Thursday, March 24, 2016

Chicago should tax ATM fees (& check cashing fees) to fund schools

Chicago Public Schools need money to operate & pay pensions.

Proposal: tax ATM fees & similar transactions where banks (financial service companies) are charging fees for people to get their money.

For ATM fees, it should be set-up that the money is coming from the bank's revenue stream, not a cost passed on to the consumer. I propose taxing ATM fees at one level if they are not increased and at a higher level if the banks (ATM operators increase fees).

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Is Dick Mell racist? Or does he see his path to re-election as getting the votes of racists?

Dick Mell is running for re-election as Democratic Committeeman of Chicago's Ward 33. In 1975 Mell was elected alderman of the ward; he has been the Democratic Committeeman since 1976.

In the 1980s Mell had a reputation as being... racist. He was part of the block of White aldermen who refused to accept the legitimacy of Harold Washington being elected Mayor of Chicago. This was known as "Council Wars".

After Council Wars, Mell made allies among Black politicians. Ald. Ed Smith was a fishing buddy. I first met Mell when Mell provided assistance to Karen Yarbrough in her bid to unseat a Madigan supported state rep, Eugene Moore.

Later, Mell made it safe for White politicians to support LGBT rights and gay marriage when he was an early supporter (as measured by the standard of "Conservative" Democrats) of his daughter Deb's activism on LGBT rights.

Mell further softened his image at a candidate forum at Horner Park on Thursday, March 3. That forum deserves a full blog entry. But Mell performed well and made the case that he continues to be a good fit for a ward that has gone from "Conservative" White Democrats to being a hotbed of Bernie Sanders activism.

Yesterday, a mailer arrived "Paid for by Citizens for Responsible Affordable Housing". This committee does not appear to be registered with Illinois State Board of Elections. A Google search did not reveal a website.

The mailer was racist & included the "sex offender" boogeyman for good measure.
Citizens for Responsible Affordable Housing mailer (front), received Friday, March 11, 2016

Citizens for Responsible Affordable Housing mailer (back), received Friday, March 11, 2016. Note section on "SEX OFFENDERS", linking them to "Grandma's".

In the 2014 Democratic primary there were five candidates on the ballot: Nancy Schiavone, Jaime M. Andrade, Jr., Aaron Goldstein, Wendy Jo Harmston and Mark Pasieka.

I'm gonna work from memory here, but I don't remember anyone attacking Goldstein on Section 8.

Nancy Schiavone's positive message was that she was the progressive endorsed by Jan Schakowsky, John Arena and some unions. Her negative message was that Andrade and Goldstein were political insiders.

Andrade's positive message was gun control. I don't remember him going negative, but then the best negative attacks are linked to the people being attacked, not the attackers.

Goldstein's positive message was that he was an attorney with a history of standing for social justice and that he could critique the legal shortcomings of cutting pensions.

Harmston's positive message was her base in the Old Irving Park community.

Pasieka's message was that he felt there was injustice being done and frequently criticized Schiavone for knocking Mel Ferrand off the ballot. Since Schiavone had become Dem Committeeman of Ward 35 by knocking Rey Colon off the ballot, it did seem like Schiavone was a lawyer with one political trick.

To the extent that Mel Ferrand was part of the conversation, she directed her criticism at Schiavone too.

The premise of Dick Mell's attack on Goldstein is wrong


No one was attacking Goldstein on Section 8. (I have emailed Andrade to see if he has any recollections of that kind of attack.)

Dick Mell's sex offender attack is creepy/weird


If reminds me of the Berrios organization attacking Will Guzzardi as supporting sex offenders because he wrote an opinion piece in college suggesting that ex offenders shouldn't be penalized when looking for employment.

Also, Eugene Moore wrote an anonymous attack piece on Paul Esparza (challenger Democratic Committeeman of Proviso Township in 2002) that implied Esparza was a child molester. Esparza sued in Illinois court and after one mistrial (mistake by judge), Moore's defense team concluded it was best to settle.

[UPDATE: Rep. Jaime Andrade confirmed my memory. He emailed to say his campaign didn't attack Goldstein in 2014 primary using direct mail.]

Thursday, March 10, 2016

why Andrew Seo's responses to N'Digo are more BS than good policy...

On January 31, 2016, N'Digo (Hermene Hartman author/publisher) published "Andrew Seo Q&A1054". Andrew Seo(1) is a candidate for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (Wikipedia)in the March 15, 2016 primary.

Seo is running for the two-year term created by Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson leaving before the expiration of his six-year term. The other two candidate on the ballot are Tom Greenhaw (whom I support) and Marty Durkan.

Having worked in local media, I know bringing in sufficient revenue is tough. And there are people working in media who lack expertise in public policy matters. The questions Seo answers in the N'Digo interview allow Seo to get his campaign message out without getting challenged whether his ideas make sense.

Rather than campaign on what MWRD does (deal with storm water and wastewater), Seo is campaigning on a massive change to the status quo. MWRD would takeover City of Chicago (but not suburban Cook) Water Department.

campaigns should be pushing early voting, not paper ballots

Assumption: This blog entry is written with the assumption: if a campaign puts in the time & money to have a chance of winning an election, the top priority should be winning the election (while complying with constraints like following the law & respecting the ethics of the candidate/campaign leadership).

If the goal of a campaign is to get the most votes, the campaign should push its supporters to vote early.

On November 4, 2014 I was reminding people to vote in a working class neighborhood in Chicago's Ward 45. There were plenty of people who didn't vote, most of them, women. It was a caretaker who couldn't leave her husband. It was a student whose father seemed like a Rauner supporter. It was a mother with work obligations.

Losing elections sucks. And progressives lose elections because regular people don't vote. Early voting reduces the problem of regular people skipping elections.

In Chicago, there are two ways to vote early: in person and by mail.

Voting by mail is on paper. Voting early in person is on a machine.

There is a small group of activists--who hold themselves out as experts--who are adamantly opposed to voting on machines.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

proposed statement by Chief Justice John Roberts on US Senate obstruction



This message is both a general message for all Americans and a specific message for the 100 Americans who are currently US Senators.

My name is John Roberts.  Since I was confirmed by the US Senate on September 29, 2005, I have been privileged and honored to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

During my confirmation hearing I committed to decide cases like a baseball umpire calls balls and strikes. And I would be more comfortable conducting my duties quietly from the Supreme Court.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Congress should define "well regulated militia" narrowly

You've heard of the takeover of the federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. These armed White guys fancy themselves a "militia" as described by the Second Amendment. Corporate media has accepted Right Wing extremists describing themselves as "militias".

When Blackstone Rangers and Black Panther Party were armed and politically active, they weren't characterized as "militias".

What is a "well regulated militia"?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Reducing sexual assault at Illinois colleges & universities

I would like Illinois to lead on reducing sexual assaults of Illinois college & university students.

I see some parallels to the issue of reducing fraudulent enlistments in military recruiting. These are difficult things to measure. But measurement is essential to determining if policies--like education--are effective at reducing the crimes.

I request an Illinois legislator sponsor a bill directing the Illinois Attorney General to design a system for measuring sexual assault of students at Illinois colleges & universities above a minimum size. It may be appropriate to have one minimum size for schools without dorms & campus housing and another for residential campuses.