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[In this blog entry, I speak for myself, not the official position of Northside DFA]
Illinois' early voting starts Monday, October 22. For Chicago voters there will be various questions on the ballot. The first will be whether to amend the Illinois Constitution to require pension improvements require a 3/5 vote of the Illinois General Assembly.
The Chicago Teachers Union has explained why its members should vote "no".
For me, the argument is simple. The source of Illinois' pension mess is that the Illinois General Assembly diverted money that should have gone to the pensions to other spending priorities so the politicians wouldn't have to cut services or raises taxes.
The amendment neither fixes the current mess nor does it prevent the politicians from creating the same mess again.
At the recommendation of Nate, a member of the NDFA steering committee, I created a petition calling for Mayor Emanuel to stop his annoying TV commercials trying to spin the teachers strike. I wrote the petition Sunday and by Tuesday morning it had 6,000+ signatures.
In my first email to people who signed the petition I asked them to visit the Northside DFA website to get a more detailed explanation of how NDFA fits into my vision for activism around Mayor Emanuel's bad behavior during and after contract negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union. Remember, Mayor Emanuel was behaving badly throughout the negotiation process.
To resist the attempts by Mayor Emanuel and his financial backers--mostly banks who want to turn government into something the capital class can invest in--we need to be organized.
On August 14, Ram Villivalam, the political director of Brad Schneider's congressional campaign spoke to a crowded room (about 60 people) at the Lincoln Restaurant.
In an email after the presentation Ram said he wanted to make the following points.
1. There are three huge policy differences between Brad and Congressman Dold
-Brad is 100% for marriage equality while Dold is only in support of civil unions
-Brad will protect our Great Lake, fight Republican attempts to defund the EPA, and stress the urgency to use renewable sources of energy. Brad has been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters. Congressman Dold has an F from the Sierra Club.
-Brad is the only 100% pro-choice candidate and has been endorsed by NARAL Pro Choice America. Congressman Dold voted to defund Planned Parenthood 6 times.
2. The district is completely different from 2010.
Last night I attended Democracy Burlesque. Dave Ehrlich one of the Green Party candidates for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District spoke. Afterwards Ehrlich and I walked to the Red Line together and rode it into Downtown.
Ehrlich expressed an interest in making his pitch to Northside DFA.
I propose sending a formal message to the Illinois Green Party. The theme would be: if you want NDFA to take Green Party candidates seriously, the Illinois Green Party has to take organizing seriously.
While the particulars of what constitutes serious organizing can be debated and honed as part of the text of the formal letter, here's some minimums I would like to see.
1. Full-time staff