An Open Letter to John P Daley

To Mr. John P Daley, Cook County Commissioner, 11th district,

Mr. Daley:

I am recent resident of your ward and a long time employee of Cook County.   I have been blessed to work with the children and families of the Cook County Juvenile Court for the past Eleven years as a member of the Clinical Interventions Division.  It is in this capacity that I am writing to you and asking for a meeting to discuss my concerns regarding the 2012 budget.  In short, I am deeply concerned that vital services will be cut from the our program in the name of austerity.

Cook County Juvenile Probation provides a vital role in taking at-risk youth and transforming them into productive members of society.  We save the county and state resource by providing these services in the family’s home, rather than in the Department of Juvenile Justice.  We empower parents so they can keep their children safe.  We keep communities safe by watching our clients.  We work with our local schools to ensure that our clients have a chance to better themselves.

Cuts to our budget directly impact the amount of the services we provide to the families of Cook County.  We will lose mental health service, sex offender treatment and supervision programs, and youth input programs (currently a trend in Juvenile Justice and pioneered in Cook County) if our funding is cut.

I would welcome an opportunity to discuss these concerns with you, as well as to generate additional ideas on how to balance the budget.

Best Regards

Martin Gleason

Cook County Juvenile Probation Officer

Clinical Interventions Division

JSO Unit/Juvenile Advisory Council Co-Chair.

Cost of Living, Cost of Surviving

What’s the cost of basic economic security in this country? We all have heard of the poverty line–a formula that is 50 years old and based on a family’s budgetary needs for food–but what is the bare minimum citizens need to live without fear of losing their homes, not providing food for their children and basic medical costs.

NPR has an answer. Wider Opportunities for released a report with these figures. This is a document well worth studying.

Values, Morals and Get The Fuck Away From Me.

I'M RED, CUTE AND I WILL CUT YOU.

Over the past few months, I have given a lot of thought to what I believe in and how I live my life. A number of individuals on the Right–the loud mouthed bastards that have co-opted and perverted conservative values–have deemed that I have no morals and it is people like me who ruin the country. For evidence, turn on Fox News or Talk Radio, and listen to hear some some over paid, poorly educated mouth piece rail on unions, liberals, “college students” and so on. I am not interested (today) on who says what and who started this fight. I’m more interested in say the following:

My values and beliefs are not so different than yours.

I believe in making the world fair for everyone. I believe in my family. I want the government out of my bedroom. I want the government to keep me safe from corporate interests. I appreciate the sacrifice of the troops, the dedication of teachers, the enlightenment brought on by artists and I admire the work ethic of my fellow Americans. I want unbiased, factual reporting of the news.

My pay has been stagnant for three years, and this year, I’m taking hits on my health insurance, my pay and my personal time. This puts me squarely with the majority of this country: Left behind in the “recovery.”

This has been, and will be, the position from which I argue every belief, value and moral I hold dear. For the most part, I believe a number of people on the Right share some form of these values. Their meaning, priority and execution are completely different than mine; however, this is the position I start and–until proven otherwise–I assume the Right has as well. They say the believe it all the time, so I try and take it at face value.

If I can start from this position, I think just about anyone can. If you can’t meet me half way, get the fuck away from me.

An Open Letter to William M Beavers, Cook County Commissioner

Mr. Beavers:

I am a Cook County Juvenile Probation Officer who has covered the majority of your district for the past Eleven years. I have considered it a privilege to work with the families on Chicago’s far South Side. The current budget woes in Cook County threaten my job, and jeopardize the services that I provide to the families of Cook County.

I provide supervision, case management and treatment to juveniles who have committed sexually aggressive behaviors. I’m on the Illinois Sex Offender Management’s Board of Approved Treatment providers, and I have 12 years of direct experience working with this difficult and expensive population. The services I provide are cheaper than sending a juvenile to Big Muddy or to a residential treatment facility. Despite the savings that my colleagues and I provide the county, we are on the chopping block to close a budget gap.

The County Board believes the best way to close the budget gap is to lay off 29 of my coworkers. Of these 29 dedicated officer, at least two work with me in the Juvenile Sex Offender Unit. Laying off those two workers will at least double my work load. Laying off front line workers, something that President Preckwinkle stated she will not do, will directly cut the services to Cook County’s most vulnerable residents. Within 30 days, instead of providing direct service to the residents of the South Side, I may be limited to coordinating services for a much larger neighborhood. In short, I will have to attempt to find other low-cost Sex Specific Treatment Providers on Chicago’s South Side.

To be blunt, Mr. Commissioner, I am the only low-cost treatment provider on the Management Board’s list in your neighborhood.

Instead of fixing the budget gap by eliminating waste in the forest preserve, within management or with the FIVE IT departments in Cook County (Chief Judge, State’s Attorney, Public Defender, Office of the President, Cook County Clerk), you are targeting the people who rely on services.

