Independence from influence defines Martire

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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A recent letter to the editor of this paper tried to question the independence of Ralph Martire — who is a candidate for the OPRF High school District 200 school board — and the think tank he works for, the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA) because CTBA receives some funding from unions. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. I know firsthand that funders of CTBA — which, by the way, include the management side of education that negotiates across the table from unions, as well as universities and good government foundations — have no say in the organization's work product or policy recommendations. 

Indeed Ralph himself and the CTBA are valued by decision-makers in both the Republican and Democratic parties for their independence from influence and credibility on substance. Ralph's credibility, independence and focus on using evidence-based best practices to craft policy reforms are, in fact, why he was appointed to serve on Republican Governor Rauner's School Funding Reform Commission and the federal Excellence and Equity in Education Commission under Democratic President Obama. 

This is why I hope you will join me in supporting Ralph Martire for the D200 board. His independence and valuable expertise in designing evidence-based approaches to education reforms will help D200 create a truly excellent and equitable experience for all students.

David Orr 

Former Cook County clerk 

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Reader Comments

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Nick A Binotti  

Posted: March 23rd, 2019 10:44 AM

So David, you supported Netsch's property tax swap which supposed to be an income tax hike matched with a property tax reduction. That would be quite an attractive proposition for someone working in real estate, no? You proved my point. We all love stories of salesmen who provide us the beneficial back story to achieve our goals. The CTBA is an unabashed tax advocate. If you are a tax hungry teachers union and need an organization whose output is incessant tax increases, the CTBA is where you shop. You don't have to have a "say" in the work product, it's already there. This is true at all levels of government. I've got nothing against David Orr, but I do know how the game is played. I'm sure he does as well, but his perspective is going to be different because he's a consumer of the product whereas I put it back on the shelf.

David Gullo  

Posted: March 23rd, 2019 9:33 AM

Hey Bruce - appreciate your opinion but taking shots like this deserves to get called out. I'm voting for Ralph Martire not because of David Orr's letter (where his points are reasonable and factual) but because I know and have worked with Ralph. We worked for Dawn Calrk Netsch who promoted the the idea that our property taxes that support education will get reduced when the State of Illinois gets serious about funding education. As David points out Ralph is an authority people on both sides of the aisle listen to. Given the latest D200 fiasco involving Principal Rouse, I think voters will appreciate having a trustee who can speak with knowledge and passion about equity, transparency and funding issues.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: March 22nd, 2019 9:08 PM

David: David Orr has indeed been an example of a great public servant. I agree. But that does not mean that every opinion that Mr. Orr expresses is apriori correct; nor are we obligated to agree. Having worked in both the private and public sector, Nick's point is IMO accurate. And in this, specific case, in my view, David Orr is incorrect.

David Gullo  

Posted: March 22nd, 2019 5:43 PM

Neal - David Orr is not a "Chicago politician". Many people in Oak Park & River Forest know, trust and have supported David.

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2019 3:02 PM

So a Chicago politician endorses Ralph Matire. Reason enough not to vote for him. Oh, and by the way, public records indicate that his organization is solely funded by unions.

David Gullo  

Posted: March 22nd, 2019 1:38 PM

Nick - "govt management types"?? David Orr is an icon to many people in Oak Park and OPTW! People who appreciate independent, good-government, tax-payer friendly thinking. David fought against the wasteful Democratic Party machine, got elected alderman with Harold Washington and then won election to County Clerk where he cut his budget, reduced the number of employees & publicly bid contracts. He set a high standard for efficiency in his office and for his promoting of middle-class friendly policy. Great endorsement for Ralph Martire by an outstanding public servant!

Nick A Binotti  

Posted: March 20th, 2019 2:13 PM

Regrading the statement that CTBA receives contributions from the "management side of education", yes, there is a small contribution from The Assoc. of School Administrators and Principals. But this requires elaboration. The CTBA education funding roadshow that travels school district to school district and all local govts in between basically has one theme: The state is entirely to blame for the "lack" of education funding (as it is perceived). In other words, state government is the bad guy, not the teachers, principals, superintendents, or school boards. One common enemy, regardless of political affiliation, that all the local parties can agree on. So the fact that this roadshow also appeals to govt management types should come as no surprise.

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