Heresy or Reality?: Todd Mertz tells it like it is.

A) The attacks against public education are spearheaded by the scapegoating of teachers – past and present teachers.

B) The support of one liberal issue does NOT justify the actual corporate sponsored, ALEC written, Illinois constitution ignoring, anti-public education, anti-union, anti-teacher, anti-union behavior and legislation performed by super-majority Democrats.

QuinnVallas2Whenever I post about the ALEC written legislation passed by the Republican Tea Party in various states and also post the same legislation passed and attempted by Democratic Liberal Democrats in Illinois and elsewhere, I have been derided as being divisive, anti-American, anti-union and potentially in league with the Devil. A veritable sinner against politics as a faith-based religion.

Yes, the Illinois Democrats legalized gay marriage; this helped to reinforce their image as Liberals and Progressives. They desperately needed to show that image if they expect to retain their super-majority ranks in the House and Senate along with the Governorship and all other leadership positions in the heavily gerrymandered state.

Todd Mertz is a true pro-public education advocate who tells it like it is regarding the behind the scenes  machinations of public education destruction in Illinois. He also objectively includes what has and has not been done by union leadership in Illinois.

Here is Todd’s letter:

Friends and Colleagues

It is time we have an Illinois governor stand up for public education, students, teachers, employee unions, and collective bargaining rights.

If not, we are likely to fall victim like our colleagues did recently in WI, MI, IN, and OH.

The 2014 gubernatorial race is looking bleak…to say the least.

I don’t understand why the IEA or the We Are One Coalition, the organization representing teachers’ unions and state employee unions, could not find and support a candidate for the 2014 gubernatorial race.

With the current candidates, and being a public school teacher, I would say this qualifies as a political emergency.

I believe this year would have been a great opportunity and strategic move for the unions to select and support a candidate.


Quinn is the ONLY Democrat.

And nobody likes Quinn, especially since he recently chose Paul Vallas as a running mate.  Vallas, Chicago Public School’s first CEO in the mid-90s, has earned himself a reputation in his most recent position in Connecticut as being pro-privatization and pro-charters.

Could Quinn work any harder to not get a single vote from an IL teacher?  Some papers are calling Quinn’s move to select Paul Vallas as political suicide.

In addition, Illinois is traditionally a blue state (thanks to Chicago).  People want to vote for a Democrat, but want an alternative to Quinn.

Well, teachers don’t like Quinn anyways since his relentless attacks on pensions.  No loss there.

But who is left?

Four Republicans: Kirk Dillard, Bill Brady, Bruce Rauner, and Dan Rutherford?


All four candidates are in support of major pension “reform.”

In addition, Rauner and Brady are anti-teacher, anti-union, and intend to crush our collective bargaining rights.

Rauner cries in this video (Preview) (under 2 mins) that none of the pension reform bills to date go far enough.  He also attacks unions.  It is clear from his rants lately in the media that one of his first priorities is going after teachers and their unions–just like Scott Walker did in Wisconsin.
I have sent IEA President Cinda Klickna and the IEA executive team a total of nine emails since the beginning of September regarding the urgency for the unions to select and support a real Democrat who will rally behind our state’s students, teachers, and public employees.

You may remember, I sent out an email about my deep concern about the candidates for the 2014 race back on Sept. 5th.

No other candidates were coming forward, with or without union-backing.

Out of frustration, on September 16th, I contacted Ralph Martire, the Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, and I asked him if he would run for Governor.

He said he would.  He’d be excited to run.  But he said he would need financial and tactical help from the unions.


Remember, Martire is the IL budget expert who insists that changing pension benefits is not going to solve the problem. The benefits themselves, he says, are not the problem–contrary to what every current gubernatorial candidate believes.  It is the state’s lack of contributions over the years and the state’s lack of ambition to seek revenue solutions right now that is the problem, Martire says. Martire is the expert on Illinois’ fiscal mess.

