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The Mechanics
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City Council Tue Jun 04 2013

Keep Tabs on City Council and Your Alderman with Councilmatic

Chicago CouncilmaticEver wonder what, exactly, your alderman has been up to? Debuted this Saturday, Chicago Councilmatic makes it easy to search, browse and subscribe to anything the council has done in the last two years.

This information is technically already available through the City Clerk's website, but Councilmatic makes it much more accessible. You can "subscribe" to a particular alderman or piece of legislation and receive email updates on their activities.

Also, legislation is sorted by routine and non-routine measures on the site, making it easier to identify when something meaningful happens. It's easy to get lost among hundreds of "routine" actions that include everything from approving sidewalk cafes and awnings to "honorific" measures, like "Congratulations extended to Frances Misretta on 90th birthday" (Way to go, Frances!).

Looking at the "non-routine" measures surfaces more newsworthy events, such as the approval of a settlement with Julio Martinez, Jr. of $325,000. Martinez sued the City after accusing CPD Officer John Haleas of beating him and falsely accusing him of drunk driving back in March 2006.

Grouping legislation like this also makes it easier to identify trends. Some pointed out by Derek Eder of Open City, who developed the tool, include:

  • Ald. Ed Burke loves proposing honorifics -- or at least he does it the most. Most recent: a Tribute to late Donald L. Duster, an executive and grandson of Ida B. Wells who passed away on March 11.
  • Ald. Brandon Reilly sponsors more legislation than any other alderman -- probably because there are so many signs, awnings and benches that need to be approved in his ward downtown.
  • City Clerk Susana Mendoza sponsors more bills than anyone else, as anything filed by Chicago residents and city agencies that don't have an alderman to sponsor them come through her.
Eder and Forest Gregg of Open City debuted the tool Saturday at 1871 in the Merchandise Mart as part of a National Day of Civic Hacking event.

Observances of the national hacking holiday brought citizens, software developers, and entrepreneurs together across the country to find ways of using government data to address community issues.

Other events in Chicago included Chicago Migrahack and Cibola in Pilsen and a youth-focused Civic Hack Day at the Adler Planetarium.

 
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Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

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Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

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It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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Editor: Mike Ewing, mike@gapersblock.com
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