By Chris Reed.
At a time of intense bad blood between the Trump administration and the state of California, a new Legislative Analyst’s Office report stressed the importance of years of local-state-federal cooperation in preparing for a possible 2024 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is vying with Paris to host the games. Budapest, Hungary, withdrew its application a month ago, leaving the two finalists. The International Olympic Committee is meeting in September to formally award the games.
Traditionally, the ability of host cities to count on heavy support from their federal government is considered a crucial point in IOC deliberations. It’s why President Obama traveled to the IOC meeting in Denmark in 2009 in an effort to demonstrate U.S. government support for Chicago getting the 2016 Summer Olympics. The games ultimately were awarded to Rio de Janeiro, but the president’s support was considered important in the run-up to the vote.
Whether Trump will support Los Angeles’ 2024 bid – or whether Los Angeles officials would want his support – is unclear. But the LAO report notes the importance of federal support if Los Angeles succeeds with its bid. Examples:
- It cited the need for heavy coordination of local and state public safety efforts with federal efforts which will be overseen by the Secret Service and assisted by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the FBI, the Coast Guard, FEMA and the FAA.
- It noted the importance of addressing the impact of Trump’s proposed travel ban on individuals from six nations (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen). It quoted the U.S. Olympic Committee as saying U.S. officials had promised to “ensure that athletes and officials from all countries will have expedited access to the United States in order to participate in international athletic competitions,” but not the State Department itself.
- It cited the value to the Olympics of having the president and Congress back Los Angeles projects on the $100 billion infrastructure wish list that Gov. Jerry Brown revealed in February after the Trump administration discussed plans for a long-term $1 trillion national infrastructure program. That includes “expanding and improving the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) purple line, the Metro project to connect the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) central terminal area to the Crenshaw/LAX and green Metro line, and the orange bus rapid transit (BRT) line.”
- It recommended that federal funding be sought to help deal with extraordinary security demands and noted that the cities of Cleveland and Philadelphia had received $50 million and $43 million, respectively, to deal with the costs of hosting national political conventions in 2016.
Worries about Trump-California friction may be premature
As Politico recently reported, so far the Trump administration has worked well with the state of California on emergency disaster declarations, so perhaps any concern about federal-state friction is premature.
There’s also the possibility that Trump doesn’t serve a second term, which is when most key Olympic preparations will be made.
But with a president as unpredictable as Trump has seemed, friction seems possible – especially given that the list of prominent California Democrats who has had harsh things to say about Trump includes Brown, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a wide array of House members and top state lawmakers.
Most recently, state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said Monday that the Trump administration’s plan to withhold Justice Department grants to immigration sanctuary cities was “nothing short of blackmail.”