Dan Proft: Dan Proft, and on this edition of Illinois Rising I’m pleased to be joined by John Kass, famed Chicago Tribune Page 2 Columnist, when they still had print editions of newspapers.
John Kass: They still do.
Dan Proft: Oh, they do?
John Kass: Yeah.
Dan Proft: I did not know that. John Kass, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
John Kass: Thank you.
Dan Proft: Legislative session down in Springfield ended without a budget, but a lot of bull jive being thrown about, mostly from Mike Madigan, who proposed a 7 billion dollar out of balance fairytale budget.
John Kass: The idea to embarrass Governor Rauner and republicans who voted against him in November.
Dan Proft: Right, and now we’re in the stage where we’re doing the back and forth between special session and who’s to blame, and will the schools open on time, and should we pass stop gap budget to just get us through the rest of this calendar year.
John Kass: Typical Illinois.
Dan Proft: Right, we haven’t had a budget in the better part of 16 months.
John Kass: You won’t, and you won’t have one until…
Dan Proft: At least until November.
John Kass: If Madigan is allowed to have his way, you won’t have a budget until he gets rid of Bruce Rauner, and we are all in his thrall. I’m not joking.
Dan Proft: I know you’re not joking, and it’s no joke. The point here is that Governor Rauner said, “I was elected to stop doing things the way that we’ve been doing them, which is, for example, not have a true balanced budget for the past 14 years”. And that’s why we haven’t had a budget for the last year and a half, is because Governor Rauner says, “I’m not going to sign a budget I know is unconstitutionally unbalanced, but even beyond the constitution, that makes spending commitments we don’t have money to abide. What kind of sense is that? That’s not courage, that’s not leadership, it’s a lie, it’s a scam. And so, you wrote a column recently where you invoked a show that is near to both of our hearts, Game of Thrones, and compared Mike Madigan to the undead.
John Kass: To the White Walker. He is the White Walker. Is he not? If you take a photograph – the people on Twitter did this, they took photos of Mike Madigan and photos of the White Walker, the King of the Undead in Game of Thrones, and put them together; they’re the same person. Just one has a little more blue face, but outside of that.
Dan Proft: Two questions, one, do you think a spear of dragon glass could fell Mike Madigan?
John Kass: No, this is fantasy. I don’t completely live the fantasy role.
Dan Proft: Well, Illinois is kind of a fantasy world. Financially, it is. And two, do you think White Walkers have their apples cut up for them by Madigan’s spokesman, Steve Brown?
John Kass: Actually, when I had that famous lunch with Mike Madigan, in which he offered me one of his apples.
Dan Proft: A poisonous one, I’m sure.
John Kass: I think he cut them up himself.
Dan Proft: Really?
John Kass: They were apples sliced into eight pieces, two of them lined up on napkins. So there’s sixteen pieces of apple.
Dan Proft: He’s a fastidious little leprechaun.
John Kass: Very fastidious, isn’t he?
Dan Proft: Yeah.
John Kass: He’s almost Dickensian in this regard. As a White Walker, I ought to get back to that idea, there is one thing. If you love the show, and I do and Dan does, you know that White Walkers are susceptible to dragon glass. A few stacks wore Valyrian steel, right?
Dan Proft: That’s right, I forgot about the Valyrian steel.
John Kass: Oh, but there’s one more thing that I think in Illinois that he’d be susceptible.
Dan Proft: More republican state legislators, so he doesn’t have a supermajority?
John Kass: That would be one. Defeating the democrats in the state house would be one. Here’s another, though.
Dan Proft: 219 South Airborne.
John Kass: 219 South Airborne is where the dragon glass is found. I think it’s the seventh floor. Wherever the grand jury meets, that’s where it is.
Dan Proft: But you’re talking about US Attorney Zach Fardon’s office.
John Kass: Oh, I’m sorry, was I? I was just thinking about Sheldon Silver of New York, who is the, let’s see, he’s the boss of the General Assembly, big Mr. Democrat, kind of like a Madigan, and he had a tax reduction business, kind of like Madigan. And do you know what the Attorney General did there, or the US Attorney in that district? They put a case together.
Dan Proft: To send him to jail for 14 years, or 12 years; something like that. But here’s the thing, there’s no indication, just to be clear, that there’s any federal investigation to Mike Madigan, no matter how worthy one is.
