I began 2020 thinking I was going to get back into FOIA requests. When the pandemic hit, that took a backseat as I became more concerned with me and my family’s well being – both mental and physical. My free time went into bingeing tv shows, playing my Switch, and starting to play guitar again.
However, I still did a few requests throughout the year. I concluded 2020 by asking some state and local organizations for copies of their internal newsletters.
Usually internal newsletters are a treasure trove of information: recipes, redacted birthdays, retirements, and book club announcements. This year the newsletters were spartan. I did find it interesting that there was not a single redaction in all of the records I obtained.
One thing that’s a fact of life for me and my commute is that when the trains are not on time, I get mad. And if other Metra riders are like me, they were very mad one day last February, when all of the trains in Chicago out of Union Station ceased to run.
I recently readFire on the Prairieand it is an excellent book about the life of former mayor of Chicago Harold Washington. It was really eye opening in many ways. I have always heard about the so-called Council Wars, but I had no idea that one of the main driving factors was Washington’s race; the other was he was a non-machine politician.
I could probably do another blog post on the book and how a lot of the bigots in power then are still around today, but I want to talk about an omission from the book.
I’ve done a lot of requests lately but I have gotten mainly no responsive records and a lot of 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(v) exemptions. It’s disheartening especially since I do this on the side of my regular job as a hobby and I don’t have the resources or time to follow up and appeal with every request.
That being said, I still have a healthy backlog of requests to submit and I’m going to post a few quick blogs about these FOIA trials and tribulations. No records is never a fun response to open, but I am still an ardent believer in accountability and transparency and will keep fighting the good fight.
The Census Bureau recently asked all of the Secretary of State offices to be part of their data sharing project. In case you forgot the furor over this in the news, they were seeking not only the metadata on your driver’s licenses, but also whom was a citizen.
After receiving the request, it only took the Illinois SoS office two hours to deny the request.