WBEZ | chicago mayor http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-mayor Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Karen Lewis not running for mayor http://www.wbez.org/news/karen-lewis-not-running-mayor-110932 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/620-lewis_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, seen as Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s most high-profile re-election challenger, won&#39;t run in 2015, a spokeswoman announced Monday.</p><p>Lewis, who often tussled with the mayor during the 2012 Chicago Public Schools teachers&#39; strike, didn&#39;t specify her reasons and a statement released on behalf of her exploratory committee made no mention of a recent illness she disclosed publicly.</p><p>&quot;Karen Lewis has decided to not pursue a mayoral bid,&quot; said a statement from committee spokeswoman Jhatayn Travis. &quot;Yet she charges us to continue fighting for strong neighborhood schools, safe communities and good jobs for everyone.&quot;</p><p>Lewis had been seen as the best shot so far to unseat Emanuel, who won his first term in 2011. For months, she had been circulating petitions and raising her profile at parades and political events, often harshly criticizing Emanuel and his policies. She even dubbed him the &quot;murder mayor&quot; because of the city&#39;s violence problem.</p><p>Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/karen-lewis-hands-over-leadership-chicago-teachers-union-110919" target="_blank">last week</a> said that Lewis has a &quot;serious illness&quot; and underwent successful surgery. Sharkey also said he had taken over Lewis&#39; tasks as president, but did not provide additional details on her illness.</p><p>Emanuel issued a statement after Lewis&#39; announcement Monday wishing her a quick recovery.</p><p>&quot;I have always respected and admired Karen&#39;s willingness to step up and be part of the conversation about our city&#39;s future,&quot; said Emanuel, a former congressman and White House chief of staff.</p><p>Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti, who announced his bid to run last month, said he was praying for Lewis&#39; health.</p><p>&quot;For Chicago&#39;s sake, I hope this is not the last we see of Karen Lewis,&quot; he said in a statement. &quot;I can understand the battle with illness, and how it can change the best thought out plans. But I also know that Karen is resilient and strong and will be back advocating for educators, students and Chicagoans in no time.&quot;</p><p>Political experts said only a handful of credible candidates would be able to mount a serious challenge at this point ahead of the Feb. 24 contest. Names floated in Chicago political circles included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who has already said she planned to keep her current job and faces re-election, and Cook County Clerk David Orr.</p><p>Any candidate would have to be able to raise big funds and already have name recognition. Emanuel has banked more than $8 million, while campaign finance filings show Fioretti had about $325,000 as of June. Also, Emanuel&#39;s implied support from President Barack Obama as a former aide would be hard to counter in Obama&#39;s hometown.</p><p>However, political watchers said Emanuel&#39;s approval ratings have been low.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a mixed bag,&quot; said Chicago political consultant Don Rose. &quot;Many people feel he&#39;s ripe for the picking.&quot;</p><p>The February election is nonpartisan. If no candidate receives more than half of the ballots cast, a runoff between the top two candidates will be held in April.</p></p> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/karen-lewis-not-running-mayor-110932 UIC unveils collection of Daley artifacts http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/uic-unveils-collection-daley-artifacts-108187 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Daley Collection_130725_kk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-205334a6-16f2-338c-bfb1-269a0e2158ee">The University of Illinois at Chicago unveiled a collection of documents from Richard J. Daley&rsquo;s 20-plus years as Chicago mayor Wednesday night.</p><p dir="ltr">The archive includes shelves of papers, memorabilia and more than 7,000 photographs.</p><p dir="ltr">It is open to researchers <a href="http://library.uic.edu/daley">by appointment</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ&rsquo;s Richard Steele toured the collection with its archivist, Peggy Glowacki.</p><p dir="ltr">To hear about some surprising items in the collection (including a big fish?), listen to the audio above.</p><p><em>Produced by WBEZ&rsquo;s Katie Kather. Kather is an arts &amp; culture reporting intern at WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ktkather">@ktkather</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 25 Jul 2013 12:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/uic-unveils-collection-daley-artifacts-108187 Emanuel says he'll seek 2nd term as Chicago mayor http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-says-hell-seek-2nd-term-chicago-mayor-107137 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS5189_AP120302145616-scr_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans on seeking re-election in 2015 and says he&#39;s not seeking higher office.</p><p>The former White House chief of staff <a href="http://bit.ly/10Bg9hW" target="_blank">told the Chicago Sun-Times</a> he&#39;d support a presidential run of either Vice President Joe Biden or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but he&#39;s not going anywhere. Emanuel took office in 2011 and says if he wins a second term he&#39;ll serve it out.