'We need to put on a show of strength...' Teachers and cops to join on buses, and lobbying against attacks on pensions in Springfield

Chicago teachers and Chicago police officers will be joining on the buses to Springfield on October 26, 2011 and lobbying together for a common cause: and end to the attacks by right wing conservatives (of both parties) on public workers' defined benefit pension plans. The attacks, coordinated by the Chicago Tribune and its business allies (most notably the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, which consists of the CEOs of the largest corporations in Illinois) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have escalated with the introduction by Rep. Tom Cross and Rep. Darlene Senger of HB 3827, which would strip police, teachers, firefighters and other Chicago city workers of the right to manage their pension funds and give Mayor Emanuel the right to appoint a majority of the trustees on each fund's board of trustees.

When asked by Substance how that could be "democracy," Cross actually claimed that since the people of Chicago elected Mayor Emanuel, the people have spoken and should have the right to have Rahm appoint the majority of trustees of the pension funds. When asked by Substance for an interview on how she could try to strip all Chicago public workers of the right to manage their pension funds by electing the majority of trustees, Rep. Senger said she didn't have the time for a Substance interview. Behind the scenes, and in Springfield, those working against the pensions of Chicago workers include Rahm Emanuel, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, and on the "education reform" side, last year's players, including Robin Steans of "Advance Illinois" and the now infamous "Stand for Children" (which replaced its 2010 leadership with a whole new group of people).

Second City cop, a police blog, ran the following from one of the trustees of the police pension fund:

Police Respond to Pension attacks.

The bill [HB 3827] authored by Rep. Cross from Oswego is nothing more than an attempt to circumvent the law that was passed by the legislature in Springfield forcing the city to live up to its obligations and bring the Chicago Police Pension Fund up to 90% in 30 years. Since its passage the city has introduced several bills attempting to water the bill down by extending the 90% target date to 50 years and failing in that attempt 40 years. Some of the city's legal minds have found a loophole that renders the law ineffective if the pension board does not request that the city's sales tax revenue be withheld if the city does not provide the funding that an appointed pension actuary says is necessary to reach that 90% funding level.

Rep. Cross, who's district is in Kendall and Will County, has no Fire and Police agencies in his district that will be affected by this bill (HB 3827), yet he had chosen to champion this cause. He claims that it would be in the best interest of the Police Pension to have the Mayor of Chicago be in control of how our funds are invested.... Has he never heard of the former Mayor's Nephew by the Name of Vaneko. All the Mayor's appointed Trustee's voted to give the Mayor's Nephew over 15 million which is now lost.

Over all the city pension fund(s) I believe the mayor's Nephew got over $62 — million which again was soon lost. Is Rep. Cross too young to remember former Mayor Harold Washington's attempt to use the Police and Fire Pension funds to fund low income housing. Does anyone doubt what a financial disaster that would have been ?

If the Mayor had a permanent 4-3 majority, that would have been passed and our fund would be in even more trouble. Rep. Cross wants you to give control he says to the Mayor who will better invest our funds, this being the same Mayor who has such a short memory that he can't even remember his involvement, as President O'Bama's Chief of Staff, in the disastrous Cylindra scandal that cost the American Taxpayers over $500 million ! yes Rep. Cross this is the man that needs to be in charge of our Pension Funds.

Who are you kidding Rep. Cross from Oswego. I am sure down the road we will find out what kind of deal has been struck between you the republican House Leader and our new Mayor, O'Bama's former Chief of staff. How does the republican National committee feel about your cozy deal with Rahm ?

FOP members politicians only fear our votes. We must show them that we are a force (voting Block) to be reckoned with. I can not stress the importance of defeating this bill. This bill will influence many things including future cost of living increases. If there is any way that you can get on these buses down to Springfield to show our strength I urge you to do so, even if you have to miss a day of work on your side job or a Dr. appointment etc. If not instead of showing these politicians our strength we show them our weakness.

To make it as convenient as we can to get you to come out and stand with us, we have arranged to have a bus leave from the 22nd District at 8:00 am. Please call FOP at 312 733-7776 and say you will stand with us down in Springfield, We need to put on a show of strength. Your Pension hangs in the balance.

Rick King

FOP Trustee


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