Many of us are wondering what May will look like here in Chicago. Whether we like it or not, the G8/NATO summit is coming. No one really knows how many thousands of protesters will descend on us along with the bigwigs, but we're expecting lots.
As the date gets closer, we're hearing more details about what to expect, and it doesn't sound fun. Police have been getting special riot training. Downtown will become a restricted area, with security checks for anyone entering and no unauthorized vehicles allowed in, including city buses. I'm hearing that some businesses are considering closing up for the week, between the extra hassles and likely lack of customers.
A friend recently posted an excerpt from a lengthy office memo on his Facebook page:
From the building management's memorandum: […] in May, 2012 Chicago will host the Group of Eight (G8) and NATO Summits. You have probably started to hear more about these events as May approaches. […] While the building will be open for business, please be aware, your daily routine will most likely be affected by summit activity. We recommend that your company review and update its contingency plans. Items to take into account should include: disruptions to normal building services, stockpiling supplies for your organization, transportation to and from the building, remote IT services, and potential floor evacuation or shelter in place procedures as practiced each year during our fire drills.
The City of Chicago and many other business organizations are recommending employers consider encouraging employees to work from remote locations during the Summits. If you decide this action is warranted, your organization should test your systems and procedures prior to any real world actions. Your building management and ownership team are taking all necessary steps to provide normal building services and functions; however, logistical challenges may disrupt normal operations.
This may include: requiring tenants to schedule deliveries a week prior to the Summits, restricting parking garage access to tenants only during this time, verification of tenant IDs before allowing entry into the building, and requiring physical escorts for visitors from the lobby to tenant space. Please take this time to ensure keycard records are up-to-date with the security office. Please also ensure that all of your current keycards have a clear photo and name visible. […] I understand it's better to be safe than sorry, but still ... Are they trying to scare the shit out of people?
There are plenty of reasons why I would ordinarily be downtown during that week, but I intend to opt out of the hassles. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't have a choice. All Chicago police officers will be on duty that week - on 12 hour shifts (not the norm). He doesn't know quite what to expect, but he's not looking forward to it. I'm concerned about the effects the week could have on him if things get really bad.
Part of me wants to get the hell out of Dodge and be far away from whatever mess happens. The other part says I should stay and offer whatever support I can in the short windows of time when I might see my husband between his duty shifts, his commute (which will probably be longer due to traffic pattern changes) and sleep.
He says I should go, because there will be so little opportunity for us to spend time together during that week. If I go, it would be an ideal chance to visit friends in New England who I haven't seen in way too long - in the Boston area, New Hampshire, and Maine. I'm still torn.
I'll let the Clash ask the musical question.