Scrutinizing City Council

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Published on Mar 09, 2017


Chicago politics can be hard to grasp and, sometimes, downright mysterious. The legislative powers of the City Council touch so many aspects of daily life, from zoning and land sales, to traffic control and parking permits.

Monthly, the City’s fifty aldermen and the mayor meet to discuss, approve, and deny legislative acts – meetings which can involve either too much or too little detail, unfolding at a rapid rate or an idle pace, resulting in very significant or entirely trivial policy changes.

Fortunately, DataMade just made it easier to understand and stay up-to-date on Chicago politics! We recently launched an email subscription service on Chicago Councilmatic and its sister site NYC Councilmatic, websites that tracks the bills, committees, events, and people of local city councils.


Do you want to know the status of a recent ordinance? Do you want to know if the time or date of a committee meeting changes? Do you want to know if your alderman supported new legislation?

You’re in luck! You can now subscribe to a variety of things related to city council, specifically:

A user subscribes to Recent Legislative Activity from the Committee on Health and Environmental Protection.

Councilmatic will send you an email on mornings when new information about City Council becomes available.

Example of a Councilmatic email notification.

Manage Alerts

Were you too enthusiastic in curating your original list of subscriptions? Want to see less content in your Councilmatic emails? No problem. You can manage alerts on your unique profile page: delete subscriptions, reset your password, and – for those in need of immediate gratification – send a notification email.

A user deletes her subscription to the Committee on Education and Child Development.

RSS feeds

Not another email account, you say? Not another username and password to manage, please. We understand. You can still subscribe to RSS feeds, which inform you about content changes for particular pages.

Simply click “Go to RSS,” when deciding how to subscribe to a person, committee, event, or bill. The page redirects you to the feed, and you can select the news aggregator of your choice (e.g., Bloglines, My Yahoo).

Subscription options.

Embed Councilmatic views

The content on Councilmatic is share-worthy. A piece of legislation can spark conversation and controversy; a committee might be up to something - good or bad; and your alderman may suddenly emerge as an influential political player. Tweeters, tell your followers about it! Journalists, tell your readership! Bloggers, tell your audience!

Councilmatic now provides code snippets, which can be added to your webpage, making it easy to share information about legislation, people, and committees.

Example of embeddable iframe and its preview.

Keep tabs on City Council

Start keeping tabs on City Council. Need motivation? Simply remember the glorious, media-disparaging outburst of former mayor, Richard M. Daley: “Scrutiny? What else do you want? Do you want to take my shorts? Give me a break. How much scrutiny do you want to have? You go scrutinize yourself!”

Let’s scrutinize - indeed, let’s take some shorts.