</p><p>Emanuel says one of the frustrations has been changing Chicago&#39;s culture to one of accountability.</p><p>He acknowledged the political risk of his plan to close 54 city schools. He says there&#39;s also a risk of reputation for Chicago&#39;s schools if things don&#39;t improve.</p><p>Emanuel says he plans to keep on both leaders of the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Public Schools.</p></p> Mon, 13 May 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-says-hell-seek-2nd-term-chicago-mayor-107137 Isiah Thomas, city officials team up to keep kids off the streets http://www.wbez.org/news/isiah-thomas-city-officials-team-keep-kids-streets-105611 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79974210" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hoops.jpg" style="float: right; height: 370px; width: 300px;" title="A group of boys play ball in the Windy City Hoops league. (Chicago Park District)" />When NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas was growing up on Chicago&#39;s West Side, basketball was a big part of his life. But it wasn&#39;t just the game that influenced him, he says playing helped him meet mentors, make friends outside his normal circle, and keep him safe.</div><p>&quot;Whether it be 3-on-3 competition, 5-on-5 competition, it teaches you how to function in a group,&quot; Thomas said. &quot;It teaches you how to get along, how to plan, how to strategize, how to set a goal and how to accomplish that goal.&quot;</p><p>Thomas said he wants to bring that experience to kids across the city, so he&#39;s teaming up with Mayor Rahm Emanuel in expanding the Windy City Hoops basketball league for at-risk youth.</p><p>Starting in March, the Friday and Saturday night tournaments will be expanded to 10 more Chicago parks. The Park District selected the neighborhoods, including Englewood, Roseland, Rogers Park and others, based on high crime levels and low median income.&nbsp;</p><p>As for how the expansion will be funded, the Park District has chosen an unorthodox route: they&#39;re asking Chicagoans to donate. They&#39;re hoping to raise $480,000 over the next two months to fund an additional 3,200 registration slots for the 13-17 year old round.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Chicagoans are interested in helping combat these problems, and we are pleased to offer them an outlet to do so,&rdquo; Emanuel said in a statement.</p><p>The 10 parks are spread across eight community areas:<br /><br />&middot; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Pottowottomie (Rogers Park)<br />&middot; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Amundsen (Austin)<br />&middot; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Columbus (Austin)<br />&middot; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Garfield (East Garfield)<br />&middot; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Franklin (North Lawndale)<br />&middot; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Kennicott (Kenwood)<br />&middot; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Jackson (Woodlawn)<br />&middot; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ogden (Englewood)<br />&middot; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Hamilton (Englewood)<br />&middot; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Fernwood (Roseland)<br /><br />When asked how this will help those kids who don&#39;t play basketball, Thomas said the tournaments would provide a place for neighbors to meet new people, helping them break out of that &quot;three to four block radius&quot; that he said people can sometimes feel they are confined to.</p></p> Tue, 19 Feb 2013 15:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/isiah-thomas-city-officials-team-keep-kids-streets-105611 Emanuel praises Obama's gun-safety plan http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-praises-obamas-gun-safety-plan-104963 <p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is praising the gun-control plan proposed by President Barack Obama.</p><p>Emanuel says the president&#39;s proposal is &quot;a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to gun-safety rules.&quot;</p><p>In a statement Wednesday, Emanuel says such rules are the type of common-sense laws needed to help prevent the gun violence that often plagues the nation.</p><p>Obama on Wednesday unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades. He&#39;s pressing Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn says he stands with Obama too.</p><p>Quinn says Obama&#39;s actions are &quot;the first step of a comprehensive public safety plan that Congress must act upon.&quot; In a statement Wednesday, Quinn says lawmakers shouldn&#39;t wait another day to pass legislation to help prevent tragedies like last year&#39;s mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut.</p><p>The Democratic governor also has called on the Illinois General Assembly to pass an assault weapons ban.</p><p>Another top Illinois House Democrat says lawmakers should pursue state-level gun restrictions and not wait to see what Congress does.</p><p>House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie says &quot;gun violence is no stranger&quot; to urban Illinois. The Chicago Democrat says legislators should revive restrictions on semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeders despite President Barack Obama&#39;s call Wednesday for national curbs.