Big Tent Ideas

BRAD WEISENSTEIN: Hypocrisy Has No Limits With Chicago Teachers Union Chief

Scott Heins/Getty Images

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Brad Weisenstein Contributor
Font Size:

Stacy Lynette Davis Gates would not pay city utility rates
She’d scold the wealthy and demand a greater share
Cry for teacher pay and social welfare
And though Chicago finances were in dire straits
She would not pay city utility rates

What does it say when a public leader makes over $289,000 a year, demands “the wealthy” pay their fair share in taxes, takes a homeowner tax break for an Indiana house she doesn’t live in and refuses to pay $5,579 in city trash, water and sewer bills that piled up over at least three years on the house she does live in?

There’s more.

She helped kill school choice for Illinois’ low-income students, yet rather than let her union’s members teach him she sends her son to a private school. Her union constitution calls for annual audits yet she cries racism when a union member asks where those audits have been for three or four years.

Do as I say, not as I do? Rules for thee, not for me?

Stacy Davis Gates has had quite a year as president of the Chicago Teachers Union. Despite her litany of hypocrisy, she got her union lobbyist elected mayor. (RELATED: BRAD WEISENSTEIN: Illinois, There’s Still Time To Save Kids’ Dreams Of A Good Education)

And with Mayor Brandon Johnson negotiating the next Chicago Public School contract in 2024, she likely has a banner year ahead.

CTU already got 12 weeks of paid parental leave out of Johnson for merely asking – benefits he then refused police officers when they asked. So imagine the year property taxpayers can expect when Johnson delivers his old bosses the sweetest contract deal yet.

Chicago property taxes are likely to take a hit, just like they did in 2019 when the CTU contract added at least $80 per year to the average bill. That was with Mayor Lori Lightfoot in an adversarial role and after an 11-day teacher strike.

Speaking of Lightfoot, she stopped the city from shutting off people’s water for non-payment in 2019 to “protect Chicago residents’ fundamental right to water access.” It’s been a boon to low-income families, but it added to over $723 million in unpaid water bills – more than enough to fill Johnson’s current budget deficit.

So it’s fair to ask: Is Davis Gates taking advantage of the city’s intent to help disadvantaged Chicagoans so she can ignore her own utility bills? (RELATED: ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Claudine Gay Is Unfit To Lead Harvard)

Johnson’s chief debt collector is City Comptroller Chasse Rehwinkel, who said collection efforts are focusing on debt less than five years old owed by those with the means but who are skirting responsibility. Sound like Davis Gates?

“If somebody is using all the mechanisms they can think of to get around those fees, they’re hurting the residents of the city of Chicago,” Rehwinkel told the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re making concerted efforts to make sure that number is lowered.”

But Davis Gates’ delinquent bills have simply been met with more bills. She defaulted on an agreed payment plan in September, but as of her November bill the city’s “concerted effort” was to send another bill.

So why worry about one person’s character flaws? Because she set herself up as a voice of morality at the helm of a multi-million dollar political machine. Because she worked to make Illinois the only state to pull back on school choice and stop disadvantaged children from escaping the inadequate product she delivers. Because she beats the drum for more taxes using at-risk students’ futures as leverage. Because she funded the campaign and put her 25,000 union members to work so her buddy could become mayor and chief negotiator of her union’s next contract. Because she personifies the old adage about absolute power corrupting absolutely.

So, apologies to Shel Silverstein for mangling his classic poem, “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out,” but it provides a warning about neglect and responsibility. It also reminds CTU members they should always take the garbage out.

Brad Weisenstein is managing editor of the Illinois Policy Institute, a nonpartisan group dedicated to applying free-market solutions to the state’s problems.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact