Deputy Chief of Staff
Dear Ms. Peters,
I want to first thank you for contacting me to resume negotiations. We have entered into these discussions in good faith, and expect nothing less from you as the Governor’s representative. It has been and continues to be our express belief that it is the Governor’s sworn responsibility to uphold ILCS 2420 according to its letter and its spirit. I understand that you felt “slapped in the face” by House Resolution 597, and I must again stress to you the fact that neither I nor the Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors was involved in drafting or introducing HR 597. During our conversation on November 10, you acknowledged that the Administrative Order dated October 24 was signed as a result of, and as a reaction to, HR 597.
In all fairness, you must agree that it is wrong to hold us responsible and to punish Illinois’ blind vendors for the passage of HR 597. Nonetheless, you must understand that we wholeheartedly support, embrace, and appreciate the support blind vendors have received from the State legislature through its unanimous adoption of HR 597, and we have hoped for similar support from the Governor. The Governor’s failure to support the blind vendors thus far has resulted in negative reactions, not only from the legislature, but local and national media and, we believe, the public as well.
With these facts now clarified, the ICBV would anticipate that Governor Blagojevich will rescind the October 24 Administrative Order. As we have explained to you, the Order as it stands is an expression of bad faith and would bring harm to blind vendors by further restricting their job opportunities. By rescinding the Administrative Order and by accepting the Order we have already negotiated, we will again be at a point in our negotiations where almost 90% of the issues on the table were agreed upon. We have made positive progress over the past several months, let’s correct and put the events of the last several weeks behind us and get back to work.
As you may know, unemployment among working age blind Americans is at least 70 percent nationwide. By taking the high road and adopting a vision for the future that strongly supports blind vendors, Governor Blagojevich could transform himself into a nationally recognized hero, expanding opportunities for current and future blind managers in a way that would be a model for the nation. The blind managers of Illinois would like very much to be faithful and enthusiastic supporters of the Governor.
I have attached a list of items, many of which you will recall have already been agreed to. You made it clear that you did not want any new issues brought to the table; however you will see that there is something new. As an expression of good will, the Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors will concede to make some exceptions to our priority by approving the exclusion of certain historical landmarks and certain DNR facilities, (specifics are detailed in No. 3 of attachment).
Most of the items on the attachment have already been agreed to by both parties. Wording of some of these may be different, but the intentions and spirit are the same. Again, let’s get back to positive dialogue and let’s resolve these issues.
Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors