Saturday, November 22, 2014

COD President, Board of Trustees joined at hip in spending scandal

Memo to College of DuPage President Robert Breuder and his supporters on the Board of Trustees:

The spending and state funding aide scandal will not go away because you are tired of hearing about it. You can't will it away. You can't shout it away. You can't sanction away a critical Board member from exposing it. You cannot claim it's a vast, right wing conspiracy of made up lies. You can't justify thousands of dollars in lunches and parties at a fake college restaurant by saying it's a good "bonding" experience and that the thousands of dollars are a pittance of the $186 million operating budget. You can't make the criticism go away by charging your critics are destroying a "treasure." The treasure is the dedicated faculty and the striving students.

The time has come for the Board to address serious allegations of hidden payments to no bid vendors. The time has come for the Board to address obscene remuneration and "extras" you've lavished on President Breuder and also address the "extras" he has lavished on you. The COD's Faculty Association's "No Confidence" vote needs to be addressed forthrightly instead of the Board pretending it wasn't issued months ago.

If President Breuder is unwilling to do the right thing and fade into retirement, and the Board is unwilling to do their duty to fully and fairly investigate the charges swirling around COD and publicized throughout the nation, then step aside and allow this long overdue due diligence be completed by an impartial authority.

21st Century McCarthyites charge 'socialist' instead of 'communist'

The election of Barack Obama did wonders to resurrect soft McCarthyism in our political discourse. While the majority of Obama's critics weren't even around sixty-five years ago when Senator Joe McCarthy started charging that just about anyone who disagreed with his political views was a communist, they have somehow internalized the Master's Voice when it comes to criticizing anyone who supports Obama's economic and social policies as being a 'socialist'. Even before his election, the right began calling Obama, his supporters and his vision for a fairer, more inclusive society, socialistic. They do so with no shame that they are mis-using this word to poison the political discourse. Call the president a socialist, call his policies socialistic and denigrate any of his supporters as fellow traveler socialists and you don't have to construct sensible, reasoned arguments to support your position. Those folks have no position other than fear and loathing. If they are the affluent, they use the socialist charge to further their goal continuing the greatest redistribution of wealth to the affluent from everyone else. If they are affluent wannabes, they latch onto the socialist charge to prevent passage and implementation of any policies, whether the Affordable Care Act, raising the minimum wage or immigration reform, which don't further their endless quest to join that exalted status.

The folks who bandy about the socialist charge to further their political agenda are reprehensible. They may not be causing any of their targets to lose their job or commit suicide as the victims of Senator McCarthy's 'communist' charge experienced. But the corrosive effect they have on the public debate is destructive of a democracy which requires truth and decency and compassion to solve the momentous problems that confront us.

Friday, November 21, 2014

It's not over, President Breuder

College of DuPage President Robert Breuder had this to say about months long charges about his lavish spending, and cynical politicking which prompted the state to cancel a $20 million building grant recently:

 "I think the time of the rhetoric is over. If you got something that you want to accuse the college of, accuse us and be done with it and then be prepared for the response to it. But you can't go on forever and ever just simply inferring, implying, suggesting, making comments that are full of misrepresentation of the facts, incomplete understanding of the facts. I mean, the time of just simply going up here and engaging in a plethora of rhetoric is over."

Those remarks are breathtaking in their arrogance of the serious charges being leveled at Breuder's conduct by the COD Faculty Association, several governmental watchdog groups, and now, because of those principled revelations, the COD community. Essentially, what Breuder is saying, is "There is nothing here so shut up and move on." Breuder can say that because his employer, the COD Board of Trustees, is failing to exercise their oversight responsibility to investigate the COD Faculty Association's "No Confidence Vote" and the substantial and serious charges of financial mismanagement.  Since Board members are the recipient of some of the alleged financial mismanagement, they have lost their credibility to properly exercise their oversight responsibility.

It is time for an impartial, outside source to investigate the avalanche of charges regarding President Breuder's COD governance. It is time for the COD Faculty's No Confidence Vote to be properly aired and resolved. And President Breuder should understand the wisdom of one Laurence "Yogi" Berra, not highly educated in college, but a genius in street smarts when he offered: "It ain't over till it's over."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Obama to Boehner: "You are irrelevant"

On June 27, 2013, the Senate approved the bi-partisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. The bill will save many millions by offering a path to citizenship which will stop the wasteful deportation of most law abiding undocumented who contribute substantially to our economy. The bill was put together by the Obama Administration, Senators, business groups, labor unions, agricultural interests... and immigration advocates. Besides offering a path to citizenship, the bill will implement innovative temporary workers' programs, increase critically needed vises to skilled workers and create a nationwide employer eligibility verification program.

In the 505 days since, GOP House Speaker John Boehner has refused to even consider debating and taking a vote on the Senate bill for one simple reason: He knows this sensible, bi-partisan Senate bill will pass the House and become law. Boehner, and his Republican cabal of obstructionists, will never give President Obama an accomplishment regardless of how many billions it will save, how many families it will stop being shattered by senseless deportation, and how much refusal to address the immigration problem distracts America from solving other serious problems.

