Stop the Legislature from Rubber-stamping School District Greed

Some folks out there don’t like it when I call Public Education in Illinois a “Legalized Money-Laundering Scheme.” Sadly, it is a 100% accurate description of the legalized reaming of the Illinois taxpayer, all for the bloated payroll, perks, pensions and pork lathered on this fundamentally corrupt and powerful network of greedy unions, administrators, and the private interests that they have co-opted.

As more proof of the concept, I submit an article from today’s Tribune.

Schools districts may get state OK to issue bonds for buildings without voter approval
Appellate Court has barred practice, though many districts waltz around the ban anyway

Strapped for cash and taking their lumps on tax-increase measures, school districts in Chicagoland are increasingly skirting requirements for voter approval of building projects by issuing bonds that don’t require a referendum and then shifting that money from fund to fund.

Even after a state Appellate Court ruled last year that such maneuvers were improper, the Hinsdale Township High School District 86 board reached into a rainy-day fund for $4 million to install artificial turf at its two high school football fields.

Because the court held that another district inappropriately used working cash bonds on a building project, the Hinsdale board didn’t transfer the money directly. Instead it parked the cash in the district’s main education fund before moving it to building funds.

“Money-laundering,” one outraged school board member called it.

According to court filings, 95 school districts in Cook, DuPage and Will counties sold nearly $800 million in working cash bonds between 2000 and 2008 for building projects through these “back-door” means of avoiding referendums. Nearly 75 percent have been in Cook County.

State legislators are now considering a bill that would permit school districts to transfer working cash bond money to any school fund, allowing the controversial practice to become the norm. The legislation, which would be retroactive, was crafted by firms that specialize in school law and a nationally recognized bond counsel, Chapman and Cutler, which has advised schools on the practice.

State Rep. Paul Froehlich, D-Schaumburg, who served on a school board in Schaumburg District 54 from 1989 to 1993, voted against the bill, which was approved by the House and could come to a final Senate vote as early as Tuesday.

“I see it as an amnesty bill,” he said. “It’s giving amnesty to those school districts that didn’t follow the law.”

Critics of the legislation say a fund created to help districts pay bills when the state is late on its payments — as it is now — could be gutted by school districts with a proclivity to overspend. State Board of Education officials estimate 44 percent of districts will spend more than they take in this school year. As for taxpayers, the legislation would take away their right to vote down building projects through a referendum.

John Izzo, an attorney with Sraga Hauser, which represents about 100 of the state’s 869 school districts, helped draft the legislation and testified in favor of it in Springfield. He says the Appellate Court decision simply interpreted “an ambiguous provision” of the school code differently from how Chapman and Cutler and school attorneys had done in the past.

School districts could potentially be ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, in tax refunds if the law is not changed.

School district attorneys say if the legislation doesn’t pass, schools will continue the financing method whether it be as a two-step process, three steps or even four steps.

“If (the bill) doesn’t get passed, in the future, school districts will just do it a different way,” Izzo said. “It won’t change how they do it.”

That last line should tell you just how vile, greedy, and corrupt these districts, law firms, and bond churning scum truly are. They care nothing for the law, the taxpayer, or the economy that funds their money-laundering scheme.

They only care about funding their greed and gluttony. They day is coming when they will be defeated. Pigs get fat, Hogs get slaughtered, and it is time to slaughter this hog.

SEIU’s history of perverting government

Steven Malanga has been on top of the “public union” story longer than anyone, and if there is a good piece of reporting exposing their greed, he’s probably the one who wrote it.

As you contemplate the looming bankruptcy of states like Illinois and California, all you really need to know is that your local Democrat and Republican lawmakers across the country are either wholly owned by the SEIU, or, like too many Republicans, simply too cowardly to take them on.

The Andy Stern Show

When Andy Stern announced his retirement earlier this month, virtually every news account noted that under his leadership the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) had become the fastest growing labor group in America. Whatever else Mr. Stern is remembered for—including his role as a key political ally of Barack Obama and an aggressive campaigner for the recently passed federal health legislation—his principal legacy will be having headed up a union that managed to add 1.2 million members during a time when overall unionization rates continued to plunge in the U.S.

