5 for Friday: A happy collaboration story, “Reformocons”,Judge unhappy with pensions

Ending this week with a great story about how residents and a local business worked together to solve a sticky problem without the courts involved; change is in the Illinois air; what is a “Reformocon”, a list of great public engagement projects, and an unhappy judge analyzes CALPERS tactics in court.

How Farmers and a Company Grew Together” (Megan McArdle/Bloomberg View)

Pull Quote: “This is civil society at its best. Cooperative, instead of adversarial. Respectful of property rights, while also respectful of people who have come together to build something great with their own labor. Win-win, instead of zero-sum. Of course, that’s not always possible. Land is cheap and plentiful in St. Louis compared to, say, Manhattan, so this gesture probably didn’t cost the company much — and probably won them more than it cost in community goodwill. Sometimes conflict is inevitable.”

Illinois governor makes union dues voluntary for some state workers” (Mary Wisniewski/Reuters)

PQ: “Forced union dues are a critical cog in the corrupt bargain that is crushing taxpayers,” Rauner said in a statement. “Government union bargaining and government union political activity are inexorably linked.” The action is likely to be challenged in court. The Rauner administration said dues would be placed in escrow during the legal process. Rauner has argued that reforms are necessary to heal the state’s financial problems. He has also proposed “empowerment zones” – areas where voters could decide if workers must join unions and pay dues.

Illinois has a chronic structural budget deficit, and the lowest credit ratings and the worst-funded pension system among the 50 states.”

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