Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How Long Does It Take To Update a Web Site? Michele Smith, Alderman

The 43rd ward (where I live) got a new alderman back in May – Michele Smith. Since then, she’s kept a pretty low profile. She spoke out immediately after the election about the mega controversy that is what to do with the old Children’s Hospital site, but that’s about all I’ve heard. I can’t find anything online that she’s done or said regarding the Hospital site since around May. In fact, it seems as though she rolled over.

Chicago Public Schools is looking to increase property taxes to the maximum allowed by law – this despite plummeting property values in Chicago. After reading this article from the Sun Times where a number of alderman provided their viewpoint, I wondered what my alderman thought. So, I went to her web site.

It says this:
On Tuesday, May 17 at 9:00 am, we will open our Ward Service Office in the same location as our predecessor, Alderman Vi Daley. Our main consideration in this decision is a smooth transition and convenience for Ward residents. We intend to hit the ground running, and we want there to be no confusion about where we are. We want to be as available as possible to all residents of the Ward.
There is also some contact information – address, phone, and e-mail. That is the extent of the main page – which obviously hasn’t been updated since early May.

The Events page isn’t much better:
Keep an eye on this page for all the upcoming events in the 43rd Ward!
We'll have details on community events, informational meetings, and all related ward happenings.
Then there is also a “Contact” page.

That’s it.

In nearly three months, nothing is on her web site. How long does it take to update a web site? Or to provide news to the community in the form of the promised community events and informational meetings? Alderman are paid a $110,000 salary, get $176,484 a year to pay for three employees, and have a $73,280 expense account. (I’m linking to a web site with this information. Try as I might, I could not find this information from the city of Chicago. Of course.)

It’s not like she isn’t doing anything. For example, here’s a press release about a Summer Safety Festival she was involved in last weekend – on the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce web site.

Why wouldn’t this be on her web site? Why is the 43rd web site outdated and devoid of any information after almost three months? I assume she's been doing things, but you sure wouldn't know it.  Even a Google search of her name turns up mostly information from prior to the election.  I find it hard to believe that with the proximity of DePaul University to her office that she couldn’t pay a college computer whiz to keep her web site updated.  It doesn’t have to be fancy at this point, but some information would be nice.   

One of the articles linked above had this to say:
Smith said she talked to residents and believes they will accept new one [hospital plan], which still requires Plan Commission and council approval.
When? Who? Was there an event held? If so, why wouldn’t she put it on her web site?

I swear, every day I get more disgruntled with the government in Chicago, particularly highly paid government officials who should be intelligent enough to realize how important things like web sites, Facebook, and Twitter are in this day and age.  And I still have no idea how my alderman feels about this proposed property tax hike.  I guess I'll just have to call her. 

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