Nobody is under any illusion that the Baltimore-Washington area can attract the 2012 Olympics. Your cover story (“Let the Games Begin,” 5/11) did an excellent job of pointing out that the Olympics bid is the pet project of a few oligarchs without any real constituency, but the article fell short of the real story: The bid isn’t even intended to succeed. It is ludicrous to suppose the summer Games would be awarded to the United States for a fifth time out of eight, much less to the eastern United States for a second time out of five.

The ulterior motive for the bid is to create artificial pressure to approve—by the bid deadline in 2005—a corporate wish list of taxpayer-funded boondoggles that would otherwise never be approved.

Anti-sprawl expert Steve Schwartz, quoted in the article, alludes to an outer beltway and other transportation misinvestments as a side effect of the bid. But they’re not side effects—they’re the whole point. The Greater Washington Board of Trade, the secretive and elite Federal City Council, and a handful of powerful developers failed to win public support for the Intercounty Connector or the “techway,” except as shown in biased AAA surveys, so now they’re trying to rationalize such nonsense with a frivolous bid for the Olympics.

It’s a cheesy ploy, and we should replace every elected official who supports it.

Brightwood