Late Start, Security Concerns Doom Chicago G8 Summit Meeting

The big news around Chicago yesterday was that the G8 summit scheduled to take place in the city in late May has been moved to Camp David (May 18-19). Meanwhile, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will still be meeting in the Windy City (May 20-21). While protestors are claiming responsibility for the change in venue, others are trying to figure out who made the call, and why? I was reading a piece by Greg Hinz and Paul Merrion on Crain’s Chicago Business website yesterday that shed a whole lot of light on the development. Hinz and Merrion wrote:

The White House, not City Hall, made the bombshell decision to pull the G8 summit out of Chicago, multiple sources tell Crain’s.

Chicago host committee chief Lori Healey, sources in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office and Washington insiders all said Monday that the surprise decision came from President Barack Obama’s inner circle.

So, the White House made the call. And the reason, or reasons, why? Hinz and Merrion added:

Chicago had been given relatively little time to prepare for the summits, which sometimes are scheduled years in advance. Mr. Emanuel, rather, sprang the news on the city last June, notably failing to consult with organizers of the huge restaurant show, which was scheduled to meet on the same dates in May and which ended up having to reschedule to earlier in the month.

Some sources were saying Monday that the city never fully overcame the late start — particularly on the security side, with endless bad headlines here about protests and other woes to come.

Security folks felt the city was “overwhelmed,” one congressional source said. Even in the South Loop federal complex, building officials still have not been fully briefed on what to expect and how to prepare.

Okay, so a late start and security concerns did the Chicago G8 meeting in, if what Crain’s is saying is true. Chicago residents, businesses, and other parties had been constantly reassured by the City of Chicago and the Official Chicago Host Committee for G8 & NATO Summits that preparations for the two high-profile events were going smoothly. On the issue of security, one might wonder how prepared Chicago really is for what could turn out to be a turbulent May, among other things. The blogger(s) at the unofficial Chicago Police Department blog Second City Cop wrote earlier today:

There ought to be a line of people whose heads are on the chopping block over this crap. There was never a comprehensive plan that covered a myriad of concerns brought to light here and elsewhere. The incompetence and unpreparedness of the Chicago Police Department was, and remains, almost criminal in nature.

God forbid an actual emergency situation arises like 9/11 or Mumbai or a series of mass transit bombings. We’d be in the textbooks for years to come on exactly how not to run a disaster.

Ouch.

Well, what’s done is done. The protestors still plan on converging on Chicago en masse in May- and not just for a couple of days. I wish the City of Chicago and the host committee all the best in catching-up with what needs to be done for a successful NATO summit.

And please give the ground pounders on the Chicago Police Department what they need to do their job effectively in May and well beyond.

Chicagoans are watching.

Sources:

Hinz, Greg and Merrion, Paul. “White House stuns city by pulling plug on G8 in Chicago.” Crain’s Chicago Business. 5 Mar. 2012.(http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120305/NEWS02/120309916/white-house-stuns-city-by-pulling-plug-on-g8-in-chicago). 6 Mar. 2012.

SCC. “So Now What?” Second City Cop. 6 Mar. 2012. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2012/03/so-now-what.html). 6 Mar. 2012.

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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 Government, Public Safety, Terrorism
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