Evanston aldermen Monday night rejected out of hand a request from Gov. Bruce Rauner that they endorse his “Illinois Turnaround Agenda.”

The vote came after aldermen heard from close to a dozen union activists who said the plan would lead to a “race to the bottom.”

One speaker, laborer’s union member Benito Rivera, said he’s a single parent who’s only able to provide the medicine his diabetic son needs because of health benefits negotiated by his union.

Without the health coverage, the medicine would “almost be like paying for another house note,” Rivera said. “I might have to go on public assistance without the union medical benefits. But instead I’m able to contribute to society because of the benefits I enjoy as a union member.”

Rivera, an Aurora resident, made a similar presentation to the Kane County Board last week.

Evanston firefighter Jason Hays.

Jason Hays, of  712 Dobson St., a member of Evanston Firefighters Local 742, said the governor cried for shared sacrifice, “but left it to workers to do the heavy lifting.”

He said the governor’s proposal for “right to work” legislation would create a “‘right to work’ — for less — less representation, less safety, less protection and less equity.”

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, calling the governor’s proposal “wrongheaded,” moved that the Rules Committee reject the endorsement resolution and send a copy of the video of public comment at the meeting to the governor.

“We should stand by the people in the audience tonight,” Rainey added.

Her motion was approved on a unanimous roll-call vote.

Related story

Aldermen asked to endorse Rauner agenda (5/4/15)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. A vote to raise taxes

    Once again, the Evanston city council has voted for the "Raise Our Taxes Group". When the unions come out against a pro-taxpayer plan, our council much vote against the taxpayers. After all, where are the democrats going to get their funds for the next campaign if it isn't from the public sector unions and the trial lawyers.

    When Rainey said, "We should stand by the people in the audience tonight.", you know to whom she was referring. That's right, she voted pro-union and screw the regular taxpayer.

    Citizens of Evanston will remember that our citiy council took a political vote against the regular Evanston citizens. The private club known as the Mayor

    1. It is interesting that as a
      It is interesting that as a society we continually want to separate into “us and them” instead of focusing together to work out a solution that most would view financially, socially, and emotionally responsible for 90% of the populace. It is unreasonable to think that ALL citizens have not been left holding the bag for previous mismanagement of monies by ALL parties on both sides of the aisle.

      The citizens did not create Illinois’ deficit in total. Our history of shifting money from one area in the name of “saving” money or improving quality “care” for about a half century has gotten us to our current situation. It is easy to place blame on one segment of the population, but the elected officials actively contribute to a deficit. Voters and non-voters alike are also responsible, Recall when offered the Lottery, many supported because the thought was that it would fund schools (only gives in the 10 millions to a 10 billions budget). It was originally to support transportation funds for collar counties and Chicago (red and blue areas). Also, many cities/counties had high tax rates, but opted to tax its citizens at lower rates. Then in the early 90s Illinois’ Property Tax Extension Limitation Laws (PTELL), tax caps, came to Collar and Cook county. This cap in essence capped taxes at rates cities taxed and not at the rates the citizens voted on which were higher. Costs increased faster than taxes after first 5 years. Chicago was allowed to not fund certain pensions until a given time (~1995), but did not pay into or back the money owed according the legislated agreement by Springfield politicians ( so money not put back into the system. No Child Left Behind was enacted and introduced new needs for funds for testing, faculty/staff without appropriate tax increases. Several political lawsuits, Political misconduct (both sides). Our infrastructure continued to get older and older with minimal to no repair. Our populace has aged and needs support.

      My point: Money has been given over decades by ALL tax paying citizens not just “regular” taxpayers. Did someone “drink the kool-aid” when signing some contracts public and private- absolutely! Did mismanagement happen when there was purchases/contracts made without bids/couponing- absolutely! However, it is not prudent of us to have a the “we have no money…for you” mentality that is the prevailing force being cloaked in the name of money management today.

