By Nicol Turner-Lee, “Mayor Emanuel Must Shed Old Paradigms for True Transparency Reform,” The Huffington Post, December 22, 2011
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is under fire for his office’s denial of Freedom of Information Act requests, with critics in the local and national press and blogs taking the mayor to task for shielding public records from public view. Underscoring this lapse in transparency is Emanuel’s vow to foster “the most open, accountable and transparent government that the City of Chicago has ever seen.” Cities like Boston, Phoenix, and Seattle all routinely release such information, according to reporting by the Chicago Tribune’s David Kidwell, implying that they do transparency better.
This is not to suggest there has been no progress on transparency under Mayor Emanuel. Indeed, he has backed the release of large amounts of government data, including the June release of salary information for all city employees. The city’s September release of city-wide crime statistics for the past decade not only helps crime-fighting agencies, but also journalists, advocates and businesses create more targeted programs to address local concerns.
Chicago, like its big city peers, just needs to decide if government transparency is a core attribute of its government. For the Emanuel Administration, releasing some data and not others does little to shed the old paradigms of closed door politics where waste, government fraud and abuse were the norm…
Read the full article at The Huffington Post.