Drivers congregate in the Loop early Saturday to celebrate Mexican Independence Day.
Dave Newbart/Sun-Times
Where was Chicago Police Supt. David Brown last Thursday and Friday night? It’s clear to me he was nowhere near the downtown area during Mexican Independence Day celebrations. Personally, I am offended by his comments focusing on “significant challenges from a criminal standpoint” regarding the downtown gridlock. That is one-dimensional thinking.
I live near Roosevelt Road and Michigan Avenue, and it was chaotic both nights. People in the caravans were yelling, honking horns, blasting music, dancing in the streets and setting off fireworks until after 2 a.m. I agree with Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) and Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) that “CPD was caught flat-footed and should have had more manpower and a better deployment plan.”
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The scenes of people gridlocking traffic around the Daley Center also did not represent “very respectful” behavior. I do agree there was an obvious plan on Saturday and Sunday night, and it was peaceful. Unfortunately, the damage was already done.
I do hope next year the city has a plan in place for the day before, the day of and the day after celebrations. I am all for everyone celebrating and I realize that living downtown means one has to expect interruptions, but this was a huge detriment for thousands of citizens and tourists.
Finally, I have been trying to be fair to Brown and give him the benefit of the doubt the past couple of years. But it’s becoming evident he does not know Chicago. The time has come for new CPD leadership. I hope the next superintendent will be a home-grown Chicagoan. I support Mayor Lori Lightfoot and hope if she is re-elected, she selects a new superintendent. If not, I hope the next mayor will do the honor.
Kim Foster, South Loop
For the third year in a row, my neighborhood suffered from misguided efforts to “celebrate” Mexican Independence Day. Caravans of cars descend on our neighborhood, filled with people shouting out the window, waving Mexican flags, honking their horns continuously, setting off very loud fireworks in the park — all from sunset until 2 to 3 a.m.
Why here? Traffic grinds to a halt. The streets become parking lots. There is no respect whatsoever for the people who live here and have to work, sleep, try and calm babies and small children, and deal with terrified pets. And, of course, inevitably, this kind of chaos always results in criminal activity.
The effects of this out-of-control activity cannot be minimized. Saturday, police responded by closing off access to downtown. This did make it more pleasant for residents, but very difficult for those trying to get home. Unlike recent years, showing one’s address on a utility bill or driver’s license did not guarantee entrance, and some had to stay in hotels overnight.
Both Supt. David Brown and Mayor Lori Lightfoot downplayed the seriousness of the problem. One person was quoted in a story saying, “We’re mostly loving people that just want to celebrate and express our culture and our values.” If the past three years of mayhem are any example of Mexican culture and values, I am not impressed.
Sharon Novickas, South Loop

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