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Support for an Olympics bid on the table in Sacramento

Signing off on LA 24: Athletes signed a placard before the U.S. Olympic Committee named Los Angeles the bid city for the 2024 Olympic Games
Signing off on LA 24: Athletes signed a placard before the U.S. Olympic Committee named Los Angeles the bid city for the 2024 Olympic Games
Brian Watt/KPCC

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With Los Angeles now the official U. S. bid city for the 2024 Olympics, Mayor Eric Garcetti is in Lausanne, Switzerland to present L.A. as a candidate.

Before heading abroad, Garcetti expressed optimism that L.A.'s bid would gain support from lawmakers in Sacramento, who'll decide whether the state will participate in covering potential cost overruns.  History - both recent and not so recent - are on the Mayor's side. 

Last December, Senators Kevin De Leon and Mark Leno introduced SB 41 in support of the Olympics of their respective cities:  L.A. and San Francisco.  If passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown, the bill would give the governor the authority to sign agreements required by the U.S. Olympic Committee. It would also create a trust fund of up to $250 million to cover potential cost overruns. 

SB 41 had nine co-sponsors in the Senate.  They included Bob Huff of San Dimas, then the Republican leader. The bill also had more than 20 co-sponsors in the Assembly.

"I think that underscores that there’s just a long term bi-partisan desire for California to put its best foot forward in something as renowned and historic as the Olympics,"  Huff said.  "I mean, everybody loves the Olympics." 

The bill is similar to one signed eight years ago by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger when Los Angeles was pursuing the 2016 Olympics.  If L.A. had gone the distance, the $250 million would have been there as a financial backstop. 

"I don’t think it’s out of character to underwrite the expense if there are overruns, but then work diligently to make sure there are not (overruns)," Huff, who is a candidate for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, told KPCC.

When the U.S. Olympic Committee chose Boston as its bid city, SB 41 stalled in Sacramento, but it didn't die.  With Los Angeles back in the game, the bill could be tweaked to remove the San Francisco language or moved forward with no amendments.  It is now in the Senate Government Organization Committee.  The bill is what legislators call an "urgency" measure,  which means it can move at any time.  But "urgency" measures also require the a two-thirds majority vote rather than a simple majority.