Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chuy speaks truth to power at the City Club. Picks up more key endorsements.

Mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia greets Mary Russell Gardneron at his West Loop campaign office on March 30, 2015, after receiving the endorsement of a coaliition of African-American women. (Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune)
Chuy laid it all out there yesterday while speaking to the City Club.
“Chicago is becoming a city of the very rich and the very poor with fewer and fewer people in between,” Garcia said to a packed audience before the City Club of Chicago. “We’re becoming a city with glittering buildings surrounded by crumbling neighborhoods. A city with the finest restaurants, surrounded by communities full of people who can’t afford a decent meal. A city with some job growth in a small area downtown, surrounded by a vast area where unemployment rates are 25 to 30 percent. A city with fancy shopping areas surrounded by other areas with boarded-up business districts.” -- Natasha Korecki in the Sun-Times
Indian American community leaders stand up for Chuy
Along the way he picked up some important endorsements from a coalition of African-American women,  a prominent group of Indian American leaders (Indo-American Democratic Organization [IADO]) and the American Muslim Task Force On Civil Rights.

I was happy to see Chuy elaborating on his education views, many of which were shaped by his experience working with schools, educators and parents in the Little Village community.

His education platform is laid out here, including this statement, which as you might expect, put a smile on my face.
I would like to establish more small schools, such as the one I helped create in Little Village, which includes students from North Lawndale, where several specialized schools operate creatively in a single high-school building. We can add more excellent schools within the public system rather than adding more charters.
And speaking of schools, check out SEIU's latest sponsored TV ad for Chuy.

Monday, March 30, 2015


Last night's Chuy rally at the Alhambra
Events around town have us Chuy Garcia supporters feeling hopeful. Last night we packed the Alhambra, scene of our Feb. 24th victory party, for a festive fund-raiser with Rapper Rhymefest, Indian/reggae-influenced group Funkadesi, folk ensemble Sones de Mexico, Shirley King, Billy Branch, El DJ Rebel X, the Janes, comedian Jaime de Leon and others.

A chorus of boos seems to follow Rahm everywhere he travels, on the south and west sides.

Chuy with Timuel and Zenobia Black
OGDEN/FRY POLLS are a joke once again. They show massive swings in just 24 hours (Rahm drops 10 points from March 27th to 28th. Chuy drops 7. Is that even possible without a major scandal or big news event? Once again, O/F under-counts Latinos.
According to the data from March 27, Emanuel led with 57.9 percent, and Garcia followed with 41.2. On March 28, Emanuel's 47.6 percent outpaced Garcia (34.2) by about 13 points. Voters who responded "undecided" accounted for 18.3 percent the March 28 poll. --  DNAInfo
Why does S-T and DNA take them seriously?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS is coming to town this week to endorse Chuy.
Sanders, 73, pointed out the fact that Emanuel’s campaign is financed by the very “oligarchy” of millionaires and billionaires the senator sees as the scourge of American democracy.

Ladies and gentleman, this is how you make an entrance ... #chuy2015
Posted by David De Santiago on Sunday, March 29, 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

Chuy tells Rahm: 'You're not the king of the city'

In case you weren't watching...

Fran Spielman, Sun-Times
Mayoral challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia came out smoking Thursday, putting Mayor Rahm Emanuel on his heels in their second debate for presiding over a government by fiat and press release that is “out of touch” with the priorities of everyday Chicagoans.
 “He’s the mayor of Chicago — not the king of the city.
Rick Pearson and Bill Ruthhart, Tribune
"The mayor said that sometimes he rubs people the wrong way because of his passion, but that's not why people on Feb. 24 voted for change in the city of Chicago," said Garcia, alluding to Emanuel failing to win re-election outright last month. "They voted for change, because they're tired of the broken promises, they're tired of the bad choices and they're tired of the wrong priorities of this administration. … I will be a mayor that will be inclusive."
When the mayor talked about closing a coal-fired plant in Little Village, where Garcia lives, the challenger responded: "You singlehandedly closed that? People have been working on that for 10 years. You were still in Washington."
At another point, Garcia was asked about his opposition to the use of lakefront land between Soldier Field and McCormick Place for a museum to display the collections of movie mogul and "Star Wars" creator George Lucas. The challenger accused Emanuel of deciding to award the land for "a monument to Darth Vader" through mayoral "fiat."
Sara Burnett, AP
 He [Garcia] told reporters after the debate that he was more aggressive than he's been in their previous meetings in part because voters are excited about the runoff and "that's contagious."
Fred Klonsky's Blog
 You could see the two Rahm’s fighting with themselves. There was the modulated, passionless technocrat that repeated the same things over and over. Yet every once in a while the real Rahm – the one that rubs us all the wrong way – came out. Nasty and whining. “Let me finish. Let me finish,” Rahm cried when Chuy interrupted Rahm’s long-winded BS. -- The Chuy we've been waiting for
Media Tweets
The funniest moment for me was when Rahm mistakenly quoted Yogi Bear instead of Yogi Berra. He's not smarter than average bear.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Goodhart's Law of unintended consequences

