News that the CTU House of Delegates endorsed Pat Quinn for Governor over the Napa wine connoisseur comes as no great surprise.
I will not vote for either [Quinn or Rauner].
However, the CTU endorsement certainly reflects the views of most Chicago teachers. In that regard, the Rauner panic-machine has been very effective.
Although I am not a member of the CTU and I am certainly not privy to their internal discussions, the overwhelming vote by the HOD in favor of this endorsement does not suggest some back-door deal. Nor does it suggest that President Karen Lewis is “in the pocket of the Democratic Machine,” a ridiculous assertion I heard someone make.
How is this different from Quinn’s endorsement by the state’s union leadership? Here’s how.
For the longest time we have asked our state leadership to create a working families, pro-union electoral alternative to Quinn. Instead they accepted the status quo, spending millions of dollars on a futile attempt to elect the Illinois Chairman of ALEC [Kirk Dillard] as the Republican gubernatorial nominee. When that bit of political opportunism failed, they endorsed the current pension thief.
More importantly, there is no sign that the union leadership at the state level has any plan or vision for something different. Only a change in leadership will change that situation. It is at the Region level that some of us kept our promise and voted not to recommend any pension thieves.
In Chicago we are seeing something quite different. In Chicago we have a strategy to change the political landscape of the city with aldermanic challenges to get-along incumbents, support for members of the Progressive Caucus, and a challenge to the sitting mayor by Karen Lewis and possibly Bob Fioretti.
Is the gubernatorial endorsement part of that changing landscape? No. However, nothing should keep us from being diverted from our efforts to unseat the current mayor. Even if we wished for a different choices in the Governor’s race.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has been betraying the teachers' pensions for more than four years, since he agreed without checking with former Chicago Schools CEO Ron Huberman that Chicago needed a $1.2 billion "pension holiday" or the "schools would not open." Since then, Quinn has established an unprecedented record for bullshit in his versions of reality. In late August, for example, Quinn looked at the teachers on the Chicago Teachers Union Legislative/PAC committee and told them, with a straight face, that Paul Vallas had been selected because Vallas was "good with the numbers." In doing so, Quinn either admitted that he didn't know the facts about Vallas's career in education, was delusional, or was lying. Vallas's claims about "reducing the deficit" in Chicago in the 1990s were all based on the fact that the School Finance Authority was abolished (and therefore no longer forced CPS to project a balanced budget three years into the future). In 2004, Vallas told the Philadelphia school board that the school system had a "balanced budget" in September, only to have to face the fact in December that he had tried to cover up a $70 million deficit. Vallas's Philadelphia lie finally cost him his job in the City of Brotherly Love, but his sponsorship by America's plutocracy landed him in New Orleans just in time to help complete the most racist reorganization of any large urban school district in history. If Quinn’s choice of Vallas was based on the Vallas record, then Quinn has allied himself with a 20 years history of racism, mendacity, and an all-out attack on public schools, public education, and collective bargaining…