summer's Sydney Games. Spain had to give up a gold medal because 10 of its 12 players were not mentally disabled. SLOC got some credit _ but a worsening grade _ for trying to lessen the burden on poor people. Linda Hilton, of the Coalition of Religious Services, said organizers are trying to devise ways to redistribute leftover food from Olympic parties and receptions to the poor. But Hilton said there has been little progress made on arrangements for what she says could be 1 million pounds of surplus food. Hilton also contended more Salt Lake landlords are writing month-to-month leases on apartments or adding special clauses that will hike rent during February 2002. She wants organizers to build a tent village for the poor and homeless, but there is no such plan. Hilton says shelters won't be able to handle people arriving for temporary Olympic jobs. Social agencies need more staff and money, but that isn't going to happen, either, she said. The critics said the Olympic Games have left a history of unfulfilled ``politically correct'' promises to improve the lives of ordinary or downtrodden people. The Olympics ``should be successful for everyone, not just a select few,'' said Glenn Bailey, director of Crossroads Urban Center. SLOC officials, who have disputed ratings in the past, had no immediate comment Thursday on their latest report card. ____ On the Net: Salt Lake Organizing Committee: http://www.saltlake2002.com Salt Lake City: http://www.ci.slc.ut.us/ AP-WS-05-31-01 1739EDT END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** Visit HPN for CONSTANTLY UPDATING NEWS on Homeless People: *************************************************************** Over 10,000 articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people Been Homeless? Then JOIN! EMAIL Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***************************************************************