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Added Jul 20 2012

I plan to hold a City Council hearing next Monday on a resolution I introduced at last month's City Council meeting, calling for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The hearing will be held Monday, July 23rd, at 10 a.m., in Room 201A of City Hall (121 N. LaSalle).

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court overturned years of precedent and ruled that corporations are people and, as such, have a first amendment right to spend unlimited money to support or oppose political candidates. The decision threatens to undermine the very fabric of our democracy at all levels of government by giving corporations and wealthy individuals even more power to influence elections and public policy.

The resolution calls for an amendment to the Constitution that would restore the ability of government at all levels to set limits on the amount of money that corporations and wealthy individuals can spend on campaigns.

To read the resolution, click on the link below:

http://www.epagecity.com/site/files/322/135839/452118/620524/Citizens_United_Resolution.pdf

If the Chicago City Council adopts this resolution, it will join over 250 city and town councils across the nation who have raised their collective voice to denounce the Supreme Court decision and call for limits on the amount of money corporations and billionaires can spend on elections.

Why should the members of the Chicago City Council weigh in on this issue? As the elected officials closest to the people, we've witnessed firsthand the devastating impact on our communities of federal spending and tax policies driven by the wealthy few at the expense of the many. These policies exist because the wealthy and powerful dominate the debate and drown out opposing views.

If you don't have another commitment, I hope you will venture to City Hall Monday morning to lend your support to this important resolution.

  • Inactive user

    I think this is great. I'd love to see all funding deals out of our politics. Although it may be pie in the sky, it's great to reign it in. Hopefully the term "corporation" also includes large union (both private and public) as a show of true bipartisanship.

    Although I will be moving out of your district near the end of the month, I wanted to let you know that your efforts are noticed and appreciated. You're willingness to stand up for the individual and your district is second to none. You're personal approach and directness is something that I respect and admire.

    If I was able to vote, you'd have this Ron Paul Conservative's vote in the next election.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    I've ventured to City Hall more than once. The last time Ald. Suarez warned that my lone, dissenting voice of a simple "No" in a sea of loud supporters of a ridiculous ordinance would be removed from the council hearing. Democracy at it's best (not). While I truly appreciate the advance notice and invite, City Hall still operates business as usual, certainly with the current administration. I can't apologize for being cynical. I'd like to see Aldermen and women actually standing up to the administration for "a change".

    While I personally don't agree with PACS, I do agree with Justice Scalia's opinion on the matter. Again, Democracy, you may not like the results, but there are worse alternatives.

    I don't wish to be critical of you, Ald. Moore, but how is City Council any different "wealthy and powerful dominate"?

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    Dear Alderman Moore:

    I applaud your efforts. From what I understand, campaign finance reform, including overturning Citizens United, is crucial to restoring the democratic process to our Republic.

    That said, I'm left wondering if the hearing can really be a catalyst for change. Is there legal precedent (at the Supreme Court level)? What does it take, due process-wise, to overturn the Supreme Court's ridiculous decision?

    I mean, the Equal Rights Amendment lost a valiant battle in 1979. Here it is 33 years later and women are still earning 76 cents to every man's dollar and our elected officials have not had the political capital to vote for what I believe to be a VERY important constitutional amendment... What makes you think hearings and resolutions at the municipal level are going to make a difference to overturning Citizens United?

    In other words, I want very much to support your efforts, but I guess I need a brief primer in constitutional law in the context of what it takes to overturn a law handed down by the highest court of the land. Without that knowledge, I'm left feeling like your hearing is no more than political posturing that really doesn't mean anything.

    Thanks for addressing this matter.

    Sincerely,
    Phoebe King
    49th Ward Constituent

    PS Since I have your attention for a moment: How come you haven't responded to my query re: unfunded pensions? That thread has more than 260 comments--not one of them is yours. http://chicago.everyblock.com/announcements/apr30-something-is-wrong-picture-unfunded-pensions-4936283/ Thanks.

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    OK, so here's a link to an article about how both houses of Congress, by a 2/3 Supermajority, can amend the Constitution, which then has to be ratified by 2/3 of states (which, if I'm remembering correctly, is how the ERA was defeated). http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/usconstitution/a/constamend.htm

    Again, I'm left wondering how 250 city resolutions are going to make a difference in getting a 2/3 supermajority vote in Congress? The composition of the current Senate would NEVER get the votes necessary to overturn Citizens United. To my way of thinking, the only chance we have is to keep Obama in office for his lame duck term and retake control of both houses, which is probably a self-defeating proposition b/c of the huge influx of corporate, Koch et al. money being dumped in so-called swing states as a result of Citizens United. It's a vicious circle that winds up screwing progressives at every turn.

