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Protests, Shit Talking, Layoffs: The Cook County Budget

By Kevin Robinson in News on Feb 23, 2007 2:50PM

When we read the news about what's going on with Cook County these days, we just want to pull out our hair and scream. What the fuck is going on!? We remember all the bullshit that opponents of Forrest Claypool and Tony Peraica spewed about job cuts and budget slashing during last year's election, and how everyone was saying that if a Republican ran the county it would go to hell in a handbasket.

2007_2_stroger.jpgThree months ago, Todd Stroger told everyone he had a plan. Maybe his plan was all-night bickering and firing county health-care workers, since that's what's happening now. The county has already slashed jobs, and layoff notices were sent to nearly 1,000 doctors, public defenders, sheriff's deputies and other workers. In response, activists announced that they were planning a protest over the proposed budget cuts. At this point county commissioners have been fighting through the night to stave off massive reductions in county services, and a majority of the commissioners have rejected the Toddler's 17 percent across-the-board cut proposal, with some even going so far as to say that they have enough votes to override a budget veto.

Claypool and Peraica have proposed an alternative budget that would restore nearly 1,000 health care and public safety workers, while eliminating nearly 400 upper and middle management jobs, which they, along with a coalition of other commissioners, point out are politically connected patronage jobs. Our man Claypool told CBS2 “What we have to decide as commissioners is whether we are going to dismantle the health care safety net, close the neighborhood clinics and hospital services and lay off prosecutors and police in order to protect patronage”. And the Toddler isn't making it easy, calling State's Attorney Dick Devine "the biggest pain in the ass I've ever met in public life" when he refused to go along with the cuts.

Although the wrangling over the budget has come down to about $40 million, it's $40 million in job cuts, specifically, whose job will get cut. We think it's an outrage that the Toddler and Beavers want to balance the county budget on the backs of the most vulnerable, the people that need county services the most, in order to protect the jobs of their friends and families. We can't help but think it's ironic that just a few weeks ago Bill Beavers was bragging to the Sun-Times that he was the "hog with the big nuts", and now his boy is getting smacked around by the county commission.