Redact This! A Recovering Journalist’s Look at the (REDACTED) Administration of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Black Hole RahmIn my years as a journalist, I filed hundreds of requests to taxing bodies through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

Over time, it became clear that some entities wielded FOIA as a mechanism for suppressing information—they would drag their heels before coming up with a highly questionable basis for limiting information they provided or denying the request outright.

Yes, I’m especially looking at you, Town of Cicero. In the immediate aftermath of the felonious regime of Betty Loren-Maltese, when I covered the community for the Chicago Tribune, it got so Kafka-esque ridiculous that I had to resort to filing FOIA requests to get something so basic as a copy of the upcoming Town Board’s agenda.

One time, a “renegade” trustee met me, all the while looking over his or her shoulder, so that I could get a look at the agenda. (Note how I am still protecting this courageous source by not disclosing gender.)

So it’s especially intriguing to see the latest regarding the Laquan McDonald matter and how the City of Chicago and its mayor, Rahm (REDACTED) are responding.

Obviously, there are legitimate and legal reasons for not releasing information.

But there are plenty of dubious and outright illegal means taken to keep eligible records in the dark, away from public view. The Catch-22: until and unless those records ever get released, there’s no way of knowing to what degree FOIA is being trampled on.

Fortunately, my writing is redacted (fancy word for “blotted out”) only in the editing stage—when I re-consider a word, a phrase, and upwards of an entire piece. But in the spirit of the City of Chicago’s recent SOIA (Suppression of Information Activity)—does anyone really believe that all that redaction related to the Laquan McDonald case is on the up-and-up?—the remainder of this column will be subject to redaction.

Let the (REDACTED) fall where they (REDACTED).

Over the years, it has become increasingly evident that Rahm (REDACTED) is a (REDACTED) hack and (REDACTED) to criminal conduct (REDACTED) under the cover of his powerful position. Fortunately, when his term ends or he is (REDACTED), he is free to (REDACTED) or even continue his hobby of going months without taking responsibility for his own (REDACTED) actions that (REDACTED) under his watch.

Some may argue (REDACTED) is just like any other (REDACTED) white-collar criminal. But that may be an (REDACTED) to the finer white-collar criminals among us.

We interrupt this rampant redaction with a resumption of the non-redacted portion of the column…

Curious to see those City of Chicago emails related to the Laquan McDonald matter? Check ‘em out. You can also see another classic example of Rahm Redacted at work, related to the Chicago school contract scandal.

Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, apparently. Rahm Redacted’s reluctance and resistance to releasing information may actually pale in comparison to President Barack Obama, whose administration R-Squared served in as Chief of Staff for nearly two years.

Last year, for those scoring at home, Obama and his team set a new record for rejecting FOIA requests.

Related Posts:
Shock & Sadness in the Wake of Sordid Allegations Against Denny Hastert
Fallout is Coming For Shoddy Leaders in the Laquan McDonald Murder & Cover-Up

Rahm Emanuel Residency Brouhaha is Latest in Chicago Area’s Storied `Silly Season’ History

Rahm Emanuel, (occasional) Chicago resident

The residency flap over Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel is just a variation on the “Silly Season” theme in Chicago-area politics.

Six years ago, one of the central characters in the Emanuel controversy, Burt Odelson, was in the midst of a scrum in Cicero that I covered for the Chicago Tribune.

Here is one of the all-too-many stories that I reported in the 2005 Cicero election cycle.

Intriguingly, Larry Dominick was the only person who was not knocked off the ballot in that Silly Season cycle for Cicero. He went on to topple, by a slim margin and to the shock of political observers, Ramiro Gonzalez in the election.

One thing I learned in covering all the technical tussling: the only ones guaranteed to be winners are the attorneys who rack up large hourly billings and, often, the losers are citizens who don’t get legitimate challengers to elect since they are bullied off the ballot.

Related Posts:
Cicero Reporting Flashback: Patience, Persistence Pay Off in Pursuit of Story
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