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    It sure is quiet in here. ;-) *crickets chirping*

  • Marianne Passionate

    I applaud your work and your efforts, too, Mr. Alderman. I too was very disappointed in the Supreme Court ruling. I worry what this decision will open the door to. If an amendment can overturn this questionable ruling, I will be delighted. And grateful. I don't know if my presence at the City Council meeting will make a difference, but if the alderman wants every supporter there who can make the time for it, I will do my best to be there.

  • Alderman Moore: you might impress more of the neighboors if you were to propose a measure to reform the pensions (or just your pension) that will affect all of US in our home city/state. Thanks for your efforts and if I didn't have to work I'd be there on Monday. Have a great weekend!

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    Phoebe, I believe the collective voice of the elected representatives of 2.6 million people will have an impact. I never said passing the resolution would magically result in the overturning of Citizens United. But all of us--individual citizens, as well as their elected representatives--have a duty to speak out. Allow me to quote from Professor Dick Simpson, a life-long political reformer, who wrote this week about my efforts to adopt a resolution in Chicago:

    "If it seems farfetched to begin a movement to pass a constitutional amendment here in Chicago, similar resolutions have passed or are in the process of being passed in 288 other cities and towns. They range from Atlanta and Albuquerque down the alphabet to Wilmington, Worcester and Yarmouth. In the age of the internet, coordinating grassroots efforts is much easier. We in Chicago need to be a part of that process."

    http://www.skylinenewspaper.com/News/07-18-2012/Chicagoans_vs._corporate_campaign_cash

    Can I guarantee the resolution will "make a difference?" Of course, I can't. But I can guarantee if we don't speak out, the corporate and moneyed influences inevitably will continue to have undue influence at all levels of government.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    Phoebe, with regard to the pension issue, the terms of my pension plan, and the plans of the other aldermen, were set before I joined the City Council. They are governed by state law and any change to the pension formula must be made by the Illinois General Assembly, not the City Council.

    As you may know, because I'm a municipal employee, I'm not entitled to Social Security. I pay over 9% of my annual salary into my pension fund and I have relied on that pension to plan for my retirement. I'm also aware that the pension funds are underfunded and some sacrifices will have to be made to maintain the solvency of the funds. I'm certainly prepared to share in those sacrifices.

    SCICubsFan, I think Mayor Emanuel's proposals for pension reform are a good first start to the discussion:

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/12396286-418/rahm-emanuel-taxes-in-chicago-will-soar-without-pension-reforms.html

  • ks1227 RP resident

    The Citizen's United decision was incredibly damaging for democracy, and I for one am glad that my elected alderman is taking the public good seriously enough to think about ways to overturn it. It affects all of us.

  • Suzanne Devane Ward 49 Republican Committeeman

    Joe -- Given the limited amount of time that any elected official has to get done the amount of work related to his office, why would you waste resources on this quixotic effort? You are the elected alderman of the 49th Ward, not a member of Congress. If you want to work on national issues, run for a national office. I’m a consultant and when a client hires me, I have to provide to that client the work product they hired me to do – not something else because I find it more interesting.

    Crime is an issue in Chicago, as is the need for TIF reform, and greater accountability and ethics oversight in the City Council and for the Infrastructure Fund. In fact, people in this Ward would be better served if you wrote a bill amending City law to require public hearings before a liquor license is granted and notification to more people than the registered voters who live within 250 feet of the proposed location of the new liquor license.

    You state that you can do nothing about pension reform as it is a matter for the Illinois General Assembly. Why doesn’t this perspective of not being in your domain hold true for Constitutional amendments on campaign finance laws?

    [And, if you REALLY cared about campaign finance reform, you’d include union money in your resolution.]

  • Michael J. Harrington Chicago native, Rogers Park / 49th Ward resident.

    Suzanne Devane makes a good point about the need for our city council to take leadership on issues closer to home. As it turn out there IS a more local issue relevant to us as 49th Ward voters on Alderman Moore's Human Relations Committee agenda this Monday. We need an accountable and ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD in Chicago, and 10 alderman support a resolution on it because the appointed board isn't working. Please encourage our Alderman Joe Moore NOW to call it up for a vote in his city council Human Relations Committee meeting at 10am, Monday, July 23. Contact Moore via email at ward49@cityofchicago.org or call him 773.338.5796. More info on this campaign is at http://ilraiseyourhand.org/content/elected-representative-school-board-campaign.

