Marking their first family trip back to Chicago in two years, the president will be spending the weekend with his wife and daughters in their old Kenwood neighborhood, likely to celebrate the wedding of Valerie Jarrett's daughter.
For those who are unfamiliar, Valerie Jarrett is a longtime friend and senior adviser to the president, who was caught on camera praising former "green jobs czar" Van Jones. She remarked that the administration was "so delighted to be able to recruit him into the White House," and that they had been "watching him...for as long as he's been active, out in Oakland..."
The White House said in a statement that "there are no public events scheduled for this time," confirming, for many, the speculation that the first family is in Chicago for Laura Jarrett's wedding.
The Chicago Sun-Times described the security required for such a high-profile event, writing:
In the midst of a recent homicide spike and prediction of a weekend weather scorcher, [journalist Michael Sneed was] told somewhere between 100 to 200 police officers will be dispatched to help “secure the perimeter” of a high-profile wedding in Kenwood.
◆ Translation: The president will be there. Barack Obama and his family will be in town for three days of private, unofficial business — tops of which will be the backyard wedding of senior adviser/inner sanctum best friend Valerie Jarrett’s daughter, Laura.
◆ Further translation: A section of Kenwood will be entirely surrounded. The festivities also will include friends gathering at Obama’s Kenwood home and a backyard barbecue at the home of neighbor Allison Davis.
“The cops will be pulled from all districts in the city,” said a source. “Overtime will not be involved.”
◆ Countered another Sneed source: “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out we could be using those cops for something else.”
Sneed [was] also told the city will not be reimbursed by the federal government for police security.
And it couldn’t come at a worse time.
The city is still reeling from a recent increase in homicide statistics, and the weather this weekend is predicted to hit 93 degrees; a recipe for crime soup.
NPR recently wrote an article about Chicago's soaring homicide rate, which is up more than 50% from the same time last year, saying experts are "stumped" as to why.
Laura Jarrett, according to the Chicago Tribune, is set to marry fellow Harvard Law graduate Tony Balkissoon. She is an associate at Mayer Brown law firm, and he is an associate at Sidley Austin law firm, where the first lady formerly worked.
A 2009 Vanity Fair profile described Laura Jarrett:
...Favorite Books: To Kill a Mockingbird, Anna Karenina, In Cold Blood, The History of Sexuality, and Me Talk Pretty One Day. Cause: “Promoting civil rights and social equality for women and minorities.” Favorite spot in the world: “Chicago in the summertime.” Ambitions: “Write a book and work as a TV-news legal analyst.” Would love to have dinner with: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall together. You can never have too many: “Good friends or setbacks in life—both give strength and build character.” One day I hope to: “Have the wisdom and grace of my mother.”