</p><p>Currie was a co-sponsor of legislation prohibiting military-style assault weapons like that used in the Connecticut school massacre in December. But it wasn&#39;t called for a vote in the final days of the last session of the General Assembly earlier this month.</p><p>Currie isn&#39;t sure whether even the heavily Democratic Legislature will go along with such measures because of resistance from gun-rights advocates.</p></p> Wed, 16 Jan 2013 13:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-praises-obamas-gun-safety-plan-104963 Chicago mayor plans gun control ordinance http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayor-plans-gun-control-ordinance-104833 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS3107_Rahm_Olsen_108123053-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he&#39;s working on a gun control ordinance for the city of Chicago after an assault weapons ban stalled in the Illinois General Assembly.</p><p>The Chicago Sun-Times <a href="http://bit.ly/UDdY61" target="_blank">reports</a> that Emanuel said Thursday that waiting is not his &quot;strong suit.&quot; The mayor says he hopes Chicago&#39;s efforts will push Springfield lawmakers to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. Emanuel wouldn&#39;t offer specifics but said details would be available in &quot;coming days.&quot;</p><p>Emanuel says he&#39;s frustrated that the General Assembly failure to deal with assault weapons during the lame-duck session that ended Tuesday. The mayor says the new state Legislature that was sworn in on Wednesday must begin work &quot;immediately&quot; on the issue.</p></p> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 14:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayor-plans-gun-control-ordinance-104833 Long John's sign raid http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-06/long-johns-sign-raid-100085 <p><p>&ldquo;The Mayor of Chicago is one tough, ornery dude. You don&rsquo;t mess with him.&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s what people were thinking when they heard the news from June 18<sup>th</sup>&mdash;155 years ago. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Long John Wentworth&ndash;all 6 feet 6 inches of him&ndash;had been elected mayor in the spring of 1857. He&rsquo;d pledged to clean up the city. Today that would mean an attack on political corruption. In Long John&rsquo;s time, he meant a <em>literal</em> clean up. Chicago looked like a junkyard.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/06-18--Wentworth.jpg" style="height: 466px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Mayor John Wentworth (author's collection)" /></div><p>The city&rsquo;s sidewalks were still made of wooden planks. In the downtown area, many merchants had erected large signs and awnings over the public walk. They also set out display cases and piled up wooden boxes. People had to step into the muddy street to get around them.</p><p>There were laws against these obstructions. They had never been enforced. Maybe Long John had banged into an overhanging sign once too often. Whatever the reason, he decided to do something about it.</p><p>The textbook way would start with the police giving the merchant a ticket. Then there would be a court hearing, perhaps delayed by continuances for a few months. In the end, the judge might make the offender pay a fine&ndash;or might not. All this time, the obstruction would still be in place.</p><p>That wasn&rsquo;t good enough for Long John. Late on the evening of June 18<sup>th</sup>, he assembled his police. He ordered them to get rid of any sign or barrel or wooden Indian that was blocking the public sidewalk. The cops fanned out and went to work.</p><p>Long John had hired a fleet of wagons for the occasion. They slowly drove through the streets while the police tossed the signs and other junk into them. When everything was collected, it was dumped into a pile outside the city market.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/06-18--sign%20raid.jpg" title="The Morning After (from Andreas, 'History of Chicago')" /></div><p>The next morning, the offenders were invited to come and pick up their property. Many complained that the Mayor had acted illegally. They said the cops had been drunk and caused needless damage. One dentist ran a newspaper ad, saying &ldquo;Long John or one of his imps stole my sign away, but not my official instruments. I remain in business at 77 Lake Street.&rdquo;</p><p>But the sidewalks were now clear. Long John knew that the public backed him, and there was little chance of nuisance lawsuits&ndash;Chicago still had very few lawyers. That bit of progress would come later.</p></p> Mon, 18 Jun 2012 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-06/long-johns-sign-raid-100085 CTA to install electronic bus trackers across city http://www.wbez.org/story/cta-install-electronic-bus-trackers-across-city-92703 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-30/3513997518_757471f40f.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Transit Authority is planning to install hundreds of electronic bus trackers at high-traffic stops throughout the city.</p><p>The $3.7 million project will equip 400 bus shelters with LED screens to inform riders when the next bus is scheduled to appear. Installation began Friday morning, with the first display mounted in Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood. City officials say they hope to have the first 150 trackers installed by March and the remaining 250 mounted by next September.