John Kass: Nor is there any indication whatsoever that Michael Madigan would ever, and I mean ever, do anything that would be untoward or wrong or illegal in any way, shape or form. And you know how I know that?
Dan Proft: How?
John Kass: When David Kudlow of the Chicago Tribune was investigating the fact that he somehow does tax reduction or much of the downtown real estate interest.
Dan Proft: Yeah, the big buildings; the Willis Tower buildings.
John Kass: Run by republicans, by the way; that’s something they have to fix. He put out a statement detailed about how he separates, Madigan, his business from his politics.
Dan Proft: Well then, why are we even talking about him?
John Kass: Because he’s the White Walker!
Dan Proft: Why didn’t somebody tell me that they’re separated, so there’s no more questions here. What about this? Since he’s so transparent about…
John Kass: Where is the dragon? Is Dan Proft the dragon?
Dan Proft: No, I don’t know.
John Kass: You’re more like the barbarian warlords in leather pants.
Dan Proft: I’m more like the queen of dragons, I’m Khaleesi.
John Kass: Really? Because you did that segment on your show about men in diapers, you’re moving this way?
Dan Proft: Because I’m a good looking gal.
John Kass: And who are we to judge if you wish to say you are? You are, man.
Dan Proft: That’s right, and I’ve got the barbarian hordes at my disposal. And we’re marching. We just need to figure out how to cross Lake Michigan to the south side.
John Kass: Michigan Avenue.
Dan Proft: Southwest side. Since Mike Madigan has been so transparent, as you say, he explained that his professional interests – of being a property tax appeals attorney.
John Kass: Of course not. No!
Dan Proft: Had nothing to do with the fact that he writes property tax law and controls the Cook County Property Tax Appeals Board. The two have nothing to do with the matter.
John Kass: Not only that, that it doesn’t have anything to do, he also elects the assessor of Cook County and others in other states, other counties, and this one’s name is Joe Berrios, a very good politician, who was also the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.
Dan Proft: I see clear lines of demarcation.
John Kass: How could anyone say this?
Dan Proft: I don’t see anything problematic about that setup.
John Kass: Me neither.
Dan Proft: So the question, though, is, as he is so transparent, you would think that he would respond to calls, for examples, to release his tax returns, to see how well he’s doing in this tough business climate in Illinois.
John Kass: Not only should release his tax returns, but we should re-release the great Chuck Doughty investigation of Mike Madigan, in which Chuck showed up on the southwest side to interview him about something he didn’t want to talk about, and Mike got so flustered that he left Shirley; he’s driving the car and Shirley’s coming out.
Dan Proft: His wife.
John Kass: And he ran away from Chuck, and Shirley’s left in the parkway like, “Mike, where are you? Where’d you go?”
Dan Proft: Did he actually drop and roll out of a moving car, and then scamper away.
John Kass: He was in the car, and Chuck Doughty’s running out there to interview him – you know, he’s doing a Morley Safer, you know what I mean? – “Wait, I’ve got to ask you…”
Dan Proft: Chasing him like seniors used to chase Rostenkowski.
John Kass: Yeah. And he takes off – it was like a Rostenkowski moment – and he takes off and Shirley’s standing there in the lawn of their beautiful Southwest side manse.
Dan Proft: A bungalow.
John Kass: Is that what it is? A bungalow with a moat, of course.
Dan Proft: It’s a simple man. A middle income family.
John Kass: And he takes off and she’s standing there, “Mike!” I’ll never forget that one, man. I love that one!
Dan Proft: Let me ask you a question. Sticking on the Game of Thrones theme, there’s rumors that House of Madigan has a castle, a Winterfell type compound in Ireland. What about getting Senator David Kidwell or Chuck Doughty over there to…
John Kass: How about Dan Proft and John Jaskel out there.
Dan Proft: I’ll go to Ireland to look around.
John Kass: I can just envision it now. The humble presence goading sheep, goading with goats, along with great lawns, and there are others building mud huts to live in, that he allows them to live in.
Dan Proft: The feudal lord and the serfs.
John Kass: Mud, and they’re making huts out of little walls of mud. And there’s this great hall filled with the heads of stags and so forth, right? Isn’t that what we’re talking about?
