Chicago Alderperson Environmental Score Card

Day 168 – We tend not to give much attention to what our elected officials are doing, until a decision made by our alderperson directly affects us. I know I have been guilty of this. However, when it comes to the environment, we should all be paying attention.

For the first time, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) has released an Environmental Scorecard for the Chicago City Council. Scores are based on the environmental impact of each alderperson’s voting record over the last two years. 

“For the first time, you can see whether your alderperson has used their power in the City Council to protect you, plants, animals and our environment or whether they used their power to aid big polluters and dirty fossil fuel special interests instead.” – IEC

Here’s how scores are tabulated.

For each bill, alderpersons are evaluated on whether they voted with the pro-environment position (“+”) or against it (“-“). For bills that the environmental community supported, a YES vote is a + and a NO vote is a -. For bills that were opposed, a NO vote is a + and a YES vote is a -. The votes are then tallied, and an overall score is calculated. For instance, someone who voted pro-environment on six bills and against four bills is given a 60% score.

The only votes not counted were those when an alderperson had an excused absence (noted in the chart as “A” ), which generally meant that they were not present in city council on that day due to an illness or other unexpected circumstances. Alderpersons who had absences were scored according to the other votes they cast.

When an alderperson is present in city council on the day of a vote but fails to cast theirs, we have counted it the same as a “no” vote on the ordinance. This circumstance is noted in the voting chart as “NV” and counted the same as a “+” when this action supports the pro-environment position. It is indicated as “nv” and counted as “-” when it does not help the pro-environment position.

Click HERE to view the list of ordinances and how your alderperson scored on environmental issues.

“The Chicago Environmental Scorecard is published by the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) for purposes of public education. It provides a record and analysis of votes in the Chicago City Council on a wide range of environmental and conservation ordinances to create a better-informed citizenry.

Since 1975, the Illinois Environmental Council has worked to safeguard Illinois—its people, its plants and animals,
and the natural systems on which all life depends by building power for people and the environment. Representing over 100 environmental organizations in the state, IEC carries out its mission to advance public policies that create healthy environments across Illinois through education, advocacy, and movement building.” –

I was happy to find out that my alderperson, Matt Martin (47th Ward) scored a 100. How did your alderperson score?

Tomorrow, a summary of my behind the scenes tour at SCARCE.