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Post-Emanuel Restructuring Almost Over

By Kate Gardiner in News on Apr 11, 2009 2:00PM

Kimberly Walz, chief of staff to former Cook County commissioner, now U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-5th). Walz is a front-runner in Saturday's race for the open seat on the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
Easter Saturday: apparently a great day to replace a Cook County Board member.

Today at 10 a.m. eight candidates for the 10th District seat will talk about why they're the best for the job. Robert Block, a Chicago attorney, said Friday night he thinks he has as good a chance as any to win the race. Block, 57, said he saw an article in the Sun-Times last week, called the 44th Ward Service Office and declared himself a candidate for the seat vacated by now-U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (5th), who in turn replaced now-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Block joins seven others who feel that they're the best for the job, a sizeable-enough crowd that some committeemen say they are withholding judgment until the meeting. Block, 57, is likely a long shot for the seat as both major newspapers (see the Trib endorsement here) and Quigley himself have endorsed candidate Kimberly Walz, Quig's chief of staff at the board for the past eight and a half years.

While Walz may have the backing and the foundation for a seamless transition into office, Block said his experience as a CPA and an attorney in Chicago, turning around failing companies could help him reform the County's budget. "I’m a good problem-solver," Block said. "[The budget] is a big problem, ignored for a long time. It's not going to be easy, but I think it can be solved if we go through it, and streamline it. I've turned companies around before - you've, they've got to want to do it to get it done. I think the people are fed up and they want to see something done."

"I think there's no problem that can't be solved," he said.

Block said he expects to hear from the Democratic committeemen soon after the candidates are done speaking at Truman College. "As soon as they get someone with 50.1 percent of the weighted vote, they're done and that's the next commissioner," he said.

Affected districts are mapped here (PDF via Cook County).

Of course, just replacing a committeeman doesn't guarantee any of the county board's problems will be fixed.