When the Good Guys Lose
By Kevin Robinson in News on Mar 13, 2007 2:30PM
Has Cook County politics become so cynical, so corrupt, and so arrogant, that it just doesn't matter anymore? If recent calls for an investigation of $500,000 that is "missing" from the county budget are any indication, we have to wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel for both taxpayers in Cook County and the people that use the services that the county finances. Tony Peraica, the Republican that was supposedly taking his marching orders from the ghost of Ronald Reagan, told NBC5, "We have over half a million dollars missing, unaccounted for, misappropriated, and we are closing Cook County health clinics, school-based health clinics, and nobody's paying any attention." Peraica is hoping that a federal investigation will yield some answers. Todd Stroger is hoping that the county's own Inspector General can find the missing funds.
And Peraica isn't the only one looking for answers. After the insane budget battle that took place last month, and the amount of fighting that went on over how the Beavers-Stroger machine is abusing our tax dollars, you'd think that nothing could top the outrageousness that night. One thing you can count on from local politicians here, at least when they are on the take like the folks running Crook County, is that they will be as arrogant as possible. You've got to give it to Beavers — when he rips you off, he does it with impunity. But not all of the county commissioners that sided with him and the Toddler have the guts to stand up for what they voted for. Maybe they felt bad that they let the Toddler twist their arms after supporting an alternative budget that would have restored front-line service providers, cut waste in a bloated and ineffective bureaucracy, and set the county on course for long-term fiscal stability. Instead they offered excuses in a feature letter to the editor of the Daily Southtown, signed by Liz Doody Gorman (17th), Gregg Goslin (14th), Pete Silvestri (9th), and Mike Quigley (10th). By distorting the facts of the budget they sold out for, they would have you believe that they made groundbreaking progress, when the reality is that they have balanced the economics of the county on the backs of working people and the county's poor (who are increasingly being ghettoized in the suburbs, away from social and community services here in the city). They chose to fire the first responders and care givers that make up the social safety net that the county offered. They balanced the budget alright, and they left literally hundreds of thousands of dollars wide open for the friends and family of Bill Beavers and the Toddler (including a friends and family).
Frankly, all of this is getting old, and if we didn't believe that all of this horse nonsense would add up to something in the end, we would probably have thrown our hands up in disgust months ago, walking away and leaving the county to go to hell. But we here at Chicagoist have always had a sneaking suspicion that an engaged and informed voting population could make a difference, even when the powers that be are so, well, powerful. We suppose that somewhere deep down inside of us is a true believer, a little voice that says that we can change things, if we just stand with the good guys, even when it seems like they aren't winning.