HB 750 Now – Is there a better time?

Tell your state representatives to stop this insanity. Stop proposing bills to dictate to the Governor where he should sleep. The people of Illinois want education reform and property tax reform and this bill addresses both issues. So please, visit the A+ Illinois web site and write to your state representative. John Presta.

About the A+ Illinois Campaign to Reform Education

A+ Illinois is a statewide campaign led by groups and individuals committed to real reform in the quality and funding of public education for all Illinois children. A+ Illinois seeks to improve the quality of life of children and their families through a comprehensive restructuring of state finances that balances property tax reform with new state revenues that fairly and adequately respond to community needs.

Illinois schools are in a financial quagmire: They do not have enough money to provide the quality education our children deserve and laws require. To fill resource gaps, local property taxes—currently the principal funding stream for schools—have escalated. Such action has driven businesses out of the state and increased housing costs. The current system does not generate enough revenue for Illinois to pay its bills, leaving many families and communities in jeopardy. Whether measured in human or economic terms, not solving these problems now means we will pay even more later.

Fair and Adequate Funding: A+ Illinois demands changes to make school funding more adequate and fair for all children and communities. A+ Illinois will work to “bring the bottom up,” helping struggling students and schools to meet state learning standards, while preserving high-quality education where it already exists.

High-Quality, Accountable Schools: A+ Illinois supports proven strategies that build capacity to improve student learning and close the student achievement gap. Quality reforms in education are an intrinsic piece of the overall school funding and tax reform discussion, helping to guide the effective use of public dollars efficiently and responsibly.

A+ Illinois will help develop and support comprehensive reforms that tackle the state’s broken school funding and tax system, and put Illinois on better footing to protect the education, human services and community programs that are vital to the well-being of children and families.

A+ Illinois | www.aplusillinois.org | info@aplusillinois.org | 312-863-6014

Mark Pera to Appear at Cafe Luna on Wednesday, August 1st at 7:30 pm

Mark Pera (pictured on the right with his beautiful wife Leslie, left), candidate for Congress from the 3rd Congressional District of Illinois, will appear this Wednesday, August 1st at Cafe Luna located at 1742 W. 99th Street at 7:30 pm. He recently celebrated “Unity in the Community Park,” this past Sunday at Graver Park.

Mr. Pera is challenging Dan Lipinski for the Democratic nomination for the 3rd Congressional District. He has been especially critical of Lipinski’s Iraq war stance.

For information, call Michelle or John Presta at 773-233-7633.

Community Unity in the Park a Success

Unity in the Community Picnic,” held Sunday, July 29th at Graver Park, was a smashing success. Over a hundred community residents participated in this first annual event. Organizers say that this will turn into an annual event.

A very special thanks to Garnet and Eileen Fay for being the driving force behind this year’s event.

Among the sponsors are Unity in Diversity, Chicago Commission on Human Relations, Beverly/Morgan Park Community of Churches, East Beverly Association, New Neighbors, Southsiders for Peace, and World Folk Music Company.

"No Reservations" Movie Review

Give it three stars.

Just saw No Reservations last Friday, the 27th. Abigail Breslin (her of Little Miss Sunshine fame) plays 9 year old Zoe whose mother is killed in an automobile accident. Her aunt, Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta Jones), becomes Zoe’s guardian. Kate is the head chef in a Manhattan eatery and her kitchen there is her world until, of course, Zoe comes along. And Nick (a newly hired sous-chef). Nick is capably played by Aaron Eckhart.

The movie is about how she finds room in her kitchen, or metaphorically, speaking, her life. One thing certain here. Abigail Breslin has a very bright career ahead of her. John Presta.

Hillary is "Naive"

Senator Barack Obama is strong, tough and compassionate and those are some of the reasons he should be the next President of the United States. Senator Clinton is “naive” if she thinks that Obama will wilt away. My prediction of Hillary Clinton fizzling will happen sooner rather than later, judging the way this campaign is turning.

Good Judgment makes for Good Experience – "You Go Barack"

One clear advantage emerging in favor of Senator Barack Obama in his bid for the 2008 Democratic nomination for President, is that he has great “judgment.” Senator Hillary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq and is now showing her “poor judgment” by defending that vote and escalating the problem for herself, by refusing to disavow that vote. In reviewing her remarks during the Iraq War debate, it is clear she understood what she was voting for. Senator Clinton enthusiastically voted in favor of this “dumb war.,” as Senator Obama called it back in 2002.