But it’s important to understand how Mr. Stern pulled this off, because his union’s story is really the story of the transformation of the labor movement in America. The SEIU did not win its most significant victories on the picket lines, but rather in backroom political deals with legislative leaders, especially in states like California where the political class is already union-friendly.

Those deals helped the SEIU to organize workplaces that are nominally considered part of the private sector but actually are heavily controlled and influenced by government regulation, most especially in health care. By contrast, the SEIU’s success in areas where its political pressure isn’t decisive has been minimal at best.

The SEIU’s mediocre organizing record outside of industries in which its political muscle matters helps explain why Mr. Stern was such a big supporter of President Obama’s federal health legislation. The bill that passed provides for hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes to expand health-care services largely under government control, for instance, by vastly expanding Medicaid rolls. That perfectly describes the ideal Andy Stern environment for successful union organizing in today’s politicized economy.

Join me Friday night, Meet the Producer/Director of…

The Cartel

Click this link to find out about a great way to spend Friday night. (April 30th)

I’ve previewed “The Cartel,” and it is must see. If you like this site and its take on education, you need to invite one or 2 soccer moms to this movie and post-movie discussion. It is a mind-changer.

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The Heartland Institute, For the Good of Illinois, and America’s Future Foundation invite you to the Chicago premier of “The Cartel.” Click here for a downloadable poster.

This compelling documentary highlights the problems and promise involved in transforming America’s schools … and exposes the cartel blocking that transformation at every turn.

To highlight the importance of this movie, your hosts will present Bob Bowdon, producer of “The Cartel.” Immediately following the movie’s showing, we’ll hold a question-and-answer session in the theater, featuring Bowden; Bruno Behrend, director of the Center for School Reform at The Heartland Institute; and Adam Andrzejewski, founder of For the Good of Illinois.

Space is limited, so make your reservations today! To secure your spot for this important, informative, and entertaining event:

Register online using a credit card or your PayPal account
Register with a credit card by calling Tonya Houston at 312/377-4000.
Register by sending a check to The Heartland Institute, 19 South LaSalle Street #903, Chicago, IL 60603.
Cancellation policy: Cancellations received by The Heartland Institute at 312/377-4000 on or before 5:00 pm CDT Friday, April 23 will be refunded in full. No refunds will be made for cancellations made after April 23, or for cancellations made by email at any time.

This event is an excellent opportunity to find out just how close we are to a real transformation of the American education system. It’s great way to introduce your friends and relatives to the organizations and people promoting necessary reforms.

Pope Gore and the religion of nutjobs

Like all Human-Based (Humanist) Religions, this one too will fail miserably when confronted with robust, monotheistic religions that have actually made this world more livable. They always look like their winning up until the moment they lose.

The sad thing about the article is that it actually seems to appreciate the “religiosity” of environmentalism, even as it recognizes the dangers. Every human being should be interested in keeping the earth clean and healthy. No one should be stupid enough to believe Pope Gore and his merry band of Malthusian regulators have any interest in that goal. They want control – for the sole purpose of political power, along with a way to enrich their greedy friends.

Environmentalism is now a religion, and being overtaken by extremism

Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, which will be celebrated this year, according to the Earth Day Network, by more than a billion people in 190 countries. When Earth Day started in 1970 few people would have expected it to become a globally observed religious holiday with its own Ten Commandments, including “use less water,” “save electricity,” “reduce, reuse, recycle,” and “spread the word.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants people everywhere to “commit to action” in defense of the Earth.

America’s leading environmental historian, William Cronon of the University of Wisconsin, calls environmentalism a new religion because it offers “a complex series of moral imperatives for ethical action, and judges human conduct accordingly.”

When environmental religion seeks a return to an earlier primitive and natural existence, it is embracing utopian dreams that easily can pose a danger to man and earth alike.

A cartoon that says 1000 words…

Look at who ruined America

Look at who ruined America

The Beholden State
How public-sector unions broke California

The camera focuses on an official of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), California’s largest public-employee union, sitting in a legislative chamber and speaking into a microphone. “We helped to get you into office, and we got a good memory,” she says matter-of-factly to the elected officials outside the shot. “Come November, if you don’t back our program, we’ll get you out of office.’

