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chicago public schools

Closing Down Success

Why is CPS closing a school with a 100% college acceptance rate that serves underprivileged black students? Is there an ideological opposition in Chicago politics that is against charter schools existing at all? Out of all the problems in Chicago and CPS, Urban Prep is the school that has a target on its back? Urban Prep Academies' Founder, Tim King, joins Dan and Amy to discuss. For more info on how to keep Urban Prep’s doors open visit keepupwest.org.

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Mayoral Candidates Making A Play For Center-Right Voters

The Northwest Side GOP and Chicago City Wire newspaper hosted a mayoral forum. Candidates included: John Kozlar, Jerry Joyce, Paul Vallas, Dr. Willie Wilson, Bob Fioretti, and LaShawn Ford. Topics ranged from the city’s financial problems, creating more choice and accountability in the Chicago Public School system, rooting out corruption, and more hot button issues like sanctuary city laws and guns. Dan Proft and Matt Podgorski moderated the event.

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Race Against The Machine

Will Dorothy Brown make it on the ballot despite Preckwinkle’s challenge? How is Brown going to transform the education system? How is the city going to get the revenue for the $40 billion worth of unfunded pension liabilities? Is she still the target of any federal investigations? Cook County Circuit Court Clerk and mayoral candidate, Dorothy Brown joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

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Institutional Abuse

Sexual abuse of children whether it is in the Catholic Church or Chicago Public Schools should and does spark outrage. But from who? There are calls for a reckoning in both institutions, but what happens when the stories blow over or the interest, especially in CPS, just isn’t there? Dan and Amy discuss the disturbing reports coming out of Pennsylvania detailing the over 70 years of abuse against the backdrop of the most recent allegations surfacing from CPS.

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Lethal Failure By Chicago Political Ruling Class

What “solutions” were offered by Tiny Dancer and Superintendent Johnson to curb the violence on the south and west sides of the city? Will another expanded city bureaucracy do the trick? Where’s Black Lives Matter to discuss how to end the gang violence? When will Chicagoans stop genuflecting to the political class and demand real change? Dan and Amy discuss the failure of Rahm Emanuel and the decades of failure of Chicago politicians to create opportunity in minority communities and protect its residents.

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Chicago Public Schools: The Predators’ Playground

Everything big city Democrat mayors like Rahm Emanuel do is for the kids, they tell us with ersatz earnestness.

Rahm—Tiny Dancer, I call him--is quick to take up cause célèbres like the Parkland high school gun control brigade in the name of school safety.

What Rahm and his leftist colleagues won’t do is change school systems run by the adults for the adults—even when some of those adults are child predators.

In a blockbuster expose, the Chicago Tribune documented a long-running sex abuse scandal inside the Chicago Public Schools that should end Tiny Dancer’s career, that should be international news on par with coverage given the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal, and that should serve as a warning to public school parents across the country.

According to the Tribune, since Tiny Dancer was elected in 2011, 430 reports of sexual abuse, assault or harassment have been investigated with credible evidence of misconduct found in 230 of those incidents.

The Tribune also found that school administrators may have acted criminally in failing to report incidents of abuse to the state’s child welfare agency.

Worse yet, the story identified repeated failures to screen out Chicago Public Schools employees with prior arrests related to alleged sexual offenses involving children.

A lot of attention is devoted to holding pols and their appointees accountable for threats to kids in school that come from the outside.

What about the threats they welcome inside and cover for?

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Lightfoot Calls Out Rahm’s “Epic Failure Of Leadership”

Will the CPS sex abuse scandal end Tiny Dancer's two-term recital? How come Rahm rushes to take credit for good test scores and universal preschool, but not criminal behavior of its employees? Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot joins Dan and Kristen to discuss the CPS sex abuse scandal on Tiny Dancer's watch and why we can’t allow him to get away with it.

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Chicago GOP Files IG complaint Against CPS For School Walkouts

Students across the nation are staging “walkouts” for gun violence in light of the recent mass shooting in Parkland, FL. If teachers are herding their students out into the streets and encouraging them to make posters about gun control isn’t that violating the law? Chicago GOP Chairman, Chris Cleveland joins Dan and Amy to discuss the IG complaint he filed against CPS for breaking the law and holding political rallies during public time on public property.

