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Robert Fioretti


Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Mar 21, 2013

How The School Closure Moratorium Bill Got Kicked Down The Road

A bill to put a to put a temporary moratorium on school closings advanced in the Senate Education Committee Tuesday, however it was “shelled” and all language was stripped out, according to a spokeswoman for Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), the legislation’s chief sponsor.

The bill, SB 1571, was changed because the votes in the committee weren’t all there for its approval and its language needed to be strengthened.

Lawmakers were also feeling the heat of getting bills out of committee by this week’s deadline, the Associated Press reported.

Stacy Davis Gates, legislative and political director for the Chicago Teachers Union, which sent members to Springfield to testify on the moratorium’s behalf, said stripping the language was a “legislative maneuver,” because if it stayed in committee, it would be dead.

“The biggest part is it’s alive,” she said. “Had everything stayed in as is, it probably wouldn’t have gotten out.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Mar 19, 2013

Education Activists Head To Springfield Calling For Moratorium On School Closings (VIDEO)

A group of education activists boarded a bus to Springfield this morning to campaign for a moratorium on school closings in Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

Leaving shortly after 6:30 a.m., the group of approximately 30 CPS staff members, students and supporters plan on attending a 1 p.m. Senate Education Committee hearing at the Illinois Statehouse. Organized by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) the group aimed to petition for lawmakers’ support and testify on behalf of SB 1571, legislation that would place a two-year moratorium on school closings.

“Before they instill policies and close schools they should listen to the people who actually do the job,” said Dorothy Clabaugh, a librarian at Alexander Graham Elementary School in Canaryville, which is one of 129 schools that is facing a potential school action.

PI Original
by Aricka Flowers
Wed Mar 13, 2013

Second So-Called Progressive Caucus Emerges In Chicago City Council, Begging The Question Of Why?

A second group of aldermen, calling themselves the Paul Douglas Alliance (after the liberal Illinois U.S. Senator and former member of the Chicago City Council), announced they are forming a new so-called progressive caucus. The move comes one day after the council's original progressive caucus, the Progressive Reform Coalition, announced their legislative priorities. Progress Illinois breaks down what the formation of the second progressive caucus could really mean.

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Thu Jan 24, 2013

Youth Unemployment Summit Highlights Illinois Teens' Urgent Need For Jobs

Illinois’ teen unemployment rate is among the highest in the country and during a panel on Thursday at the Chicago Urban League, local elected officials came face-to-face with Chicago’s unemployed youth. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Jan 14, 2013

Community Group Brings Together Politicians, Religious and Community Leaders In A Call For Social Justice

Busloads of Chicago and suburban residents filed into the pews of a South Side church Sunday for an afternoon remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. and called on a dozen elected officials to join their push for social and economic justice in the area.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Dec 12, 2012

CTU Holds Education Summit To Push Back Against School Closings, Charters

Hundreds of Chicago Teachers Union members, public school parents and activists began a grassroots education movement Saturday in response to Chicago Public Schools plan to expand charters while closing neighborhood schools at the end of this academic year. Progress Illinois was there to learn more about the movement and their plans.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Wed Nov 14, 2012

Why The City Council Will Rubber Stamp Emanuel's Budget

Protesters organized by Stand Up! Chicago staged a “die-in” yesterday at Chicago's City Hall lying motionless on the floor to represent what they say is the devastation that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget will inflict on Chicago neighborhoods.

The advocates' message has mostly fallen on deaf ears in the city council. Aldermen are expected at a council meeting tomorrow to easily pass a budget that Emanuel presented just last month. The only questions are whether the vote will be unanimous and what, if any, items in the $6.54 billion package will be modified.

There was hope when Emanuel became mayor last year of more give and take between the city manager and council on the Windy City’s annual budget. Why has this not happened?

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Wed Nov 7, 2012

Muddled Public Employee Pension Referendum Fails

The state’s biggest political issue of 2012 has been growing unfunded pension obligations to public employees, with the shortfall expected to hit $93 billion by next summer. By comparison, the annual state budget is about $33 billion a year.

Considering this, Illinois voters could have been forgiven for thinking that a failed referendum on yesterday’s ballot regarding the approval of pension benefit increases had something to do with these addressing the deficit. But it really didn’t, and neither the referendum’s merits nor its key political backers were ever made clear.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Tue Nov 6, 2012

10th House District: Lack Of Enthusiasm For Derrick Smith Opponent, Lance Tyson (VIDEO)

Despite a federal indictment on bribery charges and being kicked out of the Illinois General Assembly in August, former state Rep. Derrick Smith may be elected to his old seat today in Illinois’ 10th House district.

Across the 10th state House district today, which loosely includes the Garfield Park and West Town neighborhoods on Chicago’s West Side but also stretches near the lakefront, ripped apart signs can be found that state Derrick Smith is “Wanted” for “Disgracing the Democratic Party” and “Crimes Against the Residents of the 10th District” and “Federal Bribery.”

Yet support appears lukewarm for Lance Tyson, the 10th District Unity Party candidate and former chief of staff for Cook County President Todd Stroger. Tyson has billed himself as the “real Democrat”

For example, PI caught up with Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) at a polling place in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood. Fioretti is also the 2nd Ward Democratic Committeeman and part of a coterie of West Side Democrats, including Secretary of State Jesse White, who agreed to “unify” their support behind Tyson.

But Fioretti said Tyson’s get out the vote efforts left something to be desired.