NATO Summit is not popular in host city Chicago

Chicago police mounted patrols chase protesters on the Michigan avenue, ahead of a two-day NATO summit, in downtown Chicago, Friday, May 18, 2012. Police horses blocked some intersections as the breakaway groups wound through the city.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

(CBS News) CHICAGO -- As a gesture to his hometown, President Obama is bringing the NATO Summit to Chicago this weekend. It will give the city's economy a boost, but if it weren't for the honor of being catapulted onto the world stage, some in Chicago wish NATO went elsewhere.

The front page of today's Chicago Sun-Times reflected the view of some Chicagoans with a headline that turned NATO into an acronym for Now Comes Our Ordeal.

The newspaper offered its readers a six-page "Survival Guide" for the NATO gathering that will bring representatives of 62 nations and an estimated 20,000 delegation members, aides, security personnel and media to Chicago.

Here is some advice, the Sun-Times told its readers: Stay home.

The presence of world leaders means motorcade gridlock; it means road detours and closures, traffic congestion on steroids, bus route and train schedule disruptions. Local rail passengers may find themselves subject to pat downs and will face limits on what they can bring on board.

And then there are the protestors who see these periodic gatherings of world leaders as passports to the international spotlight.

The Secret Service, which coordinates security at this gathering of world leaders, says it hopes for the best but is ready for the worst.

International summits in the U.S. and abroad have often been the target of violent demonstrators. To protect the leaders, police have erected perimeters of fencing around those areas of Chicago where the Summit leaders will be gathering.

President Obama is known to feel bad that he was unable to help Chicago win its bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Steering the NATO Summit to the city is meant, in part, as a way of making up for it. Clearly, some in Chicago feel he shouldn't have gone to the trouble.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.