Mayoral Candidate Gery Chico's Chicago City Hall Transparency Ideas

-By Warner Todd Huston

When Mayor Richard “King” Daley got himself a one billion dollar infusion of cash by selling the parking meters in the city (yes, I said one BILLION) everyone thought it was such a great deal. Gery Chico tells us that all this money is nearly gone and spent already. He wants city hall to be more transparent and if he becomes mayor that’s what he says he’ll do.

From the Chico Press release:

“Sunshine Chicago” would help create a new culture in City Hall by using the city’s existing data site as a foundation to establish a central clearinghouse that pulls data from all City of Chicago departments to make it easily accessible. Currently, the City’s existing site only provides data from FOIA requests and does not include responses.

“For far too long, government has not effectively kept people informed about how the city spends its money and the way we make important decisions,” Chico said. “Two years ago, our city leased our parking meters for more than $1 billion and today, we have only $76 million left. Many Chicagoans want to know – where did all that money go? With this initiative, citizens won’t have to ask.”

By opening up more data to the public, Chico’s initiative would make it easier for web developers, entrepreneurs and citizens to create innovative tools that improve transparency and access at no additional cost to the city. Using a data repository the City of Chicago already owns, Sunshine Chicago would engage citizens and make City Hall more transparent, accessible and accountable by:

  • Improving access to an unprecedented amount of data;
  • Empowering citizens to create innovative applications;
  • Providing a responsive outlet for citizen ideas and feedback.

The plan is attached. For more information on Sunshine Chicago, please visit

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