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He Said, He Said

By Scott Smith in News on Sep 21, 2006 6:42PM

Yesterday, County Board President 2006_09_cookcounty.jpgcandidates Todd Stroger (D) and Tony Peraica (R) both promised to cut county jobs. Stroger, the front runner and front man, won’t give any specifics other than saying that the County is top-heavy and could use some consolidation. Oh yes, he uses the favorite political chestnut of auditing the books in order to make a decision. Peraica proposes to make cuts of about 4,000-5,000 jobs through attrition and consolidating the County’s nearly 100 departments. We counted 59 on the County Web page. Feel free to invent names for the other 41.

It all sounds like a lot of hooey to the Chicagoist. There is no way that the Cook County Democratic machine is going to let that many jobs go without a fight. If Stroger wins there will be an audit and perhaps the Inspector General’s office will get an anonymous tip line. The number of people on the rolls may even shrink by the next election, but the figure to watch is the County payroll and how much it decreases. There are a lot of Chiefs in County Government and not too many Indians.

Peraica also made a no-tax pledge which Stroger declined to make. This pledge and his stands on social issues like abortion, guns and gay rights follows the perception that Peraica is a right-wing conservative. He has pledged to maintain same-sex county benefits and make available counseling on abortion alternatives, while not restricting abortions at county hospitals. These social stands are not in line with most of Cook County voters and present problems for what could be his reformer base on the lakefront.

Todd’s pretending to be a reformer but has many puppet masters (Gerald Nichols, John Daley, Beavers). Peraica might actually be a real reformer, but then again he has some serious conservative bona fides. Not to be too cynical about local elections, but in the end we think it’ll be Stroger - by at least 15 points - and more bloated government.

Thanks, Leo!