Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tribune's Unctuous Dear Mike Letter

Unctuous, Urgent: Tribune’s Dear Mike Letter for SB1

My mother loved watching George Sanders in old movies where he played the rake, a character he performed over-frequently.  “He’s so oily,” she’d remark, “like you’re violated just by listening to him.” 

Were my mother a public school teacher she’d say the same thing about the Chicago Tribune and its Editorial Board.  Teachers know only too well what it feels like to be violated by the oleaginous wording of the Trib’s editorials, thanking them profusely as first responders and educators and later reminding them they’re undeserving and nasty union creatures. 

I’m sure Speaker Madigan ignores this bipolar parenting by Mr. Dold and his group of editors too.  After all, last month it was “All Roads Lead to Madigan”: an expose on the dark-creature who controls all things political and otherwise in the state.  Today, it’s “Mike.”  Today it’s promises of ice cream.  Today it’s mocking and unctuous, but a reader (especially a teacher who has or is being violated) can read the urgency.

The Tribune thanks Mike (“May we call you Mike?”) for delivering the numbers, but avoids being nearly so accurate with the competing bill SB2404.  “Cullerton's bill simply doesn't go far enough to dig Illinois out of its pension mess — it would save maybe one-third as much as yours, or maybe one-fourth as much, or maybe less. But Cullerton believes his is the only bill that the courts would uphold” (,0,3209942.story).

In fact, “Mike” had earlier released his emissaries Representative Nekritz and Representative Senger to denounce SB2404 as falling precipitously below the numbers of “Mike’s” bill – SB1.  After their stern condemnations, actuarial computations revealed more would be gained from SB2404 than they had projected.  Capitol Fax was quick to point out the issues, and Representative Senger’s offices worked to control her mathematical bungling (

Indeed, TRS also states “Sponsors project that Senate Bill 2404, if enacted, would reduce the total unfunded liability of the five pension systems by $8.5 billion to $15.7 billion. The projection is that SB 2404 would save the state between $45 billion and $51 billion in future pension expenditures. The projections say that the bill would “free up” $850 million in the fiscal year 2015 state budget for other purposes”( 

Nevertheless, the Tribune urges “Mike” to put pressure on the Senate to secure the seven votes  needed to get SB1 passed, if Cullerton (whom they refer to as a bull-headed Peter Pan) will release it to the floor.  They smoothly remind “Mike” and their readers that  “about $1.9 billion would be freed for fiscal year 2015 should…the courts uphold your plan.”  (Read that should to be IF) Six of the seven votes may come from those who voted present or did not vote at all.

Those six Senators are listed below.  While you are calling your own Representative or Senator to tell them how you want them to vote on SB1 or SB2404, you should make the call to these others who are/were on the fence originally.

These Senators voted “present” on SB1.

Mattie Hunter (217-782-5966, Chicago: 312-949-1908)

Jacqueline Collins (217-782-1607, Chicago: 773-224-2830)

Thomas Cullerton (217-782-9463, Villa Park: 630-903-6662)

These senators “did not vote.” 

Kimberly Lightford (217-782-8505, Westchester: 708-343-7444)

Tim Bivins (217-782-0180, Dixon: 815-284-0045)

Gary Forby (217-782-5509, Benton: 618-439-2504)

(Thank you Glen Brown).

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