There are pro-education choices in the Democratic primary. Like Jay Travis.

Jay Travis 1

Jay Travis for the Illinois House.

There are pro-education, pro-pension choices in the March 18th Democratic primary.

Jay Travis is running against the incumbent to be the State Representative in the 26th House District. Jay has been endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union and promises a strong pro-pension statement in the next few days. We will post it here.

You can find her Facebook page here.

Aaron Goldstein is running against the old Democratic Machine boss Dick Mell in the 40th House District. Actually Aaron is running against a former Mell gofer.

Bob Galhotra is taking on Oak Park’s Democrat and pension thief Don Harmon in the 39th Senate District.

And in my own 39th State Rep’s race Will Guzzardi is running against Machine daughter Toni Berrios in a race that is turning nasty as voters are bombarded with daily Berrios expensive attack mailers.

Coffee with Aaron Goldstein.


Candidate for the 40th Illinois House seat, Aaron Goldstein. Photo: Fred Klonsky

Former Machine Democratic Boss Dick Mell gave his daughter the 40th State Rep seat on Chicago’s north-west side.

Machine bosses do that kind of thing. Just like Cook County Democratic Chairman Joe Berrios. He gave his daughter, Toni Berrios, the 39th district.

When Dick retired from the City Council, he gave his aldermanic seat to his daughter. That opened up the State Rep seat. So Dick gave it to his top aide Jaime Andrade.

When I got an email from Aaron Goldstein asking if we could get together for coffee, I said, “Sure.”

We met over coffee at Reno on the Square. At least I had coffee. Goldstein had a campaign leaflet.

Goldstein is a lawyer and a smart guy. And he is running against Andrade to represent the 40th in Springfield.

And he is against Senate Bill 1. “It’s unfair and unconstitutional,” he told me.

Andrade voted for Senate Bill 1.

I immediately liked Goldstein.

For an elected school board?


A fair, progressive tax system?


Closing corporate tax give-aways?


I don’t know what he’s got in terms of troops. I don’t know if he is a real challenge to Mell’s thugs.

As I always say to candidates who want to take on the Machine (not that I get a lot of calls asking for my brilliant advice), voting takes 30 seconds. We need to build something that takes on these issues 24/7.

Goldstein says he agrees.

They always do.

I try not to be cynical.

And I’d be happy to have another pro-teacher, pro-pension, anti-Machine vote in that viper’s nest they call the Illinois General Assembly.

Union leadership trapped in an abusive relationship.

The endorsement of Pat Quinn and other pension-cutting state officials by the AFL-CIO leadership is just one more example of much of our union leadership being trapped in an abusive relationship.

In the last gubernatorial go-round, the IEA through their political action committee IPACE, gave Republican and Illinois state chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council, our endorsement.

Listen to what Dillard said about that endorsement in a recent debate when he was asked about public sector union endorsements.

Looking for Mr. de Blasio.


Hey Rahm.

This is the lead from this morning’s Washington Post:

NEW YORK — Democratic voters here delivered a resounding rebuke to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Tuesday, choosing from a crowded primary field his sharpest and most liberal critic as their nominee for mayor.

It was just eighteen months ago the pundits and prognosticators all had their money on New York City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn. A Bloomberg mini-me.

Are you listening Rahm?

Reported the WaPo:

“The mayor,” de Blasio said Tuesday, “has been increasingly unwilling to address inequality in this city and that this is the central issue of our times.”

Which mayor?

Oh. Bloomberg.

He could just as well have been talking about Chicago.

The NY teachers union and some others supported other Democratic candidates. Other unions supported de Blasio. No matter. Bill de Blasio’s support was evident in every borough.

It goes without saying that none of the major unions supported the clown, Anthony Weiner, Quinn or the Republicans.

Bill de Blasio ran against what Bloomberg has created: A tale of two cities. One for the rich and one for the poor. The failure of corporate school reform was part of that narrative.

As I write this it is not known whether de Blasio made the cut score of 40%. He is close. If he didn’t, he will probably win in several weeks when the next round of voting may take place. If promises made are promises kept, the Bloomberg policies are dead. They have clearly been rejected by the entire city of New York. 

Chicago does not have an alternative to our Bloomberg.

At the moment.

We are looking.

The results of the New York Primary should make Rahm a nervous man.

Who will the IEA take to the dance? Or will we dance alone?


AFSCME President Lee Saunders.

“Quinn won’t forget who took him to the dance,” IEA President Cinda Klickna reportedly told a reader of this blog.

That was a couple of years ago.

