Friday, March 20, 2015

OUR VIEW: Residents Deserve To Hear Pride Plans Now

Police officers stand guard over a Chicago police car
used as a dance floor by spectators at the 2015 Pride Parade.
Image: Second City Cop
Nearly nine months have passed since the 2014 Chicago Pride Parade unleashed crushing crowds and a post-parade crime wave in our neighborhood, yet city officials still have not announced how 2015 will be different.

As we said days after the parade, there are two distinct issues that need to be addressed: Dangerous overcrowding in prime locations along the route and post-parade criminal activity.

The police department apparently doesn't think too much will change on their end. The department has retained the right to deny officers time off on just nine of this year's 1,095 shifts. Two of those nine shifts fall on Pride Sunday.

CBS2 photo of Ald. Tunney sweeping trash
 that filled neighborhood streets
"24 hours after the parade."
The morning after last year’s parade, 44th ward Alderman Tom Tunney told CBS2 Chicago
We hear from our residents that they don’t feel safe in their neighborhood – that there is too much… alcohol and partying all night long.
Two months later, Tunney conducted an online poll that found just over half of people who claimed to be 44th ward residents wanted to see the parade moved downtown. (Tunney initially misled the public by suggesting that the majority of residents want the parade to stay.)

Last weekend’s St. Pat’s free-for-all in Wrigleyville made Pride memories fresh again. Considering that the city didn’t even erect barricades to keep drunks out of the middle of Clark Street, we have to wonder…what kind of plan will they develop for the much bigger Pride?

The city warned that there would be a zero tolerance for
alcohol on the parade route last year. So, of course,
local businesses sold bottles of booze on the sidewalk
without consequences.
We asked Tunney’s office about St. Pat’s and asked when the community could expect to hear about Pride plans. They did not respond. They also refused to respond to a similar request for information in February.

At a candidate forum during his recent campaign for re-election, Tunney offered a few options that were on the table: more direction of parade-goers; route changes; more security after the parade between 4PM and 4AM; an earlier start time for the parade; changing the day of the parade; and shortening the parade. He did not mention moving the parade to downtown.

Chicago Pride organizers are already publicizing June 28 as the date of this year’s parade.

We strongly believe that the public needs ample time to review the city’s Pride plan and provide feedback. The city will also need time to respond to the public’s input.

With 98 days remaining, the public deserves to hear NOW about what the city and organizers will do to make Pride 2015 different from recent years.
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62 comments:

  1. My prediction: If no significant changes are made, at least one person will die or get seriously injured from the crush of the mob. Almost happened last year on Broadway.

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    1. I'm surprised someone hasn't died already, from booze/drugs already. It's only a matter of time.

      The parade needs to be moved downtown. More room and less damage to the neighborhood. Easier to get to from the burbs and easy access to mass transit. The police do their best and I really can't expect anything more from them, they're severely undermanned and overworked for a parade of this nature.

      Maybe I'm getting old, but 10-15 years ago, the Parade was awesome. Now it's just a nightmare.

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    2. I'm surprised someone hasn't died already, from booze/drugs already. It's only a matter of time.

      The parade needs to be moved downtown. More room and less damage to the neighborhood. Easier to get to from the burbs and easy access to mass transit. The police do their best and I really can't expect anything more from them, they're severely undermanned and overworked for a parade of this nature.

      Maybe I'm getting old, but 10-15 years ago, the Parade was awesome. Now it's just a nightmare.

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    3. When I started going to Pride in the late 90s, it was a controlled, fun and positive event. Now it's an overgrown corporatized shitshow. It started getting really bad around '07-'08....the parade is now WAY too long and the crowds are volatile and scary.

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    4. If a resident were to have a medical emergency, how long would it take EMS to make it's way through the drunken, possibly violent mob?

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  2. Thank you, CWB.

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  3. Is there an SSA set up for Wrigleyville, specifically Clark Street and Halsted? If there is or isn't, the bar owners of the area need to start paying for barricades on the days when they know they'll have huge crowds, and paying for the police protection out of their own pockets. No more entertainment detail which is just a way of shifting cops - they need to pay in full for officers to deal with crooks and suburbanite drunkards. Asking the city to put out barricades just stretches resources further.