  • Helen North of Howard for 50 + years

    Suzanne, we get it. You're a Republican. You like the fact that corporations can buy elections. Most 49th warders aren't Republicans. The alderman IS doing what I hired him to do.

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    Alderman Moore:

    I appreciate you taking the time to respond re: Citizens United. I continue to applaud your efforts and will try to attend the hearing on Monday.

    Unfortunately, your response didn't really address my query, imo. How will 288 resolutions against Citizens United be leveraged to effect change? I'm not an attorney. Heck, I couldn't even remember what it takes to enact a constitutional amendment, something I probably learned in high school civics. And I certainly have no expectation that your hearing is going to magically do anything.

    I'm wondering, based on historical precedence, HOW the support from millions of Americans in overturning Citizens United will make it happen? Will this groundswell of populist opinion compel our national legislators to take up the debate and ultimately draft an amendment that can realistically be voted for by a 2/3 supermajority of both houses of Congress? Is that how it has worked in the past?

    I do not mean to negate your efforts--and I wholeheartedly support overturning Citizens United--but you can't blame me for being a little cynical, can you? If you could tell us something like, "Well, there's no guarantee but we have a plan that will..." or, "History has shown that constitutional amendments have often resulted from We the People rising in unison against the tyranny of..." I, for one, would feel better about you investing your time and energy in this pursuit as opposed to, let's say, attracting more job-creating, tax-paying businesses to the ward.

    Thanks again for taking the time to respond. I hope you have a great turnout on Monday.

    Best,
    Phoebe

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    O.M.G. I've heard people tell me that lefties have been known to shift to the right as they age. I was like, No Way! I have never voted for a Republican in my entire voting life! I will always be a civil rights activist and progressive in my politics.

    So, how come I find myself nodding my head in agreement at the first paragraph of Suzanne's post in this thread? (Let me be clear: I do NOT agree with the entire post, just the first paragraph and the first sentence of the second paragraph.)

    Please tell me it ain't so. I am NOT becoming a Republican! ;-)

  • Jim A Sic Semper Canis

    @Phoebe: I agree that campaign finance reform is perhaps the most vital issue of our time in that the system we have now essentially codifies bribery. I also share your skepticism that Alderman Moore's proposal will result in any change. However, someone has to start this process somewhere and I really don't see this becoming a major obstacle to the rest of the Alderman's work.

    That being said, my understanding is that a voluntary public finance system for state and municipal elections would pass muster under the Citizens United Regime. Putting pressure on our State legislators to put such a system in place and, once in place, to vow to work within the public system, would force them to put their money where there mouth is on campaign finance reform. I'll write my Rep (Greg Harris) and Heather Steans to try to clarify their positions on this issue. Those who care about this issue and who live in Rep Cassidy's district might do the same.

  • Suzanne Devane Ward 49 Republican Committeeman

    Phoebe -- Sit down because I don't want to frighten you, but I was actually a communist as a college student! I thought the idea of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" was quite noble! It just takes history to show that in practice, this theory produces an incredible increase in "need" and an equally incredible decrease in "ability."

    Join us -- we're not all dark and evil over this side of the bridge! :)

    Michael -- My biggest concern about elected school boards is that it would be a major focus of the school unions to take over the school board via the electoral process. Then, we have no managment - just labor -- and it's calling all the shots with tax funds.

    That being said, I do have some sympathy with the good teachers who are fighting an uphill battle and being blamed if all students don't meet a set standard. I wish some politician would say to voters, "Don't expect a teacher to work miracles with your kids' education if you don't care enough to help them succeed in school by helping with homework, getting a kid in bed so they aren't dragging, reading with and to them, etc." As a working mom, I know you can be tired at night so it isn't easy -- but it's necessary.

  • Michael J. Harrington Chicago native, Rogers Park / 49th Ward resident.

    Suzanne, your concern about union control is unwarranted. Anti-union sentiment is an age-old fear promoted by the-powers-that-be to serve their own interests. Just look at the evidence from the governmental bodies in Chicago. After nearly a century of organized labor, thanks to unions there have been substantial workplace improvements, but there is not a single government where unionists - who are also voters - have the electoral strength to "call the shots." Not a one. We all know that things would be very, very, very different on a wide range of issues IF unions were as powerful as you fear.

