SUBSCRIPT: Chicago Teachers Union Vice President survives 'Attack of the Astroturf Spores...'

"Nobody here gives a damn about your story here," says one of the characters during the monumental first season of "The Wire". The couple, a drug dealer and his wife, are eating for the first time in a fancy Baltimore restaurant. "You got money here, you can be whoever you say you want..." Those lines were echoing outside the June 27, 2012 meeting of the Board of Education when people from three of the most heavily subsidized Astroturf groups in the USA tried to get their story on TV by staging a confrontation with Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey.

CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey reminds Stand for Children's most recent Chicago chief, Juan Jose Gonzales (shaved head) about the fact that "Stand" (as it calls itself) received $3 million from some of Chicago's wealthiest plutocrats between September and December 2010, when they were invited by Illinois political leaders to help write "SB7," the law which continued the discrimination against the Chicago Teachers Union. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.If Astroturf emitted spores that could be allergens, the CTU would have had one less officer for a few weeks, with Sharkey in the hospital after having been surrounded by Astroturf touts. But Astorturf is inert, and the repeated talking points from the latest iteration of "Rahm's Rainbow" failed to draw the hoped for expllosion as Sharkey smiled his way through more than ten minutes of "But... But...But!!!..." over and over and over again from three sides at times.

It was less than a week after Chicago teacher Jennifer Johnson had outed Stand for Children's attempt to use a neutral on-line petition site to push its version of reality, which claimed that the CTU needed to "return to the bargaining table" that the union had never left. Piqued, Stand for Children came to the Board's June meeting ready to present its meager petitions to the Board, surrounded by smiles from all the Board members and Board President David Vitale.

But the main event for TV reporters was the statements by the CTU, which had just gotten a real vote without artifice or artificiality of 90 percent of its members for a strike. While Stand for Children was helping to write the infamous apartheid law, SB7, in 2010, the Chicago Teachers Union was organizing real parents and real teachers. By June 2012, there were more organized parents who were card carrying CTU members (including this reporter, who has two children in the Chicago public schools) than in all of the claims by Stand for Children.

Rebecca Huffman (who has also used her hyphenated name "Rebecca Nieves-Huffman" to establish her diversity credibility, for example when she penned an Op Ed for the Sun-Times) videotaped the presentation of the Stand for Children petitions from the press section of the June 27 Board meeting. The video later became part of the Stand for Children website. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Not alone among the Astroturf groups, Stand for Children's people were joined by Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) and Education Reform Now! (the groups that had sponsored the radio ads attacking the CTU strike vote) when they surrounded the CTU vice president.


July 2, 2012 at 7:58 PM

By: Marybeth Foley

Vampires in Astroturf groups?

Last Weekend, I saw the movie "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter," the most violent movie I ever saw in my life. It's certainly not a children's movie! In the movie, Lincoln was fighting against the Confederates, who were really vampires who were trying to destroy the Union. Lincoln had all kinds of silver melted down to use as silver weapons against the vampires because vampires are repelled and destroyed by silver.

In the photo of Jesse Sharkey attached to the article "CTU President Survives Attack of Astroturf Spores," is there something silver in Jesse's hand as he points at Juan Gonzalez. What do we really know about the background of Juan Gonzalez?

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