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    1. Yes http://www.northalsted.com/pages/northalsted_ssa__18/23.php

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  4. Is Tunny still "out of the office"? I tried to get him on the telephone all week.

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  5. Challenge Rahm and Company, with a cc to Rauner and the FBI now, to send in National Guard troops to fortify the CPD for these events, as the City and its CPD are obviously too stupid to manage Paid Timed Off.

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  6. I would be in favor of starting earlier, like 9:00 a.m. I also make the following suggestion: Limit of three political "floats" -- all the local pols on one (Tunney, Rahm/Chuy, et al), State pols march together in another (Feigenholtz, Cullerton, Rauner, et al) and Federal pols in another (Quigley, et al). All churches march together in one entry, why can't politicians? Schools can march together in another entry. Limit remaining floats to 50, and let entrants "bid" on their own segment: MegaCorporations (Jewel, WalMart, Chipotle), Media (WGN, etc), Local businesses, and "other". Only the highest bidders get to march in the parade, and all the proceeds of the auction go to fund additional security for the parade.

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    1. Oh, Pffifer or whatever his name is would never go for that. You know, the guy who single-handedly "owns" the parade? The one who never provides a public accounting of where all the money donated during the parade goes? The one who is as bad as Tunneys about responding to emails? Yeah, that's him ....

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    2. He makes so much money off the Parade that is all he does but he won't admit and says it doesn't make money. No Parade in the City should be privately owned on the City Streets etc. And all meetings and books should be public knowledge

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  7. I find it curious that downtown isn't even being considered as an option. The things that makes me nuts about pride weekend, are: 1) crowds 2) crime 3) the aftermath of garbage and puke in the neighborhoods 4) feeling like a prisoner in my home for three days.

    Cleaning up / sweeping / power washing the route is one thing but, the fact that the streets adjacent are simply ignored, is ridiculous and completely unacceptable.

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    1. I can accept the crowds, but I agree with you on the crime, trash, and puke.

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    2. Last year, on Aldine, Roscoe, Cornelia, east/west off Halsted, and Newport, west off Halsted, there were papers and stickers and beads and condoms and lube packets and beet bottles and cans and cups lying on the sidewalks and grassy areas until LATE JULY. I reported it to the alderninny's office via phone and email and of course was not given the courtesy of any acknowledgement. Guess he's still "looking into it," 8-9 months after the fact.

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  8. Look to last year if the weather is nice it will be worse. The Parade aint moving downtown for two reasons. 1) It would expose the lies as to how many people they say attend it. 2) The bars on Hasted need it to pay their over mortgaged properties. It's not about pride or GLBT it's all about $$$$$.

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  9. Route the parade southbound on broadway to diversey -- completely bypass the halsted St. bar strip shitshow.
    Stay off of Halsted. The only reason it remains on Belmont is to placate the Halsted bar owners. They'll still make their money.

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    1. Or better yet, move it out of commercial/residential neighborhoods entirely by moving it to LSD from Irving to Diversey, or even better, to Grant Park.

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    2. I wonder if any bar owners will respond to that. That is a very valid and interesting point. It makes a LOT of logistical sense, too. But, in Chicago, and especially Ward 44, scant little of anything is done logically.

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    3. I think a longer route leading it right off the Navy Pier is the best option for this charade, I mean, parade at this point. The corporations can have lifeboats strategically placed for their employees.

      Signed, Dull GWM

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    4. The Velvet Mafia behind Sidetrack has already decided the parade will NOT be going ANYWHERE. What they say goes in Boystown, and Tunney just nods his head.

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    5. They were the Gaystopo a few years back. When was Velvet Mafia coined?

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  10. Sadly, I doubt much will be done to change or prevent the mayhem from occurring. Maybe a brave film crew could do a documentary and let the rest of the country see the crap that goes on here in Chicago. Maybe a public shaming of our elected officials would make them hire more police, dole out real prison sentences (instead of the usual slap on the wrist), etc.

    Crime is not down!

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  11. Seems like alcohol is the problem at these events. Does Chicago still have a "dry precient" law, the one where residents can vote a certain area dry? In the past a concerted effort at voting a precient dry really got the attention of problem saloons. Maybe such an effort will force some of the saloon keepers to cleanup their act.