  • Al I. Rogers Park since 2006

    I agree strongly with MJH regarding unions. Not a union member myself, but I support others' rights to do so. I feel that in the bigger picture, without unions, big money corporate interest types like the Koch Brothers would find it just that much easier to force their crazy right wing agenda over on to the rest of us. The Kochs are spending their big dollars on support for candidates in your party, not mine, so it doesn't really surprise me that you'd be anti-union.

  • Al I. Rogers Park since 2006

    (Don't take this as blanket agreement, MJH -- I think you're basically encouraging people to Facebook bomb Joe Moore to try to get him to do something he already made clear he doesn't feel it appropriate to do. It's fine to disagree with him on it, but it feels like you're trying to get people to go the dead horse just to try to rub it in or something.)

  • Michael J. Harrington Chicago native, Rogers Park / 49th Ward resident.

    Al, it's never too late to do the right thing. I'm glad to be one among many of our neighbors who agree.

  • Al I. Rogers Park since 2006

    Meant to say "go beat the dead horse" above.

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    Off the topic, but following the thread. Have any of you owned a small business and been subject to unions? Would love to know, seeing how you all know so much. Or do we just talk out of our ...

  • Al I. Rogers Park since 2006

    I've been a member of two different unions in two different prior career steps. And it's not all rosy, I know. I had a bad experience with one of them. I've never owned a small business. Always wanted to, but health care is a killer expense that has always tied me to an employer.

  • JG

    Alderman Moore and other Chicago Alderman, what in the world are you spending time on issues such as this? Please show me your relevant facts on this and how it has or will change the one-party rule that has been in place in Chicago for a century (this may be a good thing given our financial situation and deteriorating infrastructure). I would really recommend that you focus on the current city budget crisis before it spirals out of control and wipes us all out. These red herring issues are fun political chowder, but seriously, get back to what we are paying you for. I would also recommend you focus on the shootings, which is a tragedy of untold proportions sweeping our city and taking our young children from us.

  • Thanks JG! Your point is right on! I dream of when my alderman STARTs DEALING WITH ISSUES ON OUR BLOCKS!!! smoke screan spotted, he's simply campagning for votes, right Alderman? Now insert your party sound bite and continue to ignore issues on Ashland, Morse, Sheridan and Clark.. for preferred point of referwnce that make all your constituents proud keep your attention on projects similar to the current work on Howard, imrpoving our els, etc. Help us bring businesses and families to Rogers Park.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    To those who somehow feel I can't walk and chew gum at the same time, I invite you to peruse the news section of my web site--http://www.ward49.com/site/epage/37954_322.htm. You will find the vast majority of issues I work on relate directly to the ward. But folks, we don't live on an island immune to the effects of national and state policy. Our ability to address the problems here in Chicago and Rogers Park are affected directly by policies and spending decisions made at the national and state level.

    The current economic mess we're in was a direct result of a federal government asleep at the switch. The deregulation of Wall Street occurred under both Democratic and Republican regimes and took place because corporate America had an undue influence on of our policy makers. Why? Because they predominantly fund the election campaigns of the president and members of Congress. Why does agribusiness and the oil industry continue to receive generous tax breaks costing our treasury billions of dollars while cities are forced to cut police, firefighters and teachers due to cutbacks in federal support? Look at the campaign disclosure reports.

    The Supreme Courts recent decision will only make it worse. For the first time in our history, spending on federal races will approach a half a trillion dollars. And where do you think the vast majority of that money will come from?

    JG and others, you note Chicago's "financial situation and deteriorating infrastructure" and our "current city budget crisis" as if we're the only city in the country facing these problems. I've got news for you, just about every city in the country is confronting the same challenges. Unless we begin to connect the dots between our problems at home and the federal policies that lead to those problems and the campaign money that influences those policies, we will just continue to lurch from crisis to crisis.

    (to be continued)

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    (continued from previous post)

    There is a reason over 250 city and town councils across the nation have taken the time to weigh in on this issue. They've connected the dots. It's time Chicago do the same and lend its considerable weight to the national debate.

  • Suzanne Devane Ward 49 Republican Committeeman

    Joe – In a July 5 post about the liquor store you failed to notify the community about you said: “My office staff and I are frequently overwhelmed by the volume of service requests that my office is called upon to address on a daily basis and sometimes things fall through the cracks.” Yet now you claim you have the time to work on a constitutional amendment because you can walk and chew gum at the same time. Time is a limited commodity and you know it.

