33rd Ward Ald. Deb Mell Clouts Political Use of Schools, Staff and Teachers in Her Education Smokescreen

Questions Raised As Machine Scoffs at Rules

CHICAGO (February 16, 2015) -- As she tries to whitewash her support for massive education cuts and school closings, 33rd Ward machine Ald. Deb Mell is using her clout to scoff at laws prohibiting certain political activity.

In mailers sent out this week, Mell is shown at Cleveland Elementary School with a dean at the school and some teachers, in violation of rules prohibiting political activity at the schools.

What's more, the Cleveland Elementary School website, which is overseen by the school's principal, features a banner ad for the Mell campaign--an explicitly prohibited endorsement of her campaign, which makes no mention of her 100 percent voting record with Mayor Rahm Emanuel or her support for the devastating actions his appointed school board.

Look at the website here.

Some questions based on the prohibited activity:

1. How has Deb Mell or her machine communicated with school administrators and staff? Did she or the machine let them know she was inviting them to violate the rules prohibiting political activity? Will Mell support the release of the records?

2. Why does Mell or her machine believe it's appropriate for schools to be used for her campaign ads and for a political ad to be placed on the official website of an elementary school?

Here's a quote on the Mell use of clout from United Working Families executive director Kristen Crowell:

"We fully support Chicago schools teachers and staff having a voice in the democratic process. But it's the height of arrogance for a machine politician like Deb Mell to ask teachers and administrators to engage in prohibited political activity, when they have gone to such great lengths to silence the great majority of teachers opposed to her efforts to undermine public education.

"Maybe Mell doesn't know the law. More likely, she believes that the same machine that has presided over the assault on public education in Chicago needs follow no rules."

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