But tonight the president will bypass the House obstructionists and announce executive action which will implement some of the proposed law's benefits, especially the end of deportation of millions of law abiding undocumented residents. In so doing, President Obama will be invoking his executive powers to do public good, and to right a wrong being done to the millions of folks who are improving the American Dream for the rest of us while they seek it for themselves. One has to go back sixty-four years ago to President Truman's 1948 Executive Order 9981, which desegregated the military, to find presidential action as monumental.

And in taking the action the president will announce tonight, he will subliminally be saying to Speaker Boehner and his minions motivated solely by fear and loathing, "Mr. Speaker, you are irrelevant."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keystone XL veto pushed back to next year

It was a symbolic but still significant victory for Mother Earth when the Senate failed to pass the Keystone XL Pipeline Bill yesterday. Two Senate Independents joined 39 Democrats to deny the GOP from sending a bill to President Obama which he would likely veto. Keystone failed by ONE VOTE. The pipeline, a 34 inch wide, 1,700 assault on America's fragile substructure, designed to carry 800,000 gallons a day of Canada's dirtiest crude oil underneath the Heartland, is an environmental abomination that must be stopped. Sadly, it has been become a Republican and fossil fuel industry symbol in their effort to discredit and undermine the Obama Administration's effort to transition from toxic fossil fuel to renewable energy. To them, short term political and financial interest trumps sane long term survival of the planet every time.

This gives us a two month window to shore up Democratic and public opinion to support the looming veto when the 2015 Republican Senate majority finally passes the bill. Especially important is pealing off some of the 14 misguided Democratic senators who sided with every Republican to authorize the pipeline. If we can just keep all but five of our likely 46 member coalition of Democrats and Independents to vote for environmental sanity next January, Obama's veto will not be needed. If not, then his vetoing Keystone XL will be one of the more significant actions of his presidency.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Outside investigation needed in College of DuPage spending scandal

It's clear from recent revelations detaining spending sprees and lavish entertainment College of DuPage President Robert Breuder has bestowed upon his administrators and Board Trustees, that an outside investigation is required. These spending shenanigans only came to light due to diligent investigation by community watchdog Adam Andrzejewski, head of The story real gained traction after the recent bombshell that Governor Quinn cancelled a $20 million state grant to COD after learning of President Bueuder's cynical manipulation to free up the money using dubious politicking. The COD Board has lost its credibility among many concerned residents of the COD community to exercise proper oversight. Andrzejewski's recent revelations of lavish spending by Breuder to wine and dine the trustees at COD's money losing gourmet restaurant, and efforts by Breuder and the Board to sanction Kathy Hamilton, the one Board member willing to go public with her concerns about fiscal mismanagement by Breuder and the Board, makes an impartial, outside investigation imperative. When the subordinate, President Breuder, has access to unduly influence his bosses, the Board Trustees, then the students, the parents, the taxpayers, the community all pay the fare.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Waterleaf renamed: Now it's 'Breuder's Banquet'

OK, the College of DuPage's money losing gourmet restaurant Waterleaf (a half million big ones in 2012) hasn't been renamed Breuder's Banquet yet, but it should be.

COD President Robert Breuder deserves kudos (or maybe it's a pink slip) for trying mightily to keep Waterleaf afloat (pun intended) by lavishing Waterleaf's fine food and fine liquor on his administrators, his bosses (the COD trustees), and himself. In a five day pe...riod last December alone, Breuder spent $9,255 on Christmas lunches, dinners and parties for his management team and Board of Trustees. He also spent $10,466 on nine other Board of Trustees dinners and he personally benefited by reimbursement $10,864 for "meals and alcohol," and racked up $1,429 for 14 nights at the upscale campus hotel he got the Board to approve constructing.

When Breuder takes the Board and his team out for eats at Waterleaf, it's truly a banquet: crab cakes, Carpaccio, duck, salmon, Bavarian cake, filet mignon, toffee pudding sorbets, bread pudding, potato puree, chicken mousse, halibut, steak salad and much more. I've gained weight just listing all those yummies.

We don't know if 2013 will see Breuder's Banquet; oops, Waterleaf, show another half million dollar loss as it did in 2012. But if it does, at least President Breuder can say, "I tried."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Take this, Mother Earth

It only took 10 days after his re-election for Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) to poke a stick in Mother Earth's eye. Actually, the stick was a 1,700 mile, 34 inch wide pipeline, and the eye was Mother's fragile substructure containing one of America's most valuable aquifers. The deed was done November 14 when Roskam joined every one of the other 220 voting House Republicans to approve HR 5682, authorizing... the Keystone XL pipeline. If passed it will carry the dirtiest fossil fuel extant across America from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Most Democrats, 161 of 192 (84%) voted responsibly to decline sanctifying further destruction of our one and only home. 
You'll never hear Roskam deny global warming; he's too slick for that. But he'll vote with the Drill, Baby Drill crowd every time because fossil fuel development, with its ultimate earthly destruction, is a core Republican principle.