More recently AFSCME President Lee Saunders was quoted as saying this about Pat Quinn and other turncoat Democrats.

I am sick and tired of the fair-weather Democrats. They date us, take us to the prom, marry us, and then divorce us right after the honeymoon. I am sick and tired of the so-called friends who commend us when they’re running for election, but condemn us after they’ve won. I am sick and tired of the politicians who stand with us behind closed doors, but kick us to the curb in front of the cameras. I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit and we’re not gonna take it anymore.

Many of you know some of the people I’m talking about. Mayor Michael Nutter in Philadelphia. Governor Pat Quinn in Illinois. We’ve come to expect union-busting, anti-worker tactics from ultra-conservatives like Scott Walker and John Kasich. But now, everybody’s on the bandwagon.

Look at Nutter. AFSCME members in Philadelphia haven’t had a contract in four years, and Sister Baylor knows it. What does the mayor do? He goes to the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court to get a legal decision that would let him shove his contract down our throats. He’s no different from Governor Snyder in Michigan, who went to his state’s Supreme Court to get legal cover for cutting school employees’ pay. Different political parties, same political games.

Look at Governor Quinn. He has waged a relentless war on state employees – slashing pensions, driving down incomes and wiping out jobs. Last year he took the unprecedented step of terminating our contract. He is the first and only Illinois governor, Republican or Democrat, to take such a blatantly aggressive action.

I have had enough of these turncoats, and it’s time to make them pay.

The question in Illinois is how to make them pay.

Quinn or Daley? Or the slate of anti-union Republicans?

The best that the IEA and the rest of the We Are One coalition of public employee unions can do is say none of the above.

And that is a pretty pathetic position to be in. Barely payback.

Meanwhile it is not too late to find primary opponents to House Democrats who voted for SB1 – Michael Madigan’s pension killer.

But without a pro-labor labor-backed slate running state-wide – in Illinois at least – it looks like there will be a lot more bullshit that we’re going to have to take.

There will be no friend of unions in the governor’s mansion. No matter who wins. And will Toni Run?


A challenger to Rahm might face disapproval from a Hillary administration.

Billionaire friend of Rahm Emanuel Bruce Rauner announced officially yesterday that he is running for Illinois governor.

How do I know he’s a billionaire?

He keeps telling everyone.

“I’m Bruce Rauner  and I’m a billionaire.”

He joins incumbent Governor Pat Quinn, banker Bill Daley, Attorney General and daughter of Boss Michael Madigan, Lisa Madigan as announced or expected candidates.

Possible Republicans candidates in addition to billionaire Bruce Rauner are Dan Rutherford, Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard.

What does this all mean?

It means that the next governor of Illinois, whoever that is, will be no friend of public employee unions, our bargaining rights or our pensions. 

The IEA commented on Rauner’s announcement:

 In a reminder that having a lot of money doesn’t make you a brilliant political strategist, Chicago billionaire Bruce Rauner launched his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor Wednesday by attacking teachers, first responders, healthcare workers, state employees and every other public employee who belongs to a union.

True enough. But the other truth is that the same can be said for every announced and possible gubernatorial candidate.

The other election of concern to public employees and union members is the race to replace Chicago Bully Rahm Emanuel as mayor.

Attention has focused on County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Preckwinkle has announced only that she would run for re-election as County Board President.

Few doubt that Preckwinkle has a good chance to beat Rahm in a head-to-head race, particularly with the new open voter registration law and a massive voter registration campaign led by the CTU.

What would keep Preckwinkle out of the race?

A source with connections to the national Democrats in DC has told me that potential challengers to Rahm have been warned. By whom? Those close to Rahm’s pals in the Clinton organization have suggested that  any challengers to Rahm would face disapproval from a future Hillary Clinton administration.

The corpse of IVI IPO. Lunch with pension killers.


Former Representative, now Senator, Dan Biss.

The odds are you have never actually met somebody from an organization called the Independent Voters of Illinois – Independent Precinct Organization. Or its acronym: IVI IPO.

Since arriving in Chicago in 1973 I have never come in contact with anybody who is from the group actually working in my precinct. This organization is so independent as a precinct organization that they appear to be independent of any actual precinct.

At one point I think they had some influence in some Lake front liberal wards. And I know people who used their list of endorsed judges.

Because who knows who the judges are and most voters are desperate for some guidance. Unless you are like me and just vote no on every judicial retention. I was advised to to that by a lawyer pal of mine who said that if the judge is okay, one no vote won’t hurt.

IVI IPO is independent of who or what? Maybe at one time they were independent of the Machine. But I doubt Rahm Emanuel spends many sleepless nights worrying about the IVI IPO.