View full transcript


Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. So, the guy that Eddie Redmayne played passed away, and Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76, came over the transom late yesterday evening. Jacobson: He was diagnosed with ALS at...in 1963...so he has lived with this disease for decades. Proft: Yeah, obviously a famed theoretical cosmologist... Jacobson: ...renowned scientist, all that. Proft: Right...although he was wrong about Higgs-Boson, wasn't he? And he had to admit that Peter Higgs was right. We'll debate... Jacobson: I remember that...we're gonna debate that in the last hour of the show this morning. Proft: 8 o'clock hour, we're gonna debate that, we're gonna re-enact the argument between Stephen Hawking and Peter Higgs about the Higgs-Boson, the particle that gives...the God Particle, as of course you know... Jacobson: Of course! Proft: ...you know, the matter that gives protons...you know, protons and electrons mass. So that's gonna be a fun 8 o'clock hour. Stephen Hawking also known as a great comedic actor, in such series as Family Guy. Hawking(?)(from tape): Tell your wife to come over to my place if she wants a little boom-shaka-laka-laka-laka. Boom-shaka-laka-laka-laka. Boom-shaka-laka-laka-laka. Boom. Proft: Is that too soon? Jacobson: No, but this is...I mean, he did have a funny side to him, when he was Larry King once, Larry King asked him "What puzzles you the most about this world?" And he said "Women." He couldn't figure women out. He could figure everything else out but not us, our gender. Proft: Yeah, that was a good one. He was better on Family Guy when he had writers. Hawking(?)(from tape): *Hawking and a woman having sex with robotic voices* Jacobson: DAN! That IS when you say...WAY too soon, not just too soon. Proft: Eh. He would have enjoyed it. Yeah, you just mentioned his great sense of humor that he had. Jacobson: He did have a great sense of humor. And that's why he let them use his appearance and his voice on Family Guy and on The Simpsons. Proft: Right. I mean, everybody can talk about cosmology! This is... Jacobson: Einstein's theory of relativilly! Proft: Umm, I'm sorry? Who's what? Alright, switching gears. Today is March 14th, by my look at the calendar. That means a bunch of kids who were in charge of schools where adults get paid are walking out to protest gun violence, protest guns... Jacobson: They want the banning of assault rifles, assault weapons... Proft: ...whatever those are...memorialized the 17 that were murdered in Parkland. But in Chicago, that is being met with some resistance. Ahh, the resistance turns the tables, and that is the Chicago Republican Party has sued CPS over these walkouts. Why did they do that, and how are they faring? For more on that topic we're pleased to be joined by Chris Cleveland, who is the chairman of the Chicago Republican Party. Chris, thanks for being with us. Cleveland: Thanks Dan. Proft: So, why the lawsuit against...or maybe you're just seek injunctive relief, but why the action against CPS? Cleveland: Well, what we've actually done is filed a complaint with the Inspector General, and we'll see what he actually does. But the problem is that we've got teachers who are taking kids out for a political rally on public property and public...you know, public time! And it's just...this is political indoctrination. And it's totally inappropriate. Proft: Well, what...how many schools...because I know my kids' school is not doing it, but how many CPS schools are planning a walkout? Do you know? Cleveland: Well, we know the walkouts are going to be widespread. The one that triggered it, it was...my own school. I have a child in a CPS school and in this one, they were planning to take grades 5 thru out, herd them outside for this demonstration they encouraged them to make posters about gun control to express their opinion about it. Now, I don't think they're telling these kids to be AGAINST gun control here, it's clear that they're pushing a political view upon them. Proft: Well, we've seen this from some of the survivors from Parkland and other school shootings who've spoken out...that there's some divided opinion among young people about guns, as there is in the general public. And so you've had some people...some people's kids...say "Well, no, I'm not opposed to guns" or "No, I don't think banning guns is the answer to what happened in Parkland". And is there any indication from your kid's experience or what you've heard that people who don't hew to the orthodoxy of the Chicago Teachers Union on the issue are being allowed to express themselves too? Cleveland: No, there's no indication of it, because this is an elementary