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Evan Falchuk presses for vote on Boston Olympics

Former gubernatorial contender Evan Falchuk wants a statewide referendum on the Games.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

CAMBRIDGE — Evan Falchuk, former gubernatorial contender and chairman of a newly official state political party, was fired up Sunday morning.

Sleeves rolled to his elbows, microphone in hand at a meeting of the Boston Ethical Community, a nontheistic religious group, Falchuk bemoaned a two-party system he said doesn’t represent the concerns of ordinary voters. And he trumpeted the values of his United Independent Party — including equality for everyone and the government using taxpayer money wisely, echoing issues he spoke about on the campaign trail.

But Falchuk, a former business executive who came in third with just over 3 percent of the vote in the November race, has a new issue: a referendum on the Olympics.


Since Boston was named this month as the US candidate for the 2024 Summer Games, there has been a notable paucity of public political opposition to the idea of the Hub hosting the premier sporting event in world.

Falchuk, a 45-year-old Newton resident, indicated he believes that is a symptom of political elites shutting out the worries of voters. He said he wants a statewide referendum on the Games along with a more transparent process.

He told about 30 people at the Harvard Square gathering that he is a sports fan, will watch the Olympics, and is not against those kinds of events.

“It’s a spectacle, but it’s also a business and it’s trying to make money,” he said. “And it wants to use our money to do so, and we should be able to vote on that.”

Officials, who have scheduled a series of community meetings on the Games, have outlined an bid that would not use state and city taxpayer money beyond those dollars already in the pipeline to be spent on infrastructure. Falchuk has his doubts.

In a short interview after his remarks, Falchuk said he is still figuring out the specifics of the vote he is championing. Massachusetts law allows for different types of ballot questions, most of which require an arduous effort to collect tens of thousands of certified signatures, and Falchuk said he wanted to do due diligence on the specifics.


He floated the idea of a question that would let people vote on whether taxpayer dollars could be used for an Olympics effort.

“They’ve said no public money will be used for this purpose,” Falchuk said. “Well, then why don’t we have a guarantee that that’s the case? Having an initiative petition in process would be a good way to make sure that starts to happen.”

Boston 2024 did not answer e-mailed questions about whether the group has a stance on a statewide referendum on the Olympics.

Instead, a statement attributed to a Boston 2024 executive, Erin Murphy, said, in part: “Boston is in the very early stages of preparing our bid for the International Olympic Committee. Boston 2024 is committed to an extensive public process. . . . [E]very community with a potential venue for the Games will have the opportunity to weigh in at public meetings well before any final decisions are made.”

Falchuk also spoke Sunday about expanding his United Independent Party, which gained official status by garnering more than 3 percent of the vote in November, and now includes six full-time staffers across the state.

He said while most of the funding is coming from him, he is working to raise more money from other donors. He also said the party is in the midst of recruiting legislative candidates to run under the party banner in Massachusetts in 2016.


On Sunday, Falchuk also pressed for more transparency from Boston 2024. The private group has said it will this week release the presentation it made to the United States Olympic Committee, along with other documents.

One outsider observer saw Falchuk’s new emphasis on the Olympics as politically savvy.

“One of the dangers of any third party and any candidate who leads it is: immediate irrelevance,” said Paul Watanabe, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

He said it is a smart move for Falchuk to tie himself to the Olympic issue. It will, Watanabe explained, “keep his party and his name in front of the public.”

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.