Tuesday, November 25, 2008

RCHA newsletter on the Con-Con

Well back in their October newsletter they urged their neighbors to vote NO on the Con-Con. Of course this referendum didn't win in the Sixth in any event:
This election Illinois voters will be asked to vote on weather the state should hold a Constitutional Convention (Con Con) to rewrite the Constitution. Vote NO, as this would threaten benefits like public employee pensions, would be costly to the tax payers and would further delay education funding reform and funding for public services.
In addition to that the Roseland Heights Community Association gave an overwheling endorsement to the now President-elect of the United States.

1 comment:

  1. In a recent press conference prior to the 2008 general elections Daley said “Every homeowner understands that higher property tax bills this year are also the result of our state's over-reliance on property taxes to fund education. Every homeowner also understands that as long as the legislature in Springfield doesn't fundamentally reform the way education is funded so that local property taxpayers don't unfairly carry the burden, there will be year to year pressure for our schools to increase taxes."

    But where was Daley’s stand, et al, on the need for a citizens convention that could have been the key to reforming our property tax mess and our under funded school system?

    Hopes for long-overdue reforms in Illinois property taxation, school funding, and stronger political ethic laws were dashed with the defeat of the Illinois Constitutional Convention Referendum.

    But yes Chicago and Cook County is ready for reform!

    Despite the prejudicial wording on the ballot measure confused voters, and opponents sewed the seeds of fear that killed the initiative – the 1,442,196 yes votes for a Con Con was, at the very least, a demand for a more equitable tax system to better educate our children and to keep our property tax bills payable.

    2008 con con yes votes translated into a whopping 60% increase from the 990,109 yes votes in 1988.

    While dusty politicians, union and political lobbyists suggested that the best way to institute needed reforms was to wait on our legislators or elect new legislators to grapple with these issues---only 2 legislators were retired this election. We should trust that these legislators will not be influenced by special interests or be subject to the leadership, as the architects of perpetual gridlock.

    Prominent thinkers endorsed a vote yes on calling a citizens convention. Paul Vallas, nationally recognized former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools for raising test scores and balancing budgets. And Cook County Assessor James Houlihan and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.---all know a thing or two about the dire need for more equitable systems for taxation and school funding.

    Unfortunately, their support, along with the efforts of under funded grassroots organizations (left, right and center), was not enough to bring the national mandate for change in alignment with local needs for action.

    Chicago minority communities strongly supported the referendum, while communities with higher number of union and public employees tended to oppose it. In Chicago, for example, minority communities cast the highest number of yes votes for the constitutional convention ---between 48% to 55% of the electorate.

    The highest votes ---50% or greater voted yes for a con con referendum in communities like Englewood, West and East Garfield Park, Lawndale, Chicago Lawn, Chatham, and Greater Grand Crossing. These are neighborhoods with citizens that have seen first hand the inequities of our school funding and tax systems. These communities voted on faith and not fear in spite of a $600,000 radio and TV anti-Con Con ads.

    In communities like Rogers Park, Logan Square, Village of Cicero, etc 49% cast yes votes for con con---- largely do to the excellent grassroots canvassing and organizing of United Power for Action and Justice. Look out for this incredible force in any public policy legislation or referendum!

    In Mt. Greenwood and Jefferson-Edison Park, with heavy populations of public employees and retirees, voters heard their pensions might be threatened, and they voted against Con Con by 70%.

    In Chicago there was a 47% increase in yes votes compared to the last con con election in 1988. There was a 23% drop in the city’s no votes compared to 1988 election. In Cook County there was a 52% increase in yes votes and a 58% increase in Cook suburban townships.

    A huge price was paid for the no vote stealthily orchestrated by union bosses and well connected political consultants. That price was a continuation of under funded public school system in areas that have low to modest priced homes and of course, higher property tax bills in the future.

    Let's see how our civic leaders, teacher unions, mayors and legislators solve the largest district-to-district educational funding gap in the nation in the coming years.

    My crystal ball sees a lot of finger pointers before solutions.

    But signs of reform are very evident in the con con election results and I do smell change in the air for Illinois.

    Andrea Raila


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