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Preckwinkle to Palatine: Baby Please Don't Go

By Prescott Carlson in News on Apr 12, 2011 6:00PM

2010_01_22_preckwinkle.jpg Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle made a visit to the northwest suburb of Palatine on Monday night to address the village's ongoing threat to secede from the county.

In 2008, after the county and then-President Todd Stroger passed a 1 percentage point sales tax increase, Palatine officials went to the General Assembly in an effort to detach themselves from Cook County. At the time, State Rep. Suzanne Bassi (R-54th) said, "This is not a joke... by golly, we should be seriously looking at secession."

And despite the passing of the baton to Preckwinkle and her subsequent rollback of the sales tax increase, secession is still on the table, so the Board Prez trekked out on I-90 to a village board meeting to state the case of how valuable Cook County is to Palatine. Just by showing up Preckwinkle won more points than her predecessor -- Stroger backed out of a meeting with Palatine council members in 2008, citing "political grandstanding." He later relented and appeared at a meeting at Harper College.

According to the Daily Herald, Preckwinkle arrived at Monday's meeting with a clear message -- there would be no upside to the village leaving the county. She detailed the various services provided by the county including health care, criminal justice and the forest preserves which Palatine residents are more than happy to take advantage of. Preckwinkle's comments were reportedly met with "frequent applause," and she implored the village board to just "give her a chance:"

"In four years from now if you think my team and I have failed you in providing good governance, then maybe [secession is] something we should talk about. But give us the opportunity to provide good governance," Preckwinkle said, noting the practice was lacking in the prior administration.

The two village councilmen mostly in support of secession, Scott Lamerand and Jack Wagner, wouldn't commit to putting the issue aside but did say that it's so far, so good with Preckwinkle, with Lamerand adding that at least "now it seems we are being heard."