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Oswego gives Rauner’s no-union zone a cold reception.

April 1, 2015


Union members, including members of the Oswego Education Association of the IEA, jam into the village hall to oppose Oswego becoming one of Rauner’s no-union zones.

- From Only Oswego

How Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda may play out in Oswego could be determined by the outcome of the Tuesday, April 7, municipal election. During his public statement, Ken Edwards, an attorney from The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, demanded to know where village candidates stand on the issue. 

While the board did not discuss right-to-work zones after its public comment, Village President candidates Tony Giles and Gail Johnson did address the matter after the meeting. 

“I believe this is a state issue, and I believe in the Attorney General’s ruling. We need to address this as a state,” Johnson said. “I don’t think Oswego should be a test case for this. I think we’ve gone down the road before of trying to go around state statute with a resolution, and we lost. We spent too much money. I don’t want Oswego known as a place for test cases to fight state law.”

Giles also said a right-to-work zone isn’t appropriate for Oswego.

“I’m a proud member of the Illinois Education Association and the Oswego Education Association,” Giles said. “I don’t see anything in what I’ve been presented so far that a right-to-work area for Oswego would be a good idea. The legalities also have to be worked out. … But I think if it’s something the Village Board wants to discuss, it’s something we should discuss just like any other issue.” 

Read the entire article here.

Hinsdale’s Queen of Hearts yells, “Off with their heads.”

April 1, 2015


Hinsdale District 86 board member Claudia Manley and her husband Noel Manley.

Have you been following the story of what the Tea Party members of the Hinsdale District 86 board of education have been up to? You can do a subject search down below if you have the time and interest.

Let’s just say it has been non-stop confrontation and chaos.

Perhaps it will will calm down after April 7th when the saner residents of Hinsdale will show up at the polls and throw the rascals out.

One of the rascals is Claudia Manley. She’s not up for re-election.

However she is the subject of a complaint by the parents of Hinsdale South senior and student council President Marissa Dupont who was handing flyers out in front of school for the opposition slate of board candidates.

Manley confronted Marissa and began to verbally assault the high school senior.

1,200 people have signed an online petition calling for Claudia Manley’s resignation from the board.

Bob Bland, a wealthy Hinsdale right-winger who is also campaign manager for the Tea Party incumbents, launched a media attack on Marissa calling her “a tart.”

Later he explained he thought it meant a grandma’s baked good.

Yes. That’s the level this has sunk to.

Now Claudia and her husband Noel Manley have filed a complaint against the district superintendent Bruce Law and other board members.

Law consulted with district attorneys and decided that Marissa was within her rights to hand out flyers, even in Hinsdale.

Manley and her husband decided otherwise.

The complaints state as the Manleys approached Hinsdale South March 12, they saw an adult they did not know and Marissa Dupont, a senior and president of the Hinsdale South Student Council, distributing campaign material supporting incumbent Planson, Kathleen Hirsman and Bill Carpenter.

Claudia Manley is chairman of the board’s Policy Committee and is therefore “highly knowledgeable of board policy and passionate about compliance issues,” Noel Manley’s complaint states. He and his wife agreed the activity is prohibited by board policies.

Well. As long as Noel and Claudia say it is prohibited. What the heck do the lawyers know?

The lesson I keep trying to teach here is that school board elections matter.

There is an attempt by right-wing, anti-public school funders like the Koch brothers throughout the state that are flying below the radar to capture school boards.

Stay at home on election day and they will.

April Fools.

April 1, 2015


Rahm was not acting like a mayor whose handlers believe he has a double-digit lead.

April 1, 2015


Last night got pretty ugly.

Many viewers at home agreed with those in the audience who booed Phil Ponce, the long-time host of Chicago Tonight, when Ponce kept pushing the issue of Chuy Garcia’s son who has had trouble with the law as a kid.

By the end of the evening Ponce’s name was the number one trending topic on Chicago Twitter.

And the Tweets weren’t praising him.

But I thought the story was Rahm.

He was not acting as if he, his handlers or advisors like David Axelrod, believe the Tribune poll showing a double digit lead any more than I do.

He was acting like someone in a very close election. A double-digit lead with a week to go? He would be sitting on that lead, trying to avoid making a mistake.

It was clear that Rahm’s people thought bringing a sheet of paper as a prop to attack Chuy’s managerial experience with the community group Enlace was going to be some kind of gotcha moment.

Did anybody watching at home even know what the paper was?

The entire Enlace issue was manufactured by Sun-Times reporter Dan Mihalopoulos, famously known for his work exposing CTU President Karen Lewis’ vast real estate holdings.

That was sarcasm, in case you missed it.

In These Times online editor Micah Uetricht does a good job telling the real story of Garcia and Enlace.

If you were waiting for talk of schools, cuts in human services or mental health facilities then you waited in vain.

Due to the ugly moderating by Ponce, Rahm didn’t even provide viewers who were playing the Full-Day Kindergarten drinking game a chance for one shot.

I had predicted more lies about high school graduation rates coming from Rahm.

Didn’t happen.

Because Ponce created a hot mess of a debate.

While Chuy made some good points about Rahm’s role in Freddie Mac and about his big donor pals that receive financial benefits from the Mayor in return, the debate appeared frequently to be coming apart at the seams.

Ponce at first explained that the format would allow longer uninterrupted responses. But that only worked for Rahm’s first response. Then it was everybody talking over everybody.

I’m tired of the mayor as manager meme that the press and Rahm have invented. The leader of a city like Chicago is not a business manager. The mayor sets policy and creates a vision. They hire managers.

Rahm hired Amer Ahmad, now serving 15 years for corruption, as City Comptroller.

His vision is that of a Wall Street investor and those of downtown business interests.