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    1. A precinct can be voted dry. A petition must be signed by 20% of registered voters in that precinct before the next general election and then it gets on the ballot as a referendum. If more than 50% of the voters in that election say "dry" it is a done deal. It is in the Illinois state constitution and has withstood all challenges from liquor industry.

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    2. That's what people around Wrigley should do. That would be a stunner.

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    3. Precincts are relatively small areas (about 4 sq blocks) which allows targeting problem areas while not disturbing the rest of the ward. Here are some interesting precincts:

      38th west side of Clark - Addison to Roscoe
      31st east side of Clark - Grace to Newport & Wrigley Field (now that would be interesting)
      42nd west side of Halsted - Roscoe to Barry & east side of Clark - Roscoe to Barry

      Source: http://www.44thward.org/site/epage/115864_1026.htm

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    4. It would be overridden. Remember, Tunneys will be "all up in your butt" but when push comes to shove, he will always support the flow of alcohol (and the flow of $$$, who knows where ....)

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    5. We've been working an a story idea about where the 3 candidates for alderman performed best and worst.

      The 38th precinct was Tunney's worst showing. 55%; Thomas 34%. It would seem that there is a good amount of dissatisfaction that could be harnessed by those interested.

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OycF3lftxr1zbYFkdPZHu6HatYOu10Hp7_AWCjvh15s/edit?usp=sharing

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    6. There is no override power. If it's voted dry, it goes dry. http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bacp/supp_info/liquor_license_restrictionsandspecialregulations.html

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  12. Alderman Looney-Tuney..."Th-th-th-That's All Folks!"

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  13. I've been to dozens of city's gay prides and NONE have the level of trashy behavior, aggression, and public drunkenness as chicago's. I think part of the problem with Chicago, apart from the obvious demographics of parade goers, is that its parade is boring. The floats are lame, the streets are narrow, there's really nothing to see or do. Getting wasted seems as the only alternative. This isn't a police issue, it's a parade issue. Maybe one day Chicago will act like a big city and less like a midwestern town.

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    1. Smaller and duller mid-western towns and cities with Pride parades don't behave like that either.

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    2. The San Francisco parade on Market Street is awesome and so much fun...real entertainers. So well managed with huge crowds. I agree the Chicago parade is pretty boring to watch, especially all the cars with politicians and school floats and corporate suckups bullshit.

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    3. I know people that used to enjoy Chicago's gay pride festivities but now travel to Detroit or Columbus for the celebration.

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    4. That was my conclusion about most of these Chicago street fests - if they need that much alcohol and drugs to keep themselves entertained at them, maybe the organizers aren't doing their job.

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  14. I really wonder who voted for TT...everybody I asked did not. Thank you to the police. They do the best they,can. I don't understand why the parade is not moving downtown. It's a joke.

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  15. The parade is outdated. It's mostly straight people, who can't seem to hold their booze.

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  16. Can this blog get a statement from Rahm before the election? I would like to see the plan in writing. Im not trying to sit in my condo for 3 days wondering wtf will happen next.

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    1. We go to Lake Geneva for the weekend. It works great. Leave before the shitshow starts and return after it's over.

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  17. The Police are great.That's evidenced by the number of shitheads that they do catch. Its the politicos that let use down.

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  18. There is an election in about two weeks.

    Get the politicians to commit to improving safety or moving the parade. Chuy needs votes, I bet he will promise a lot that you can collect on before June.

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  19. The Parade is no longer about "Pride"...it's become an excuse for straight people to party and trash our neighborhood. It's also unnecessary, and embarrassing. As the LGBT community mainstreams....the licivious behavior, drunkeness and such only enforce dated stereotypes. Enough already.

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    1. The past few summers I've seen more straight boys having sex with each other late night in alley ways along Halsted and Cornelia and Brompton and Roscoe, rather than so many gay boys partaking of the flesh. But the drunkenness ... ew, so sloppy and nasty. Move that parade away or get rid of it altoether. So 80s .... when you think about it.

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    2. Trying to wrap my head around how you determine 2 boys having sex in an alley are straight or gay?

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    3. If 2 guys are having sex, you can probably rule out straight.

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  20. Why were bars allowed to sell booze and drinks on the sidewalk? I've not seen that before. Certainly not as much and not as openly.