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why do we even put up with these jerks?” What if a few decent, thinking people, who were dedicated enough to their country to actually stand up these skanks, just ran against them?

What if our business sector – who, instead of being a set of cowardly eunuchs with pants stuffed with rolled up socks, were actually leaders who gave a damn about culture that made their success possible – actually stood up and funded the necessary opponents to the rapacious public employee unions.

It might be a different world, a better world. But hey, why bother, when you can always cut deal for sweet subsidy by caving to the Administration and his corrupt shock troops.

How public employees became members of the elite class in a declining California offers a cautionary tale to the rest of the country, where the same process is happening in slower motion. The story starts half a century ago, when California public workers won bargaining rights and quickly learned how to elect their own bosses—that is, sympathetic politicians who would grant them outsize pay and benefits in exchange for their support. Over time, the unions have turned the state’s politics completely in their favor. The result: unaffordable benefits for civil servants; fiscal chaos in Sacramento and in cities and towns across the state; and angry taxpayers finally confronting the unionized masters of California’s unsustainable government.

If you go to the ILGA website, you can dig around and find the bill that created the “Early Retirement Option” for teachers. Wanna guess what the vote was? 59-0 in favor of idiocracy and kleptocracy, including some of your most “stalwart” fiscal conservatives.

Rumor has it that one of the “Fab Five” wistfully wondered whether he could “win without the support of the teacher’s unions.” It’s little wonder that Illinois is circling the drain. Why didn’t anyone stand up to these vermin? Could it be that they were too dumb to understand that they owed more of a duty to their culture and their state than to their re-election?

Could it be that they didn’t know that by standing up 10 years ago, they might have lost an election, but started the movement necessary to defeat these people. We all understand that politics takes a little compromise. But it takes a bit of leadership as well.

To all those in the Illinois General ASSembly…redeem yourselves! Sponsor a bill to end public unionization. It’s only fair to the taxpayers that you’ve delivered to slaughter.

Why won’t Glen Beck talk about Pensions?

When Michael Savage stops talking (if one can call it that) about Mexicans long enough to take note of the pension hurricane (and we are only getting the leading edge of that hurricane), you know something is up.

So where is Glen Beck on pensions. Has he taken time off of his poorly thought through Con Law curriculum to look at a REAL financial problem yet. Some one tell me, as I don’t have time to watch.

Just wondering.

If enough cities slough off debt through bankruptcy…

…then maybe there will be enough tax dollars to fund the state pensions.

Going for broke in L.A.?

Former mayor Richard Riordan has been roiling the civic waters by arguing that the surest — and perhaps the only — way out of Los Angeles’ fiscal crisis is a declaration of municipal bankruptcy, which he believes ought to come sooner rather than later.

In a conversation with The Times over the weekend, Riordan argued that bankruptcy may be the only way to attack the structural problem gnawing the heart out of the city budget: unsustainable public employee pension costs. Currently, Riordan says, the city is struggling to meet its pension obligations, and that’s assuming it will receive 8% annually on the money invested on retirees’ behalf. In fact, the average return over the past decade has been just 4%. Over the next few years, L.A. may be looking at $1.5 billion in pension obligations it can’t meet. “We need some adults to come alive in the city and to talk through how to meet that liability,” he said. “If that doesn’t happen, we shouldn’t rule out bankruptcy.”

Given the immorality of the pensions, perks, health benefits and early retirements, declaring bankruptcy is a rather moral option. Where did all these people think the money was going to come from, the tooth fairy?

There was a reason so much of this was pushed off to the state pensions. The immoral union leaders put the state taxpayers on the hook, knowing that there is no provision for a state to declare bankruptcy. I would enjoy seeing a state trigger a constitutional crisis by declaring bankruptcy, and threatening to secede when Federal Courts said they aren’t allowed to.

Public Sector eating itself alive

Repeat what I’ve been saying for about 5 years now…

“You can’t fund a public ______ when you are funding a public ______bureaucracy. It’s sad, but somewhat gratifying to have the things I’ve been talking about for years actually come true. It won’t get better until you end the reign of public employee unions. Find the politicians that have taken their money, and vote them all out of office.

