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Ten minute drawing. Teens grill the mayor.

July 29, 2014


Chicago Tonight. In the pension discussion where were the Democratic Party pension thieves?

July 29, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 11.21.55 AM

Carol Marin with Republican state Rep. Thomas Morrison, University of Chicago professor of law Julie Roin, and president of Illinois Federation of Teachers Dan Montgomery.

I watched the pension discussion on Chicago Tonight.

I’m not sure anyone who was not really invested in the issue stayed with it. It was kind of dry.

What was interesting to me was who was not there.

No Democrat Elaine Nekritz. No Democrat Dan Biss. Or Democrat Don Harmon. Certainly no Mike Madigan or John Cullerton.

These are the leaders of the state House and Senate who led the charge on cutting public employee pension benefits.

And likely will again.

Republican Tom Morrison, who was there, simply repeated his party’s talking points: A constitutional amendment to erase the pension protection clause and changing our defined benefit pension to a 401K.

But Republican solutions are mostly irrelevant.

Unless those solutions get adopted by Democrats.

Morrison plays the useful idiot for Democrats. And, frankly, for our union leaders as well.

By having him as the only politician on the panel, his proposals appear to be the main threat.

And  they provide our leadership with a reason to compromise on our constitutional protection, as they did with SB2404.

As they did with their endorsement of ALEC Chair Kirk Dillard for governor and now Pat Quinn.

If, as expected, the Supreme Court rules that Senate Bill 1 is unconstitutional, Plan B will not be coming from Tom Morrison and the Republicans.

It will come from the Democratic Party leadership in the state.

So far, they have been the pension thieves.

What is their Plan B?

They’re not saying.

IPACE endorsements and pension thieves. Corrected.

July 29, 2014

Thief running with a stolen purse

IEA’s IPACE endorsements for state House and Senate elections are done by local IPACE committees. The recommendations must be approved by the state IPACE committee.

I compiled the list of IPACE recommended candidates and their votes on Senate Bill 1, the pension theft. Some of those recommended are not incumbents, so they did not have an opportunity to vote.

The list does not include candidates who did not seek IEA/IPACE recommendation, which includes some Democrats and many Republicans.

Some of the non-incumbents opposed SB1. I don’t have that information on all of them. Comment if you do.

Not all local IPACE committees have met yet.

Where the committee voted not to recommend anyone, I noted it.

Of course, the state IPACE and IEA have endorsed Governor Quinn who supported SB1 and signed it.

When further recommendation action by IPACE is released, I will post it.

SD 3 Hunter, Mattie D   Pension thief

SD 9 No recommendation

SD 13 Harris, Napoleon D   Pension thief

SD 21 Connelly, Michael R Pension thief

SD 30 Link, Terry D Pension thief

SD 42 Holmes, Linda D

SD 45 Bivins, Tim R

SD 51 Rose, Chapin R


HD 5 Dunkin, Ken

HD 11 Williams Ann D Pension thief

HD 12 Feigenholtz Sara D Pension thief

HD 14 Cassidy, Kelly D Pension thief

HD 17 No recommendation

HD 18 No recommendation

HD 26 Mitchell, Christian D Pension thief

HD 27 Davis, Monique D Pension thief

HD 28 Rita, Bob D Pension thief  corrected

HD 29 No recommendation

HD 30 Davis, Will D

HD 33 Evans, Marcus D

HD 34 Sims, Elgie D

HD 37 No recommendation

HD 38 Riely, Al D

HD 39 Guzzardi, Will D

HD 41 No recommendation

HD 47 No recommendation

HD 49 Fortner, Mike R

HD 50 No recommendation

HD 55 No recommendation

HD 56 Moynihan, Jim R

HD 57 No recommendation

HD 58 Drury, Scott D Pension thief

HD 59 Sente, Carol D Pension thief

HD 60 Karner, Loren D

HD 63 Franks, Jack D

Ten minute drawing. What’s that noise?