Dan Proft: I think what we have here…
John Kass: I don’t think that we’re talking about a split level in Kilkenny, right?
Dan Proft: No, I suspect not, but I think what we could have here is our very own John Snow, not John Kass, reassembling the families of the North to take out Mike “Lanister” Madigan. What do you think about that? And do you think that if anybody doesn’t watch Game of Thrones they understand what the hell we’re talking about.
John Kass: They don’t know what you’re talking about, and we’re not even getting to the addible – almost said Oedipial – assassination by a certain father by his son.
Dan Proft: Well, speaking of family.
John Kass: Could we come back to reality here?
Dan Proft: Yeah, so speaking of family, you said there’s no reason to believe the US Attorney’s investigating Mike Madigan, but now we have an Attorney General…
John Kass: Yeah, the princess.
Dan Proft: If some of these matters were brought to her attention, maybe Lisa Madigan would investigate her father.
John Kass: It’s really nice, isn’t it, that he’s got not only Lisa Madigan as the Attorney General, he’s got his spendthrift moron - Dick what’s his name? – the auditor general.
Dan Proft: Oh, yes.
John Kass: Mautino, right?
Dan Proft: Mr. Mautino.
John Kass: Who spent like what, $200,000 on pork chops from his own restaurant? It’s fake money?
Dan Proft: He is under federal investigation. The auditor general responsible for overseeing the proper expenditure of state funds, he is under federal investigation.
John Kass: This is what I like about Illinois. You have the boss, you have the boss’ daughter, the chief law enforcement officer, you have the moron they put in, spends all the money on pork chops from his own restaurant, and gas for his car – I think it was like $200,000 for gas. Nice!
Dan Proft: Yeah. Does a lot of driving.
John Kass: No wonder the Feds are looking at you, baby. And all that in Illinois, and Mike Madigan is really not held to account, is he, by the news, except for the Chicago Tribune, the editorial board, Kristen McQueary, and I shall take a little bit, and you. Not really a lot, is there?
Dan Proft: Hm. I guess it’s another classic tale of getting the government we deserve.
Dan Proft: Dan Proft back with Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass on this edition of Illinois Rising, and John, had some fun exchanges between legislators about that Madigan budget, such as it was, that fairytale he called a budget, 7 billion dollars out of balance, all the spend side, none of the revenue side. We’re just going to spend money we don’t have like we’ve been doing.
John Kass: What’s wrong with that? It’s what we’ve been doing. We spend it.
Dan Proft: Yeah, and it’s going swimmingly.
John Kass: Because there’s that money tree.
Dan Proft: That’s right.
John Kass: Just shake it, and it’s economy by the Big Rock Candy Mountain School. Pete Seeger, the economist.
Dan Proft: You’re right. You can go visit the money tree right down there by Midway Airport, Madigan’s backyard.
John Kass: There you go.
Dan Proft: Well, Dwight Kay, he is a Republican State Representative from Glen Carbon, down in Southern Illinois, he had a rather fun exchange with Barbara Flynn Currie. Now she is the majority leader for Mike Madigan in the House, as you know. She’s the one, for those of you scoring at home, or if you ever tune in to watch the General Assembly debates, she’s the one that looks like Cruela DeVille.
John Kass: Yeah, I guess so. Or maybe she may live in a little hut in the forest with chicken feet, moves around, and says, “Turn around, turn around, little house”.
Dan Proft: Right.
John Kass: I know these ways.
Dan Proft: That’s Barbara Flynn Currie. Dwight Kay, also, in his real life, is a manufacturing company executive, so after they presented the Madigan budget and gave the members of the House a full 2 hours to review the 500 page document, Dwight Kay skipping through it, and just asking Barbara Flynn Currie, the Chicago democrat majority leader in the State House, some questions about some of the line items, and that was this exchange:
Dwight Kay: Pleader Currie, I believe you were presenting the bill yesterday, so I’m going to page 7 and I’m asking, when you have a state that’s penniless, why you’d be looking at a pilot program at this point in time for two million six hundred thousand dollars.
Barbara Flynn Currie: Because it has value.
Dwight Kay: I see. How about page 13, section 1.20? The sum of $750,000 for the fairgrounds in Du Quoin; is that something we spend when we’re penniless? Does that have value?
