Holding Chicago’s Politicians Accountable
by Edyta Sitko
April 21, 2011
Today, in the waning moments of Mayor Daley’s administration, the Clean Power Ordinance is scheduled to be heard before a joint Chicago City Council Committee. The Ordinance would require Fisk and Crawford dirty coal plants in Chicago to significantly reduce their soot and greenhouse gas emissions. Greenpeace and other members of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition, a group of nearly 60 organizations, have been working diligently to mobilize for the hearing. But two questions loom large for the organizers: Will Chicago’s “green” mayor ultimately allow two of the nation’s dirtiest power generators be part of his legacy, or will the aldermen of the City of Chicago actually give the Ordinance honest consideration?
In a town steeped in political rascality, even solid aldermanic support can head for the door when its time to vote. On Thursday, the Eco-Justice Collaborative a member of the Coalition, will attempt to open the lid on the workings of the Joint Committee hearing and shine a virtual light on the operations that seemly work only with the Mayor’s permission. With humor and creativity, they are unveiling WHERE’S MY WALDERMAN?
Through the power of the Internet and the social media application Twitter, supporters will be able to live stream comments on the hearing, including where the committee aldermen stand on the issue of protecting the health of Chicagoans, and literally, where the aldermen are when it is time to take a vote. The world will be able to watch at www.wheresmywalderman.com, where 24 separate Twitter streams will be monitoring the aldermen’s actions. If they do well they will be applauded, if not, they will be embarrassed. Who would want to be against clean air?
To work, this effort will take widespread participation. Anyone in the world can play, whether they are present at the hearing or not. Twitter is easy and free. Once you are twitter-ready, simply go to the website and tweet or re-tweet, using the general hashtag “#chicoal” or any one of 24 alderman-specific hashtags to be posted on the day of the hearing. The world will be watching.
Picture by Kelly Pope
Co-Contributor Lan Richart, Eco-Justice Collaborative