Rahm's April Fools' resolution

April 2, 2012 8:45:23 AM PDT
"It's a new me." That's the proclamation from the latest press release from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office.

This one happened to arrive in reporters' in-boxes Sunday, April 1.

The statement said the mayor had filed a flurry of requests with his own City Hall under the state's open records laws. Emanuel's office said the mayor was launching an aggressive effort under the Freedom of Information Act to learn more about.. himself.

It is the "the largest self-FOIA in city history," the statement declared.

"The only four-letter F-word I use now is 'FOIA,'" Emanuel was quoted as saying in the press release. It declared Emanuel hoped his office would turn over "...emails, phone records, pictures, text messages, holiday cards, lunch receipts, discarded chewing gum and autographed photos of Ald. Ameya Pawar..."

It's a tongue-in-cheek twist on the mayor's frequent -- but some might say unfulfilled -- pledges to make City Hall more transparent.

The press release echoed some of Emanuel's favorite talking points:

- His office said given the size and scope of his records request, fulfilling it would generate 500 jobs.

- "I Google'd myself while I was riding the Brown Line to work this morning," Emanuel wrote. "But I consider Googling myself a down-payment on what I'm going to do now."

Emanuel frequently talks about transparency in government; however reporters' real FOIA requests for documents detailing internal debate and lobbying efforts on issues like speed camera legislation are frequently denied, delayed and dodged.

"I look forward to receiving a response from the City of Chicago within the five business days prescribed by law," Emanuel said in announcing his fictitious FOIA. "I have cleared my schedule for next weekend and look forward to doing a deep dive into the documents. I plan to learn everything I can about myself, and I believe I will enjoy this greatly."

When reached today by ABC7 Chicago, mayoral staffers seemed delighted with their phony April Fools' press release. However, this reporter plans to file his own Freedom of Information Act request with the mayor's office to determine whether the hoax was hatched, planned or carried out on city time and/or using taxpayer funded resources.