Monday, February 16, 2015

Pilsen Alderman Forum

Pilsen Forum Sparks Working Class Fight
By Jim Vail

Ed Hershey speaks at the Pilsen aldermen forum.

Challengers gathered at the aldermen forum in the 25th ward to debate ideas on how to fight the fight two weeks ago.

Chicago Teachers Union endorsed candidate Ed Hershey joined labor activist Jorge Mujica, Pilsen Alliance Byron Sigcho and Roberto Montano.

"The working people need to fight," Hershey said in his opening speech. "The banks are getting their money every year and at the same time they are taking money out of the schools. They cut school budgets, but they didn't cut their interest payments."

Mujica said the city must stop the theft of stolen wages, largely lost in overtime work. He said he helped recover about $750,000 in lost wages.

"$15 is not enough for a working family," Hershey said. "We need to make a big fight over that, because it isn’t gonna come from the democrat party because that’s not the interests they serve."

Jorge Mujica is a candidate for 25th ward alderman.
Mujica added that the democrats helped destroy the huge immigrant rights marches a few years by telling everyone they just needed to go to the polls.

Sigcho added that the immigrant rights advocate US Congressman Luis Guitierrez supports Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who supported increased deportations.

While the challengers did not hit hard at incumbent Danny Solis who was not present at the forum, they did take swipes at the system. 

Even Montano, the white collar candidate clearly not connected to the working class like the others, said Pritzker was replaced on the Chicago school board by another 'oligarch.'

While Montano later conceded he is a democrat and a capitalist, he made the sign of the cross as if asking his lord to forgive him, being seated between two socialists.

Hershey said college should be free for everyone (loud applause) and everyone should have the same rights. 
Mujica said there are about 11 TIFs in the ward that take away tax monies from the schools. He said there should be a moratorium on charter schools, and an elected school board.

"But elections don't solve problems," Mujica said. "We elect our city council and that doesn't solve the problems."

Hershey equated the pension crisis, a result of politicians deciding to take a pension holiday, to a renter deciding not to pay the rent, then asking the landlord to lower the rents.

"My socialist friend (Mujica) has out-fundraised me 8 to 1, so everyone has a voice," Montano stated to applause and laughter. "We have to make the uncomfortable comfortable."

The question was asked if privatization have a role in public education.

All candidates emphatically said No!

"Public education is a human right," Sigcho said. "It's money that goes to corporations."

Mujica added privatization is simply a way to pay workers less.

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