  • Suzanne Devane Ward 49 Republican Committeeman

    Michael & Joe – Chicago is the town that unions built with foot power and political contributions in return for quid pro quo deals. Union dues were used as political contributions to get Democrats elected. In return, the union bosses got sweetheart deals for themselves and duped their members into believing they were taking care of their concerns.

    I am struck by the heartfelt comments from teachers on another EB thread. They did what they were supposed to do in making pension contributions, and now the outlook for them isn’t good. These union bosses knew what was going on and that the governmental entities weren’t making required contributions, but what did they do? Nothing. They were more interested in rigging the system to their benefit. I would encourage union members to hold their leaders accountable.

    The reason we are in the fiscal mess we are in is not because of corporate political contributions but because we spend more money than we have at every level of government. According to the White House Office of Management & Budget (certainly not a Republican source at this point) 63% of our federal budget is on autopilot in that it goes out automatically – social security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, farm subsidies, interest payments, etc. In 2009, for the first time in our history as a nation, every dollar that came in as revenues had been committed before Congress could even weigh in on anything. For everything else, government borrows.

    There are five stages of grief, and I think Americans are on the spectrum somewhere between Stage 1-Denial and Stage 2 – Anger. We have the Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance stages yet to come.

  • Michael J. Harrington Chicago native, Rogers Park / 49th Ward resident.

    Hey Suzanne, while you get no quarrel from me about the facts of the history of union excesses and selfishness, I'd be careful with throwing around such sweeping generalizations about unions. Always and all bad, deceiving members, and corrupt? No. For the record, when I was recruited by Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis I was impressed by her commitment to setting higher standards in union ethics and aligning our mission to be more in sync with the public good. We are doing that!

    Meanwhile, there's an important vote Monday morning at 10am in Alderman Moore's city council Human Relations Committee that requires our attention.

  • Matt M. Rogers Park Resident

    Yes Suzanne, the big banks have absolutely nothing to do with the mess we are in right now. The crashing big banks, gambling on wall street, and the bailouts afterwards have absolutely nothing to do with it. And the lack of regulation that allowed for those types of exceedingly risky bets and the extended economic crisis caused by it had absolutely nothing to do with campaign contribution-fueled deregulation, right?

    Like Joe said, he can walk and chew gum at the same time, and it's about time we join the 250 other cities that have weighed in on the issue. And a bit of a newsflash to you Suzanne- The Citizens United ruling directly affects unions as well as corporations (although their influence is far greater). Why do you think the unions were able to pour millions into independent expenditures in WI? Citizens United... Unfortunately it's a race to the bottom that we shouldn't be having, but it's the reality of the decision.

    And I do question why you are so adamantly opposed to this resolution. As a Republican, do you agree with the general view of your party and presidential nominee that corporations are people? Should corporations, billionaires (and by extension, unions) have the right to donate unlimited amounts of money to campaigns, or on behalf of candidates? What is your ideal framework of political contribution regulations?

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    Err, unless I'm missing something, this is a First Amendment issue. I get many of you don't like the results (nor do I), but you're then in favor of censorship as the alternative? Based on what? An imperfect capitalist society? Slippery slope. Anyone wish to tackle the constitutional issue at the very heart of this? I'm on neither side of the isle, but in general I'm not in favor of tinkering with our freedoms.

  • Matt M. Rogers Park Resident

    Dee, this doesn't so much have to do with "tinkering with our freedoms", rather how we define the first amendment. It's not as straightforward as one may think.

    It states: Congress shall make no law.... abridging the freedom of speech.

    Read plainly and without a narrower interpretation, it would allow for death threats, hate speech, screaming "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater, conspiracy in all its forms, defamation and a million other crimes. The general rule is that free speech can be limited when it interferes or diminishes other freedoms.

    Applied in it's full extent to campaign contributions, any entity could give an unlimited amount of money to any candidate, and even say "Please vote to deregulate my industry. Here is a billion dollars."

    Contrary to popular belief, the Citizens United decision does not allow for unlimited contributions TO candidates. An entity giving money to a candidate is still limited by constitutionally upheld contribution limits, disclosure requirements, etc. What it does allow is "expenditures" on behalf of a candidate. These expenditures cannot be coordinated or planned with the candidate in any way. The money is simply spent on mailers, TV ads, field activities etc. to benefit a candidate, or more often attack their opponent. Groups are often created that corporations or people donate to who then spend in a coordinated campaign. The donors to these groups are often 100% anonymous. So it serves as a de facto campaign contribution- The candidate knows which group is spending to help them, and can repay them in government if they so wish.