Goodhart's law is named after the banker who originated it, Charles Goodhart. Its most popular formulation is: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."

In other words: “When you put a lot of weight on one measure, people will try to do well on that measure,” says Jonah Rockoff of Columbia. “Some things they do will be good, in line with the objectives. Others will amount to cheating or gaming the system.”

What are the consequences of grading teachers by the test? Economics writer Eduardo Porter's NYT piece refers to Goodhart's Law in the context of using high-stakes, standardized tests to grade teachers.

Luis Garicano at the London School of Economics calls it the Heisenberg Principle of incentive design, after the defining uncertainty of quantum physics: A performance metric is only useful as a performance metric as long as it isn’t used as a performance metric.

Porter quotes Randi Weingarten:
“People who claim to be market-based reformers want to sell the theory that there is a direct correlation between test scores, the effort of teachers and the success of children,” said Randi Weingarten, who heads the American Federation of Teachers. “It just ignores everything else that goes into learning.”
I only wish that Randi would have remembered that when she signed on to Arne Duncan's call for more and earlier national high-stakes testing. AFT’s position is detailed in a joint statement issued with the Center for American Progress, a Democratic Party aligned think tank.
“We propose to keep annual tests so parents have valid information about their children’s progress but want to ensure that any school accountability a system has a broader array of indicators that fully captures how our children are learning,” said CAP President Neera Tanden.
Randi and CAP's assumption here is that tests like the PARCC can really provide "valid information" even with Goodhart's Law in play.

Porter says:
Teachers argue there is no way they could isolate the impact of teaching itself from other factors affecting children’s learning, particularly such things as the family background of the students, the impact of poverty, racial segregation, even class size.   
As usual, the teachers are right.

Porter wimps out at the end of his piece, quoting rabid testing proponent and former NYC Chancellor Joel Klein who calls for reliance on so-called "value-added scores" in order "to penalize or reward teachers". Porter, like Weingarten, calls for grading teachers on student test scores along with "other measures." That is the current approach in most districts these days.

But even with the mixed-measures approach, the high-stakes tests when used to determine teachers' and administrators' salaries have more power than any of the softer measures of student/teacher performance and therefore are really all that counts. The unintended consequences include gaming the system and teaching to the tests. It also ignores the role that poverty and other out-of-school factors play on measurable student/teacher performance.

High-stakes, standardized testing is part of the problem. Not part of the solution. It shouldn't be used, even in combination with other more valid measures, to grade teachers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Rahm's takeaways from Ferguson

"The Chicago Police Department stops a shocking number of innocent people," said Harvey Grossman, the ACLU's legal director. "And just like New York, we see that African Americans are singled out for these searches." -- Chicago had higher stop-and-frisk rate than NYC
What did Mayor Rahm Emanuel learn from the events in Ferguson, Missouri. This is from the Justice Dept. report on its investigation of the Ferguson Police Dept.:
FPD Engages in a Pattern of Unconstitutional Stops and Arrests in Violation of the Fourth Amendment (P. 16)
Rahm's takeaway: Stop-and-frisk of young African-Americans is great but Ferguson is small-time compared to us. In fact, New York is small-time compared to Chicago. We're number one!

According to the Sun-Times:
More than 250,000 times last summer, Chicago cops stopped people for questioning without making an arrest — a practice that disproportionately targeted blacks, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.
It would be wrong to simply blame this practice on individual cops. Rather ACLU officials believe officers are under pressure from supervisors to make stops and show they’re “generating activity.”  In other words, stop-and-frisk is policy coming down the line directly from Rahm and his hand-picked Supt. Garry McCarthy. 