school. These kids are 10, 11 years old, the grades you know 5 through 8....14. They're not old enough to have formed an informed political opinion on this sort of thing. And they're gonna do what their teachers tell them to do in this case, or what their peers are saying they should do. And what they're going to do is herd all these kids out and the few kids who choose not to participate...they do have some provision for this...they're gonna be put in their own room, where they just have to sit by themselves, in this room. Proft: A veritable overhead BIN, Amy. Jacobson: Will you STOP IT? But then they could face bullying from other students who want them to take part in this protest, which they believe is like their civic duty to do so. You had mentioned that they encouraged the kids to make posters, did the teachers tell them what exactly should be on the posters, or encourage them with some "helpful suggestions"? Cleveland: Well, all we know for sure is what the principal said in his email, and he said they are "encouraged to bring posters to express their opinion." Now, you can guess what that means exactly. Proft: Yeah, and so you...the complaint has been filed with the Inspector General, the CITY Inspector General? Cleveland: Right. The CPS Inspector General. Proft: Oh right the CPS Inspector General. Well, CPS, the city, CPS...I keep forgetting that we pretend CPS and the city are two different things. Yes, so and...so, but this is something obviously you filed this yesterday, the walkout's today, obviously they're not going to adjudicate it. So, this is going to happen, right? Unless you pull your specific child, you pull your kid out of school or something like that. Cleveland: Well, we've appealed to the good sense of CPS (Proft: *laughs loudly*), and if they're wise enough to recognize that this is an EXPLICIT violation of CPS policy, written CPS policy. It's a violation of state law, AND it's a violation of the First Amendment, you THINK that they would call the principals or put out a note and say "Hey, cmon, you can't do this." Are they gonna have the good sense to do this? I dunno. But somehow I doubt it. Jacobson: Wow. So, personally, what have you decided to do with your daughter or son? Are they going to stay in a specific classroom while people walk? Are they just going to go outside and get some fresh air? Cleveland: Well, he's a third-grader. So, he's not going to be among those who are herded outside for this thing. So we've dodged that bullet this time, who knows what will happen in a couple of years when we have to deal with it? Proft: Well, that's the...that's the remarkable thing, isn't it? I mean, you mentioned it, but it bears repeating and emphasizing...first second third grades, fourth fifth graders, and they're supposed to take hard positions on public policy issues like guns and get out there with placards and...obviously this is just following the lead of the adults...to the extent that you call THAT leadership. And it's exploitive, really, isn't it? Cleveland: Well, yeah, of course! It's coercive, at that age, it's coercive. It's political indoctrination. And not only does it not make any sense, as it's obviously wrong, it's a VIOLATION OF THE LAW. I mean, you can't be doing this. State law says you can't use public property for private political purposes. I mean, it's crystal clear! Jacobson: Yeah, and if you're worried about kids safety...keeping them in school as opposed to forcing them to go outside...cuz I know personally, our school is on a busy street, so I don't want that to happen. Proft: Or if you're just worried about, as Chris mentioned, you know, the rule of law in a free society, if you're worried about the state law meaning anything... Jacobson: Well, the head of Chicago Public Schools came out and assured parents that students would not be punished for participating. So even though...if a school is doing that and a student wants to just walk out and leave, they're not going to be punished. Proft: What about the...but the question is, should the people breaking the law be punished? I guess it's the operative question, right? Cleveland: Yeah, yeah, obviously. And as I said, CPS has an explicit rule, which explicitly prohibits political demonstrations or rallies on public property, the teachers who lead this sort of thing ought to be subject to SOME kind of penalties, or else the rule is meaningless. Proft: Alright, he is Chris Cleveland...appealing to the good sense of CPS. Jacobson: Good luck with THAT! (Cleveland laughs) We're pullin' for ya! Proft: He is chairman of the Chicago Republican Party. Chris, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Cleveland: Thank you, Dan and Amy.