Barbara Flynn Currie: Continuing appropriation.
Dwight Kay: Well, does that have value?
Barbara Flynn Currie: Clearly it did, or it would never had been in the budget.
Dan Proft: Right. There’re only things of value in the state budget, John.
John Kass: When she speaks, is Steve Brown’s hand inside her head?
Dan Proft: Steve Brown, the Mike Madigan spokesperson?
John Kass: The private contractor who speaks for the Kahn. Does his hand move like this?
Dan Proft: Well, he’s not a particularly good puppeteer, if that’s all they can come up with for Barbara Flynn Currie to say. And the exchange continued and then Barbara Flynn Currie had just about enough of Dwight Kay’s insolence.
Barbara Flynn Currie: And may I just suggest to the chair and to the body that if you’re going to go through the budget with one line after another, my answer will continue to be ditto, and I don’t know if that is a useful expenditure of scarce legislative time.
Dwight Kay: Here’s the problem, and I won’t put the body through this. It’s pretty obvious you’ve never ran a business, you’ve never had to account to money, and that has no impact on you whatsoever, especially when it has to do with taxpayer funds. I’m not going to go through this. This is simply embarrassing.
Dan Proft: Yeah, ditto, she’s a ditto head for Mike Madigan.
John Kass: Sir, I’m spending money we don’t have in the billions, and you are wasting my time by daring to ask me about it. How dare you, sir?
Dan Proft: That’s right. Well…
John Kass: Wasting the time of this good body that has bankrupted the state.
Dan Proft: That’s right, and I think tongue-lashing is in order for Dwight Kay. Unfortunately, we’re lucky to have Dwight Kay on the line. State Representative Dwight Kay, republican from Glen Carbon, thank you for joining us.
Dwight Kay: Absolutely, my pleasure.
John Kass: How dare you?
Dan Proft: What do you think you were doing, asking Barbara Flynn Currie about this line item in the budget and that line item in the budget? She doesn’t know what those things are. They just have value.
Dwight Kay: Well, she didn’t know how much value, because I have yet too many answers as to what value meant, or what line items meant in that budget.
John Kass: I was particularly interested in the attitude that she expressed, I guess through Mike Madigan and his typical democratic machine from Chicago attitude. It was almost as if – actually it wasn’t “as if”, that’s what it was – “How dare you waste our time asking us about spending money we don’t have?”
Dan Proft: Yeah, what’ the problem?
Dwight Kay: You hit the nail right on the head. I think anyone who listened to that floor debate either thought she didn’t understand her bill or she totally disrespected the process of a budget review, because as you recall, on the floor, she told me that the General Assembly - mind you, those are the people in the Body sitting on the floor to hear bills – had no time to fool, listen to, line item reviews of a budget which, by the way, is 7 billion dollars over budget, in my view, probably 14 billion, which I can now assert.
Dan Proft: I think it was pretty clear how dismissive her attitude was, and it’s reflective of the supermajority of the democrats in the House, lorded over by Mike Madigan, when she just said, “Whatever you say, I’m going to say ditto”. That’s not much of a dialogue between legislators, is it?
Dwight Kay: Well, it’s certainly not the way the process is meant to work. It’s supposed to be deliberative and thoughtful, with responsible answers. And certainly, when you come to a state that is penniless, and you have a budget that is way blown out of proportion in terms of what can be afforded and what is really necessary in this budget at the present time, I thought the answers were irresponsible, let alone dismissive, because she was saying she’s more important than any other legislator in that body, and she’s more important than the constituents in the state of Illinois who pay the bills.
John Kass: The problem that many have in this state is that they’re mistaken in thinking that Mike Madigan can be defeated in his own district. I’ve been suggesting for quite some time now, years, in fact, and others have, that a vote for a democrat in the State House is, no matter where you live, in the suburbs, downstate, anywhere, is actually a vote for Mike Madigan to maintain his power over the state. Hasn’t the direction or the impetus has to change? Doesn’t it have to change so that people can understand? There are good democrats, smart people, wise people, but they vote for Mike Madigan for speaker.
