As an independent candidate for governor — in a state not known for welcoming them — Evan Falchuk earned 3.3 percent of the vote in last November’s election. With that, Falchuk’s United Independent Party won official status in Massachusetts.
Now, he’s putting his fledgling party behind another anti-establishment cause — opposing the effort to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Boston.
Falchuk joins a growing field of Olympics opponents. A couple of ad hoc citizens’ groups are bent on influencing the public and the International Olympic Committee. Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim has proposed four nonbinding questions for the city’s November ballot, addressing different aspects of the Games, from taxpayer funding to eminent domain.
But Falchuk believes his effort has the best chance of all because it’s not just temperature-taking; it’s stopping the money. In January, he filed paperwork to create a ballot question committee, which would draft a referendum to stop the state from putting taxpayer money toward the Games. If the referendum were to pass, it would essentially kill the Games.
Falchuk uses Colorado as a template for the question. In 1970, after a group of civic leaders in Denver got behind an Olympic movement, the Mile High City was selected as the site for the 1976 Winter Games. When questions about cost and priorities arose, a counter-group launched a petition drive to amend the state constitution, outlawing the use of state money for the Olympics. In November 1972, 60 percent of Colorado voters endorsed the amendment. The Olympics ended up in Innsbruck, Austria, instead.
Falchuk said he’s ready to take on Boston’s Olympic boosters in similar fashion, “independent of whether I think this is a cool sporting event, which I do.” He’s blasted the issue across the United Independent Party website. When you start your own party, you get to choose your causes.
But this challenge might be more formidable than his last one. To get an Olympic question on the November 2016 ballot, Falchuk must gather 75,000 signatures. That’s more than the 71,144 votes that were cast for him in November. To get his own name on the ballot, he collected 17,000 signatures (and ultimately submitted 12,000).
“Boston 2024 has done a very good job of getting the power elite of Boston” on its side, said Falchuk. “To me, that sounds like an aristocracy. We don’t need to have an aristocracy making decisions for us.”