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The [Wednesday] Papers

"The Port Authority kept secret four meetings between Gov. Chris Christie's former top staffer at the bi-state agency and representatives of United Airlines when it initially made his calendars public, WNYC has learned.

"The hidden meetings were between then-Port Authority Deputy Director Bill Baroni and Jeff Smisek, who at the time was CEO of United Airlines, and Jamie Fox, a former United lobbyist and the current Christie transportation commissioner. They were redacted from documents requested by The New York Times in December 2013 and posted on the Port Authority website."

(Background on the ongoing federal investigation of United here.)

This is a hugely dramatic example of why the calendars of public officials - transparently showing how they are spending the public's time - are hugely important.

To wit:

Illinois Times today sued Gov. Bruce Rauner after Attorney General Lisa Madigan ruled that the governor must turn over his appointment calendar in response to the paper's request made under the state Freedom of Information Act.

The newspaper asked for Rauner's appointment calendar last spring after the governor walked out of a Holocaust remembrance ceremony. The newspaper's request came after the governor's press office ignored an emailed query asking where the governor had gone while a Holocaust survivor spoke at the annual ceremony held at the Old State Capitol.

Rauner gave the newspaper a redacted version of his appointment calendar showing that he had attended a meeting in the governor's office while the ceremony continued. The governor redacted the names of the person, or people, with whom he met. The newspaper subsequently appealed to the attorney general, who ruled that Rauner must disclose the names of the people who attend meetings memorialized in his appointment calendar, which is prepared by public employees on public time using public equipment.

Rauner had claimed that the calendar was maintained for the governor's convenience, but the attorney general determined that the calendar is the public's business.

(Rauner now claims he left the ceremony to meet with the four leaders of the General Assembly.)

Other media outlets, including the Associated Press and the Chicago Reader, have been unsuccessful in convincing Rauner to release his appointment calendar showing with whom he has met. Rauner has also refused to tell the Chicago Reader the names of lawyers in private practice who have done work for the state and been paid with public money.

In refusing to release his calendar to Illinois Times, Rauner had claimed that providing unredacted copies would pose a security risk and that someone who intended to harm the governor could discern patterns from the calendar that would provide opportunities to physically hurt Rauner. The attorney general's office, after examining Rauner's unredacted appointment calendar, determined that was nonsense.

Quite. (Speaking of the Reader, here's another example of how informing a public official's calendar can be - in this case, Rahm.)

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Back to United:

"Several key meetings were also missing from [then-Port Authority chairman David] Samson's public calendars, including the Italian dinner with Jeff Smisek and the two United Airlines executives who resigned as a result of the investigations. A meeting between Samson, Smisek and Christie in August 2013 is also missing from Samson's calendar.

"Other documents released under Freedom of Information requests suggest Samson did much of his business as Port Authority chair using an e-mail system from his private law firm, then known as Wolff & Samson."

Speaking of e-mail:

The Chicago Tribune filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that Mayor Rahm Emanuel violated state open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business conducted through private e-mails and text messages.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, asks a judge to order the mayor to comply with a state Freedom of Information Act request from the Tribune and produce the documents. The lawsuit also seeks to have Emanuel declared in violation of the Illinois Local Records Act for failing to preserve emails and texts he sent or received while doing city business.

The lawsuit claims that, in recent years, Freedom of Information Act requests from the Tribune to the mayor's office "have been met with a pattern of non-compliance, partial compliance, delay and obfuscation." Emanuel's use of private phones and personal email, the lawsuit alleges, allows the mayor to do the public's business without scrutiny and contributes to a "lack of transparency."

The lawsuit is the second the news organization has filed against the Emanuel administration in recent months. In June, the Tribune sued the mayor's office over its refusal to produce some e-mail chains related to a multimillion-dollar no-bid Chicago Public Schools contract now at the center of a federal criminal investigation.

Speaking of Hillary . . .

It's only time to move on because we all know by now that she used private e-mail for the same reason as Rahm and the Port Authority dude. She's guilty and refuses to acknowledge so; add that to your calculations when deciding for yourself who should be our next president.

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Back to United:

WNYC reported separately on Monday that "United Lobbyist, Now Christie Cabinet Member, Tried to Stop Bridgegate Probe."

The Chicago Way meets The Soprano State.

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Fantasy Fix: Get Used To It, Chicago
Derek Carr popular pick.

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BeachBook

Everything Wrong With The Politico-Media Complex In One Blog Post.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, September 29, 2015

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TweetWood

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See also: The Illinois Policy Institute.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Calendrical.



Permalink

Posted on September 30, 2015


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POLITICS - Feds Warned Of White Supremacist Threat In May.
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BOOKS - How Subversive Artists Made Thrifting Cool.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Cloudy Gate.


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