Friday, July 11, 2014

Roskam job growth plan: government help only for the rich

All you need to know about Congressman Peter Roskam's (IL-6) bogus job growth plan is his platform position stated at

America should always be a place where hard work, success and achievement are rewarded. But for too long, the economy has been stuck in neutral, causing stifled growth and shrinking opportunity for many individuals. It’s clear that the current playbook isn’t working: an expanding... federal government, with more taxes, more debt and more regulation is not the answer.

That's simply the Republican anti government screed which demonizes any government intervention to rebuild American infrastructure crumbling from decades of neglect. It makes no mention of raising the near poverty level minimum wage to one that provides a decent living in which every additional dollar is immediately returned to an improving economy. It ignores the need extend unemployment benefits to the long term unemployed, a badly needed, humane initiative, which will also return every dollar to a re-stimulated economy. There is no mention that the deficit has dropped from a staggering $1.4 trillion in Bush's last fiscal year to an estimated $649 billion this fiscal year, and down to an estimated $564 billion next year. Roskam ignores the catastrophic harm that an unregulated economy does to our citizenry. In his economic world preventing Deepwater Horizon explosions or the manufacturing millions of cars with faulty ignition systems is not factored into the trashing of all governmental regulation as an economic commandment. If regulations upset the very wealthy, they've got to go. But to create a few hundred or a few thousand jobs, Roskam champions gouging the Heartland with a foul pipeline to placate the fossil fuel industry, as long as it doesn't snake it's way under his house. On taxation, Roskam opposes any and all fairness for the unconscionably greedy rich who use their wealth and their economic clout to pay little or no tax at all while working stiffs get socked. The billionaires have a loyal friend in Illinois' Sixth.

Congressman Roskam knows, like everyone else, that our economic system is rigged: the poor stay poor; the rich get richer. But don't fret. Congressman Roskam is hosting his annual District Jobs Fair at Harper College July 21. Maybe a few district residents will get jobs that someone will get regardless. Every job seeker who attends should inquire of Congressman Roskam when he'll support substantive job bills, raising our pitiful minimum wage, extending benefits to the long term unemployed, sensible legislation to prevent more human and environment harm, and an end to the great tax holiday for the 1%.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

A COD Board member to be proud of

On June 26, the COD Board approved 6-1, President Robert Breuder's proposed new $50 million dollar classroom building, $20 million of which was to be funded by a state grant. That state grant was just cancelled due to embarrassing revelations of Bueuder's scheming to get the state grant, including thanking the Governor publically for it in front of 3,500 people at commencement even though the grant had not yet been made. This state grant / classroom issue publically reveals that President Breuder's $550 million building and landscaping extravaganza has virtually no oversight by a compliant Board seemingly enthralled by the garish opulence of Breuder's endless expansion. Fortunately, we DuPage residents who truly care about educational excellence, reasonable tuition for our children and wise use of tax dollars have one reasonable voice on the Board. The other six Board members would do well to read Kathy Hamilton's op ed and decide when they will exercise the same common sense, fiscal responsibility and true concern for higher education in DuPage County.
Stop expansion for expansion's sake - DAILY HERALD, JULY 8, 2014

Because of board policy restricting member speech, I must assert my First Amendment right in this letter as a citizen.

We all want to meet the educational needs of our community. I take that goal very seriously as the vice chairman at the College of DuPage. Recently, the COD board voted on a $50 million building for new classrooms. I was the only board member that opposed that investment. I felt the project warranted further analysis and definition of scope in terms of funding.

The $50 million project was to be funded by existing COD cash of $30 million and $20 million from the state. The state funding was uncertain and the appropriateness of linking the $20 million to the building project has recently come into question.

The scope of the funding should not determine the scope of the project. The request for additional classroom space should have included a complete assessment of current and future needs. Investments should be measured against a defined business model and strategic plan and should be an open and transparent starting point for decisions. The impact of any investment on a strategic plan should be clear or made clear. This was not done.

It is your money: your state income taxes, your property taxes and your student tuition. It is in the best interest of the community, the college and its students that board decisions as well as the circumstances under which they are made see the light of day. We need to stop expansion for expansion sake. Our community deserves better.