</p><p>“We finally have the technology to do what's right to serve the commuter, not to serve the system, but to actually serve the people who use them," Emanuel said at a news conference.</p><p>CTA President Forrest Claypool said the decision on where to place the displays was based on proximity to Metra and PACE rail transfers and volume of traffic. The 400 locations chosen for the displays represent 20 percent of the city’s bus shelters, but accommodate 80 percent of CTA ridership, according to Claypool.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 30 Sep 2011 21:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cta-install-electronic-bus-trackers-across-city-92703 Mayor Emanuel discusses first 100 days in office at community forum http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-26/mayor-emanuel-discusses-first-100-days-office-community-forum-91084 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-26/First 100 Days 003 by Bill Healy - August 24 2011.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483666-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/First 100 seg 1 of 2 mp3.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/28207690?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" width="601"></iframe></p><p>On Wednesday evening, WBEZ hosted a community forum with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials at the Chicago History Museum. The event was the culmination of WBEZ's series <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/first-100-rahm-emanuels-first-100-days-chicago-mayor" target="_blank"><em>The First 100</em></a>, features and conversations assessing the mayor’s performance and promises during his first few months in office.&nbsp;</p><p>Members of the community, both local leaders and engaged local residents, gathered to facilitate a dialogue around change within the city of Chicago--how its implemented and plans for the future of the city and its residents.</p><p>A number of audience members asked questions and made comments about priorities at City Hall.</p><p><em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> presented an edited version of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/event/2011-08-24/first-100-mayor-emanuel%E2%80%99s-early-impact-chicago" target="_blank"><em>The First 100 – Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Early Impact on Chicago</em></a> event on Friday.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 26 Aug 2011 14:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-26/mayor-emanuel-discusses-first-100-days-office-community-forum-91084 How transparent is Emanuel's city hall? http://www.wbez.org/story/how-transparent-emanuels-city-hall-90772 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-22/RS235_Rham.looking_getty.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>This week, Rahm Emanuel marks his 100th day as Chicago's mayor. This is an artificial milestone - we know - but one Emanuel himself set before taking office, when he laid out some early goals.</p><p>Among the promises: making city hall more transparent than in the past. And there have been changes, but they haven't all been as dramatic as advertised.</p><p><strong>An agenda with a touch of hyperbole</strong></p><p>Emanuel made the promise during the campaign, in December, when he unveiled what he called his "ethics and good government agenda."</p><p>It aimed, Emanuel said, to "bring a level of transparency and accountability to the city government, reestablishing what I think is very important for the public, i.e. the taxpayers, with city government and those who serve in city government, a level of confidence in the way decisions are being made."</p><p>Emanuel was not the only candidate with a transparency agenda. You don't go far in politics by telling voters to "pay no attention" to what's going on behind "the curtain."</p><p>But he reinforced the open government agenda after he was elected, when he released his <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Chicago%202011%20Transition%20Plan.pdf">transition report</a>, a first-term to-do list. The document said "transparency" seven times, and "transparent" eight times.</p><p>A whole lot of Emanuel's promises relate to making information available online. Information like, as of last week, the city had 3,337 rodent control requests not yet taken care of, or that - on average - residents are waiting 26 days to get new garbage cans.</p><p>These numbers are available on a <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/progs/transparency.html">transparency web page</a> and a "<a href="http://data.cityofchicago.org/">data portal</a>" that Emanuel's been touting, like in this statement, last week:</p><p>"For the first time, we made everybody's salary public. Today we're going to put online everybody's financial disclosure," Emanuel said.</p><p>A bold announcement, to be sure, but not as bold as you might think.</p><p>Salaries - while now on the city's website for the first time - have not been made "public" for the first time. In the past, they could be requested through the Freedom of Information Act. And financial disclosure forms for city employees were already available online; Mayor Daley did that last year.</p><p>Emanuel made his less-than-accurate pronouncement during a discussion hosted by the <a href="http://www.bettergov.org/newsblogsvideo/bga_live.aspx">Better Government Association</a>. It's one of several internet forums he's taken part in. Earlier this summer he participated in a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxSWhtiQzKU">Facebook town hall</a>, which his administration said allowed him to "engage directly with people across Chicago."