Hump Day Political News Roundup
By Kevin Robinson in News on May 30, 2007 4:30PM
Although the week is shorter, that doesn't mean that there hasn't been political news out there to round up! This week, we're making a special dedication to Chicagoist's favorite bad guy, the man that makes us the national butt of every political joke in town, the guy that represents everything that is wrong with our local political system, Todd "The Toddler" Stroger. Without further ado, let's take a gander at his follies and foibles, and all the newsworthy nonsense he's been up to of late:
More Taxes From the Stroger "Administration"? Unlike Papa Stroger, who seemed to like to avoid property taxes, anything goes with this kid. In spite of his campaign "promises" to the contrary, The Toddler told Fox News over the weekend "for years, we haven't taken any of the natural growth [in property values]. We should go to the next level that we can." Forrest Claypool slammed Stroger on the proposal, noting that in the face of several recent scandals in county government, it is arrogant to ask taxpayers to shoulder more of the burden of the waste and corruption going on there. "Todd Stroger needs to get his priorities straight, and he's shown that his priority is protecting the bloated patronage system and the county system full of six-figure salaries for his friends and relatives and cronies," Claypool said Monday. "Now he's saying, 'I want to raise property taxes on people.' ... The president is certainly tone-deaf to be talking about raising property taxes."
Hey Cook County, Good Job Screwing You're Own Employees! If you work for Cook County, getting yanked around by your employer is nothing new. Worked hard to get someone elected? Too bad. Hold an advanced degree in management science? Sorry, Charlie. Now the county has taken it to the next level. Cook County Correctional Officer Vito Zaccaro was stabbed in the neck with a shank by an inmate trying to escape, who wrestled the officer for his weapon (which he didn't give up). Now the county has sent Zaccaro a bill for $3,750 in emergency medical services he received that day. Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's Office has told Zaccaro he can't prove his injuries happened while he was on duty.
Cook County Recorder of Deeds Accused of (gasp) Patronage. Michael Shakman, the attorney who has made it his personal mission in life to restrain the Machine, is charging Cook County Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore with violating the terms of the so-called Shakman Decree, which bans political hiring and firing. According to Shakman, Moore "has engaged in substantial, illegal patronage hiring, promotion and firing" of employees with politics deciding who gets full-time jobs, as well as summer jobs intended for students. According to former employees, many of those summer jobs went instead to "middle-aged political workers."
Ex-Con on the Cook County Payroll! While we can't directly attribute this to The Toddler, we can blame this one on the political system that created this clown of a political hack. Turns out that a convicted felon was put in charge of handling the cash disbursements for the Cook County program intended to help needy veterans. (And the fact that we even need such a program is pretty fucked up, isn't it?) According to records, Andre Baker was left "unsupervised" as cash, food stamps and bus cards disappeared. County officials admit they never conducted a background check before hiring him as a secretary in the Veterans Affairs Commission office in May 2001. Making this even more shameful is the fact that he remained on the payroll after being incarcerated again in 2005!
Peraica to Introduce a 'No Confidence' Vote Against The Toddler. Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica will introduce a resolution of "No Confidence" in the Stroger Administration at next week's County Board Meeting. Eric Zorn has "blogged" about this, arguing that it makes sense, but probably won't pass. Even Peraica has admitted that it probably won't get far, with the Republican Commissioners on the board ignoring it. He's turned that into his opportunity to flog the rest of the state's GOP for it's utter and complete failure to capitalize on the sorry excuse for Democratic politics that is patronage and corruption in Illinois.