“Poor judgment” makes for “poor experience.”

Obama’s great judgment translates in great experience. Reminds me of another young candidate running for President in 1960 who was accused of the same types of things by an experienced candidate, Richard M. Nixon. John Presta

Jim Capparelli Announces for Lipinski’s seat

The field for the Illinois Congressional 3rd District is getting a bit more crowded as Jim Capparelli, a well-known southwest sider and one who has a large extended family, gives Jim’s campaign immediate credibility. The Reading on Walden Political Discussion Group will invite Jim out to our community. Mark Pera has already been invited and has accepted our invitation. He will appear here soon.

July 25, 2007 Southwest News-Herald – Oak Lawn, Burbank, Bridgeview
Lipinski Opponent Surfaces,
Chicago Attorney Throws His Hat in Ring for 2008

By DERMOT CONNOLLY, Southwest New-Herald Reporter
With the formal announcement last week by Chicago attorney Jim Capparelli that he was throwing his hat into the ring, it appears Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) will have two opponents in the Democratic primary race set for Feb. 5, 2008.

About 250 people turned out to hear Capparelli make his official declaration of candidacy at a party held last Thursday evening at the Argo-Summit American Legion Post, 6050 S. Harlem Ave.

Western Springs resident Mark Pera, a Cook County assistant state’s attorney, had already declared his candidacy in the district, which takes in many of Chicago’s southwest suburbs, including Burbank, Bridgeview and Oak Lawn, in addition to several neighborhoods on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

The district stretches as far north as Cicero, and west to the DuPage County border.

Capparelli, 46, grew up in the Clearing neighborhood, and now lives in Garfield Ridge with his wife, Chris, and their two children.

A graduate of Marist High School, the University of Illinois at Chicago and DePaul Law School, he is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, serving as a Psychological Operations battalion commander.

He noted that he has combat experience, having parachuted as an Airborne Ranger. Indeed, he parachuted into Panama during the U.S. invasion of that country in 1989.

After returning from active military service, he was a felony prosecutor in the Will County State’s Attorney’s office and then the Veterans’ Rights Bureau Chief in Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office before opening a private law practice with some friends.

Capparelli cited as qualifications his lifelong residence in the 3rd District, local ties, and military and professional experience.

“I am not an academic. I always worked, and went to law school at night. I am more in touch with the people in the district,” said Capparelli, alluding to Lipinski, who grew up in Clearing but was a professor of political science at the University of Tennessee before being picked by his father, former Cong. Bill Lipinski, to take over his seat in Congress in 2004.

The way Lipinski was chosen for the seat, by party leaders after the primary, rankles Capparelli, and Pera is expected to make it an issue in the campaign as well.

“Whenever someone subverts the democratic process like that, you’ve got to say that is not right,” said Capparelli.

He said that his military experience would also benefit the country as lawmakers work to bring the Iraq war to a conclusion.

“I certainly think I have a lot to say about the conduct of a war,” he said.

“Clearly, it is time for some sort of exit strategy,” he said, regarding the U.S. military presence in Iraq.

“(Capparelli) is honest and sincere, and truly into helping the people of this area,” said one of his supporters, Anthony Barone, explaining why he came to the campaign event. “Nothing against the Lipinskis, but they are still the old-time politicians.”

For his part, Jerry Hurckes, Lipinski’s chief of staff and Oak Lawn’s 1st District trustee, said the congressman will run on his record.

He said the way Lipinski was appointed the Democratic nominee in 2004 is “old news.”

“We are beyond that. We have had elections since then,” said Hurckes. “I think (Lipinski) has done a great job representing the district as congressman.

“He is back in the district every weekend. He holds regular town hall meetings and offers a lot of constituent services. He keeps the voters informed with his newsletter. These are the things you ask from your congressman. And he has been supportive of our troops and is working on bringing them home.”

He said the congressman’s academic background is beneficial to the district as well.

“You don’t have too many congressmen with doctorate degrees, besides being an engineer,” Hurckes said.

Capparelli’s supporters, which includes a large extended family, said they know the race will be challenging, especially from a financial aspect.

While Pera has received more than $54,000 and already lent his campaign $86,000 for the campaign, and Lipinski reportedly already has almost $200,000 in his campaign coffers, Capparelli’s supporters said he is essentially starting with nothing, except for a large extended family and friends to help him get the word out.

“Jim is a neighborhood guy. He has a great work ethic and we will all be out there helping with the campaign,” said his brother-in-law, Mike Caruso.