“It’s a surreal feeling for this to be over so suddenly, but it feels very nice at the same time,” No Boston 2024 member Jonathan Cohn said in the hours after the public learned that Boston’s Olympic bid would no longer be considered for the 2024 games.
Cohn spent the afternoon responding to tweets and messages of congratulations. In another part of town, the unaffiliated but allied group No Boston Olympics gathered to celebrate at a local pub. It was a moment of victory and relief for those who had fought so hard against the small group of influencers trying to push the games.
So now the big question - what’s next? Part of that, Cohn said, includes a continued pursuit of public records regarding the Olympics. Cohn currently has a number outstanding requests for communications between current and former city officials, including several hundred email to and from Chief of Policy Joyce Linehan, communications with Kate Norton, a former press secretary who later moved to a firm representing Boston 2024, among others.
Just this morning, the group launched a new crowdfund for communications from Boston Corporation Counsel Eugene L. O’Flaherty.
“We still want [those documents],” Cohn said, “because there are always systemic issues that are incidentally about the Olympics.”
Receiving documents from the city has been somewhat of a saga for the group, who has held a number of crowdfunding campaigns to raise money for fees quoted by the city. Recently, Cohn has been battling with the city over the communications he received for a request surrounding Dan Koh, Mayor Walsh’s chief of staff. Cohn was quoted and raised the money for nearly $400 worth of emails, but he received less than half the number he paid for.
It seems that the original quote included duplicates that were not included in the final package. The fee, however, was never adjusted. The city plans to credit the more than $200 discrepancy toward another request, but had Cohn not shown them the math, that likely would not have happened.
Robin Jacks, another organizer from No Boston 2024, said that pursuing public records in relation to the Olympics demonstrated a larger problem in Massachusetts.
“Now we’ve all experienced it first hand,” she said. “Trying to get these public records that belong to us and having to pay what ended up amounting to thousands of dollars for them was kind of shocking and eye-opening.”
Both Cohn and Jacks look forward to a future of organizing around a number of issues and making connections with other activists in Boston. It’s unclear how exactly that will manifest itself, but Jacks seems certain of at least one thing:
“The FOIAs are not going to stop. If the city thinks that, they’re wrong.”
Image via NoBoston2024