Why are you cutting Services, Mr. Beavers? The argument we have heard was that AFSCME refuses to negotiate. As a member of the Bargaining Committee, I can assure you that we have come to the table in good faith. We want a contract–a contract that is years past due–to ensure that our rights as workers are protected. Instead, you want to close the budget gap by directly eliminating county services, in this case necessary mental health and law enforcement. Your actions in this case will make the your neighborhood less safe.

Mr. Beavers, I urge you to work with AFSCME to create a budget that is fair to the people of Cook County. Do not balance your budget by cutting services to the people who need them the most.

Sincerely,

Marty Gleason

PS: I would mail this do you directly, but you don’t have an email address on your Commissioner page or your campaign site.

An Open Letter to My Commissioner, Jesus Garcia

Mr. Garcia:

You don’t know me, but I am a resident in your district. I am also a Cook County Juvenile Probation Officer. For the past Eleven years, I have been blessed to serve the families of Cook County on Chicago’s far south side. I cover neighborhoods where Chicago’s Finest refuse to go without a partner, a gun and a bullet proof vest. I work these same neighborhoods, sometimes well into the night, by myself. I am not complaining. I love my job. But by the end of this week, you and your colleagues want to remove my job for political reasons.

I should mention one additional fact about my job: I provide supervision, case management and treatment to juveniles who have committed sexually aggressive behaviors. I’m on the Illinois Sex Offender Management’s Board of Approved Treatment providers, and I have 12 years of direct experience working with this difficult and expensive population. The services I provide are cheaper than sending a juvenile to Big Muddy or to a residential treatment facility. And these services will be cut due to the County Board’s insistence on Layoffs.

The County Board believes the best way to close the budget gap is to lay off 29 of my coworkers. Of these 29 dedicated officer, at least two work with me in the Juvenile Sex Offender Unit. Laying off those two workers will at least double my work load. Laying off front line workers, something that President Preckwinkle stated she will not do, will directly cut the services to Cook County’s most vulnerable residents. Within 30 days, instead of providing direct service to the residents of the South Side, I may be limited to coordinating services for a much larger neighborhood. In short, I will have to attempt to find other low-cost Sex Specific Treatment Providers on Chicago’s South Side.

To be blunt, Mr. Commissioner, I am the only low-cost treatment provider on the Management Board’s list in those neighborhoods.

Instead of fixing the budget gap by eliminating waste in the forest preserve, within management or with the FIVE IT departments in Cook County (Chief Judge, State’s Attorney, Public Defender, Office of the President, Cook County Clerk), you are targeting the people who rely on services.

Why are you cutting Services, Mr. Garcia? The argument we have heard was that AFSCME refuses to negotiate. As a member of the Bargaining Committee, I can assure you that we have come to the table in good faith. We want a contract–a contract that is years past due–to ensure that our rights as workers are protected. Instead, you want to close the budget gap by directly eliminating county services, in this case necessary mental health and law enforcement. Your actions in this case will make the South Side less safe.

Mr. Garcia, I urge you to work with AFSCME to create a budget that is fair to the people of Cook County. Do not balance your budget by cutting services to the people who need them the most.

Sincerely,

Marty Gleason

PS: I would mail this do you directly, but you don’t have an email address on your Commissioner page or your campaign site.

Yesterday’s Challenge TODAY!

Yesterday, a relative of mine challenged me to write this blog post: Does being a solider automatically make one a hero?

The question itself is rigged to explode, doubly so because of how the Right loves to say that Liberals Hate Troops. My instinct is to say, automatically that anyone who puts their life on the line for someone else, they become a hero. By their very nature, soldiers are, by default, “genetically heroes.”

A hero works in service for others, and one would think that this is universally respected. It isn’t. We have the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth smear campaign. We have the attack on McCain’s service–which may not have been as vehement as the Swift Boaters–and the attack ads that went after Max Cleland. For a country that allegedly loves its veterans, we don’t hold them in universal respect.

I hold people who serve their country with utmost respect and gratitude. I do think that people who put their lives on the line for our country are genetic heroes. That does not mean, however, that they are beyond reproach. While veterans deserve our respect, they are not infallible. They are not perfect. Serving our country does not, by default, make the superior citizens.

In addition to defending the citizenry of our nation, our soldiers defend the idea that all Americans are equal in the eyes of the law. They’ve earned our respect, but that does not mean we have to always agree with them.

Blahblahblah

Today’s Thought:

How can we compromise or collaborate with people who refuse to believe in facts? Facts like:

Progressives love their country.

Obama is not a secret muslim terrorist out to destroy Christmas.

The top tier of American economy contains 25% of the country’s wealth.

The only common ground is my first point. A point that a number of people on the right refuse to acknowledge. Without even that basic level of understanding, how the hell do we hope to accomplish anything?