      Will we have to recognize that we need some tax hike? Yes (don’t want to it, but yes). Will we have to acknowledge that several errors were made in contracts (public and private) that should be honored? Yes. Will we have to cover existing pensions for those who Serve us? Yes. Will we ALL have to work together without attacking each other? Yes. Do we have to try to demean one segment of our population because of our lack of due diligence in using 7th grade math skills towards money or monitoring and regulating our elected officials? No. Should we have an EXTENSIVE public audit of the State of Illinois from the last 50 years to shed light of when there was a surplus and then deficit trend. ABSOLUTELY! Should we expose the connections between elected officials and companies granted contracts? ABSOLUTELY! “Regular” and others are entitled to know.

      It should never be an “us versus them” situation.

  2. Not all in the audience were Evanstonians

    The City Council voted as the majority of Evanstonians wanted.  However, the City of Evanston needs Springfield's help with the pension bomb as well.  I would expect most of the Turnaround agenda will be passed with Evanston not choosing to enact any of its most controversial provisions.  The irony here is that the Rauner plan the City Council characterizes as wrong is one that allows local municipalities to enact or reject its provisions.  Not sure the City Council is smart enough to recognize this.

    The showing by union members did not sway the Council. Rainey, on the other hand, is swayed by audience members not all of whom are Evanston residents?  What if the audience was a dozen supporters of Ruaner from Winnetka?  Do you think Rainey would make the same statement?  Probably time for her to retire.

    1. “Common Sense” in Rauner’s Plan

      Too bad City Council and others dismissed Rauner's plan without reading through it.

      Here I summarize some of its "Common Sense"

      Rauner wants to restore integrity and eliminate corruption in State government – (sounds like a good idea to me given history of Illinois) – He proposes to enact 10-year term limits – That's "Common Sense"

      Rauner wants to improve government service and cut costs – He proposes to merge the offices of Illinois Comptroller & Treasurer – That's "Common Sense"

      Rauner wants to help minority workers – African Americans represent only 9% of participants in union apprenticeship programs, but comprise 15% of the State's population (For Hispanics the figures are 12% participants, but 16.5% of state's population) Helping underrepresented populations is "Common Sense"

      Rauner wants to increase jobs and grow the economy in Illinois – He wants to lower worker's compensation costs and lower unemployment insurance in order to help attract more businesses to invest in Illinois – By the way, without investment, you don't get jobs – This is a "Common Sense" approach to creating jobs. (giving subsidies to the Chicken & Waffle House and other connected people isn't a "Common Sense" approach to creating sustainable jobs)

      Rauner wants to eliminate conflicts of interests in campaign contributions. Now I can understand why Mike Madigan and John Cullerton and other long established and entrenched politicians would be opposed to this idea since it turns off their money spigot. But I think many hard working citizens in Illinois would support this proposal since politicians would have to represent the "little guy" instead of moneyed interests. That's "Common Sense"

      Rauner wants to improve the ethics in state government. He proposes to prohibit state employees from negotiating future employment with a lobbyist and prohibit some senior government officials from getting paid to lobby until one year after they leave government. That's "Common Sense"

      The "Common Sense" list goes on. I understand why some people are opposed to his plan, but part of my point is that there are many constructive ideas and proposals put forth by Governor Rauner. Read the plan and think about it and please don't react to a couple of vocal people with an agenda to advance.



  3. Rauner should seek those who are willing to try

    Why is this news, particularly in a community like Evanston?  Onward Rauner, seek those who are willing to try rather than those who are woefully partisan.

    1. Pension law struck down

      The Supreme Court decision today was expected. It is why Gov Rauner is coming out so strong.  The question is not "are the public pensions just":  the question is do we want to cut other services in order to fund the annual pension payment?  Gov Rauner's budget is poising that hard choice.  Its a very tough position, but its correct.  Illinois should decide what is more important:  giving the legislature what they want (pensions as is and higher income tax) or the vital services that Gov Rauner says must be cut to pay for the current pension deal.  I'm on Rauner's side

      P.S. the audience at the City Council meeting:  public union members or private union members?  Do you think the City Council knows the difference?

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