Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Special Events Management Takes On Pride Parade

UPDATE 5:55PM - Virtually nothing new was announced at today's press conference. Police made a broad statement that about 200 "additional" police officers would patrol the parade, Pride Fest, the lakefront, thoroughfares, and other "events" across the city. The department declined to say how many of those "hundreds" of officers would actually be at the parade.

Plans by the parade organizer to add 70 more private security officers, widely reported as being a "boost" following last weekend's shootings in Orlando, were actually announced several months ago.

Our original report from before the 12:30PM news conference follows.
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Officials Thursday will hold a press conference to announce plans for the 2016 Chicago Pride Parade. Exactly what they will announce has not been revealed in advance, but CWB Chicago has learned the following:
• Private security arrangements and crowd control will be spearheaded by Chicago Special Events Management, the private company that organizes most of Chicago’s major street festivals, including Pride Fest and Northalsted Market Days.
• While parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer has repeatedly claimed that his organization is “providing a security team of 160 off-duty police officers,” we could not find anyone to confirm that statement. In fact, through Ald. Tom Tunney’s office, Special Events Management stated that their security team is comprised of “certified security personnel.”
"[It's] the same group that does the neighborhood security for the Chicago Cubs. Most are permitted for carrying firearms, a few are certified with [state security guard licenses] but non carrying firearms.  All are certified security personnel."
Neither Pfeiffer nor Special Events Management CEO Hank Zemola responded to our inquiries about the “off-duty police officers” claim.
Interestingly, Zemola is the man who told WBEZ in 2013 that the publicly-touted Pride Parade crowd estimates of "1 million people" are "marketing numbers...crazy numbers... It would be impossible to have those many people lined up and down the streets.” 
• Public Safety officials that we spoke with do not have greater public safety concerns in the wake of last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando. “Same concerns as always,” one top city worker told us.
Those concerns are significant and real. In fact, CWBChicago is today publishing for the first time a section of handwritten notes that a Chicago Fire Department executive took during a City Hall planning session for last year’s parade.
“Possible move of parade downtown,” the exec wrote in 2015. “Public safety issue.” 
But first responders' worries about crowding, access and egress have taken a back seat to political power.
Concern about the route winding through one of Chicago’s densest areas grew after last year’s parade was disrupted by a confused man who managed to drive his vehicle onto the parade route—not once, but twice. “I think everyone’s initial thought was that it was intentional.” The man was not charged.
• Parade organizers have announced that the 2016 parade will have 160 units, down from the 222 units in last year’s march. According to city records and the parade’s official web site, the Chicago Pride Parade has exceeded its permitted unit count every year since 2011. The city claimed to not have permits from earlier years.
The last time that parade organizers slashed the number of units was for the 2012 parade. That came on the heels of dangerous overcrowding along the parade route that sent spectators climbing over fences and barricades to avoid being crushed.
• U.S. Senator Mark Kirk on Wednesday asked the FBI to “offer the maximum security possible [for the Chicago Pride Parade] so that, in the wake of the Orlando massacre, we can have the safest Pride Parade ever.”
A Chicago Police Department spokesperson responded that, “There is no specific threat or intelligence against [any] of the Pride events that are scheduled for Chicago over the next several weekends."
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31 comments:

  1. "Certified" in what? Droopy pants?

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  2. My head is about to explode at the number of questions raised by most of the points in this excellent reporting by CWB. This is the first item I have seen anywhere, in any media, regarding security/control measures for the upcoming two weekends (and particularly the parade weekend). This Pppfffiefer guy is a piece of work, not responding to questions. But then, he never does. There is no accountability. It is rumored widely in the community that he personally profits mightily from this parade each year. Yet, there is no accountability at all. If he doesn't, then he needs to come out public and produce figures. Security: it is very unclear who is providing it. A private company? CPD? CPD guys who work for private companies? Perhaps Walsh has a finger in this pie? Post-parade crime: what are the plans? This is my biggest concern as a resident and taxpaying constituent of Ward 44. Oh, I'm sure there will be the usual congratulatory circle jerk CAPS meeting on the Wednesday following the parade, and everything will be deemed as wonderful and everyone will go off into another year of la-la land before thinking about the 2017 parade. The past few years, on the Monday following the parade, the CWB blog has been chock full of crime reports that are nothing less than horrifying. I can only imagine what we will be reading here on Monday, June 27.

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  3. "It would be impossible to have those many people lined up and down the streets."

    There are formulas to determine size of crowds by square footage. Given that Chiraq has regressed to a 1870's Wild West city, the competency is no longer there to determine it. The The 750K and 1M numbers are nothing but a publicity stunt.