Even given their general irrelevance, I was pretty disgusted when I received an email from them yesterday inviting me to a lunch.

They’re honoring legislators.

Which ones?

The Legislative Action Committee selected important divided bills from the previous legislative session to rank and rate our legislators.  How did your elected officials score?  The rankings will be revealed at the Best Legislator Voting Record Awards to be held on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Lazo’s Taco Restaurant, 2009 N. Western Ave, Chicago IL.  Join us as we reveal the scores and laud the outstanding voting records of our Representatives and Senators.
 We will be having a brunch at Lazo’s where the food is always excellent and the conversation and fellowship of fellow progressives makes for great Saturday Morning

Jesus Salazar, State Chair


We get to choose from among this list:

Rep. Daniel Biss, Sen. Jacqueline Collins, Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, Rep. La Shawn Ford, Sen. Michael Frerichs, Rep. Robyn Gabel, Rep. Greg Harris, Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, Rep. Debbie Mell, Rep. Elaine Nekritz, Sen. Michael Noland, Sen. Kwame Raoul, Rep. Al Riley, Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg, Sen. Heather Steans or Rep. Ann Williams.
Just to remind you: Biss, Collins, Noland and Raoul all voted for the pension busting Senate Bill 1. Steans voted present but is a leading voice for anti-education reform issues.
Schoenberg is gone.
In the House, Currie, Feigenholtz, Gabel, Harris, Mell and, of course, Nekritz all voted for Madigan’s latest pension abomination.
For Biss and Nekritz to be on any list of progressive legislators is outrageous.
It is said that Dan Biss has ambitions to replace progressive Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. Schakowsky is the kind of representative IVI IPO once supported.
Dan is no Jan.
You will forgive me if I skip IVI IPO’s lunch.
If on the other hand you are involved in IVI IPO and would like to share your dismay at their support for pension killing Illinois politicians, they can be reached at 312 939 5105.

Conspiracy theories.


“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on.”  – William S. Burroughs.

Some pundits (Yes. I’m looking at you Eric Zorn and Laura Washington) have dismissed the accusation of racism when it comes to school closings.

They sneer at Karen Lewis for suggesting such a thing when the Mayor closes schools that are over 90% African-American in a district with 42% African-American enrollment.

I wonder what they will say if and when lawyers go into federal court and file a civil rights complaint against the CPS? What if a judge orders an injunction?

Will these pundits side with the board?

CTU President Lewis has called on families to show up at their schools on opening day.

Will these critics join with the Mayor and stand in the school-house door and block students from entering?

There is another issue which could be even more of an Achilles Heel for the Mayor’s closing plans.

The shifting of thousands of CPS students will create chaos for Special Needs programs and support. In my opinion, there is no way this can go ahead without parents and others with standing going to court with the complaint that CPS is in violation of federal special education regulations.

It is a criminal assault on children with special needs.

Mike has more on this today.

I find it suspicious that the Illinois Board of Education has chosen this moment to change the rules limiting special education class size.

Reports the IEA:

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)  has voted to propose elimination of its rule, Section 226.730, which limits the number of special education students which can be placed in both general education and special education classrooms. If ISBE’s proposal becomes law, it would mean there would be no state limit on the number of students with disabilities that school districts could place in either type of classroom.

How convenient that the ISBE would propose a way for Rahm and his board hacks to overload classrooms with Special Needs students. That is what they would have to do to receiving schools when other neighborhood schools are closed.

A conspiracy theory?

You don’t have to be paranoid to think it.

I have another conspiracy this morning.

On the last days of the March General Assembly the Senate passed Senate Bill 1.

The final bill first failed by one vote. Before any of us could make calls to our senators, Cullerton had rounded up the one vote. The Senate voted again. They get to do that.

SB1 would mean that current TRS active teachers would have their cost of living raises in retirement slashed or give up access to state health insurance.

The reason Cullerton had such a difficult time getting SB1 passed was that there are still many in the Illinois Senate who believe it is an unconstitutional violation of the pension protection clause.

Here’s the conspiracy part.

Just days before the vote a Sangamon County judge ruled that a similar pension impairment of another state employee group was constitutional.

It is generally agreed that the timing of this ruling gave permission for some waivering senators to vote with Cullerton.

But Springfield Leaks reports that the judge, Associate Judge Steven Nardulli, is a family court judge.

Family court judges don’t normally handle cases dealing with the constitutionality of pension legislation.

And guess what? Representative Elaine Nekritz, the Illinois House pension busting queen,  is best buds with Nardulli’s wife. Dining out pals. In fact the two of them had dinner together on the evening that the judge heard arguments in the case.