Dwight Kay: Well, and again, I’ve got to be very candid with you. There are some very good democrats. There are very good democrats in my district, and there are very good democrats in the General Assembly. The problem is these very good democrats are afraid to take on their leadership, and their leadership – and I’m talking about their speaker – needs to leave. For the good of the state, he needs to leave, because we’ve got competent people on both sides of the aisle who can put together responsible legit, and who don’t mind getting up and debating line item insertions into a budget. Because everyone understands that it’s a crummy budget that we passed. In fact, it was so bad, it was deemed so inappropriate in the Senate, defeated 2048, which is the budget that leader Currie didn’t want to answer too many questions about. So yes, there are good democrats, and but for the fact that we have Mike Madigan sitting where he is, we can get a lot done, and it would be positive.
Dan Proft: I wanted to tackle another issue before we let you go, State Representative Kay. This is a proposal that you made to dissolve East St. Louis Township down in southern Illinois, and the reason this is important, not just locally but statewide, is because part of Governor Rauner’s turnaround agenda is local government consolidation. We have more units of government than any other state in the country by a wide margin, and that creates layers and layers of bureaucracy and layers and layers of taxation. And so your proposal to dissolve East St. Louis Township, the thought behind it and how it’s been received.
Dwight Kay: Actually, two things happened. Two years ago I filed a bill to dissolve the election board, and that went absolutely nowhere for political purposes, so most recently I filed a separate bill to dissolve the township board. And it has real merit, because the township board, and this particular township, does absolutely nothing. They don’t fix roads, they don’t have any territory to maintain, it’s a relic, and they’re just trying to find a reason to exist.
Dan Proft: And the reason to exist is because it’s a sinecure for the members of the board to have salary and benefits and a phony baloney title.
Dwight Kay: Well, that’s one way to say it. I’d look at it more factually, and I just say they take in, or at least my research tell me they take in 1.6 million in taxes from a community in which 45% of their residents live in poverty. And that very township only spends $285,000 in aid of their residents, and the balance, say a million, a million two, goes for certain other things that have nothing to do with government, nothing to do with doing anything besides meeting payrolls and maybe some other perks.
Dan Proft: And where is that legislation in Springfield?
Dwight Kay: It’s in the House.
Dan Proft: But I mean is it moving? Do you think there’s any possibility?
Dwight Kay: Well, I have had no support whatsoever with respect to removing the election board itself, which is an entity that very few places in the state of Illinois see, beside the E-St. Louis area. With regard to dissolving the township, I hope that the people in that area, who have called and said, “Would you please file and have people support this legislation, because every tax dollar I pay, we’re only getting 18 cents back in benefit. Would you please file this legislation?” So I hope democrats hear this on the House floor or in committee and get it to the House floor, because this is a bill that begs to be passed. The residents do not want this township in existence.
Dan Proft: Good luck with Barbara Flynn Currie and Mike Madigan on that one. He is State Representative Dwight Kay, republican from Glen Carbon. Dwight, thanks for joining us, appreciate it.
Dwight Kay: You bet, my pleasure.
Dan Proft: Dan Proft back with John Kass, Chicago Tribune columnist, of course, on this edition of Illinois Rising, and John, we were just talking to State Representative Dwight Kay about his legislation to dissolve East St. Louis township as part of a larger discussion on local unit, local government consolidation. Reduce the overall cost of government; you can’t look at things in isolation; layers and layers and layers. Taxing bodies add up.
John Kass: And how many taxing bodies and units of government do we have? I think we lead the nation.
Dan Proft: 7000, yeah.
John Kass: Right? From townships to mosquito abatement districts where your idiot brother-in-law can get a job, right, because he can’t get a job anywhere else. It’s how it works. And the money, and we’re broke.
Dan Proft: And it’s not only that. I know your K-12 schools are the driver of your property tax bill, but these layers of government, they have taxing authority, that’s real money, and that all comes from the value of your home, frankly, as well. So in terms of why we have the highest property taxes in the nation, it has something to do with having the most local units of government in the nation. Well, the East St. Louis township legislation that Dwight Kay proposed is pending, but Belleville township actually did take the steps to dissolve it’s township government. The city voted to eliminate it and rolled the services into the city, and that’s going to happen starting in May of next year, and actually, surprisingly, you’ve got strong support for it. One of those strong supporters was Dallas Cook, the Belleville city clerk who joins us now. Dallas, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it.
Dallas Cook: Hey, no problem, Dan, thank you.