Kathy Hamilton
Vice Chair
COD Board

Monday, July 07, 2014

COD students go on line; President Breuder builds to the sky

Talk about two groups going in opposite directions, consider the COD student body and the COD Board, led by irrepressible building builder Robert Breuder. While many COD students, following a nationwide trend, have gravitated to online classes, COD President Robert Breuder touts his five year, half billion dollar building empire that has turned the COD campus into a veritable city within a city. While most of the dough has gon...e for brick and mortar as students go for pixels in the comfort of their homes, a near fortune has gone for landscaping that would make Harvard or the University of Chicago proud. In his now infamous May 9 email to the Board agonizing over the need to hastily approve a new classroom building to justify getting a $20 million grant from Governor Quinn, Breuder told the Board they should trust him because, "in the last five years, I have led a $550 million transformation of our physical plant. By now I hope all Board members have confidence in my judgment. But, then again, this may be about something else." You bet this is about something else. It's about constructing a Xanadu of a campus on the backs of taxpayers and students with ever increasing tax levies and tuition, while COD has squired away $72 million in the bank for a 'rainy day.' Breuder told the Chicago Tribune, which editorialized against his machinations to acquire the $20 million grant without a firm construction project in place, 'he was doing what ever college president does: chasing funds.' His last comment tells all we need to know: 'he runs the college like a business.'

The Board and the community need to remind Breuder that COD is not a business, it is and educational institution. And when students are forced out because their tuition is constantly raised to build a permanent legacy for their president, that represents a business that is failing

Sanguinetti not ready...for Prime Time

Novice candidate for high office, Evelyn Sanguinetti, Republican Bruce Rauner's running mate for Lt. Governor, has a lot to learn about politics. In an interview for Hola America TV, Sanguinetti said she'd be Rauner's partner "and whenever he's not, I will be able to make decisions in his stead." The only problem with that statement is the Lt. Governor has n...o gubernatorial decision making powers. Then, Sanguinetti's Facebook profile page suddenly disappeared. One reason may be that Sanguinetti "liked" the movie '2016: Obama's America," a scorched earth irrational attack on President Obama. She also "liked" the page 'I will NOT vote for Obama in 2012' containing childish, gratuitously insulting posts about the president. Sanguinetti may already have worn out her welcome with the Rauner campaign which likely encouraged her to get off Facebook and gave her a crash course on the duties of the Lt. Governor. No such controversy surrounds Paul Vallas, Governor Quinn's running mate who has a long, distinguished and scandal free record of public service. We know Paul Vallas, and it's apparent that Evelyn Sanguinetti is no Paul Vallas.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

COD Prez weaves a tangled web

College of DuPage President Robert Breuder is in well deserved hot water for his May 9 email to the Board of Trustees strategizing how to wrangle $20 million in state funding for the college. His opening line is a classic: "I'm in a bit of a quandary." Then he laments how he's been working with the Governor's Office "seemingly forever" to get "our" $20 million. The quandary Breuder quickly identifies is that the two projects originally floated, building a Homeland Security building and demolishing unneeded buildings, have already been funded. What to do? Breuder suggests slam-dunking a new classroom building, and, in the interests of urgency, wants the Board to rubberstamp his suggestion so he can gobble up the $20 mill before someone else gets it. To cement this maneuver Breuder plans to thank Governor Quinn publically for the loot in front of 3,500 people when he addresses commencement before the money is committed. Breuder implies that with 3,500 votes on the line, Quinn won't dare renege giving COD the money. If that is not bad enough, Breuder surmises that in the event the new classroom building is not approved, "there is always the option of telling the Governor we want the money, will bank it until we figure out how to use it, and then build something." That translates roughly to "Governor Quinn, show COD the money and we promise to build something really, really good."

This email sat dormant for seven weeks till public watchdog group For The Good of Illinois acquired a copy of it under the Freedom of Information Act. The resulting publicity of Breuder's duplicity caused Governor Quinn, in a stinging rebuke to Breuder, to withdraw the $20 million grant. Additionally, COD Board Vice Chair Kathy Hamilton stated the Board has a responsibility to investigate possible wrongdoing by Breuder. He closed his email with this prophetic comment: "Bottom line: I need some room to breathe on this matter so I can enhance the likelihood we get the $20 million, soon." Alas, the oxygen has just been snuffed out in Breuder's obsession to secure $20 million using extremely dubious machinations. His conduct reminds me of the wise aphorism:
                 "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive"