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Proviso Probe

Thursday, August 03, 2006

POL, CUinFP campaign finance pledge [FP]

Citizens United in Forest Park has drafted a voluntary pledge for candidates running in next year's village elections (mayor and village council). See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) for discussion.

I would prefer campaign fundraising not be a quid pro quo exchange for government money—jobs or contracts—down the road.

However, I find the Libertarian critique of government at least partially persuasive. If we’re going to make local government a multi-million dollar business, state government a multi-billion dollar business and the federal government a multi-trillion dollar business then we can’t be surprised when the people who stand to make money (or lose money) to these bureaucratic behemoths want to influence the outcome of elections.

My personal preference to fixing elections is to open them to more options than the two parties sanctioned by our powerful interest groups and other elites.

If you are a local control conservative who favors guidelines to the government criminalizing behavior, it would seem that the proposal by Citizens United in Forest Park’s campaign finance pledge would be appealing. It’s locally generated. It’s voluntary. What more could a local control conservative want?

But let’s be honest. Those ideologically consistent conservatives don’t exist. Right Wingers want what they want. Local control is just a fig leaf created to justify opposing the federal government enforcing the civil rights amendments of the Constitution. Before Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota were admitted as Free states—tilting the balance of power in Congress from slave states to Free states—the South favored a strong federal government.

If Right Wing business groups think they can get a better deal at the WTO (World Trade Organization) than they can in Congress, they want the WTO to trump Congress.

If Right Wing groups think they can get a better deal from the state than local government they are quick to try to get states to pass laws forcing more liberal/progressive communities to conform to the desires of the Right Wingers in the name of uniformity.

So, it’s not surprising that Forest Park commissioner Mark Hosty opposed the pledge by insulting Steve Backman and then saying, the State of Illinois has laws that govern elections and the laws are good enough for him.

If our society had a healthy political dialogue—and we don’t, although this is at least a national problem—politicians opposing the pledge would be expected to at least explain what’s wrong with preventing pols from squeezing village employees, contractors and people with business before the zoning board.

Mayor Anthony Calderone did comment on the specifics of the plan. While I consider some of Calderone’s statements implausible, he did explain some specific criticisms of the pledge. (IMO Calderone is much more knowledgeable and thoughtful on public policy than some of the other commissioners. So, the barbs about Calderone’s intellect and education seem inappropriate.)

Calderone raised the concern that contribution limits favor candidates with more personal wealth.

However, a couple of Calderone’s statements seem contradictory.

He said that his campaign fundraising is handled by a committee of volunteers and that it had been "several years" since he looked over his contributor list. He said he suspected that most of his out of town contributions are "probably out of friendship" or from people who have no specific interest in the town but believe he would make a good elected official.

And...
"Unless you're independently wealthy, which I'm not, and if I was I'd say forget the fundraising, because it's a lot of work." (emphasis added)


Which is it Mayor Calderone?

Is your campaign war chest being raised by a volunteer committee and you don’t even know who gives? Or is raising money “a lot of work”?

Calderone’s statement about a committee of volunteers concerns me. Having been involved with a few political campaigns and attended campaign training, I know it’s the candidate’s job to raise money.

The candidates that don’t have to do the heavy lifting on fundraising for their own campaigns are pawns of some political boss.

Consider how Calderone handled the issue with District 209 reneging on the agreement not to hold summer school at Proviso Math and Science Academy for non-PMSA students. See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern). Initially, Village Manager Michael Sturino was quite critical of District 209.

So, Calderone went to talk to District 209. With a weak CEO in Robert Libka, board president Emanuel “Chris” Welch calls the shots at D209. When Welch ran for state representative he received a large amount of his campaign money from Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico and his allies.

Serpico and his allies derive many benefits from Serpico’s influence on the District 209 Board of Education. For example, when District 209 and Ron Serpico were sued for illegally terminating Generoso Trombetta there was a $1 million judgment against Serpico. District 209—meaning Proviso taxpayers—paid $500,0000 of the judgment against Serpico.

Now, if Calderone does have a “volunteer” committee to do his fundraising, I suspect they are not merely citizen-activists, but people who are compensated for their role in government. It seems likely that some of these volunteers are allied with Ron Serpico.

Serpico probably didn’t want the Village of Forest Park rocking the boat at District 209. I can see Welch and Calderone reaching an agreement not to fight about summer school because it would be “bad of business”.

So, when Calderone says that there’s no conflict between the interests of his contributors from outside Forest Park and the interests of Forest Park residents, I would offer the example of summer school at PMSA to show how Calderone may be prioritizing interests of his outside Forest Park allies over the interests of Forest Park.

5 Comments:

  • "So, when Calderone says that there’s no conflict between the interests of his contributors from outside Forest Park and the interests of Forest Park residents, I would offer the example of summer school at PMSA to show how Calderone may be prioritizing interests of his outside Forest Park allies over the interests of Forest Park."

    Close, but no cigar.

    By Anonymous Mrs. Dash, at 11:14 AM, August 03, 2006  

  • huh? This post goes to a new level of rambling. For the lazy here's a summary:

    1: fundraising should not be quid pro quo.

    2: libertarianism is just a talking point to mask the reinstitution of racism by conservatives

    3: there is an unhealthy political dialogue (b/c everyone else is arguing in bad faith

    4: volunteers and hard work are logical imcompatible

    5: Caldarone and Welch are at it again

    How do you have any more hate left over?

    By Blogger Roy, at 2:24 PM, August 03, 2006  

  • You think Calderone is knowledgeable about public policy? He only regurgitates that which he is taught by Ron S. I guess that could loosely qualify for knowledge. Not the kind I want to see used on my tax dime though. Because of your false perception that he is knowledgeable in the ways of public policy this makes up for the fact that he doesn't even have an 11th grade education and that shouldn't be questioned? After all, he is making decisions based on your other topics about our children's education. And quite frankly, I do not want a high school drop out having anything to do with the educational system I am about to send thousands of dollars too via my tax bill. Which by the way I received yesterday and had a $1,300.00 increase on. Get real Carl and stop defending this crook. He may talk the political talk but he certainly doesn't walk the straight and narrow.

    By Anonymous More of the Same, at 9:39 AM, August 04, 2006  

  • I don't think it can get any worse for Calderone. To bad he is going to lose all his alarm contracts and salary when he is no longer Mayor.

    By Blogger harkmosty, at 8:37 AM, August 05, 2006  

  • You've summed it up pretty good! Calderone is not politically naiive. He has had Serpico's personal coaching for a decade. What you see is what you get. People take the blinders off.

    By Anonymous 3BlindMice, at 7:06 AM, August 11, 2006  

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