The Future Of Public Comment In Chicago’s City Council

chicago city council chambers
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during a special City Council meeting in 2015. Paul Beaty / AP Photo
chicago city council chambers
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during a special City Council meeting in 2015. Paul Beaty / AP Photo

The Future Of Public Comment In Chicago’s City Council

In December, a judge ruled that Chicago’s City Council must allow the public to comment during its monthly meetings. The city has appealed that decision.

For a long time, the only time the public has been able to comment was during committee meetings when a much smaller group of aldermen are in attendance. The longstanding tradition was an affront to activists calling for government transparency and so-called open meetings.

Morning Shift talks to two aldermen on either side of the debate about what public comment should look like in the future. Alderman Joe Moore has represented Rogers Park since 1991. He thinks the committee model has worked and that opening full council meetings to public comment has its drawbacks. Alderwoman Sue Sadlowski Garza, who represents Chicago’s 10th ward, believes allowing the public to speak during full council meetings is vital and important.