Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Transparency in Politics

On Monday, politicos--would-be and otherwise--kicked off the mayoral race by filing their petitions with the city. The Sun-Times reported that the mayoral race could "energize voters." 

I have to say: I am still in the period of dread. It's not that I fear change. God knows, I was looking forward to defeating Daley in February. But I surmise that the city's budget is a horrible mess. And I don't see how any politician is going to get us out of it. (And if s/he did, what would Ben Joravsky write about?) That these politicians think they can shows either incredible courage or incredible naivete. Perhaps both. 

I'm likely a campaign manager's nightmare because I don't watch live TV and I don't pay attention to the ads. But I stopped the TiVo to watch Emmanuel's ad tonight during Glee. My reaction: I'm tired of the platitudes already. I love Chicago (just ask The Dad, who'll have to drag me outta here kicking and screaming), but the past few years have opened my eyes to the realities of city politics and dealings. I think Chicago needs to focus its efforts on becoming a world-class city. Forget about losing our grip on a precarious hold. I don't think we can pat ourselves on the back yet, guys.

Throughout the tumultuous spring and early summer of budget crises, education cuts, union troubles, school-related challenges and a surprise visit from Ron Huberman, I believed that the great Chicago machine (which also controls CPS) was obfuscating budget and process from its citizens. At the time, I wanted more transparency and communication about what was going on. I still want that. But now I think one reason that few in official capacity are willing to Tweet as often as Kanye West or Kim Kardashian is that they realize that if they are forthcoming with information, everyone will know that they have no idea what the hell they are doing. That Emmanuel and Moseley-Braun want to take a stab at it reveals their courage.

Despite my current discomfort with lies ahead for Chicago, I'm an unfailing optimist. I am quite sure that my dread will turn to excitement in a couple of weeks after a few rounds of mudslinging between Moseley-Braun and Emmanuel (with a little comedic relief from the Rev. Meeks thrown in). A parent and activist just announced his aldermanic bid for the 39th ward; things are looking up already....

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