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What Other City Job Will Claypool Land Next?

What happened to force  “long-standing reformer” Forrest Claypool to resign from his post as CEO of Chicago Public Schools? Is this story not only telling of Claypool’s character but that of Mayor Emanuel as well who says Claypool is “still a good guy?” How is that Chicago has elected officials that actively take on clients to fight taxes they impose? CEO and Founder of Project Six, Faisal Khan joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

View full transcript


Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. Jacobson: Wait, we've got the voice part coming, okay ready? Proft: *fake singing* Faisal Khan, Faisal Khan, Faisal Khan...Faisal Khan, let me rock it, let me rock it, Faisal Khan! Let me rock it, that's all I wanna do, Faisal Khan. Faisal Khan, Faisal Khan, let me rock it, Faisal Khan! Jacobson: Faisal Khan! Proft: I'm sure he appreciates that he has theme music now. He's on the show enough, he does good investigative work, that I thought he deserved theme music. Like "I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka!", you should have theme music, walk around City Hall with a boom box playing Faisal...OUR rendition of Chaka Khan, with the Faisal Khan overlay. Jacobson: Have you seen the woozie...the movie "I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka!"? Proft: Oh...it's one of the best movies ever! Jacobson: I LOVE that movie! Oh we actually... Proft: The Wayans Brothers? GENIUS. Absolute genius. Alright, well we gotta talk some serious Chicago politics, I mean to the extent it should be taken seriously, it's only your quality of life, your cost of living in the city, your safety, the quality of your kids schools, it's not like it's important stuff. But, we'll go ahead and talk about it anyway with Faisal Khan, who is the CEO of Project Six, former Legislative Inspector General for the Chicago City Council. Faisal, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Khan: Every time I come on your show, I want that music on. Every SINGLE time. It's the greatest thing I've ever heard. Proft: Yeah, of course. Jacobson: We didn't offend you by singing it, either? Like "Faisal Khan". Have you heard that before? Khan: Are you kidding? Jacobson: Have you heard that before? Khan: That was just AWESOME. Can I tell you, as a kid I didn't realize that Chaka Khan was a woman! Cause when I first heard that song, I thought it was the guy. And it took me a while to figure out who actually sang that song, but hey, you know, great song. Proft: Yeah. Alright. Well, you're welcome! Now, you have to give us something. You have to give us an explanation of what happened to... Jacobson: The choo-choo train guy! Proft: Long...standing...reformer *each word more strained*...Forrest Claypool... Jacobson: Used to be in charge of CTA, then in charge of something else, then CPS. Proft: Yeah, he's the... Jacobson: He's the punchable guy that just moves around! Proft: He's the inside guy that has had every department head job under the Mayors Daley and "Tiny Dancer" over the last 20 years...but he's a reformer! Uh-huh. Well the reformer, as Larry Bloom once said, "In Chicago, the reformers go to jail." This time, the reformer just lost his job, as Superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. But he's still a good guy...and I know that because "Tiny Dancer" said so, and he made a mistake, and it's not that big a deal, and we'll remember him fondly, right Faisal? Khan: Uhh...maybe not as much, Dan. I probably will not remember him that fondly, because what he did was egregious. And he deserved to lose his job for his actions. He lied to law enforcement about his conduct, he wasted taxpayer money on trying to get legal opinions to justify the hiring of a friend, and gave that friend lots of money, including the firm that his friend worked for, lots of money. And he rightfully needed to resign, or be terminated. Jacobson: Well, who was that friend, what was the firm, and what was the work that he was paying him for? Or was there anything, any work? Khan: Basically...no! Basically he decided...Mr. Claypool decided, that he wanted to hire a lawyer named Ronald Marmer. And Mr. Marmer has worked with Mr. Claypool for a long time...except that Mr. Marmer was coming from Jenner and Block. And Jenner and Block is a law firm that's ALSO hired by CPS to do legal work for them. And so, Mr. Marmer was in charge of ordering...Jenner and Block, giving them instructions and supervising them, and telling them what to do. Here's the twist: Jenner and Block is still PAYING Mr. Marmer to the tune of $200,000 in severance money. Jacobson: Ahhh. Definitely double dipping. Proft: Yeah, sure! Multiple revenue streams, what's the big deal? Khan: It's just basically money being passed around between all of them! And that would be what you and I...what most people would identify as a conflict of interest. Jacobson: Well, isn't a CRIME, though? I mean, can they get him on something like... Khan: Well they'd have to dig a little deeper into that, Amy. But it's worthy of a conversation, certainly. But at the very least, AT THE VERY LEAST, that