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The Stroger beat

Thursday, May 25, 2006

This seems like a reasonable demand.

Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica on Wednesday demanded a photograph or tape recording to prove that County Board President John Stroger is “alive and well enough to function” after the stroke that has sidelined him for 2-1/2 months.

“With 165 days to go before the election, with the county budget looming on the horizon, with over 40 union contracts to be negotiated, numerous executive appointments to be made, we can’t wait until the end of October when Clerk David Orr has set the deadline to decide whether or not he’s going to be the candidate,” said Peraica, Stroger’s Republican challenger.

But Mayor Daley doesn’t think so.

“Everybody has illnesses in their family. Let’s not already dig their graves. I know you want to dig people’s graves. But I hope you would never do that to your own family.”

And neither does Ald. Beavers.

“There’s always a double standard when it comes to black folks and white folks. Old man [Richard J.] Daley had a stroke and was off for a year. Nobody said one word. They were even afraid to whisper that he was sick around here,” Beavers said.

That’s a good point, but that was then and this is now. There ought to be some sort of deadline on this leave of absence. And we really ought to know who is actually running Cook County in Stroger’s absence.

Meanwhile, African-American politicians are pretty divided over who should replace Stroger.

Rep. Danny Davis continues to lobby ward bosses behind the scenes in the event that Stroger decides to retire. Davis is supported by Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) and possible mayoral challengers Jesse Jackson Jr. and Luis Gutierrez. They are determined to stop Stroger’s son, Ald. Todd Stroger (8th), from replacing his father.

And Sneed has this:

Sneed hears the Rev. James Meeks, who successfully flexed his considerable muscle recently against Gov. Blagojevich, would back Cook County Board Commissioner Bobbie Steele for board president over . . . U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.).

“I would [support Steele] if she put herself out there,” Meeks told Sneed. “I’m hoping she and Congressman Davis can work something out.”

*Hold the phone, again: Sneed hears the Rev. Jesse Jackson would also be in Steele’s corner.

“I am a great admirer of Bobbie Steele,” said Jackson. “She would make a fine board president.”

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - THE HANKSTER - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:21 am:

    They wont put in the son, I dont think many people think he is electable and the few who do think he is must not know much about the guy!

  2. - Reddbyrd - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:22 am:

    Don’t remember FastTony P. jumping up when the Gipper was in the doc shop or Richard J. Daley spent about 4 months on the mend in Grand Beach.
    Guess some people get a a diffent standard.
    Nice job of stuffing your foot in you mouth

  3. - Chicago Jason - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:24 am:

    Beavers is absurd. Let’s defend the indefensible…with an indefensible 30-year-old example. Is anyone actually out there arguing that it was ok/good that Richard J. Daley was hidden from the public for months?

  4. - Anon - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:32 am:


    I seem to remember the Gipper and Nancy standing in the window waving to the crowd. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect Stroger to do the same.

    Thge quarrel isn’t about Stroger being out, it’s that we have no idea what condition he’s in. I say this with all due respect, but we don’t know what level of cognitive function he has. I think that is a fair question.

    If it was OK to ask whether Rep. Evans was legally able to function enough to sign his withdrawal papers, we should be able to ask the same about Stroger.

    Rich - Nobody in the media has made this point: Does Stroger have the capacity to decide whether to stay in or withdraw? If he doesn’t, there is no mechanism to get him off the ballot.

  5. - Phocion - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:41 am:

    State Statute (Counties Code) is right on point:

    (55 ILCS 5/2‑6003) (from Ch. 34, par. 2‑6003)
    Sec. 2‑6003. Vacancy in office of president. In case of the death, resignation, removal from office or other inability to act of the president so elected, if more than 28 months of the unexpired term remain, the vacancy shall be filled at the next general election, at which election one of the regularly elected or appointed members of the board of commissioners shall be elected to serve the unexpired term of the president. If less than two years and sixty days of the unexpired term remain, the board of commissioners shall elect one of their number to serve the unexpired term of the president.
    (Source: P.A. 86‑962.)