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    1. The bars along Halsted will do as they please. Just ask Stu Zurin or the owners of Hydrate, Little Jim's, Roscoes, etc.

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    2. What is it about the term "payoffs" that you don't understand?

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  21. The problem is that "pacing" as it relates to the consumption of alcohol has become a lost art. Kids today can't hold their liquor and act like they got some sense any more. The parade hasn't been about gay pride or visibility anyway since those pylons went up. Time to pull the plug in favor of an LBGQ art, music & culture festival downtown in Grant and Millennium Parks. Get some real talent and a real venue like Pritzker Pavilion, not some god damned 7-Eleven parking lot. Both Pride Parade and Pridefest are an embarrassment for the community. We are so much more than some afternoon shit-show on Halsted.

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    1. This is just about the best concept for a gay "pride" festival event I've ever heard. So spot on! The parade is a mostly corporate shit-storm; the aftermath of the parade, well, we all know about THAT shit-fest!; and such a centralized communtiy art/music/cultural festival would be so great! 7-11 parking lot, also spot on. (By extension, this could apply to Market Days as well, although I guess it would be difficult to move an event put on by an organization called "Northalsted Merchants Alliance" off of North Halsted). A downtown festival in Grant/Millennium would be amazing for pride!!! It could be a true showpiece for the community and the city. But no, I guess the bar owners and the sole-proprietor of the parade, Pppfffifer, will never "allow" such a thing to happen.

      On the OTHER hand ... who's with me on organizing and creating a NEW gay pride festival event? Wouldn't happen thus year, of course, but with some planning, and brainstorming .... wow, this could be awesome!!!

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    2. That is a great idea and classy. It's time the old glbt leaders pass on the baton to younger glbt community with ideas like yours. Instead of holding us back like it's 1975. Those bar owners should have cashed out when they had something to sell. And those pylons are a joke and ugly as heck. Go to Andersonville on a Saturday night it's so diverse and no trash. Restaurants are so mixed, str8/gay and all religions. Young/old and family's dining out. Now that's class that Boystown and Wrigleyville doesn't have.

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    3. Nothing will change. I emailed the alderman, the police commander, north halsted alliance and dnainfo. Only response I got back was from the commander. He's still waiting to hear about ge route himself.

      I'll be escaping to Houston that Thursday through Monday. Good luck and god speed.

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    4. Shhhh! about Andersonville. We moved there from Lakeview and we don't want the Lakeview problems to follow us. We are just getting accustomed again to walking around without fear of thugs.

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    5. Andersonville is great...just don't venture east of Broadway ;) And by the way, "Girlstown" was a quiet near-suburb full of lesbians until 5-7 years ago. That was when Boystown's aging Gen X/Y bois decided to retire from the "scene" and move up there en masse. Oddly enough, it's now well on its way to becoming Boystown North.

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    6. Andersonville will never be a Boystown not as easy to get to via the Redline. And Edgewater and Andersonville are way safer than East Lakeview.

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  22. I have a plan cancel the parade, EVERYONE will then have a good summer weekend. Also get rid of every other parade, not needed, not safe, not enough police, just traffic tie up's.

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  23. Anyone think that perhaps it's Tiny Dancer holding up the decision? He doesn't want to piss off any more people than he already has before the run-off. My guess is it will stay here this year and move downtown next year. Too late to change logistics on April 8.

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    1. Oh, we're certain that Alderman Tunney delayed it until after his election. Now, it will be further delayed until the run-offs are complete. By comparison, when Tunney made changes after the 2011 parade debacle, the announcement was made in the first week of October—about 3 months after the parade.

      Read some stories about what those changes were supposed to accomplish. Virtually all of the same problems still exist.

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    2. It will never move downtown so forget about that. Plus it would expose the attendance lie. All these so called dogooder owners on Halsted only care about $$$. And it brings people into the neighborhood that spend a lot and cause all the problems. Those bar owners don't really care like they let on about GLBT or Boystown. The only they care about if the Boys and Girls quit going there when they aren't having the Parade or Market Days. i.e. A lot of GLBT are leaving and have left the East Lakeview. In 10 years Boystown as it was will be history.

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    3. April 12- any updates to this story about when/where/why of the Pride parade, plans, etc.?

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