NATO, G-8 Summits could be a disaster for Chicago
No doubt the venue for the two international meetings was pushed by the government to reward those Chicago cronies of Obama who would benefit from the increase in business due to all the visitors.
But it could also turn out to be an unmitigated disaster for the city.
"It's just a potential disaster," Sanderson said. "Again, I hope it's not. I hope things go really well and the city gets a real positive spin from it, but if you were betting in Las Vegas, you'd bet that's not going to be the outcome."
The city says security precautions will cost $65 million, to be picked up by private donors and the federal government.
Sanderson says the summits are expected to attract 7,000 dignitaries and their security forces, as well tens of thousands of demonstrators. He says the timing couldn't be worse, coming as it does, in the springtime.
"If the events were held in February ... in Chicago there would be far fewer protests than (if they) were held in May. I mean, everybody, the Occupy folks will come out of hibernation by then," Sanderson said.
Sanderson says daily battles between police and demonstrators could give Chicago a serious black eye as did the Democratic National Convention of 1968.
Giving Obama's home town a black eye might not be good for his re-election campaign. But it probably won't matter much politically, especially given the windfall for Friends of Barry in the city's business community. Mayor Rahm will gladly trade a few broken windows for the millions of dollars that will be spent by both dignitaries and protestors around the city.