</p><p><strong>An at-times tense media relationship</strong></p><p>At least at this point, these new media events don't appear to be replacing the traditional press conferences mayors before him have held. In July, according to his public schedules, Emanuel took questions from reporters at more than a dozen events. And that doesn't include one-on-one interviews he did - though not all went well.</p><p>Emanuel - as I'm sure you know - does not shy from confrontation. Sometimes his responses to reporters’ questions carry more than a hint of condescension, and he will let reporters know when he feels they've crossed the line.</p><p>Last month, Mary Ann Ahern from NBC-5 Chicago pressed Emanuel about where he would send his children to school. With the camera off, <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/When-Rahms-Temper-Made-a-Comeback-125919838.html">things got tense</a>, Ahern recalled on WBEZ's <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-25/where-political-and-personal-spheres-public-figures-overlap-89582"><em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></a>.</p><p>"The mayor stood up and I stood up, and he stood about a half an inch from my face, and began pointing at me and yelling at me, and telling me to leave his children alone and how dare I," Ahern said.</p><p>Coincidence or not, a reporter from a rival TV station later that day reported a scoop: that Emanuel's kids would be attending the University of Chicago Lab School.</p><p>Emanuel's press operation is savvy, and at times, a bit too Washington, D.C. for Chicago reporters. Both his communications director and press secretary came from jobs in the Obama Administration.</p><p>Earlier this summer, the Emanuel team planned a "background" briefing - something common in Washington, but not so at City Hall - about last winter's blizzard response, in which no officials could be quoted directly. Reporters complained, and ended up getting their questions answered at an on-the-record press conference immediately following the briefing.</p><p><strong>Aldermanic expectations</strong></p><p>Transparency issues do not only arise from the media. Aldermen during the Daley Administration often complained they weren't getting their questions answered on big issues.&nbsp;</p><p>So when Emanuel provided them information about why he picked a certain company to get a concessions contract at O'Hare, "a lot of aldermen had never seen so many documents before that were dumped out there," Ald. Scott Waguespack said on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-04/first-100-searching-transparency-city-hall-90112"><em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></a>.</p><p>Waguespack said the Emanuel Administration has, in general, been more open than the Daley one.</p><p>"I think a lot of aldermen kind of looked at that, and said, 'Well, they've spoken to us, they've given us a lot of documents we've never seen before, more transparency than the last 20 years,'" Waguespack said. "But if you're missing the one page that you need, that's not transparency."</p><p>Waguespack claimed he didn't get all the answers he wanted about the O'Hare deal from that pile of documents, so he voted against it. Most of Waguespack's colleagues didn't agree with him. He was one of just three "no" votes.</p><p><strong>A 'junk drawer' of information</strong></p><p>Piles of government documents cover nearly every inch of Tim Novak's office. An investigative reporter for the <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em>, Novak broke open the Hired Truck scandal in 2004 that led to the convictions of nearly 30 city employees.</p><p>This past year, he's <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/koschman/index.html">written about</a> how the police investigated a fight - involving a nephew of former Mayor Daley - that led to a death. Novak said that after a while, the Daley administration stopped answering his calls and his emails.</p><p>"The only thing they would respond to were [Freedom of Information Act requests]," Novak said.</p><p>He has had better luck with the Emanuel administration. Novak said he's been able to get interviews with police officials he never would've gotten when Daley was in charge.</p><p>"That being said, the police department seems to only respond to us when the mayor's office tells them to," Novak said.</p><p>Novak relies heavily on public documents for his investigations. So I asked him about all the data the Emanuel administration has put in its online "data portal" - lists of city contracts, lobbyist and budget details.</p><p>Novak said he does find the employee information helpful. But, as a whole, he equated the "portal" with "the junk drawer everyone has in their kitchen, where you can open that drawer and Lord knows what you might find in it, but it's not organized in any particular fashion."</p><p>That is not a universal opinion. The Emanuel administration describes the portal as "easy to use." And it is constantly being updated.</p><p>But Novak is a reporter not easily impressed. And here's the underlying issue: Transparency, he said, is a buzz word these days.</p><p>"And governments don't really want to be transparent, in my opinion," Novak said. "If they were transparent, they would put glass on the back room door, so you could see into the back room. They don't really want you to do that."</p><p>And that's one transparency promise Emanuel has not made.</p></p> Mon, 22 Aug 2011 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/how-transparent-emanuels-city-hall-90772