Dan Proft: So the popular support for rolling the township into the city so you didn’t have duplicative services, the problem you have in most places is people want to protect their fiefdoms, and you can’t get the elected officials that are allies of other elected officials to blink. You play this game of brinkmanship, “Don’t eliminate the township or I’m going to come after you at the city or vice versa”. So how did you guys figure it out?
Dallas Cook: Well, that’s exactly right, that’s why you can’t have any fear and you have to go for things that you want to accomplish, and what I did was I went and met with our state representative, in this area, who is not necessarily as politically light-minded as myself. And I spoke with him about the issue and how the township simply provides general assistance for those that are in need, but yet somehow taxes ten times the amount that they give out. And so I explained it to them, I asked to write a bill to allow us to eliminate it. And then I sat in wait, and about two weeks later, there they were, writing the bill and we got it done.
Dan Proft: And eliminating a township government takes a local referendum, so what was the case that was made to the city and what, if any, descent was offered?
Dallas Cook: Well, at first, I’ve been working on this for a couple of years, ever since I was elected, and at first they hit back. They did not want to eliminate it. They had total control of it. And then, as you keep going, as you keep putting it out there to the public, and I write letter to editor after letter to editor, hold public forms, explain that, “Hey, if you are going to give $100 to a charity and only $10 of it went to help the needy, would you ever give to it?” No, you wouldn’t. That’s a scam, and in this situation you are being forced to give to that scam through taxation. It’s so improper and so wrong that people should be running up and down the streets. What you do is you try to make people aware of the situation, because ignorance is what allows government to go on, and be out in control and not do what it’s supposed to.
John Kass: Did you get any support or pushback from the local papers, as a Belleville Democrat?
Dan Proft: Belleville News Democrat.
Dallas Cook: Sure, they were actually very supportive, because as soon as I wrote my letter and I gave them the figures they wrote an editorial coming back and saying that exact same thing. Ten cents on the dollar is not proper, it’s not okay, and considering a township’s only function was to help those who qualify for general assistance – which, keep in mind, is not your young, not your children, not your seniors – to qualify for general assistance through a township you have to be between 18 and 55. We’re not looking at anything else. These are people who are completely unemployed and not receiving one dollar of assistance from any other governmental program. So those who qualify are very few. So why are you taxing it, that’s the question.
Dan Proft: The comparison to a charity is a very good one. John Kass, let me tell you something about the Belleview News Democrats. Are you ready?
John Kass: Yeah.
Dan Proft: Belleview News Democrat enlightened newspaper. Belleview News Democrat reform minded paper. Belleview News Democrat endorsed one Dan Proft for governor when he ran for governor in 2010, which is more than I can say for the Chicago Tribune, John Kass.
John Kass: I had nothing to do with the non-endorsement of Dan Proft, nor the endorsement of Barrack Obama, and I would say that Belleview News Democrat has often, consistently through years, lead reform. They were one of the first…
Dan Proft: Workers Comp in prisons, that whole thing?
John Kass: How about they joined me years ago, when no one would, except Dan Proft in another iteration, calling for independent prosecutors, federal prosecutors in this state, and they were big time on it. So big props for the Bellevilles.
Dan Proft: Alright. I think we should move the state capital to Belleville.
Dallas Cook: Alright, it’s going down.
Dan Proft: Dallas Cook. So what’s the message, from your experience, that you have for other municipal officials, other, frankly, township officials even, in terms of what you’ve experienced in Belleville, which has not been the case in very many other places?
Dallas Cook: My message for other municipal officials is get to work and do what’s best for the people that you represent. Nothing else matters. You’re there to serve them and do it as officially as possible. You’re not there to do anything else. You’re not there to make friends. This is about serving people. And if you really care about those in need, then you have to take advantage of every dollar we have to help them, and you cannot take care of yourself and your party. Put that last and put the people first and nothing will ever go wrong.
Dan Proft: Alright, good stuff. Dallas Cook, Belleville City Clerk, great job down there, good speaking with you, thanks for joining us.
Dallas Cook: Hey, it’s a pleasure, Dan, thank you.
John Kass: Thank you.
Dan Proft: Dan Proft back with Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, and John, Tiny Dancer’s toddy at CPS, Forest Claypool, was one of 14 school superintendents who signed a letter saying give us more money to Governor Rauner, just go along with the program.