Then there's this:

The Justice Dept. report found discriminatory use of tickets and municipal fines inflicted not with the primary goal of administering justice or protecting the rights of the accused, but of maximizing revenue. (P. 42)
 Most strikingly, the court issues municipal arrest warrants not on the basis of publicsafety needs, but rather as a routine response to missed court appearances and required fine payments. In 2013 alone, the court issued over 9,000 warrants on cases stemming in large part from minor violations such as parking infractions, traffic tickets, or housing code violations. 
Rahm's takeaway: Here, just think red-light cameras and speed cameras. Or how about ticketing for minor possession or use of marijuana. It adds up to hidden, regressive taxation without raising property taxes.

John Oliver has the best take on this:

Post Mortem: Ferguson cops busted a guy for "Making a False Declaration", for initially providing the short form of his first name, “Mike” instead of “Michael” (P. 3).

Don't even think about it, Rahm. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Momentum swinging Chuy's way

Good news for Chuy Garcia's campaign. Yesterday's first day of early voting had a record turnout. As of 5:15 p.m. Monday, there were a total of 7,914 voters across the city voting early -- the highest number ever recorded for the first day of early voting for a municipal election. I don't think the media smarties or pollsters were ready for this. Something's in the wind.

The campaign is now garnering national attention, especially within the national Democratic Party. Lots of previous Obama support and money is now flowing Chuy's way. More on this as we head towards 2016.

I don't doubt that  Chuy is still trailing Rahm in the polls. But the polls, at least the ones we mostly read about, like Ogden/Fry and the Tribune, seem to be trailing reality. And Chuy seems to have the big mo on his side with strong union and community support pouring in as real voting begins.

Yesterday he picked up national endorsements from the AFT and the Latino Victory Fund. The fund is part of Latino Victory Project, whose co-founders include businessman Henry Muñoz III and actress Eva Longria. Muñoz serves as finance chair for the Democratic Party and Longoria has been a major donor to President Barack Obama's campaigns. He was scheduled to meet with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka last night.

The latest Ogden/Fry poll has Chuy trailing by 16 points. Really? Remember, the Trib poll under-counted the Garcia vote by 18 points in the Feb. 24th election. O/F hasn't fared much better. They're both pretty accurate when it comes to polling white, older voters or those with land-line phones. But even there, their sampling is tiny, ie. they polled 12 people in Chuy's home ward in Little Village. In my brother Fred's ward, the pro-Chuy 35th, Fred represented about a third of the 11 voters polled (he was polled 3 times).

Those polls might look a lot different if O/F or the Trib bothered to poll Latino voters, the largest ethnic group in Chicago. More reliable polling of Latino voters shows overwhelming community support for Chuy. For example, a poll was conducted by Latino Decisions and co-sponsored by Latino Policy Forum, National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities and Univision Chicago.

Here's their survey:
In the election for Mayor of Chicago, will you vote for Rahm Emanuel or Jesus Chuy
Rahm Emanuel................................................................18
Jesus Chuy Garcia ...........................................................61
Don’t know......................................................................21
Sixty-five percent of potential Latino voters say no one from a campaign, party or community organization had asked them to vote or register to vote in the upcoming election. What a difference they would make.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Willie Barrow's Funeral 
Rev. Jesse Jackson
“Seventy-five years of protests. God gave her [Willie Barrow] a life full of stories,” Jackson told mourners. “Dr. King, 39; Malcolm [X], 39, Willie Barrow, 90 years,” he said to applause. -- Sun-Times
Principals Assoc. Pres. Clarice Berry
"It has been an utter catastrophe," Berry said at a press conference, where she also called for the contract with the two companies to be voided. -- Schools still dirty with privatized custodians: principals (Catalyst)
Greg Hinz
Garcia is facing a foe with almost as much money as Midas in Mayor Rahm Emanuel. In my view, his only path to victory April 7 is to get union members who don't like Emanuel to ring lots of doorbells—and to get their leaders to give Garcia enough of a war chest to counter Emanuel's TV ad blitz. Particularly key is the Chicago Teachers Union. -- Crain's
 Charles Wheeler
“I think Rauner has a pathological hatred for organized labor,” says Charles N. Wheeler III, director of the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. -- Garcia as mayor could be Rauner's worst nightmare (Sun-Times)
http://t.co/PP7pIHp16V pic.twitter.com/bJPTkHnkyq