The Yippies filed for an outlandish permit for a citywide festival at the same time as the convention, and told news media that the party would involve events such as nude swimming in Lake Michigan and dumping LSD into the water supply. The permit request and open invitation to the nation’s youth outraged Mayor Daley, a law-and-order politician and influential Democratic Party strongman who ruled the city with an iron fist. He may not have taken the threats literally, but he loathed the thought of the city being overrun with hippies, and prepared the police department for an invasion. He also stalled on distributing any permits, including to Dellinger, Davis, and Hayden.
Davis appealed to Justice Department official Roger Wilkins, who recognized his sincerity and attempted to negotiate with the mayor. “About five minutes into the conversation,” Wilkins remembers, “red started coming up from Daley’s collar, all up on these jowls, which seemed larger and larger and larger to me. And he launched into a monologue which lasted, I believe, 25 minutes. And when I started to interrupt and say, ‘But Mr. Mayor,’ he would just raise his voice.