I live in a place — Chicago — where the backroom deal is considered an art form. If nothing else, it long has been accepted as the way business is done in the Windy City. Chicago is not unique in this regard. Other cities have long histories of “wink-wink” deal-making. For instance, Boss Tweed became infamous for his corrupt leadership of Tammany Hall, the political machine that ran New York City during the latter part of the 19th century.

That is not to imply that every backroom deal is corrupt. But they are, by their nature, suspicious. And citizens are more suspicious than ever before. Indeed, citizenry increasingly is demanding transparency and openness in government, so much so that a movement has been spawned dubbed “citizen engagement.”

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