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Aim is to thwart union and working class power in Chicago... New PAC formed with $1 million seed money to push union busting agenda in 2011 municipal elections

A new Political Action Committee (PAC) has been formed in Chicago to push the union-busintg agenda of outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley and to support candidates in the upcoming municipal elections. The group is called For a Better Chicago and already has a website.

During the year prior to the 2007 municipal elections in Chicago, huge marches for workers rights (under the slogan "Immigrant rights are workers' rights") took place in Chicago in March and May 2006. The March march (above, heading east in a photo taken from the bridge at Chicago's Whitney Young High School) was ignored in most of the corporate media, especially The New York Times (which had reporters at the march but refused to publish the story). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.On of the most significant things that big money PACs leave out of their calculus is the organized power of working people. During the year prior to the 2006 and 2007 municipal election fights, Chicago's working class mobilized as never before in history, beginning with the March 2006 workers marches for immigrant rights (which literally don't exist in The New York Times because the Times was there and refused to cover it, leaving much "progressive" coverage in the lurch) and culminating in the huge May Day march of 2006, which was reported most extensively in Substance and at the old Substance web site (www.substancenews.com).

A similar problem is developing in Chicago in 2011, as The New York Times and Chicago's corporate media focus their coverage on the corporate favorite in the mayoral race, Rahm Emanuel.

According to a report from the Chicago News Cooperative published January 13, 2011:

New PAC May Counter Union Push in Election, By HUNTER CLAUS, January 10, 2011

A former campaign manager for retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley and mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel has formed a new political action committee with the purpose of “heavily participating” in the Feb. 22 City Council elections, according to the group’s website.

Greg Goldner, who worked as campaign manager for Daley in 2003 and Emanuel’s first congressional campaign in 2002, is listed as the chairman of the new For A Better Chicago PAC, according to documents filed Friday with state elections officials.

Shortly after the Chicago News Cooperative attempted to reach Goldner on Monday, For a Better Chicago issued a news release announcing its formation and claiming that it has raised $1 million in donations. In the statement, Goldner said the group is in the process of deciding which candidates to endorse.

According to the statement, the group will promote candidates “who are prepared to make ‘the difficult decisions’ needed for sustainable improvement in the areas of education, economic development and job growth, and efficiency and transparency in city government.”

The effort appears to be an attempt to counter the enormous participation in local politics of organized labor, which was the biggest campaign donor by far in the 2007 council election.

Goldner said For a Better Chicago would provide its endorsed candidates with “direct mail, survey research, voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts in wards throughout the city.”

The photo above was taken at the same time as the earlier photo during the March 2006 workers' rights march in Chicago. The earlier photo was taken looking east, where the march stretched to the horizon in the shadow of what was then Chicago's Sears Tower. The photo above is from the same vantage point, but looking west. The "tail" of the march above was still leaving Ashland Ave. while the head of the march was arriving at Chicago's federal plaza. Substance photo by Dan Schmidt.Goldner is the chief executive officer of Resolute Consulting, a political consulting firm that worked with the now-defunct Hispanic Democratic Organization. Other Resolute employees are listed as officers of For A Better Chicago, including Rob Nash, a former director of government relations for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and David Smolensky, whose LinkedIn page states he played a “critical role” in Daley’s public-education initiative Renaissance 2010, which is fiercely opposed by the Chicago Teachers Union because it closes down public schools and reopens them as charter schools.

Jerry Roper, the head of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said he’s aware of For A Better Chicago.

“We’re communicating with them but that is not our organization,” Roper told the CNC on Monday.

A three-part candidate questionnaire for the Feb. 22 municipal election can be found on the group’s website, and much of it focuses on issues that have divided labor and business interests. Under the “Economic Development and Job Creation” section, candidates are asked about their stances on tax-increment finance districts, new work rules at the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority that have been opposed by unions and the plan to expand O’Hare International Airport. Candidates also are asked in the “Government Operations, Budgeting & Transparency” section about their views on public-private partnerships, and in the “Education” section, candidates are asked about the closure of under-performing schools.

In 2007, a committee with close ties to Daley emerged shortly before the council election. That group, called the First C.D. Victory Fund, attracted donations from the business community and dispensed hundreds of thousands of dollars to sympathetic aldermen. But the group was not able to match labor’s expenditures, and several of its endorsed candidates fell to union-backed opponents.



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