    Clearly a vacancy exists by virtue of “other inability to act of the president.” It’s less than 2 years before the election. The County Board is required to elect one of the Commissioners to serve the unexpired term of President Stroger.

    Call the vote!

  6. - Beavers' Ashtray - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:43 am:

    Standards that applied to Daley I should apply to Stroger. The fact that was 30 years ago doesn’t make a difference. Cook County should be perpetually stuck in the Daley I era. Oh wait it is. Except this is 2006. Stroger: Go to the window and wave a la Reagan or get out. Beavers: Hey, maybe it’s not always about race. Oh wait that’s crazy talk. Keep a vegetable in charge because that evens the score. Great leadership.

  7. - Levois - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:45 am:

    I’d rather someone such as Steele or Davis run for this post instead of Todd Stroger. And as for John Stroger, I wonder if he knows what’s going on enough to be able to resign his office. I get the feeling someone should make that decision for him.

  8. - Leroy - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:52 am:

    Chicago Jason -

    The argument ‘behavior should continue to be deemed acceptable now, beacuse it was deemed acceptable in the past’ is the cornerstone of Illinois political calculus that all political logic in this state is built upon.

    Try asserting argument ‘person y is exhibiting questionable behavior x’ here. The political zealots (both repubs and demos) will counter ‘person z (opposite party of person y) exhibited beahvior x years ago’. End of argument.

    When people are beholden to someone else politically for their livelihood, the lose their freedom to reason.

    Providing for your family is a neccessity, logical thinking is a luxury.

  9. - Simon Barsinister - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:53 am:

    Did you happen to see how nervous Antonin “Tony” Peraica was in front of the cameras? He looks like the picture from the Lemonhead candy box, or better yet, like Stewey from “Family Guy”. Shame, shame, shame on Tony for making these outlandish demands. A cheap stunt to garner free media from a weak mind.

  10. - grand old partisan - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:54 am:

    Reddbyrd, get a grip. At the time of old man Daley’s leave, Peraica was a teenage immigrant who couldn’t speak English. So perhaps he can be excused for not speaking up in opposition on that one. As for Reagan’s recovery from the assassination attempt, I don’t remember the Gipper being secluded away from public view for months at a time. It’s a slightly different situation, isn’t it? So how exactly is Peraica’s ‘foot in his mouth’ here?

  11. - Team Sleep - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:56 am:

    It’s a reasonable request. Remember when national Dems wanted Strom Thurmond to step down because he was getting up there in age? And I was a kid but I remember hearing some Dem leaders talk on TV that Ronald Reagan should have stepped down due to his age and perceived dementia. The fact that Stroger had a stroke and may be incapacitated for quite some time is reason enough for people to question if he can ->legitimately

  12. - Simon Barsinister - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:56 am:

    By the way, who made Jimmy Meeks the new darling? Since when does his opinion warrant front-page coverage from the Sun-Times? Before he pulled his stunt with the Chicago Police Seargeant, he was a little known Reverand-Senator.

  13. - Conservative Republican - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:58 am:


    You need to know the facts before you start sounding off. Peraica probably did not criticize Reagan (who in fact was functioning, taking meetings, signing bills, etc. while in the hospital, only days after an attempted assassination, and not in an election year) because until 1995, Peraica was a Democrat. He probably failed to criticize Richard J. Daley (”a year”, Alderman Beavers? I don’t think so… it was only months and not an election year) because Peraica was a recent immigrant teenager then, learning to master English…the study of politics was a few years off for him…also he lived in Croatia until he was about 11.

    If Stroger could speak or communicate, we would have heard from him by now, three months on.

