Friday, April 22, 2011

Dear Senator Ronald Sandack

Thank you, Senator Sandack, for taking the time to meet and talk with me regarding the teachers’ pensions, even though I do not live in your district. It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance.  As you are well aware through my e-mails to you, public pensions and the State’s budget deficit are extremely important issues to me and to thousands of teachers across Illinois.
Please allow me to reiterate and to partly revise what I had stated in a previous letter to you and to other legislators: I believe that both active and retired teachers and the state of Illinois have “an enforceable contractual relationship” (Article XIII, Section 5, The Constitution of the State of Illinois) that originates when teachers first begin contributing to the pension system (The decision of the Illinois Supreme Court case, Felt v. Board of Trustees…1985); I believe that any state cannot pass a law “impairing the obligations of contracts” such as ours (Article I, Section 10, The Constitution of the United States of America). 
I want to believe in a just system, in the rule of law and in promises to keep. I want to believe that these attacks on teachers’ pensions are not some ugly political games played by legislators who know that they have everything to gain by ignoring the antedated court cases regarding the Pension Clause so they can inevitably say to their voters “that they at least have tried to challenge its constitutionality by sending it through the court systems.”  I want to believe that there is no “Shell” bill or a late amendment to an existing bill that will blind-side all of us the way SB 1946 did when it passed the House and Senate on March 24, 2010 in less than 24 hours.  In other words, I want to believe that there will be no attempt to pass a “law impairing the obligations of contracts” (Article I, Section 16, The Constitution of the State of Illinois) and that the legislators of Illinois will make an ethical decision to create the needed revenue to meet the State’s constitutional obligations without jeopardizing the futures of thousands of teachers and their families, though that belief is contingent upon whether the elected officials of Illinois will be responsible, moral, intrepid, and just and uphold both the Constitution of the State of Illinois and the Constitution of the United States of America.
Let me close with these personal questions for you: do you want to become one of the senators who helped save the teachers’ pension from a flagrant injustice, or one of the senators who destroyed every teacher’s promised future?  Do you want to become a “former senator” who abandoned and ruined the lives of our children’s greatest resources, their teachers, or a senator who is credited with safeguarding public education in Illinois by protecting and honoring a most important commitment that was made to one of our children’s most important influences?  I am looking forward to hearing from you again, and I hope I may also, as you said to me in our meeting, “address a committee of legislators” in Springfield on May 4th.

Glen Brown

1 comment:

  1. Senator Sandack did not keep his promise. Should my idealism turn to cynicism?