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Whitney To Chicago Teachers: Slow Torture Or Quick Beheading

Dear Chicago Teachers,

In the race for Governor, you are facing tremendous pressure to "fall into line" with other unions and endorse and support Pat Quinn - the same Pat Quinn who has already been presiding over the systematic destruction of the public sector, including the public school system in Illinois.

Quinn poses as a friend of education but his proposed FY 2011 budget proposed cuts of $1.227 billion, a 16.8 percent drop, the largest single-year cut in Illinois history.

As the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability put it, "Primary education funding bears the brunt of the cuts implemented in [Quinn's proposed] FY2011 budget."

And when the Democrat-controlled General Assembly ultimately adopted a different approach - i.e., more borrowing, more unpaid bills (which amount to de facto cuts), and let the Governor make the spending cuts - Quinn obliged with cuts to school funding of $261 million imposed on July 1st, not to mention another cut of $100 million to higher education.

In this race, I am the only candidate standing up for tax and budget reforms aimed at restoring health to the public sector, especially education.

I am the only candidate who stands with the Responsible Budget Coalition and its campaign to fix our broken tax system and raise more revenue by making it more progressive, the campaign supported by your union.

I was the only candidate who stood with you and your brothers and sisters in the IFT on April 21st when we protested for a responsible budget in Springfield.

And I am the only candidate who brings to the table new and innovative ideas for raising more revenue, such as a tax on speculative trading in Illinois, which could readily raise billions of dollars to restore health to the public sector, and a state bank, which will enable our government to raise additional revenues without raising taxes more than necessary.

Yes, I've heard the argument: "As bad as Quinn is, Brady would be even worse." But that's like the "choice" between slow torture and a quick beheading. You still end up dead.

The fact is that the Democratic Party has had complete control of our State government, the General Assembly and the governorship for seven straight years. Ask yourself: Have things gotten better or have they gotten worse? Do you really want more of the same? Do you really want to continue to leave your future in the hands of the Party that has given you Rod Blagojevich, Pat Quinn, Mike Madigan and Arne Duncan?

If you keep voting the (perceived) lesser of two evils, the system only continues to grow more evil.

You don't have to accept the no-win choice of Quinn or Brady. You can choose your ally, me, Green Party candidate Rich Whitney, and my running mate for Lieutenant Governor, veteran school teacher Don Crawford.

I realize that I am a long shot to win but the odds will improve if you endorse me and provide a little support.

Never mind the public opinion polls, most of which don't reveal their methods and which have an institutional bias against candidates like me and anyone who challenges the status quo.

I am gaining traction, since I am the only candidate presenting a realistic budget plan.

We are working the media effectively. I did well in the Chicago Tribune editorial board debate and I will be included in at least one more televised debate, maybe more.

We have Green Party members throughout the state working the phones and hitting the streets. People respond to my message with overwhelming approval; I just need to get the message out to enough people. With your help, we can reach critical mass.

Besides, even if Quinn or Brady does win, what will send the stronger message to the new Governor? That you are a union that is going to stand up for itself and fight the cutbacks, and fight to fix our broken tax system, or that you are a union that is going to fold, give in, and beg and plead for slightly less devastation? Does anyone think that our public schools can withstand any more cutbacks? If you don't fight for real political change now, what will it take to get you do so?

What do you think your students would want you to do?

For goodness sake, please let there be one labor union that will put up a fight for the public interest on the political field and stop this craven, abusive relationship with the Democratic Party, which just takes your support for granted. Stand up for your interests, stand up for your principles, have the courage of your convictions. Please support me, Rich Whitney, in the 2010 race for Governor.

In Solidarity - no matter what you decide,

Rich Whitney

Green Party candidate for Governor

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Comments welcome.

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See also:
* I'm With Whitney
* Whitney: Fair Taxes For All
* Whitney: Abolish Secret Lottery
* A Personal Plea From Me - And Rich Whitney
* Where Whitney Stands



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Posted on October 7, 2010


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