  14. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 10:13 am:

    Tony Peraica is running for County Board President for one reason only, to protect his 16th District seat, which is in serious jeopardy. He almost lost to a guy named LaPidus in the Lyons Twp Republican Committeeman’s race and LaPidus is a virtual unknown. It also appears that his Melrose Park connections will come back to roost as his Chief of Staff, Mike Manzo plays a larger role as campaign manager (Manzo ran for Mayor of Melrose Park). Also, Tony owes “himself” almost $950,000 from his previous bids for office, both as a Republican and as a Democrat. Word on the street is that his fund is “tapioca” and won’t have nearly the funds for his re-election bid. And lastly, the fact that his previous Chief of Staff had major problems with drugs will not sit well with the soon to be enlightened voters of the 16th District. It will take them 15 seconds to see that Tony is bad on almost every metric.

  15. - Wumpus/Cad - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 10:49 am:

    I remember when there was a big hub-bub about RBCheney’s heart condition…rightfully so. If people are running for public office, can’t the people at least ask about their health condition after a major stroke…all strokes are major.

    So I have learned that we cannot even talk about issues involving a wounded vet who is running for office, even though the criticisims have absolutely zilch to do with her service. And now we cannot talk about a man who suffered a stroke, was hidden and is still in the race. I was a mere lad at the time, but I still remember Reagan Alzheimer jokes.

  16. - Not so fast... - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 10:53 am:


    State Statute is clear about what is to happen when there is “inability to act.” The Statute is not clear on who declares such an inability, which means John Stroger is the only one who can make such a declaration, not the Board.

    Don’t you think someone would have tried that by now if they felt they could do it?

  17. - Merlin - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 11:22 am:

    The Stroger camp is on record as saying the President will try to rehabilitate and recover and will make a decision in July whether he can continue work. The voters re-nominated him knowing he had a stroke.

    It seems fair to wait till July. When Stroger’s camp announced their timetable a couple months ago I didn’t hear any objections. Give the man a chance.

    There will be plenty of time for the politicians to pick over his bones.

  18. - ChicagoCynic - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 11:33 am:

    Why is everyone missing the bigger picture? We have a three billion county budget, a reportedly growing budget deficit, mounting problems everywhere and nobody in charge. Or is the unelected Chief of Staff James Whigham in charge?

    This entire situation is obscene. If it were Richie Daley there and people were asking questions about who is in charge (which I guarantee would happen), nobody would be crying racism. They would be saying, sure, you have a right to know.

    And don’t start comparing this situation to Daley’s dad 30 years ago. We live in a different time with different standards of accountability and a 24 hour news cycle. Even though the press knew of Roosevelt’s polio and Kennedy’s philandering, nobody else did. That isn’t the world we live in now.

    Later this year, the county is going to have to fill its $100 million+ budget hole. When they start raising taxes and fees to cover the deficit, I want to know who will be held accountable. It is a legitimate thing for the taxpayers of cook county to want to know.

  19. - Bubs - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 11:50 am:

    The cryptic reports of President Stroger’s condition sound quite similar to that of a family member of mine after a recent serious stroke. If the conditions are actually smiliar, there is absolutely no way that President Stroger will be able to resume his job, period. He will need to expend all of his energy in just trying to get a functional life back as husband, father and grandfather, and that alone will take several months. Happily, his condition can improve with threapy, but one month will not make a difference.

    The citizens are entitled to the facts, and a decision, because this is an election year.

  20. - Not so fast... - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 11:55 am:


    Actually, check places like King County, WA and Erie County, NY. Also Indianapolis. Their orders of succession, established by Executive Order, place power in the hands of Executive, non-electeds.

    That’s what’s happening now. No scandal here.

  21. - Phocion - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 11:58 am:

    Not so fast…what law school did you go to?

    The statute no where states that the President must declare his incapacity. Such a position is illogical. If the President is in a coma or is otherwise functionally unable to communicate in any manner, he could not make such a declaration.

    The County Board has the clear authority under this statute to make find the “inability.”

  22. - Not so fast... - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 12:50 pm:

    Based on what case law or statute? Read the County Code. No such authority is granted to the Board, they know it and so do you.

