Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Red Light On Redistricting...

Evening all, I'm trying to post an update on the Gulen-linked charter school language arts competition that took place on the 11th--- but it's going to have to wait. Busy season here.

Meanwhile, I was just sort of meandering through the campaign contributions for Yes For Independent Maps, which I haven't paid any attention to until now. Evidently there's a deep-pocketed campaign to replace our current opaque gerrymandering system with a different one, an appointed committee.

Do I have to tell you how I feel about appointed committees? Look at the state charter school commission. Talk about a group of people that should have to face voters.

Anyway, I admit to being a bit lazy here; I haven't even read the ballot initiative-- I've only read this Sun-Times article, but when I look at the number of financiers, money managers, scions of wealthy families, tycoons, and right-wing associations shoveling money at the effort, I call foul. Flip through the names for yourself.  There's just no way this thing about anything other than deregulation, privatization, and the general looting of the country. Billionaires, hedge fund people, and the various members of the Steans family don't throw money at things unless it's somehow going to end public education in the long run or create more wealth for the people who've figured out how to game the financial system.

I know there are some groups with good reputations pushing for this thing. I see Common Cause is on board. Admittedly I'm a hermit, but the only time I ever sat with a large group of Common Cause people was when they sat silently while Alderman Joe Moore refused to act on three alderman's petition for ward-wide ballots regarding an elected school board. He simply buried the item on a pretense (it was an hour late or some such crap).  The committee meeting came to a halt-- people were appalled, but the Common Cause folks, I regret to say, didn't join in the protest. They were hoping to get a symbolic resolution passed; I can't even remember the issue, but it really wasn't directly related to the actual jurisdiction of the City Council. The exact sort of thing Alderman Moore specializes in.

I write all this to point out that while reasonable people can disagree, I sometimes get the feeling that people aren't reading the fine print. They aren't looking at who's funding what, and who's agenda is being served. Go ahead and look at the contributors and then list for me all the wonderful causes they've fought for. I'll wait.

Can redistricting be improved? Yes. But let's think of a way that brings actual sunshine into it. When we think of that way, I can pretty much guarantee you that Wall Street isn't going to be funding the effort.

Meanwhile I'm declaring a Red Light on this ballot initiative. Red Lights are like Red Alerts, except quieter.

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