Where is all that 'Transparency' Rahm's been promising? Certainly not from CPS

Maybe it is a bad case of old left over turkey that is clouding Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's memory, but even the right-wing cooperate Chicago Tribune Newspaper is finding their favorite anti-Union hack is not doing what honest businesses do in America: Tell the Truth. In watching corperate media, it is now apparent that Rahm Emanuel lied when he announced on July 5, 2011 that he will introduce a new era of "unprecedented transparency across City government."

Above, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke to reporters during a carefully staged media event at the so-called "Morton School of Excellence," an AUSL "turnaround" school, on November 29, 2011. On that Day, Emanuel, and his hand-picked but controversial schools "Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard (behind Emanuel, left in picture) described how their latest round of "turnarounds" was going to improve the education of thousands of CPS students through "turnaround," which they claimed had been proven to make things better. Arrayed with Emanuel during the event were a number of parents who explained how their children really enjoyed the turnaround experience. Left out of Emanuel's narrative was the total cost of the AUSL "turnaround" (which puts two teachers in every classroom and makes sure that no class in elementary school is over 25) and the fact that even while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars extra per school, AUSL has actually run more or less even in most of its schools, and failed in its high schools (most notably Orr and Phillips) and in one of its most famous elementary schools (the "Sherman School of Excellence" that has been with AUSL now for five years). One of the more than dozen City Hall and media aides who accompanied Emanuel on the Morton event was Beth Swanson (above right, in doorway) who once served as Budget Director at CPS and could easily have answered questions about how much more AUSL is costing than schools of comparable size. But most of the reporters present didn't even know that Swanson (who is now Emanuel's liaison to the Board of Education) could have answered detailed budget questions. Nothing on the CPS website would indicate to the average citizen how much of a premium Chicago is paying for each of the AUSL miracles, but part of that overhead can be seen behind Emanuel, where the current chief of AUSL, Donald Feintstein, stands. Feinstein's six-figure salary rivals that of Brizard's quarter million dollar annual pay, but is not available in any public document from City Hall, CPS, or AUSL. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt. “I promised during the campaign to reform city government and change the way we do business at City Hall,” said Mayor Emanuel.

Except for almost everything the public might be interested in. The Chicago Public Schools still has a more remote Freedom of Information officer than most of the city's suburbs. And try to get information, as opposed to spin, out of City Hall.

It seems the simple request of public owned documents are now being hidden and denied access to by the very handlers who helped promote Mr. Emanuel's neo-liberal policies of privatization and union busting. After the Chicago Tribune requested public documents under the Freedom of Information Act, the Mayor is now denying those requests regarding city fees and speed cameras.

These are Mayor Emanuel’s schemes to raise money through new taxes on the working class and working poor in Chicago, by increasing vehicle fees and water rates and to legalize speeding camera tickets.

The Tribune quotes David Morrison, associate director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said the refusal to supply records about initiatives aimed at the public's pocketbooks "couldn't be any more egregious.”

"At some point you expect your public officials to be reasonable. When they just keep saying no, it's no longer about right and wrong," Morrison said. "It's about what they want, and they don't want you to know anything."

In a Washington Post OpEd earlier in November the criticism of Rahm is more direct, "And just what has Emanuel blocked? Oh, just about anything that could shed light on his conduct and governing style."

Full Articles can be accessed by this links,0,1336081.story


December 2, 2011 at 6:27 PM

By: John Kugler

City Sues....the City?

City Sues....the City?

Amazing how these things work out:

The city today sued the operator of Park Grill restaurant at Millennium Park, asking a judge to end a generous 2003 concession agreement with the Chicago Park District.

The city wants the Park Grill operator, which is trying to sell the restaurant, to pay more for the privilege of operating at the park, a city spokesman said. In addition to the operator, the city-controlled Park District also is named as a defendant in the complaint.

“Since 2005, the city has attempted to renegotiate the concession agreement and put in place a competitive and fair-market rate concession agreement,” Steve Patton, the city’s top attorney, said in a statement. “The negotiations to date have been unsuccessful.”

A sweetheart deal, granted to a connected political crony, and the crony is attempting to cash out additional monies by selling the ill-gotten asset, probably because in this economy, it isn't doing as well as it was.

We're sure we'll be finding out about these Daley disasters for the next 10 or 20 years.

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