Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chicago Teachers Union Member Arrested After Leading Protest Over Tax Issues

UPDATED: March 21, 7AM
I got to hang with CORE's Jackson Potter in LA a few years ago when the idea of taking over the Chicago Teachers Union was just a glimmer. It was Jackson who gathered the original group together that became CORE and he is a major organizing force along with having amazing political savvy. He and Karen Lewis were the co-chairs of CORE (think of a non-evil Unity Caucus until the election when CORE elected 2 co-chairs who are classroom teachers. Imagine having Unity chaired by rank and file teachers instead of the Jeff Zahlers of this world.

Currently Jackson is the Staff Director of the Chicago Teachers Union - the same position people like Tom Pappas and Leroy Barr occupied(y) in the UFT. Ok, OK, you can stop laughing at the very thought that they would engage in the kind of action Jackson led.

CTU Protest Of TIFs Leads To Arrests Of Teachers and Activists

Jackson Potter, a Little Village High School of Social Justice teacher and member of the Chicago Teachers Union, and another woman identified as Amber Smock from ADAPT were both arrested after leading 150 to 200 people -- about half of them teachers -- to march and rush in to Lincoln Park's Grossinger City Cadillac dealership as part of a rally for tax increment financing (TIF) reform. The two were arrested for misdemeanor criminal trespassing and were taken to the Near North police district.

The rally Saturday afternoon started at Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts in the Gold Coast neighborhood, gathering teachers, students and parents, and multiple community organizations, including Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, UNITE HERE Local 1, and the Albany Park Neighborhood Council.

The group then marched up North Clybourn Avenue, making a pit-stop at a Bank of America branch, where 20 people went inside as Potter tried to negotiate for the banking giant to sign a pledge to return TIF money.

The group then continued on to march in full force into the Grossinger car dealership. Within minutes, police arrived to usher the protesters back outside. Potter, who had tried to speak to a deskful of employees at the dealership amid the rally cries to ask for the same pledge, was arrested moments later as a leader in the rally and march.

The group targeted Grossinger because the luxury car dealership got $8 million in tax increment financing, according to CTU spokeswoman Liz Brown.

Sources tell Progress Illinois reporter Sally Ho that the dealership is already in talks with the police to drop any charges. Keep checking back for further developments.


Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits. Here are some of the latest:

Give threatened Bronx middle school one more chance, supporters say
ARIS is 80 Million Dollar Sinkhole

NOTE: ARIS=IBM, IBM Board member=Cathie Black, IBM gives Black recent 3 million dollars after she leaves Board. Does 2 and 2 = 5?

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