Sprinting to the 2016 Olympics

So San Francisco has completed one more lap, bringing the 2016 Olympic Games within sight. The dropping of Houston and Philadelphia by the U.S. Olympic Committee is welcome news for The City. That leaves us in contention with Chicago and Los Angeles.

The final decision, coming in 2009, will be made by the International Olympic Committee based on the multiple advantages we can offer. We can do this.

It will take the kind of private-

sector foresight that lured the games to Los Angeles in 1984. That thinking, a turning away from pervasive government sponsorship, was the hallmark of Californian Peter Ueberroth, still a dominant player in the ultimate decision to bid for the games.

Wednesday’s eliminations were no doubt gratifying for Mayor Gavin Newsom, who has found creative ways to bring the international athletic event here. Clearly, landing the Olympics would constitute a major boost for his political fortunes, but it obviously would do so much more.

The City’s standing would rise immeasurably once the world watched multinational marathoners crossing the Golden Gate Bridge — among other sporting contests — to showcase the storied splendors of this place. As we’ve written before, the Olympic Village itself would add thousands of needed housing units.

The new skyline at Rincon Hill would announce its presence to the world, as would the biotech center at Mission Bay. The commercial potential has to brighten the faces of The City’s business community, which feels besieged by a local government seemingly bent on stymieing its every activity.

As we’ve acknowledged before, this won’t be a cakewalk. The clean-up of toxics at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, where the Olympic Village would be situated, could prove daunting. But that kind of obstacle should be considered an opportunity, indeed a way to accentuate the mayor’s theme of hosting “green games.”

Not a bad selling point. But we would caution against Newsom’s not-so-secret pitch: San Francisco’s growing image as a place apart from the rest of America. Newsom doesn’t shrink from leveraging The City’s habitual dissension from U.S. global objectives in order to attract international favor. The posture ill-becomes us as Americans.

Our own dissent, that. After all, showing any sign of weakness against Islamo-fascist terrorism invites the targeting, precisely, of events so grand and wonderful and symbolic as the international Olympic Games.

The mayor will have our unstinting support in bringing the games here. Let’s do it in the name of all things green, of course. Let’s do it as well for freedom, democracy and civilization, of which San Francisco is famously the pinnacle.

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