Aldermen move to prevent parade permit infighting

The ordinance preserves permit priority for parades that had been forced to cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

SHARE Aldermen move to prevent parade permit infighting
The Shannon Rovers at the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The Shannon Rovers at the 2019 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The next two years, the parade was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sun-Times file

With 500 permits issued every year, it’s safe to say that Chicago loves a parade.

On Thursday, the City Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs and Special Events proved that love by providing a bit of post-pandemic protection.

At Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s behest, aldermen endorsed an ordinance that preserves permit priority for “traditional parades” scheduled at around the same time along the same route “in connection with a specific holiday or consistent theme for at least the prior five years.”

La Voz Sidebar

Lea este artículo en español en La Voz Chicago, la sección bilingüe del Sun-Times.
la-voz-cover-photo-2.png

That priority status would remain even though those “traditional parades” were canceled last year because of the coronavirus — and even though none have been held so far this year either.

Deputy Transportation Commissioner Mike Simon said the goal of the mayor’s ordinance is to prevent the temporary hiatus from opening the door to post-pandemic feuds between parade organizers vying for permits on the same day.

“We’ve had plenty of examples over the years. That’s why we implemented the traditional parade status in 2011 - to protect all those existing parade organizers, so there’s none of this infighting going on,” Simon told aldermen.

“The ordinance for traditional parade status protects the organization at the date, time and manner, the location. They have first right of refusal, basically.”

Geeksquad members dance during the 90th Bud Billiken Parade in Bronzeville on August 10, 2019.

Geeksquad members dance during the 90th Bud Billiken Parade, held in Bronzeville in August 2019. The 2020 parade was canceled.

Sun-Times file

Simon noted “everybody has a right to a parade” and the city issues 500 parade permits every year. The mayor’s ordinance simply “protects those specific holiday dates.”

“The last Sunday of June is always the Gay Pride parade date. The second Saturday of every August in the Bud Billiken [parade]. That’s why it’s really important to keep those traditional events locked in,” Simon said.

“The amount of city services that goes to the Bud Billiken Parade — we have to lock down other events to make sure that events don’t take place around it because of the services that it utilizes. We don’t want the Air & Water Show to take place on that date or some other large-scale parade that would cause a public safety concern.”

Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) asked Simon what would happen if two groups vie for the same date, and neither has the five-year tenure needed to qualify for “traditional parade” status.

“Then we have to go to a lottery system for that. What this does is prevent the lottery system for traditional parades,” Simon said.

The Columbus Day Parade travels down North State Street from East Lake Street, Monday afternoon, Oct. 8, 2018.

The 2018 Columbus Day Parade on State Street.

Sun-Times file

The Latest
The U.S. State Department issued a “worldwide caution” alert last week, saying it had learned of an “increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence against LGBTQI+ persons and events.”
The WNBA standings after the first week of games have the Sky sitting pretty at sixth. While this might inspire hope for some, the application of a little critical thinking leads to a different conclusion.
Some scattered storms are expected to pass through the area Tuesday morning, but conditions may worsen in the evening with the possibility of severe thunderstorms and gusty winds, the National Weather Service said.
Many students carried gold flyers with images of a crown, bullets and bombs, symbolizing the Crown family, who are benefactors to the Art Institute and who students say invest in weapons manufacturers. They tore the flyers on stage.
The 33-story building is the first top-of-the-line apartment tower to open in the area in over a decade.