Tim Furman’s “Notes from the Red Line Tap.”

Came home early from Fred Klonsky’s retirement celebration over at the Red Line Tap in Rogers Park. I know better than to stay late at the Red Line. The last time I closed that place, which is right at the Morse CTA stop, I woke up in Hammond, which in case you forgot is in another state.

Long story.

Anyway, what a tribute. The place was packed, and it was a virtual who’s who of the people who elected Obama and were to one extent or another left behind by that particular President, whose campaign for the White House started at the Heartland Cafe, next door. There was more accumulated wisdom about teaching and learning and the purpose of public education than in all the new ed reform foundations in DC combined. Plus an open bar, which as far as I’m concerned is key.Key. 

It’s just so hard for me to reconcile the roots of the Obama campaign with the presence of Arne Duncan in the Cabinet.

None of that matters. It was a hell of a party. If I ever get to retire, and I get half the crowd Fred got at his party tonight, it will be ten times more than I could have hoped for.  According to my camera, I took 168 pictures. Here are a few.

Life in Rahm’s Chicago. $300 million no-bid contracts.

Rahm takes us for a ride.

A hint of what Chicago’s mayor has in mind with his grand infrastructure rebuilding scheme can be found today in a Tribune story.

Shortly after taking office Rahm had secret talks with a company called Bombardier Transportation.

The talks over the public-private partnership continued for 10 months, “in keeping with the mayor’s priority of creating jobs and generating economic development,” CTA spokeswoman Molly Sullivan said.

Uh huh.

But all in secret. To cut a deal worth three hundred million bucks.

CTA lawyers had been working to justify the unusual practice of awarding such a large contract without competitive bids, the transit agency said.

Only when the press found out about the crappy work Bombardier does did the deal fall apart.

Pension Call Tuesday: May 2nd bus to Springfield.

Our Park Ridge Education Association is getting ready to head for Springfield on May 2nd. Current plans are to leave Des Plaines around 8AM.

This does not replace back home lobby efforts. It is in addition to it. Messages to General Assembly members can be sent from here.

We have a noon appointment with Park Ridge Senator Dan Kotowski to discuss pension issues on May 2nd. Other PREA members will meet with their own state representatives or senators. IEA VP Kathi Griffin has invited us to have our box lunch picnic on the IEA headquarters lawn. Then we are heading over to TRS headquarters to express our disappointment with the recent statements of TRS Executive Director Richard Ingram about cutting retiree benefits and the “new reality.”

We expect to get back by 5PM.

Bus riders will get a green t-shirt that says: My pension. I paid. You promised.

If you have an interest in joining us on the bus down to Springfield, please make your reservation by Friday. You can contact us here or at fklonsky@mac.com