Chicago Has Received No Money For NATO/G8 Yet
By aaroncynic in News on Feb 28, 2012 2:30PM
The Emanuel administration said Chicagoans wouldn't have to foot the bill for the upcoming NATO/G8 summits, but the city has yet to receive any of the federal funding promised. The Chicago Reader reports that, though the city is spending money on security and training equipment, the check for the supposed millions hasn't hit the mail just yet. Delores Robinson, a spokeswoman for the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said “The city of Chicago has not yet received any grants for the NATO and G8 summits.”
Even though City officials announced the awarding of a $55 million grant to fund the summits, an investigation by the Reader showed that those funds aren't specifically for the summits.
According to federal guidelines, the funds are meant to “address the unique planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas”—regardless of whether a summit is happening there.
In other words, if the city spends grant money on the summits, it will not be available for other things such as terrorism prevention, the 911 system, etc. When the Reader requested the grant application, they received documents pertaining to another grant the city did not win.
Businesses should also not expect any kind of compensation should they be affected by the summits. The Sun-Times reported Mayor Emanuel was asked last week if businesses could expect reimbursement for lost profits during the week of the summits, should they choose to close their doors over safety concerns. Emanuel told reporters the host committee would have a process for this. Host committee spokeswoman Jennifer Martinez said that it does not anticipate businesses having to close, and no businesses choosing to close would be reimbursed.
Meanwhile, though specific information for corporate sponsors and donors of the summit is yet unavailable, a coalition of community groups delivered a letter to the mayor calling for “any and all spending related to hosting the G8 and NATO summits in Chicago be matched dollar for dollar by investment in our communities” through the creation of a Chicago G8/NATO Community Fund. Similar to a suggestion AFSCME made in January, the organizations feel, if the city can solicit private donors to pony up dollars for delegates, they can also find money to keep libraries and mental health clinics open. In addition, the groups called for federal support:
If the City is willing to seek out federal funding to host a three day summit, it also has a responsibility to seek federal funding to address the long-term issues that impact our communities, such as unemployment, foreclosure, school closings and unfunded social programs and services.