John Kass: What do you want more money for? Especially, I want to know what’s their pensions.
Dan Proft: Oh, the salaries and pensions of “doctor”. Please. Part of the problem, of course, and CPS is just a disaster. I don’t know how you could, frankly, in good conscience, try and hold people up for more money concerning what is produced. If I was Forest Claypool I’d have difficulty sleeping at night.
John Kass: Seriously, Danny, that is the civil rights crime of our age. They’re doing this thing this week where the white progressives are saying, “Come on down to our school; look, it’s not a prison, it’s not a crumbling prison”. You know, because you have little white kids from Jefferson Park who know their colors and all that. But in other neighborhoods that really need help, the schools are not helping, but hurting them. And the substandard public education is a direct ticket to prison and to end of life.
Dan Proft: Oh, right, and so everybody wants to focus on, “Oh, Rauner said they’re crumbling prisons”. We’re arguing whether most of the schools in CPS are crumbling prisons or not. Here’s the bottom line. Most of them are not places that educate children. That’s the point, and that’s the only point that matters, and it is a disgrace what Claypool and Tiny Dancer and Karen Lewis and all of the honchos of Chicago and the Chicago Public Schools do.
John Kass: Let’s see they know it.
Dan Proft: Of course they know it.
John Kass: If you talk to them individually, all of them are intelligent people, but they’re trapped by the convention, by the politics and the form of their own politics. They can’t break out of it. The point that you’ve been making for years, that we should have done, is to break that system up and allow these children to take vouchers wherever they want to go within the city. In the city, take wherever you want to go, whatever school. Why not take that money and bring you to Leo High School? Leo High School, Leo men, they actually get an education. Danny McGrath made sure of it, and some other guys there. I don’t know, that’s be. That’s why I’m a conservative, to tell you the truth, because of issues like that.
Dan Proft: And then you have this other development, the 27th CPS Principle for leaving their jobs, some for position in the suburbs. This is not a story where the principles are the victims here, but it is worth noting. The average CPS principle makes 135 grand before you get into the pension benefits. That’s real money. And so for many of them to leave for greener pastures, that says something about their position in the schools that they’re ostensibly in charge of. This goes to this other statistic that we don’t talk so much about, the percentage of teachers who leave the teaching profession within the first five years. Not because the money’s not good enough or the benefits are not good enough, but because they can’t do what they got into teaching to do, which is instill in children a passion to be lifelong learners and to put them on a path to success. So they say, “To hell with this, I’m going to go somewhere else, or do something else”, and that’s what happens.
John Kass: And getting a job in good districts, teaching-wise, is like becoming a plumber at city hall. It’s hard. It’s difficult, it’s political. How do I know this? I’ve been married to Betty for 30 years, she’s a teacher, she’s been trying to get a job for 10 years. She works part-time and does other things in education. She’s been looking for a job. I have a son who wants to be a teacher. He wants to be a teacher and a coach.
Dan Proft: He’s in college now.
John Kass: He’s in college, he’s doing that. So I’m not talking to you about this from an anti-teacher position.
Dan Proft: As if anybody’s anti-teacher.
John Kass: No, nobody is, but I’m saying personally, which I don’t usually do, but personally that’s my view. But they want to teach, as you said, they want to instill confidence and curiosity in these kids so they will learn on their own. That’s the idea, that’s the point of education; to learn to learn on your own, right?
Dan Proft: And here’s the other thing that has happened recently. Troy LaRaviere, who’s the principle at the school where my broadcast partner in the Morning Show, Amy Jacobson…
John Kass: Yeah, Amy. Cat lover. The cat lover.
Dan Proft: Yeah, exactly. Where her children go to school, Blaine Elementary, he was the principle there, he’s an outspoken critic of Rahm Emanuel. LaRaviere has some of the problems diagnosed correctly. He doesn’t propose the solutions that you and I would propose, but he is outspoken. He was a Bernie Sanders supporter. He’s been critical of the mayor, both on camera as well as in print, and all of a sudden he’s out at Blaine, even though he was a beloved principle there, and was doing a good job, apparently, based on what Blaine, a small percentage of schools that are actually doing a good job educating children.