July 28, 2014


Madigan’s Iron Dome.

July 28, 2014

Mike Madigan has been Speaker since 1983. Remember Lee Elia?

All this debate about whether we should vote for Quinn or not.

Save your breath.

When November’s election rolls around, the most powerful man in Illinois will be re-elected to office.

And you won’t be voting for him.

That would be the State Rep from the 22nd House District.

He will get the votes of a few thousand people, out of couple million in the state that will vote that day.

Michael Madigan.

He has been Speaker for all but two years since 1983.

The year Cub’s manager Lee Elia explained Chicago to the press.

Madigan is protected by an Iron Dome.

His daughter is the state’s Attorney General.

It is a relationship that will surely torpedo any further political ambitions she may have.

And he has appointed a legislative Investigator General who is nothing more than his golfing partner.

Roberts, 72, is a past Sangamon County state’s attorney, U.S. attorney for central Illinois and chief legal counsel to Edgar. Since 1997, he has worked for Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, a law firm based in Chicago with about 500 lawyers working in offices in 11 states. Roberts is the firm’s managing partner.

Roberts was a registered lobbyist from 2000 to 2013, state records show, but says he never lobbied the General Assembly.

His law firm, though, has financial and political ties to Madigan, other Democrats and also Republican legislators, records show. Among them:

Political committees controlled by Madigan paid Hinshaw & Culbertson more than $40,000 between 2002 and 2008, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. Roberts represented Madigan during an investigation by federal authorities in Springfield into the possible misuse of state resources that ended in early 2005 with no charges filed.

Hinshaw has contributed to the campaign funds of Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago; Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne, D-East St. Louis; Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont; and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs. Roberts personally donated $500 last year to the campaign fund of state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, a member of the Legislative Ethics Commission that approved Roberts’ appointment on May 30. Other members of that committee include Clayborne, who until recently worked for the law firm run by Roberts in its downstate Belleville office.

State agencies have hired Hinshaw and paid the firm more than $1.8 million over the past five years, state records show. That includes $2,339 from the Cullerton-led Senate Democrats in the 2012 budget year and $1,950 from the Madigan-led House Democrats in 2014.
Roberts says he worked directly with the Senate Democratic leaders but couldn’t recall if he personally worked with the House leadership. He says he also has counseled House Republican leaders.

Roberts says those connections won’t get in the way of him doing his job, which pays him on a case-by-case basis at a rate of $215 an hour to investigate misconduct complaints against lawmakers.

“I wouldn’t have taken the job if I thought there were conflicts,” says Roberts, who started in the post July 1, replacing Tom Homer, a Naperville attorney and former judge and Democratic state representative.

Right. Of course there aren’t any conflicts.

As for Rauner and Quinn?

In the words of the immortal Lee Elia, “They can kiss my f*ckin’ ass right downtown and PRINT IT.”

John Dillon. A Bitter Pill: Illinois Supreme Court’s decision and Chicago corporate media.

July 28, 2014


- John Dillon is a retired teacher, pension activist and blogs at Pension Vocabulary.

Bitter Pill is an idiom that arises from usage nearly a century ago or in some lexicons even earlier.  Imagine a time when medicine was less than palatable or manageable, and you have a start.  Later on, during the malaria infestations of the Panama Canal  (1880 – 1920) project, “bitter” became the operative adjective.    “Bark of the cinchona tree was effective in fighting malaria, but the quinine it contained was extremely bitter. Since medications weren’t coated, cinchona pellets caused any disagreeable thing to be termed a bitter pill to swallow”  ( – ixzz38im70gX7) .  Thus, we have the term “bitter pill” for any unpleasant fact that perforce must be accepted.

And, let’s be honest, the recent blitz-ink of the editorial members of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times on July 25th indicate their chiefs’ directions to criticize the recent Illinois Supreme Court findings in Kanerva v. Weems that “we have concluded that the provision was aimed at protecting the right to receive the promised retirement benefits, not the adequacy of funding to pay for them.”

