ROGERS PARK — Ald. Joe Moore (49th) had a good laugh at the expense of his constituents Monday.
In a rather dry joke — that even tricked a certain DNAinfo.com Chicago reporter who shall go unnamed — the alderman announced he'd be off to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Barack Obama.
The president, Moore claimed, wanted to incorporate Moore's participatory budgeting into the 2017 budget cycle so citizens could decide whether to fund mental health care, keep the national parks open or offer more foreclosure relief.
"I have some exciting news to report," he wrote in an email to 13,000 constituents. "I'm traveling to Washington, D.C. today to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House. The Obama Administration has been following the 49th Ward's Participatory Budgeting process and the President is seriously considering incorporating a participatory budgeting model in future discretionary federal spending decisions. My meeting with the President today is intended to iron out the details."
He said the president wanted him keep the news "extremely confidential," but sent the email out after neighborhood blogger Mike Glasser, citing an anonymous White House source, wrote about the feds' "interest" in the ward's participatory budgeting.
It was all a ruse.
Reached by phone, the alderman jokingly took it a little further, announcing his appointment as "the first secretary of federal participatory budgeting."
Moore admitted it was all a joke and said he got the idea earlier Monday from Glasser.
Moore said he couldn't resist to say he'd be meeting with Obama because his staff knew he would be traveling to the nation's capitol to meet with a group of local government officials on Monday.
He ended his email: "(If it's not clear to you yet, I'll make it clear now . . . APRIL FOOL!)."
It even fooled some in his own camp.
"He's done this before," said Betsy Vandercook, Moore's chief of staff. "You'd think we'd learn."