  • Matt M. Rogers Park Resident

    The key constitutional questions are:
    1) Can corporations be legally defined as "people"
    2) To what extent is a campaign contribution an act of speech
    3) Do unregulated, unlimited contributions or expenditures from any entity interfere with others freedoms?
    4) Does the harm done to democracy justify a restriction on freedom of speech?

    Here is a good primer on the case itself- http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/08-205

    Joe's proposal is a non-binding resolution simply stating it should be overturned. Some would argue it is a waste of time since it has no actual effect. Others would say it doesn't take much time, and is a symbolic gesture to add the weight of our city to the growing number who oppose the decision and seek to mitigate it.

  • Suzanne, speaking of wasting resources on a quixotic effort, you do realize you're a Republican ward committeeman in the city of Chicago, right?

    (I'm party agnostic, but still...)

  • JG

    Alderman Moore,

    Thanks for the response, but there are several inaccuracies that need to be addressed in your note, along with a better understanding of the issues.

    First, I am not questioning your ability to "walk and chew gum at the same time," the issue is how a leader prioritizes their time. I run a billion-dollar business so I am quite busy like you and have limited time to waste. As a result, I go for the issues that will make the biggest impact on my business. Focusing on "red herring" issues simply wastes precious time and organizational assets. In Chicago's case, the Citizen's United issue should be near the bottom of your priorities.

    Second, your comment on the "current economic mess that we're in ... due to deregulation" actually has very little to do with deregulation. Instead, this is a simplistic headline with little economic fact behind it. The housing market, for example, finally burst due to 4 fatally flawed policy decisions as agreed by most economists: 1) The CRA, or Community Reinvestment Act, forced banks to make loans to consumers who never would have qualified for a mortgage in the first place - this was insane from the start; 2) Fannie Mae which guaranteed loans to nearly any borrower without properly securing the loan. They also had no real oversight and risked taxpayer money with no regard according to several subsequent investigations; 3) Low interest rates driven by the Fed, which made loans incredibly cheap and nearly free; 4) a failure by credit agencies to properly rate the instruments that were being pushed by Fannie, since the taxpayer was ultimately on the hook. It is also important to note, that there were also more government auditors in 2008 than any other period in our history, so plenty of "regulation" and oversight was going on. Cont'd...

  • JG

    ...However, this only addresses the housing issue.  I would add that the continuing recession we are also due in large part to the anti-business and heavy regulatory environment in Washington and states like Illinois, the deficit spending by the federal and local governments that is sucking up private capital to finance these deficits away from investing in businesses, and the continued increase of exploding taxes across all layers of government.

    Third, I am not sure your vitriol for Oil companies as it relates to subsidies, but the Oil and Gas industry actually pays the highest overall corporate tax rate in the US, according to IRS data, than any other industry, which indicates it has the least amount of "subsides."  However, if you are talking about real subsidies such as those paid to the Ethanol or Bio-diesel lobby, or companies like Solyndra, than I am with you. But, please, we need more jobs in the Chicago area, so your comments come across as anti-business, which concerns me.

    Last, your comment and connection that your/Chicago's ability to deal with problems is directly related to Citizen's United is a poor excuse and factually unproven. Indiana, Ohio, and others have addressed their issues head on, as difficult as it is, and have turned the page in ensuring their kids will not inherit a debt-ridden community in which it cannot afford to pay its bills.

    One last point, if I could offer you my top 5 priorities in which I would focus my time and assets, here is what I would do: 1) get crime under control, 2) balance the budget and reduce our debt, 3) implement real education reform, 4) create a true business friendly climate, and 5) clean up the corruption.

    I hope you will consider these facts on how you set your priorities for your constituents to ensure you make the biggest impact. Time is not on our side.

    Warm regards, JG

  • JG, i haven't even finished reading your first post- but I must share, much love!! Well written!

  • Matt M. Rogers Park Resident

    "the Oil and Gas industry actually pays the highest overall corporate tax rate in the US, according to IRS data, than any other industry, which indicates it has the least amount of "subsides.""
    They are also among most of the top 10 largest corporations in America. And the taxes they pay are irrelevant to the amount of subsidies they get. You seem to be implying they get "the least amount of subsidies" which is patently false. They would be paying the fair share of taxes.

    Your arguments about the cause of the housing crisis are largely correct, but you are missing some critical components that dramatically increased the impact. Deregulation that allowed for massive mortgage backed securities, the bets on bets, derivatives trading, etc. that dramatically increased the scope and depth of the crisis. Sure, the causes you point out caused problems, but deregulation significantly magnified the impact.

