Monday, March 05, 2012

G8 News

It's not being held in Chicago.

President Obama has decided to move the G8 Summit gathering to Camp David, in order to have a more "informal setting."

Not sure how that will impact protester population, as the NATO Summit and the International Security Assistance Force will still be held here in mid-May, but I have to assume any change in potential conflict is diminished, even if only slightly.

Rahm Emanuel pressed hard for both G8 and NATO, so while he's paying lip service to Obama, wishing them well at Camp David, he's probably disappointed. On the other hand, the Chicago police are probably more than a little happy with this news.

Joe Isobaker, with the United National Antiwar Committee called the announcement a great win for the protesters, pointing to the controversy that's been swirling around Emanuel's attempts to beef up police forces and stiffen local ordinances in anticipation of problems in the streets. The UNAC will still be protesting though, as will the Coalition Against NATO/G8.

Nonetheless, people who were halfway through their preparation for G8 are "stunned" by this announcement. I'm surprised, and pleasantly so. Rahm's stated reason for wanting to hold the multiple summits were very much like Richie Daley's stated reason for wanting the fucking 2016 Summer Olympics here. To showcase the city of Chicago to the world and the world to the city of Chicago.

I'd tell Rahm the same thing I told Daley in an old Fray post....the world knows about Chicago and Chicago knows about the world. It's not an emerging city Rahm. We've been around for 175 years or so, and the only changes that tourists may notice are basically down at Grant Park.

Big deal.

And the most important point, one that Daley and Emanuel seem to not fathom is that Chicago, during the spring and summer, already draws huge numbers of tourists. They've been coming here for decades. It's not like these summits are going to boost local business or something. The hotels are booked, the restaurants will do huge business, the theaters, the museums, the lakefront will all be loaded with people. In other words, business as usual.

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