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    1. Chicago's Gay Pride attracts maybe 350,000

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  4. Have a nice time people, looking forward to CWB after parade write up. Pride and St Patrick's day parades are two great days to read a blog!

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  5. Time to start televising the parade live like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade or the Super Bowl. Then people can have house parties at home at get stupid drunk there so there would be fewer people at the parade.

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    1. Do you really think people care that much about watching the parade? Most people go for the party atmosphere. Televising the parade would do little to mitigate the crowds.

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  6. Mark is running for re-election.Don't forget that.He's trying to jump on the Orlando sympathy vote.He's still a Douche.And I'm a republican.

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    1. Art Johnson was all over the Orlando sympathy wagon for some extra cocktail sales too. What's your point?

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  7. If it wasn't for Orlando, this event would be getting to security attention. To do so would have douchebags Rahm, Smith, and Tunney admitting they have a crime problem here.

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  8. Pfeiffer was on "Chicago Tonight" last evening, and it was a total "softball" interview. The whole discussion was "Orlando" - centered, with nary a word about the past issues/problems with the Parade. I don't expect anything much to change this year, especially as regards the after - Parade mayhem, etc. Which is why I've avoided the whole mess for the last several years...it's pretty outrageous that we've had to put up with this Parade mishegoss for so many years.

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  9. Take the whole damned thing down to Columbus Drive ( like other stupid parades) and let the wandering gangs of trouble-makers, muggers and thugs harass the leftover crowds there ...INSTEAD of the side- streets, backyards and alleys of one of the last decent neighborhoods in this forsaken city !!!

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    1. Exactly. And CTA fares should be based on distance for weekends and every festival, parade or free event. Problem solved.

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  10. Every year I pack a suitcase up and gather my dog to leave my home I get angrier and angrier. I live here. I own my property and pay my taxes and shouldn't have to leave my home to escape the third world atmosphere of thugs and scum who overrun the area after the parade is over. This Phiffer asshole should me made to pay my added costs to get out of the area and find somewhere safe to stay. Then it's still days until the side street sidewalks and parkways are clean enough for my dog. Someone ought to do some real investigative reporting on this organizer and expose him. Thanks for all you do, CWB! You guys, whoever you are, are the single most important source of information in the city.

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    1. Yes, investigative reports on Dicky Pfeiffer would be nice, but better still a class-action lawsuit for unlawful profiteering of a public event, considering that he generates a tremendous amount of revenue while taxpayers cover security and clean-up. And how on Earth he ever got the monopoly anyway?

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  11. the pay is not worth it !!! 12 hour shifts with NO break or food. Guess we can bring our own and keep it ........no place because there is no place. and you better not get caught sitting down on your 12 hour shift in the sun. Did I mention it takes about 2 months to get paid. They cant pay me if they don't get paid, at least that is their story. I can always use the extra money but its not worth the drunks, fights, thefts, did i mention the fights.

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    1. Well that makes total sense and explains we get the droopy panted "private security" guys who look like they got picked up at a homeless shelter, bathed and clothed and pushed out into the world.

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  12. and I guarantee there will be no more then 5 off duty Chicago Police officers working the entire event. ask the people working, ask for a ID, not a star.

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  13. move the parade down town total bullshit so Tunney don't have to pay police protection POST THAT!

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    1. Alternatively, have the route changed to run down Raavenswood by the mayor's home.

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  14. I was at Waveland/halsted and saw the whole "confused driver" incident go down. Just imagine how easy it would be for someone with malicious intent to do something.after several years watching and one year in the parade I'm staying far far away.

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    1. I'd classify John Wayne Gacy as a "confused driver". He just drove an Oldsmobile on non-parade days though.

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  15. "Certified security personnel" = 20 hours of simple classroom training to get a state - issued PERC card...a grade schooler could pass the training. Oh, and you can't have any felonies. Remember, even the Orlando shooter was "trained security personnel"...

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  16. Ok, what happens after the parade ends? The parade is one thing, and reletively uneventf?
    The trouble, for years now, comes well after the parade is over and around sundown when the Montrose Rocks event breaks up and ends up in Boystown.

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  17. This is just to bring business to all the bars on Halsted nothing more. That's the reason they won't move it. And the neighborhood isn't very gay anymore. Most have moved to Uptown, Andersonville and Edgewater.

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    1. ....or out of state.

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  18. When I have watched the parade I have not felt proud.
    Maybe they should call it the shame parade, or the drunk parade.

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  19. "Gay pride events across the city?" Huh?

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  20. I'm glad I'm packing my TARDIS and dematerializing starting Wednesday.

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  21. I hope Special Events Management means the National Guard...

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