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No Boston Olympics: Referendum would force Boston 2024 to ‘engage’

A rendering of proposed Olympic sites in BostonBoston 2024

Opponents of the Boston Olympics believe a public referendum is needed to prove that supporters of the city's bid have the citizens' best interests at heart.

Chris Dempsey, co-chairman of No Boston Olympics – the group opposing city’s bid to host 2024 bid – said a referendum would “force the boosters to engage with the people rather than what they’re doing right now, which is engage with IOC.”

Dempsey’s comments featured Sunday on WCVB’s On The Record program, where he indicated a “majority of people” think an Olympic ballot question “makes sense.”

He said both a Boston referendum – that could feature on this fall’s city ballot – as well as a state-wide referendum in 2016 -- “have benefits and make sense.”

He said an earlier ballot could force a conversation about the games sooner, while a statewide ballot would allow all of the state’s taxpayers, whom he indicated could be affected in some way by a Boston Olympics, to weigh in on the issue.

Dempsey said his group was funded through a grass roots network of small donors.

“We know that we would be outspent,” he said of any sort of Olympic political campaign.

Backers of the Olympics have thus far balked at a referendum on the matter, saying they would reach out to affected communities through a series of meetings.

Last week, Dan O’Connell, who was then the CEO of Boston 2024, deflected questions about what sort of effect a negative referendum would have on the city’s bid. O’Connell was succeeded as CEO of that group by Richard Davey, a former state transportation secretary.

 
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