Out of Galewood comes Bob Golhatra

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By Jim Bowman


He's Bob Galhotra, of Galewood, a public defender in Cook County since 1990, past president of the public defenders' union, AFSCME Local 3315, and avid opponent of the pension legislation that Pat Quinn signed in December — and more importantly, that Don Harmon pushed through.

A "painful and difficult" decision it was for Harmon, he told The Daily Herald, the most so of his 11 years in the senate.

Galhotra would like to make it even more painful, as he explained in an open letter in the Sun-Times to "participants in the Chicago Police, Chicago Firefighters, Chicago Municipal Employees, Cook County Employees, Chicago Public School Teacher and Judicial Retirement Systems."

"Your pension and retirement security is under attack," he wrote. "Our state government has sent us a clear message: You and I are next. You can't stop this alone, but we will, together."

The senate bill "stole the pensions of hard working families," passing with the minimum number of votes. Change one vote, he said, and "we can protect what's been promised to us."

Harmon's is the only Democratic Senate seat contested in the primary, he said.  "Tell our Democratic Party leaders that there are consequences for stealing our pensions."

The Herald explained:

That's the bill [what Galhotra would hope to get passed if elected] Harmon said he and other Senate colleagues preferred, but it didn't have enough votes in the House. Some estimates say the bill wouldn't have saved the state as much money as the one that passed — a projected difference between $55 billion and $160 billion.

In other words, what Galhotra wants was not achievable, or so Harmon and other judged.

And though Harmon says he and others have had doubts about the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1 [which became law], "we had to act. We couldn't politically posture."

"It doesn't solve the problem, but I think it gives us a fair amount of headroom to climb out of this hole. When you're in the bottom of the hole, the first thing you do is stop digging," Harmon said. "We could not sit on our hands and say, 'No, we're just going to let the state sink.'"

In other words again, the senate has just begun to fight; and union members and supporters are bound to have even more to complain about, assuming Harmon wins again.

Not to mention that if he does not, the Dem leadership is bound to find another vote to fend off Galhotra and his allies, because as Harmon told The Herald, the problem remains to be solved.

Email: Twitter: @BlitheSp

Reader Comments

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Comment Policy

John Murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: March 8th, 2014 9:27 PM

Sanctity - the quality or state of being holy or sacred. Jim, is the Primary a) Holy?, or b) sacred? There is no shortage of inappropriate word selection on WJ Comments, but yours takes the cake.

Jim Bowman  

Posted: March 8th, 2014 11:57 AM

John Butch, let me say (a) I am happy not to be faced with this option and (b) the sanctity of the primary ballot forbids my involvement. We make our beds, we lie in them, right? Good luck.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 7th, 2014 4:53 PM

Mr Bowman - Need your help. Should I vote for Don Harmon, or Bob Galhotra. Republican is not an alternative!


Posted: March 7th, 2014 11:00 AM

And another thing...why are only unions and low income folks the ones referred to as hard working? How about the surgeon that spends hours in OR saving your loved one's life? Or the mechanical engineer pouring over blueprints? The computer programmer fixing bugs at 2am so your iPad doesn't freeze up? Thesy are not 1%'ers. These are the very people paying the most in taxes. Remove them from the equation, and the gravy train collapses. Where's the love?

Ex-Democrat from Oak Park  

Posted: March 7th, 2014 10:44 AM

If the fact that Mr. Galhotra is a practicing attorney, and yet still is a member of AFSCME doesn't illustrate the fundamental problem, than I don't know what does. Lawyers manufacturing more laws to ingratiate themselves with public sector unions. A rigged game with us private sector taxpayers footing the bill. The solution is eliminating unionization for all govt workers except 1st responders i.e.police/fire/EMT. No one else. Then, like us, you can fund your own pension.


Posted: March 7th, 2014 10:29 AM

Galhorta sounds like another typical union crony. He mentions protecting "hard working families". Well, what about my hard working family? What about my retirement fund? We're on the hook to support a deeply flawed pension system, one in which the avg pensioner withdraws far more than is earned or contributed on their behalf. IL will tax my IRA distributions, while pension distributions pay no such tax.SS will run dry by the time I need it, yet I keep paying into it.Where's the non-union relief?


Posted: March 7th, 2014 1:34 AM

Well, well. This gives me a reason to vote in the primary. I wasn't going to vote out of disgust with Harmon's support of the bogus Pension Law Theft of 2013, but now I can support a Democrat other than Harmon. Yay!

Bill D  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 8:16 PM

"Tell our Democratic Party leaders that there are consequences for stealing our pensions." And there well may be. But one of them won't be Harmon losing this primary. Let's get back to reality, folks.

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