Efforts to designate Los Angeles as the U.S. host city for the 2024 Olympic are worth more than passing attention by leaders along the Highway 101 corridor.
That’s because a successful bid by Los Angeles for the summer games would produce multiple benefits for the Central Coast, with a broad impact on business.
The 1984 games, hosted in Southern California, created a model for public-private partnership that’s still paying dividends for the SoCal economy.
Similarly, a program for 2024 would take advantage of multiple venues that already exist, as well as a groundswell of civic support. Some of that support was in evidence as cities in the Tri-Counties stepped up to support this year’s Special Olympics in LA.
• The region’s capacity to host athletes has vastly improved since 1984. California Lutheran University, CSU Channel Islands and UC Santa Barbara all offer facilities that could easily host athletes. The Dallas Cowboys training center in Oxnard also might be repurposed to help support the games.
• Our ability to attract and entertain tourists from around the world is unsurpassed. Whether it is agricultural tourism, the Reagan Library or a wine tasting tour to Santa Ynez and Paso Robles, we are now a major tourism hub. The Amgen Tour of California brought a world-class sporting event to our region.
• Leadership skills learned at the Olympics last a lifetime. In 1984, Jordano’s President Peter Jordano led a successful effort to create an Olympic Village at UCSB, drafting a number of young executives to help. Two of them, Leo Hamill and Greg van Ness, are now corporate leaders in their own right.
The bottom line is that unlike Boston, which declined to submit a bid due to costs that threatened to spiral out of control, Los Angeles does have plenty of assets that can be repurposed to manage the cost of putting on the games. And a history of doing it on time and on budget.
We’ll be watching to see how LA maneuvers through the Olympic bidding minefield as the countdown to submitting a formal bid proceeds.
Archie will be missed
For the past decade, kids in need of a calming presence and a little love could count on Archie the Therapy Dog.
His constant presence at Casa Pacifica provided thousands of kids who were temporarily housed at the center with a companion who didn’t flinch as he had his ears tugged, was petted endlessly or even read stories.
Archie was a star in his own right, featured on the “Today Show” and other news programs and even was the subject of a children’s book. A celebration of his 10th birthday was held in May.
Alas, Archie passed away earlier in August but he won’t be forgotten.
There’s a full-sized bronze statue of him at the Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks and Casa Pacifica will name a cottage for him on its new residential campus.
Such is the power of dogs.