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Mayor-elect Emanuel Promises to Open the #$%@ing Government

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, May 10 2011

In a transition report released today, Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has pledged to put records of lobbying activity online within his first year in office, as well as searchable budget data and a slew of city data relevant to permitting, zoning, and business licenses.

Emanuel's administration will also deploy an open 311 system and host an "Apps for Metro Chicago" contest within his first year, according to the report. (See also Alex Howard.)

In the report, Emanuel's transition team also recommends consolidating city infrastructure — IT, vehicle fleets, et cetera — and collaborate with nonprofits and Cook County, the county that encompasses Chicago, to provide some services. This means the City of Chicago might stop providing some services, directing people to nonprofits or the county instead.

The role of information and data — and putting information in the hands of citizens — features prominently throughout the report. Take this nugget about city schools:

Families need access to objective data presented in an understandable, accessible format on school performance and alternative options. Without better tools and information, parents will continue fight to keep bad schools open, inhibiting the deployment of better options.

This will be an administration that understands the power of information, and of control over information; its CTO will be John Tolva, formerly of IBM, and someone we've tracked (and hosted at our conferences and events) for a while now as a leading thinker where Internet communication technologies, urban design and systems engineering intersect.