About 15 years ago I got myself involved in a smalltime Chicago political controversy. I was trying to save an old house from the wrecking ball, and I found myself dealing with community members, with activists, with high-priced lawyers, with press, with the local alderman, with City Hall bureaucrats and eventually with the mayor.
The first thing I learned: Nobody in the government ever committed anything to writing. The city people emailed only meeting schedules and public documents, and the alderman's office might as well have had no email at all.
You dealt with the alderman and his crew on the phone or in person, or you didn't deal with them at all.
The alderman would get drunk with us in the bar—and did—but he wouldn't send us anything in writing, sober. That way, anything he ever promised us, it was our word against his. And any incriminating thing he ever said might has well have been an echo in a prehistoric canyon.
The only written correspondence I still have from that time is a signed letter from Mayor Daley himself, thanking me for my efforts on behalf of the house, but promsing nothing. Several months after I got that letter, the house was demolished.
You don't do government business in writing, any jamoke knows that. But today's government kids are kids first and political operatives second, and the kids these days are afraid of the phone.
Even more afraid of the phone, it appears, than of getting their asses fired for sending emails that should never have been sent.