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    Thank you, Matt, for addressing JG's distorted assertions. Although I am not surprised that a person who says he/she runs a billion-dollar business would spin the rhetoric well to the right, I am glad you are calling him/her on it.

    My understanding of the real estate market crash in '08 has a lot less to do with the CRA, which was enacted in 1977, and more to do with basic supply and demand. The global market was looking for investment opportunities and conditions were ripe for the mortgage-backed securities and derivatives Matt mentioned. NPR did a FANTASTIC report in 2008 that explored the depth and breadth of this very issue. Here's a link. I highly recommend it: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90327686

    Your other points (2-4) about banks making loans to people who weren't qualified was, again, more about corporate greed than government interference. In fact, regulatory changes to the CRA during Bush Jr.'s tenure were considered to be more favorable to lenders than consumers, according to this wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Reinvestment_Act). I actually benefited from the lax mortgage market when I bought my condo in 2004. I was able to secure a stated income, stated asset variable rate loan (I forget what the official name for such a loan was back then) that there's no way I'd be able to get today. Fortunately, I got out just before the market tanked. A LOT of people weren't so lucky.

    I'm not sure which economists you are referring to in your claims, but I daresay their perspectives are skewed further to the right than yours. Can you cite who/ where you get your information from? I'd like to read up on it. Thanks!

  • Al I. Rogers Park since 2006

    JG, thanks for your post(s). They gave me endless laughs -- because, based on your own premise, you clearly are not competent at what you do because you waste valuable time complaining about Joe Moore on EB instead of focusing exclusively on running your bajillion dollar diaper service or whatever it is.

  • I cringe when I hear the 2008 recession reduced into neat 'left/right' narratives. It was only deregulation & greed, or it was only federal govt policy.

    I will say, however, that loose or non-existent regulations in various areas did allow a 'perfect storm' to build up. JG, take a look at the growth of private label MBS issuance from 1995 through 2010, and you'll see it did increase dramatically. Take a look at the % of private label mortgage-backed paper as a share of all MBS issuance, and it def follows the Case-Shiller index. Especially look at the % of Alt-A and Subprime that ended up in private label bonds.

    On deregulation, take a look at the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (2000) which had a clause specifically prohibiting states from regulating derivaties trading under state gaming or bucket-shop laws (NY Insurance Commissioner Eric Dinallo wrote many insightful articles about this). With that single clause in effect, it allowed financial entities such as AIG (and anyone else who could throw up a shingle) to enter CDS contracts, with zero regard for their cash on hand to pay for claims in the case of a credit event on the underlying reference entity. So now all of these bottom-tranche MBS's were suddenly "insured" which helped fueled the demand for mortgages. When they started defaulting -- surprise surprise -- the counter-party who wrote your MBS insurance doesn't have the money to make you whole! Not only that, but since all this activity was OTC, nobody knew who owed what to whom, what institution was about to go belly up on a bad bet, what ticking time-bomb CDS or CDS-squared contract is about to go off and knock out another bank, etc. Is it any surprise that the commercial paper markets seized up?

    Look no further than Canada. Much more strictly regulated financial sector, AND no deduction for mortgage interest. They got caught in the global recession, no doubt, but nothing like the housing meltdown in the US. Shocking.

  • Seeing through all our political differences, I think the basis of JG's point was to remind Adlerman Moore what the salary of $110,000 goes towards; we can all agree that as a neighborhood, we are never going to all agree on every matter, but I think some of us are asking Joe to put his time in to issues here in Rogers Park. Know your role and know your place... You're an alderman after all "1) get crime under control, 2) balance the budget and reduce our debt, 3) implement real education reform, 4) create a true business friendly climate, and 5) clean up the corruption (and trash on on streets)."

    Hey, our city needs money, right Joe? How about you get a policy going to have our police actually 'write' tickets for litter. if the litter-bug can't pay $250 ticket, then offer them mandatory Saturday clean up of our streets. How about you walk our streets and help with matters we can all agree would improve the quality of life in our neighborhood and make this a cleaner place. help us increase property values by instituting policy that makes Rogers Park a hot alternative for all prospective home buyers- policies that teach young adults and their children how to care for their city, lead by an example we can all agree to appreciate. but this federal case, come on - know your place and be honest with yourself,... this is the retoric that continues to divide our country and you are not hired to deal with that bigger stuff- YOU'RE NOT.

    sorry, so quit dividing us and get to work FOR US (Roger Parkers). I'm sorry, I don't think my alderman should be sharing his/her beliefs of larger constitutional amendments and how they affect us (better/worse) in the same way that you would never preach to us the religion that you believe we should all follow.

    "Ask not what your [neighborhood] can do for you, but ask what you can do for your [neighborhood]!"

  • Inactive user

    This ranks right up there with the great Foie Gras initiative. It generated a lot of media attention for Joe and achieved nothing, especially for the ward that elected him.

    Joe, I respectfully call for you to stop issuing press releases on national issues in an effort to gain national attention. You have made it quite clear that you no longer wish to serve as alderman and we understand that you aspire to a higher paying position.

    Until that happens, I and others ask that you please do your job.

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    SciCubsfan, I LOVE your $250 ticket or trash pick-up community service for littering idea! Littering is right now my biggest pet peeve in NOH community. (Still waiting for CBS to come up here and see for themselves.)

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    Kevin, can you please spell out the following two acronyms? CDS, OTC (which, to me, means over the counter, but that doesn't seem to fit this in this context). Thanks.

  • CDS= Credit Default Swaps.

    you like that idea RogersParker- $250 for littering, can't pay that fine, NO PROBLEM! We'll have you pick up litter Saturday from 8am-12pm, you will wear a Yellow Shirt reading on the front "I choose to litter" and on the back "So I assigned myself clean up duty". Nothing worse than public humiliation for those of us who do not teach our children the rules of life, treat others how you want to be treated, "Clean up after yourself", etc.

    I would love to see Chicago Cops paid quarterly 1x bonuses for ticketing litter bugs-.. but you can't stop with the ticketing, you must give the option for those struggling financially, and hence, put them to work cleaning up... then everyone would think twice about tossing out that gum wrapper, or their Starbucks cup or their McDonald's bag with all the trash inside.

    We must guide, police, encourage/discourage certain behavior.. to some extent, I do believe that is a major role of government! But this post is about other nonsense that will not see any effects in our beautiful Rogers Park neighborhood; Did we overturn Citizens United? Joe Moore- When did you last go around your block picking up trash? How'd this make you feel?? Please share, I'd enjoy it if you started up a discussion to unite your neighboors, make a game for us to play (trash pickup competition, or trash scavenger hunt) and then celebrate our togetherness at one of your Friday gatherings. Thanks!

  • OTC does stand for Over The Counter. In finance, it's a trade or contract directly between two parties, not carried out over an exchange, like the NYSE, the Chicago Board of Trade, etc. Since they're not on an exchange, it's hard to know what's out there, what the current market value is, etc.

  • Michael J. Harrington Chicago native, Rogers Park / 49th Ward resident.
  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    Well, HuffPo's all over Citizens United hearing. Joe Moore's name even made it into the headline! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/citizens-united-chicago_n_1695065.html?utm_hp_ref=chicago

  • Don't encourage poor behavior... that's not news worthy. He's pandering to the base.

  • Michael J. Harrington Chicago native, Rogers Park / 49th Ward resident.

    Today, I sat in the Human Relations Committee meeting hoping that Ald. Moore would support the elected school board referendum proposal, or at least respond positively to the many voices supporting it from those of us who live in the 49th Ward. As a parent of two CPS children and also as a Chicago Teachers Union employee I understand from many perspectives why we must push for democratic control of our schools. I'm not blind to the fact that this is an uphill battle or that an elected board might still include some politically connected and well-financed hacks. However, democracy must rule and we need a better structure for school leadership which includes the vision of parents and teachers. The status quo is unacceptable.

  • Inactive user

    Aren't the Mayor's appointed School Board Candidates subject to City Council approval ?

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    phihayshow,

    no unfortunately school board candidates are not subject to City Council approval. As to my position on an elected school board, when asked in the past (long before Emanuel became Mayor), I've opposed an elected school board. Chicago is not Naperville, and what might work there or any other suburb may not work in the highly politicized, factionalized atmosphere of a large City like Chicago where large, well-funded interest groups (on both sides of the ideological divide) could have a disproportionate influence on a school board race.

    However, an elected school board hasn't been a front and center issue in the past, so up to now, I haven't given the issue a whole lot of thought. I'm certainly willing to change my preliminary opposition and hear the arguments of the proponents. But I hope at some point they rise above the bromides and provide some hard evidence as to how elected school boards in large cities improve the quality of education our children receive. That to me is the bottom line.

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