agreement should have never taken place, because it's a clear conflict of interest, and six out of seven lawyers said so, to Mr. Claypool, who remained undeterred, and finally found a seventh lawyer who said "No, that should be okay, go ahead and do that!" That's not accurate. Proft: Yeah, that appointed School Board, "Tiny Dancer"'s appointees to the Chicago School Board, they're on the stick as usual, just like they were with Barbara Byrd-Bennett, huh? Khan: Yeah, well...Barbara Byrd-Bennett's certainly one. And so on top of that, he goes ahead and hires Mr. Marmer, and when the Inspector General for CPS finds out about it, and has a problem with it, and brings Mr. Claypool in for a conversation, Mr. Claypool lies. Mr. Claypool lies, denies certain things, says he didn't do, adjusts invoices, spends taxpayer dollars, and the IG calls him out on it. And Mr. Claypool eventually admits that he engaged in wrongdoing. And instead of firing him immediately, because he's *audio drops* of all taxpayers and individuals, the mayor stands beside him, and says "We should think highly of Mr. Claypool because he's a stand-up guy for admitting his mistake." Jacobson: But he's NOT a stand-up guy! And you know he's gonna land somewhere else, so what other...I mean, Water Reclamation District or...trying to think of what job he's gonna get next. Khan: I mean, the reality is the story's not any more about Forrest Claypool than it is Rahm Emanuel. We've had a mayor who campaigned hard about transparency, and if you look at his career now in City Hall, has acted in every way BUT any transparent form. We've had...he's fought lawsuit after lawsuit about transparency, he used private email to keep business away from taxpayers so they don't know what's going on, he's engaged in shady deals we know nothing about, and now he's standing by people who clearly should not have city employment. Two of his former executives have ended up in jail, including Barbara Byrd-Bennett, and Amer Ahmad, his former Comptroller. We really need to have a hard look at this, and decide if we have a mayor acting in taxpayer interest or not. Proft: Yeah. Well that sounds like the resume for a third term to me. Can't wait for 2019! Let me ask you this Faisal, in respect to...or moving on to one of the Cornish Democrats in charge of the state, Mike Madigan. This four-part series on the property tax system in Cook County that Jason Grotto did in the Chicago Tribune, which is very good, and now the suits that have been filed in Cook County against Assessor Joe Berrios, which has four generations of Berrios's, at least, on the Cook County payroll. The numbers are staggering, and you want to talk about inherent conflicts of interest. So these property tax appeals for firms like Madigan/Getzendanner...that's Mike Madigan...from 2011 to 2016, according to Grotto's research, total value...total initial value appealed of all their clients...$8.6 BILLION. Reductions granted by the Assessor: $1.7 BILLION. You know what the fees are on those kind of reductions, over the course of five years? You're talking about...I don't know...upwards of half a billion dollars in legal fees in five years with the reductions Madigan and Getzendanner were able to get their clients. And just a couple rungs down the ladder is Klafter and Burke...as in Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke, longtime Alderman on the City Council, $4.7 billion in initial total value appealed, $865 million in reductions granted by the Assessor. These guys who directly or indirectly write and influence property tax...the property tax classification system, the property tax laws in this state, and then are...are then part of this scam to enrich themselves on the spread. This seems to me a ripe area for all kinds of additional investigation building off Jason Grotto's, because what happens with this relief that is...is obtained by the clouted, is it's passed on as burdens to the unclouted. Khan: It is absolutely ripe for investigation. Here's...here's....here's my two cents on this, Dan and Amy. Simply that...how do we have state officials and local officials working against the fiduciary interest of the city? They have a responsibility as an elected official in furtherance of city interests, and by actively taking on clients to fight taxes here in the city of Chicago, which necessarily...I don't have a problem with fighting taxes! But this idea that they are...while at one hand working for government and collecting a salary from taxpayers, then at the same time working for private clients who are working actively against the government, it's an inherent conflict of interest. And how this has been going on for so long is mind blowing. It makes just absolutely no sense. You've got both sides, you're working both sides at this point, and the only people getting cheated are the people in the middle like you, me, when we see our property taxes go up every year, taxes to make up for these other reductions that are taking place. Proft: And so, on that topic, one more, since this was a previous investigation you did that we discussed with you. Proco Joe Moreno, "Proco Grope-oh" Joe Moreno... Jacobson: He wants to be in