Over a six-year period beginning in 2014, 61 people died in 42 residential fires, in Chicago buildings where the city had prior knowledge of fire-safety hazards.
By the time people learned that, from an investigation by the Chicago Tribune and Better Government Association published in April, Mayor Lori Lightfoot already had sprung into action. A month earlier, her office announced plans to institute a new “scofflaw list” designed to shame and punish landlords who put residents at risk.
This happens from time to time. Politicians get inquiries from investigative reporters, then rush to do something — anything — before the story goes to press. They hope to leave an impression that they were attacking a problem before the public even became aware of it.
The trouble is, Band-Aid solutions rushed into place in order to score a political point almost never work.
Read more at the chicagotribune.com.
David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.
Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.
Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.
More by David Greising