BELL: NEN­SHI WINS AGAIN

Calgary Sun - - FRONT PAGE - Rick BELL rbell@post­media.com 403•250•4305 @sun­rick­bell

You could tell. The mayor wants this bad. The Olympic legacy.

It must have been tough on Nen­shi when, while he wasn’t in the room, a group of coun­cil­lors de­cided last week to have an­other vote on whether or not to kill the Olympic bid.

You see, a week ago, there were six votes out of 15 on Cal­gary city coun­cil in favour of stop­ping the 2026 bid. But two oth­ers, Ward Suther­land and Diane Col­ley-Urquhart, looked to be join­ing them.

On the No side there are those who don’t trust what’s go­ing on. They feel like the fix is in on this bid.

Af­ter all, city hall is leg­endary for do­ing a sales job and not giv­ing a damn what Cal­gar­i­ans think once those steer­ing the civic Ti­tanic have some­thing they want to push through.

Some of the politi­cians even be­lieve Cal­gar­i­ans will not get the whole pic­ture on the Olympics. It will be about get­ting peo­ple to buy the bid — hook, line and sinker.

Yes, a lot of this story is about how city hall op­er­ates, the big blue playpen, a place where more games are played than any Olympics. The thought of them run­ning any­thing causes a sane man to shud­der.

Yes, it looked like eight on coun­cil wanted off the notso-merry-go-round. Eight votes is the ma­jor­ity.

Then the arm twist­ing. The Cham­ber of Com­merce came out and told city coun­cil they should vote Yes. Ath­letes, none who con­tacted this scrib­bler, did their rah-rah for Yes.

We come to the Mon­day coun­cil gabfest. Coun­cil­lors speak.

Jy­oti Gon­dek says city hall should pause and re­group and maybe look at a 2030 Olympic bid.

Gon­dek is be­ing most po­lite when say­ing the Olympic bid has been “fraught with is­sues.”

She slams those from the busi­ness world’s peanut gallery who took the time to say coun­cil­lors were be­ing ridicu­lous and short-sighted.

“Un­til I see your name on a bal­lot that in­di­cates your de­sire to make tough de­ci­sions like this one, please al­low us to do our jobs with­out be­ing ad­ver­sar­ial and en­gag­ing in name-call­ing.” Good for her. On the other side, Shane Keat­ing talks of how “the flames of out­rage con­tinue to be stroked.”

Stoked, as well. Stroking the flames might hurt.

Keat­ing also preaches against “cheap pol­i­tics.” Politi­cians ac­cuse oth­ers of cheap pol­i­tics but, of course, never them­selves.

Keat­ing adds he doesn’t want the Olympic bid to be about emo­tion.

Huh? Much of the dis­cus­sion around back­ing the bid is all about emo­tion — sen­ti­men­tal­ity, nos­tal­gia, the sup­posed need for Cal­gary to feel happy and be ... yes ... world­class.

You could see where the vote is go­ing when Ward Suther­land says he got death threats and couldn’t sleep af­ter sig­nalling he would vote No. On Mon­day, he flips and votes Yes.

Gian-Carlo Carra talks of a “morass of mis­in­for­ma­tion.” Does Carra ever think if there is a morass of any­thing it’s be­cause it’s harder to get the straight goods from city hall than pull an im­pacted wis­dom tooth?

En­ter Jeromy Farkas. He re­cites a laun­dry list of the al­leged gifts and bribes to In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee types. Pros­ti­tutes, geishas, shop­ping sprees, plas­tic surgery to re­move the bags un­der the eyes of one Olympic com­mit­tee mem­ber, im­mense amounts of Viagra. You know, the usual stuff. With Jeff Dav­i­son, there’s the ap­peal to help­ing out-of-work Cal­gar­i­ans who could work on Olympic con­struc­tion, medal-win­ning ath­letes, busi­nesses, in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion. How about the mother bak­ing ap­ple pie?

Hat’s off to Druh Far­rell. Have to say, she gives a hell of a speech. Druh says all in­di­ca­tions were the tem­per­a­ture had changed. The No side on the bid looked like they had the votes. That was un­til Suther­land and Col­ley-Urquhart got a case of cold feet.

Or did they feel the heat from very im­por­tant peo­ple?

Druh points out one good ex­am­ple of the kind of crap sur­round­ing city hall’s pitch for this Olympic bid.

Two re­ports crit­i­cal of the overly-rosy sup­posed ben­e­fits of the Olympics sur­faced awhile back but hadn’t been given to coun­cil­lors. The city promised an anal­y­sis of the two re­ports but they say they don’t have the money to do a look-see. Right.

So it goes. The No side re­mains as it was. In the end it’s Far­rell, Farkas, Chu, Magliocca, De­mong, Gon­dek.

Coun­cil gets to vote again in June.

Nen­shi is very happy. He calls it “a huge wak­ing up of what I think is the silent ma­jor­ity in this city.”

I think city hall just wants to make sure the ma­jor­ity re­mains silent.

GON­DEK ‘Is­sues’

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