Congress! He wants to go to Washington DC now! Proft: Yeah, he's trying to level up to backfill "El Gallito"'s Congressional seat...that would be one way to SORT OF get rid of him, I guess, just kick him upstairs. What do you think? Khan: Do we have to kick him upstairs? Is there another direction we can kick him? Proft: Could just kick him OUT. Khan: Yeah, that's a better direction! Look, a lot of good people have come out for Mr. Gutierrez's seat, so that's going to be an interesting election next year. Just...just so you know, Mr. Straus' lawsuit against the city has NOT been dismissed, like Mr. Moreno's claimed it would be. And we're gonna end up footing that bill too, for Mr. Moreno's egregious actions. So, as much as I'd like him out of the city, I'm not sure the state...or Federal...jurisdiction would be my first choice of where to send him. Proft: Yeah, but here's the...Federal jurisdiction? Maybe the PENAL SYSTEM. I mean, this...this...this story is, just to refresh people's recollection, him shaking down the owner of a building where the Double Door was...the Double Door kicked out as a tenant because they weren't paying their rent, $100,000 in arrears. And Moreno went to them and said "You're gonna put the Double Door in there, and you're only going to charge them this amount," because the Double Door owners are friends of his. And now this guy has this pending suit against the city, but is there any more investigation, particularly of a law enforcement nature, going into that obvious shakedown, part of which was caught on video? Khan: That's a great question, Dan, and I'm not privy to what the FBI or the State's Attorney's office is looking at. But the reality is, this isn't a one-time occurrence. You know, many Aldermen are involved in this type of conduct, and I'm hoping that authorities are looking at this stuff, because it's clearly an abuse of Aldermanic privilege and title, and it...it wasn't just that Double Door were FRIENDS of Joe Moreno, they raised MONEY for Joe Moreno. They were fundraisers for him, so this is a pure financial deal for both sides, except for Mr. Straus like you noted, who was owed a hundred grand. Now, can you imagine ANY landlord who can go about and rent free to people, you know, and be owed a hundred thousand dollars? That's just not realistic, and so that...of all the players in this, he's the one that gets the short end of the stick, and has to fight back. Jacobson: And that's so weird, because I saw Proco Joe the other day, and he didn't seem bothered at all by this. He said "No, I did the right thing. Those are my friends, I gotta stick up for my buddies." And I said "Just because they're your buddies doesn't mean they can escape out of paying the RENT!" Proft: No, the laws... Jacobson: But he's under this...he lives in a different stratosphere, a different world from normal people. Proft: No he doesn't. He lives in the feudal system that's Chicago. And in the feudal system, if you're friends with a Lord, the laws don't apply. That's how it works. Isn't that right, Faisal? Khan: *sounding defeated* Unfortunately, Dan. It's just a culture, we're not able to shake, still. And we have to keep fighting and keep pushing back. Proft: He is former Legislative Inspector General for the Chicago City Council...there's a thankless job...the CEO of Project Six, doing all these independent investigations, like the ones we've described...Faisal Khan, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Khan: Good talking to you guys, as always. Thanks.

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What's At Stake In Democrats' Education Funding Bill

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Madigan And Cullerton Manufacture A Crisis

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A Scam On Top Of A Scam On Top Of A Scam

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Democrats' Fake Reform

Lawmakers are trying to rush a budget at the end of special session, so House Democrats finally put forth a plan, which includes a property tax freeze. But the plan offers no real relief for struggling taxpayers. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes break this down with WirePoints.com's Mark Glennon, and discuss what real property tax relief should look like. They also discuss the soon-to-be insolvent Chicago police pension, and waste throughout Chicago Public Schools, as well as financial recklessness at the county level.

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Businesses Will Be Punished

In Chicago, if you start a business, work hard, stay disciplined, plan wisely---and do well as a result---you will be punished.

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Pat Hughes dissects the Chicago political classes' newest tax on this edition of Two Minute Warning.

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A Manufactured Crisis?

CPS is threatening to close schools early because they've run out of money, despite the fact that the district spends 20% more per pupil than the state average. They've filed a lawsuit to get the money they say they need. Can Chicago taxpayers Follow the Logic?

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