Thursday, June 5, 2014

Quinn's Empty Promises

Gov. Makes Usual Bland Promises
By Jim Vail

                     IL Gov. Pat Quinn spoke to teachers at the HOD meeting June 4, 2014.    

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn addressed the House of Delegates monthly meeting on June 4th to state why teachers should vote for him in the upcoming November election.

The machine democrat governor started by stating his republican opponent Bruce Rauner is "dangerous" and wants to eliminate everyone's define benefit pensions and change it to a 401K.

He also said he supports an elected school board, which had a few teachers clapping.

The CTU will be pushing for an endorsement for the machine democrat and took the first step by allowing Quinn to address the teachers at their monthly union delegates meeting.

The CTU carefully placed an orderly group of teacher aides in the center aisle holding signs saying, "I work hard for my pension" in response to the governor's statements in support of cutting teachers pensions to balance the state budget.

This group was mostly silent and respectful, and did not join in any hearty booing that greeted the governor when he began speaking because they were placed there by the union.

The governor received a smattering of applause when he stated in his bland monotone voice that he supports an elected school board (I guess it fell on deaf ears that he has chosen a pro mayor controlled school board candidate Paul Vallas).

"We should properly fund public education," the governor said. 

He then went into his tried and true story about his family of teachers and 93 year old mother who taught over 30 years, and how he watched a group of 1st graders show him how they can read, and then they went to the Lincoln Park Zoo (hey, I'm not making this stuff up!).

Anecdotes are the essence of a politician where they tell you a story about one person they know to sell whatever garbage they are selling to the public on behalf of their corporate sponsors.

But hearing Quinn tell these stories was painful.

"I believe you have the right to organize," the governor stated.

Again, some bland cheering, and on to his next dry list of things to say to public school teachers who his party is whacking hard.

CTU president Karen Lewis, acknowledging the boos and cat calls to "dump Vallas!" then asked the governor why he decided to choose Paul Vallas, the former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools and education reform pioneer.

Quinn said he was the "quarterback" who will sign bills and Vallas has "friends who invest in education," - which met a smattering of boos.  Those "friends" are mostly hedge fund edupreneurs who want to blow up the public schools and replaced with private charter operators, like he did in New Orleans and other places.

"We're in the battle of a lifetime," the governor said.

In fact, the governor repeatedly referred to the teachers as we, as though the democrats and teachers go hand in hand, we're all a happy family!

The teachers weren't buying it.

Then he spoke about how he is running against a "billionaire" who has billions.

"I am being attacked night and day by a billionaire with billions," Quinn said.

The question and answer format set up for Quinn was closely monitored.  

The next question was about the pension bill that will hit retired teachers hard.

Quinn said, "I haven't made up my mind on this pension bill."

The governor will make a decision by next week on the current pension bill.

The third question was about what does the governor think of high stakes testing?

"I'm skeptical of testing," Quinn answered, hardly convincing after he signed onto the draconian education reform bill. But he did receive some applause.

In fact, the governor's answers overall seemed so bland and passionless, but worthy, I guess, of the faceless bureaucrat he has always been.

The union threw in the question about how Paul Vallas has hurt public education across the country and ruined many black teachers.

"I signed a bill for marriage equality and "we" believe in tolerance and diversity," Quinn responded, ever so blandly.

He then finished with his catchy, yet silly slogan, "Stick with Quinn, and you will win."

Perhaps those were his most true words that night, it is no longer we, if he wins. The we then will be corporate and hedge fund Vallas friends with their sidekick Quinn, should he defeat Rauner in November.

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