When asked about meeting with Chicago residents who live near O’Hare airport and the noise created by the new runways, Rahm first lied and said he had met with them. Then admitted he hadn’t met with them. He said he talked to the alderman.

By the way, go back and read Ben Joravsky’s brilliant take-down of Rahm’s claim to four years of balanced budgets from the September Reader of last year. Of course then Rahm could only falsely claim three years of balanced budgets.

I couldn’t help but laugh when Rahm turned to Chuy and said, “You’re calling Deloitte and Touche liars?” Deloitte and Touche  is a giant accounting firm that does city audits.

First of all, I have a cold and by this time in the debate I was feeling a little giddy from the decongestants.

Deloitte and Touche just sounds funny to me.

Deloitte and Touche came up when Chuy had challenged the transparency of Rahm’s financial operations.

But accounting firms don’t guarantee transparency. Or the truth.

They can be as trustworthy as the accounting firm of Arthur Anderson was – It is no longer with us as a company – in their audits of Enron.

For what it is worth, Mayor Daley’s budgets were audited by Deloitte and Touche too. The very budgets Rahm says created the problems he says he has been fixing.

What Chuy was asking for was public transparency.

Something we will not get from the current mayor.

No-union zone in Oswego?

March 31, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.40.19 AM

- By John Laesch in the Progressive Fox.

The Illinois AFL-CIO received notice that the Oswego Village Board will consider a Bruce Rauner initiated resolution supporting the creation of a Right to Work Zone in Oswego. Besides being illegal under the National Labor Relations Act, right to work zones create a “race to the bottom” pitting community against community and further erode the gains made by the Illinois middle class.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued an opinion explaining that Illinois law does not authorize or recognize right to work zones created by any unit of local government in Illinois.

Please contact the members of the Oswego Village Board today (phone and email below) and let them know that Right to Work in any form is wrong for Illinois.

Call To Action! Please pass along this message to people who can attend this Tuesday night’s Oswego Village Board Meeting.
The Oswego Village Board, under the President’s Report, will be presenting a resolution in support of the Rauner “turnaround plan”, known also as “enterprise zones” or “right-to-work zones”, for review and discussion this Tuesday, March 31st , @ 7 pm immediately following the Committee of the Whole, which starts at 6 pm. Oswego Village Hall, 100 Parkers Mill, Oswego, IL.


If you cannot attend, call Steve Jones @ 630-551-2360 and ask him to remove this resolution from Tuesday’s agenda.

Oswego Village President:
Brian LeClercq

Oswego Village Board of Trustees:

Tony Giles

Terry Michels

Gail Johnson

Pam Parr

Judy Sollinger

Scott Volpe

To leave a voicemail for any of the Village Board of Trustees, please call the Village’s main number at 630-554-3618.

Excuse me if I am more than a bit suspicious of Rahm’s graduation rate claims.

March 31, 2015


In tonight’s final mayoral debate Rahm will once again claim he is responsible for an 85% CPS high school graduation rate.

I’m suspicious.

Nursing a bad head cold I tried wrapping that head around the numbers reported in the story from Catalyst and WBEZ’s Becky Vevea.

Now my head hurts worse than ever.

If I were to ask you how you would calculate a high school graduation rate – assuming you don’t work for Rahm or CPS – what would you do?

You probably would do what I would do. l would count the number of incoming freshman and then count them again four years later. I would subtract the second number from the first, and divide to get a percentage.

Not at CPS.

They take the number of incoming freshman at a Chicago public high school and count them as graduating no matter where they graduate from.

Half of CPS high school freshmen at half of Chicago’s public hight schools graduated from a different school then where they first enrolled.

Kenwood Academy is a good example of how students move throughout the system. In 2009, 439 freshman walked through the doors of the school. Sixty-six left the city or moved out of state, leaving 393 still enrolled. Over five years, 54 dropped out and 317 graduated. CPS divides 317 by 393 for an official graduation rate of 85 percent.

But beneath those numbers, WBEZ and Catalyst found additional movement. Not all 317 graduated at Kenwood; 276 from the original freshman class did, while 12 finished at other CPS schools and 29 earned their diploma at alternative schools. Kenwood also helped other schools’ graduation rates by enrolling and graduating 30 students who initially enrolled as freshmen at other schools.

Is this playing fast and loose with the numbers?

It reminds me of CPD crime statistics.

A crime committed on the expressway isn’t counted.

I suspect that if the police find a dead body near the city limits. they probably push to to Maywood.

But seriously.

Charter schools, which were not required to provide information to CPS number crunchers before, now must report graduation rates, according the the WBEZ and Catalyst report.

And there the numbers get even goofier.

A student enrolling in Noble Street Charter and leaves after freshman year to graduate from a regular CPS high school is credited with graduating from Noble Street.

Noble schools struggle to keep freshmen, but only one campus, Rowe-Clark, lost more than half of the Class of 2013. Twenty of the city’s neighborhood high schools struggle the most, holding on to fewer than 35 percent of the original freshmen. All are on the South and West sides.

Among charters, Urban Prep’s two campuses do the worst. Chief Academic Officer Lionel Allen said the data “unfairly paints a very dismal picture of the work (they’re) doing at Urban Prep.”

Why is that an unfairly painted picture?

Allen “said it’s important to note that Urban Prep serves primarily African American males.”

So, if charter schools are unfairly pictured for failing to graduate African American males, why is that unfair to the charter school?

The point here is that tonight when Rahm brags graduation rates we should realize he is playing a counting game.

Chicago’s city and school leaders have a long history of playing counting games.

After all, elections themselves have been won and lost by who is being counted and who is doing the counting.

The Obama Library.

March 30, 2015



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