She’s a Springfield lobbyist for the Illinois Bankers Association.

I’m not kidding.

Coincidence? Conspiracy?

This is Illinois. What do you think?

Rahm’s BFF, Bruce Rauner, sets up gubernatorial exploratory committee. Rich guys.


Bruce Rauner is a charter-loving, teacher union-hating rich guy who wants to be Illinois Governor.

Talk about your racial entitlement.

A Republican, he is thisclose to Democratic Party Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

He has now set up his exploratory committee. Capitolfax’s Rich Miller points out that there are a lot of rich guys on the list.

As my mom would say, “So, nu?”

Chairman: J.M. “Jim” Schultz, Effingham, IL – Founder of Open Prairie Ventures, Former Chairman Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Founder/Past President Effingham County Community Foundation, and Board Member/Past Chairman Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation.

Co-Chair: Elizabeth Christie, Chicago, IL— Founder of Avent America, angel investor in small start-ups, Board Member of the Illinois Policy Institute.

Dr. Richard Chaifetz, Lake Forest, IL – Founder, Chairman and CEO of ComPsych Corporation, the world’s largest employer of employee assistance programs serving over 53 million individuals throughout the U.S. and 120 countries, Chairman of Chaifetz Group, member of The Economic Club of Chicago, and the Executive’s Club of Chicago.

Lula Ford, Chicago, IL – Former Chicago public school teacher, principal and administrator, and public school reform activist, was also first African American appointed to the Illinois Commerce Commission in its 95-year history.

Ken Griffin, Chicago, IL – Founder and CEO of Citadel, Board of Directors of the Chicago Public Education Fund, member of the World Economic Forum, G100, the Economic Club of Chicago and Commercial Club of Chicago.

Greta Huzienga, Chicago, IL – Former Chicago public high school teacher and early childhood educator, Development Advisor to the Academy for Global Citizenship.

Warren Holtsberg, Wayne, IL – MVC Capital, Board member of the Illinois Venture Capital Association, the Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Center, and Illinois Ventures, the venture capital arm for the University of Illinois.

Edgar “Ned” Jannotta, Sr., Winnetka, IL – Chairman Emeritus of William Blair, past President of the Economic Club of Chicago and The Commercial Club of Chicago.

James Kenny, Glenview, IL – Former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, former owner of Kenny Construction, served on transition team for former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar and President George W. Bush.

Robert E. King, Burr Ridge, IL – Chairman Rasmussen, Inc., Former Chairman and CEO of Deltak, Board Member of Benedictine University, The Academy of Urban School Leadership, the African Wildlife Foundation and Northwestern Wildcat Athletics Venture Enterprise Fund and Member of the Commercial Club of Chicago.

Peter Mason, Hinsdale, IL – Founding member of Freeborn & Peters and Chairman of the Executive Committee.

Ed McMillan, Greenville, IL – Former President & CEO Purina Mills, University of Illinois Board of Trustees, and Chairman University of Illinois Research Park LLC.

Jack Miller, Bannockburn, IL – Founder of Quill Office Supplies and The Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History.

Charles Potter, Lake Forest, IL – President and CEO of Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, Founder and Chairman Great Outdoors, LLC and former Vice President of the North American Wildlife Foundation and Chairman of the IL Nature Preserves Commission.

Jack Roeser, Carpentersville, IL – Founder of Otto Engineering, named Hi-Tech Entrepreneur of the Year, built 500 person hi-tech manufacturing business from a $5,000 start; public school reform activist.

E. Mitchell Roob, Jr. Indianapolis, IN – Native of Northbrook, IL and former Indiana Secretary of Commerce and Indiana Economic Development Corporation CEO who led bringing 55,000 new jobs and $8.1 billion in investments to Indiana in his term.

John Rowe, Chicago, IL – Former CEO of Exelon Corporation, Chairman of Illinois Institute of Technology.

William H. Strong – Co-Chief Executive for the Asia Pacific region of Morgan Stanley, led economic mission to Iraq in 2008 for the Department of Defense, past member of the Board of Visitors of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Illinois Finance Chairman for the Presidential campaign of Senator John McCain in 2008, and served as one of two National Co-Chairmen for the 2012 Presidential campaign of Governor Tim Pawlenty.

David Weinberg, Winnetka, IL – Chairman and CEO of Judd Enterprises.

Miles White, Lake Forest, IL – Chairman and CEO of Abbott Laboratories, Chairman of the Commercial Club of Chicago, serves as a Director for McDonalds, Caterpillar and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.