Check out his article in the State Journal Register titled, “Cutting Benefits Won’t Fix the State’s Pension Issue.”

I don’t know everything about Martire, but I do know two things about him:

1.  He is on our side with our pensions. He believes they are constitutionally-protected.  But more importantly, he believes that changing benefits is not going to erase, or ease, the $100 billion unfunded liability.  That, he argues, needs to be addressed with revenue solutions.

2. He believes in changing Illinois’ income tax to a progressive tax, thereby addressing the revenue problem.

Two big convictions in our favor.  And that is more than any of the other candidates offer…combined.

At the same time I contacted Martire, I contacted IEA President Cinda Klickna and the IEA executive team.  Ralph, of course, would need support from the unions.

On Sept. 8th, I wrote:

What about Ralph Martire? Could all the unions band together and support Ralph? We know he would be on our side–at least for pensions.

He is a smart person and knows how to get this state back on fiscal track without cutting constitutionally-protected benefits.

I think he would have many on his side–democrats, state workers, teachers, and the public.

 On Sept. 9th, from Cinda:

“The coalition is open to considering all options.  I have not heard that Ralph has contacted anyone with an interest in this.”


 Email from Martire on September 19th:

“I am in discussions with the IEA Executive Team.”

Excellent, I thought.  I was excited.  I was hoping something would happen.  Martire told me to keep the plan of him running for Governor quiet until he had the needed support and it was official.

Unfortunately, this never came to fruition.

On Oct. 5th, I received the following email from Martire (shortened for this email):

 “Yeah, although I am willing to do this there really isn’t adequate time–Quinn does have at least one of the major unions sewed up, and I see no way to get at least 50,000 petition signatures (what would be needed to survive the inevitable challenge) and $2-$4 mil raised (what I would need to drive up name recognition and do polling, put together a solid campaign and field staff) in the next 4 -6 weeks. So I believe the right thing to do is meet with potential supporters like you and work on a strategy for the next cycle. I am honored by your suggestion and have done my due diligence quite seriously. I just wish this was January of 2013 rather than now.”

Martire So Martire’s out.

Too little, too late?

It could have happened.  Perhaps if the unions were ready earlier?

One thing I am sure of–the unions are going to spend more time, money, and resources putting out fires after the election than had they supported a candidate to challenge Quinn.

Could someone come forward yet?  Doubtful.  Signature petitions are due Dec. 2nd.

12 days away from the petition deadline.  No viable candidate.

–Todd Mertz



About Ken Previti
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One Response to Heresy or Reality?: Todd Mertz tells it like it is.

  1. Big fan of Todd & you, too, Ken! I want to examine this statement, however (which is, of course, correct): “In addition, Rauner & Brady are anti-teacher, anti-union, and intend to crush our collective bargaining rights.” Unfortunately, this is also true of the Illinois Demoncratic candidates.
    Remember SB7? Gov. Squeezy? (Putting the blame on us for all the monetary ills of ILLAnnoy–that’s pretty anti-teacher to me!) What’s far more harmful and dangerous to us, though, is his proclamation that he “was put on Earth to solve this pension mess.” Then, he picks an anti-,anti-, anti teacher (Republican, as well, although, as aforementioned, we have few–if any–REAL Democrats in ILLAnnoy. Ken–we want & need Alan Grayson!!!) running mate–who could be more anti-teacher (not to mention anti-public schools) than Paul Vallas?! (Well, aside from Jonah Edelman!) Last–but by all means MOST–I find it very interesting that the legislators are being called back RE:pension bill voting on Dec. 3rd. How good does that look for Gov. Squeezy if the bill is approved? He will have fulfilled his mission on Earth! He will have saved ILLAnnoy from the evil, greedy pensioners! He will be the hero of the Chicago Tribune (& probably the Sun-Times, as well). The business community will go wild (comprised of, remember,–not just Republicans, there, but numerous Demoncrats!) Now–the question is–just WHICH union would that be that “Quinn has sewed up?” Hmmm.

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