In the Tribune, Jon McCarron blamed an expansive group of people for the probable failure of SB1 given the recent ISC decision for benefits: eligibility for all of the benefits is limited to, conditioned upon, and flows directly from membership in one of the State’s various public pension systems.  Giving the language of article XIII, section 5, its plain and ordinary meaning, all of these benefits, including subsidized health care must be considered to be benefits of membership in a pension or retirement system of the State and, therefore, within that provision’s protections.”

In McCarron’s opine, the fault lies in Madigan, the Commercial Club, and – in a brief moment – the media.  Of course as SB1 competed with SB2404, the Tribune was quick in their editorial board to oppose any lesser package of pension theft than SB1; but now this member/writer of opinion pieces of the board seems confused by not only who is to blame, but what to do next.  “So, where do we go from here?”

So, McCarron suggests in his title that we all need to return to the “Drawing Board.”  But we all need to remember that the Tribune and other corporate media has never really looked at anything resembling a real answer to two items in order to reduce the pension obligations the State of Illinois owes now and will always owe to those from which it diverted (stole) required money for retirement.

Using a literary puppet like I use Ernesto or Klonsky uses Tony at the Red Line Tap, McCarron suggests his good friend Cullerton proposes that the COLA would be scaled back for current workers unless they agree to no longer receiving raises while they work in the public sector.

Are you serious?

Even local graduates – superb graduates – in education would flee the state for real professions in other intelligent climes.

If not that, McCarron suggests “savants might seek instead a constitutional amendment that removes the pension protection clause.”  McCarron does imply there would be difficulty due to numbers needed (3/5th vote by both legislative chambers and a 60% approval of those voting).   Ignoring thornier issues, McCarron does not ponder problems of ex post facto, bills of attainder, or grandfathering of the current retirees –  not to mention the status of those who are stopped where they currently reside in earnings.  Oops, not to mention those who would file suit for a currently un-provided Social Security.

An IEA friend wrote to me that he found little to cringe about in McCarron’s piece.  Really?  I imagine if you read the title of the piece, things seem better; but the ideas offered in the second column assure me that McCarron and the Tribune are still trying to find an ultimate/negative solution to the pensions, not a actual way out.

Read the entire post here.

Pension theft proving toxic to Illinois Democrats.

July 27, 2014


Republican Bruce Rauner holds a 12 point lead over Democrat Pat Squeezy Quinn in the polls.

Illinois’ Attorney General Lisa Madigan has always been thought of as unbeatable.

Daughter of State Democratic Party Chairman and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, Lisa was considered a possible challenger to Quinn or a lock on a future Senate seat.

But Democrat’s assault on public employee pensions is proving toxic. As is any relationship to the one who insisted on Senate Bill 1, Michael Madigan.

The same polls now show the once popular Attorney General below a 50% approval rating.

Always a dangerous place to be 3 months before an election.

The same poll shows support for honoring pension promises is overwhelming.

One question asked whether the person surveyed would be more or less likely to vote for someone whose “Father is Illinois Speaker of the House and as Attorney General has rarely pursued political corruption cases.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, 60 percent said that would make them less likely or not likely at all to vote for the candidate, and only 13 percent said it would make them somewhat more likely to vote for her.

As for pensions?

Illinois is deeply in debt which of the following do you believe is most responsible for the hugh debt: Public employee Pensions; state tax and fee increases; Political corruption or failed political leadership?

23% Public employee Pensions
11% State Tax/Fee increases
29% Political corruption
29% Failed political leadership
8% Don’t Know

Only one quarter of the voters that were asked blamed pensions. Nearly 70% blamed unfair taxes, corruption and a failure of leadership.

Do you support pension reform that would include a reduction in benefits to public employees?
24% Yes
70% No
6% Don’t Know


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