John Kass: In a one party state, Dan, anyone who stands out is considered a threat to Stalin or whoever the commissars are. That’s how it works, right?
Dan Proft: Isn’t that right? It’s not good enough to vote for me, it’s not good enough to be on my side of the partisan line. If you get out of line, then you get crushed.
John Kass: Not only out of line, if you stand up and get noticed. Even if you do a good job and you actually get noticed, people will see you as a threat. This is human nature, which is why our founders understood human nature and understood that they had to have a government that wasn’t efficient for that very reason. But what do we do in Illinois, what do we do in Chicago? We want powerful bosses to run things, as if we’re coming from western Russia in the 30s, gulags. “Please, sir, please, may I kiss your hand?”
Dan Proft: Something about the founders calls to mind “Dangerous servants and fearful masters”.
Dan Proft: Dan Proft back with Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, and John, the largest Catholic university in the country is here in Chicago, DePaul University, but has become one of those Catholic university for Catholics who hate Catholicism. Case and point, our father Dennis Holtschneider is the President of DePaul, recently weighed in after a speech by Breitbart Tech Editor Milo Yiannopoulos was protested, was interrupted and ultimately was canceled under fear of threat from the students protesting what Yiannopoulos had to say. Ironically, his speech was about free speech on campus.
John Kass: Not only did the leftist thugs children who will one day grow up and want adult baby diapers.
Dan Proft: They can go to Mount Prospect.
John Kass: They can go to Mount Prospect. These are the kids that’ll do that. Not only did they shout down anyone who challenges them, but the DePaul, the police and the security allowed it to happen.
Dan Proft: Right. That’s right.
John Kass: So just as in whatever its name is in San Jose, right, who was having his own issues and had his rally and police didn’t stop that, stopped those protesters.
Dan Proft: Trump supporters being violently attacked, and that’s okay when the violence turns that way. Well, but at DePaul, and this is indicative, and by the way, we spoke with Milo Yiannopoulos on the Morning Show, AM560. So, now I can’t believe I lost my train of thought.
John Kass: The issue is that DePaul University’s president dared to compare the future baby diaper kids of the left at DePaul who shut down Milo – whatever his name is.
Dan Proft: Yiannopoulos. Greek!
John Kass: Yiannopoulos, Greek Catholic, and they allowed it to happen. And then the President compared them to the soldiers who lost their lives on June 6th, the day going after Hitler and the fascists. And I heard you say that on your show, and I thought, “How dare he?” This craven… I could just see him on his knees quivering, reaching up to kiss the hand of some illiterate child who doesn’t want to learn the Western cannon because it’s too challenging, and this kid and these kids are telling him how to think, and he caves that way and compares our war dead these little thugs.
Dan Proft: That’s what he did, there’s no question.
John Kass: How can you even send your kids to that school?
Dan Proft: How can you, as an alumn’, how can you donate? The last thing that I’d do, I’ll burn all my money up on my front stoop before I’ll send a dime to Northwestern.
John Kass: What happened to Catholic Universities?
Dan Proft: John Jenkins at Notre Dame, same thing.
John Kass: You mean the word to Obama?
Dan Proft: And Biden, the Laetare Medal for Biden, for being a great catholic.
John Kass: Because Catholicism is through democrat. It’s like you can support abortion, you cannot, it doesn’t matter, fish on Monday, Tuesday, whatever. You can do whatever you want, as long as you feel good.
Dan Proft: It’s part of your heritage, but it’s not like a faith that you have to abide or promote. That’s crazy talk, that’s being a zealot.
John Kass: Come my way, come back to the original church, Dan. We’re waiting in Constantinople, fighting the Turks who are now holding mosques. They’ve created a mosque in Hagia Sophia, first church of Christendom. How did this happen?
Dan Proft: I’ll tell you what, something about these Catholic Universities – not all, University of Dallas, there are some exceptions – but “Catholic” Colleges, like Notre Dame and DePaul.
John Kass: Georgetown? Why don’t we cover up the Georgetown motto when President Obama was speaking, because he might be offended.
Dan Proft: That’s right.
John Kass: Because it’s in Latin?
Dan Proft: One of the things they might want to consider. I know, as a Catholic, you don’t have to read the Bible, because you’re chosen, but they may want to consider that passage about selling your soul for 30 pieces of silver.