Layoffs spreading among N.J. public-sector workers

They had it all planned out.

Jennifer Beese would give up her $65,000-a-year job as a sales rep and borrow money to go to graduate school. Her dream: to become a teacher.

Her fiance, John Cidoni, would support them on his income as a Lumberton police officer and save money by moving into Beese’s home in Bordentown City.

The couple would marry in June and have their first child next year.

Now New Jersey’s fiscal crisis has thrown their plan off course, as it has for thousands of public and private workers across the region.

Cidoni, 32, was laid off from his police job of seven years at the beginning of the month, along with five other employees, when Lumberton faced a budget deficit.

Beese, 30, is one month away from receiving her teaching certification from Georgian Court University but is concerned about finding a job at a time when many other school districts in the state are considering teacher layoffs.

Maybe it’s time all these young couples took a good economics class. You know, the kind that teaches that before wealth can be taxed, it actually has to be produced. Yeah, something like that.

Why do citizens allow such greed in their government?

Selfish State of the Unions

New York state and city are drowning in red ink, but don’t waste your breath telling it to government unions. They got theirs, and they’ll do anything and everything to keep it.

Gov. Paterson’s plan to delay 4 percent raises so the state doesn’t run out of cash is met with threats of lawsuits.

Mayor Bloomberg’s call for relatively modest spending cuts provokes warnings that the city will sink into the Hudson if a penny is subtracted from bloated budgets.

The way organized labor sees it, sacrifice is for suckers. Let somebody else pay.

There once was a time when public-employee unions were responsible citizens. They saw their members’ well-being directly tied to the well-being of the people and institutions they served. The movement was probably more militant 40 years ago, but it famously did its part to help the city out of the fiscal crisis of the ’70s.

As for the specific matter at hand, every Governor, Democrat or Republican, needs to cut the pay and precipitate the lawsuit. Once the suit gains press coverage, no citizen will be un-informed as to the seething greed of public unions.

Generally, the article is accurate, but I take issue with the idea that public employee unions have ever been responsible citizens. Like the British coal miners who struck for higher wages during wartime (having the government over a barrel), unions – Public Unions in particular – are not “citizens” at all. They are parasites. They are bankrupting entire states, bleeding taxpayers, and they are fully aware that they are killing the host that feeds them.

Just look at Greece. That is what is coming here, unless we end public unionism entirely. Teachers, professors, police and firefighters, et.al. all need to be under the protection of a decent (and flexible) civil service code. Beyond that, public unionism needs to be abolished.

What our competitors understand about our success

How amazing that our “strategic competitor,” China, would undertake a study to understand what made western culture strong. What is even more amazing is what they found.

The key to our civilisation
The Chinese have recognized Christianity’s importance in Western culture, says Cardinal George Pell, so why don’t we?

Paradoxically, modern China can help us understand Western life today. Not because China must achieve economic supremacy (20 years ago we were ascribing that honour to Japan), but because this radically different culture is now searching for the secrets of Western vitality to provide a code for decency and social cohesion compatible with sustainable economic development.

In 2002 a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences described their attempts to account for the pre-eminence of the West. Originally they thought the main reason was more powerful guns. Then it was Western political systems, followed by the Western economy. Their final conclusion, however, was this: ‘In the past 20 years, we have realised that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity… The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.’

Zhao Xiao, an official economist in China, also published an article in 2002 titled ‘Market Economies With Churches and Market Economies Without Churches’. It made the obvious points that market economies promote efficiency, discourage laziness, force competition. They work and produce wealth. But, he pointed out, a market cannot discourage people from lying or causing harm and indeed may encourage people to harm others and pursue wealth by any means.

Zhao is critical of the corruption and exploitation in Chinese economic life.

As I’ve posted on this site before, America is the continuation of the social project melding of Athens (civic government) with Jerusalem (JudeoChristianity). Fascinating that those who wish to emulate our success “discover” this while our schools, media, and other “institutions” do all they can to weaken (and then destroy) the one foundation that makes us succeed.

Case in point is the recent financial meltdown. As I’ve also posted on this site, the crisis (and the recession it caused) is a moral crisis, not a financial one. Corruption will kill America sooner than Mexicans or Chinese.