    You’re assuming the drafters of the statute were considering “inability” to mean “coma or otherwise functional unable to communicate (a state that no one has said Stroger was in, by the way).” I think that’s a huge assumption.

    Remember that the U.S. government did not consider this issue until the Kennedy assassination. The County Code, I believe, predates the 25th amendment, which, by the way, gives the President the ability to defend his position of ability to serve. Plus, it’s the Executive branch in that example which makes the initial determination, not the legislative.

    “Inability” does not automatically mean what you think it to mean, and, absent authority granted to someone else, who has the authority?

    Additionally, there is no provision in the code for removal of the executive by the legislative (i.e. impeachment). So where is the “clear authority” to which you refer?

    You could consider this a gray area, but you can’t possibly think it’s “clear” when reading the statute.

    It’s hardly clear.

  23. - Beowulf - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 12:54 pm:

    Why does Stroger need to be “alive & well”? I was always told that Chicago was the one city in the nation where they found the dead were able to vote in city elections.

  24. - Tony P's guy - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 12:55 pm:

    I say Tony P should get going, organize his votes on the board, and pass a measure declaring the position “vacant”. Then the true counsel wars could begin to appoint a new sitting president. That person would have a nice advantage in the November election.

  25. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 1:13 pm:

    The sooner Stroger gets replaced on the ballot, the sooner Peraica loses by 40 points, instead of 30.

    The guy’s more clueless as a Republican than he was as a Democrat.

  26. - I Know a Hack When I See One - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 2:12 pm:

    Tony P’s guy:

    If Tony Peraica were to organize his votes on the County Board, he would have a grand total of one vote. Can I say he’s an a** clown without getting into trouble with Rich?

  27. - Prez of the FTPC - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 2:52 pm:


    Rich, your “that was then and this is now” comment is clearly the weakest thing I’ve ever read from you. Its so dismissive of the double-standard clearly at play that, well, it was a bit shocking.

    So…let’s take a look at the facts:

    FACT: This past March, Forrest Claypool got beaten by a stroke victim.

    FACT: That stroke victim, current Cook County Board President John Stroger, has remained largely out of the public eye while recovering, leaving the Lakefront Losers & Suburban Simpletons that voted for Claypool drowning in their chardonnay and Peraica Peons p-o’d because they, like their boss, just ain’t quite bright enough to figure out what to do (that is, what would actually result in a few more votes for this nincompoop).

    FACT: John Stroger has been to the hospital and left. To rehab and left. Now sits in a downtown condo and continues rehab.

    FACT: The Stroger family said a decision would be made by the end of July.

    FACT: It is not yet the end of July. Its, like, May 25th.

    FACT: Daley and Beavers are loyal to Stroger, so what in the name of all things holy would you expect them to do or say…except what they have been saying for months…in fact, their statements are damn near direct quotes from what they said the day before election day. So, let’s not feign surprise here, people.

    FACT: If John Stroger farted and Fran Spielman could get it confirmed, she would write, “Stroger physical condition said to be worsening in the face of intense gastric pressure.” A long story would follow and the Trib would later write an editorial about how the Democratic party’s leaders have a long history of rectal effusions, complete with a description of the smell and a comparison of how younger and older Daleys, Madigans, Hynes and Strogers farts compared.

    FACT: Peraico, aka Mr. Lemonhead, REALLLLY should go and finish his season as stunt double for Stewie Griffin, instead of masquerading as a legitimate candidate for, well, anything.

    FACT: At, Stewie-2 poses with as many negroes as he can get his hands on. Of course, his picnic was certainly his first time ever going to or seeing Rainbow Beach, and I’m sure Lemon was betting on black folks loving free barbeque.

    MOST IMPORTANT FACT: John Stroger is on the ballot - and will remain Board President - until John Stroger says he is not or November 8th. And there’s NOTHING any of you - or anyone on the Board - can do about it.

    Bottom line: All this talk about waving at a window and recordings and CRAP is simply so much pissin’ in the wind. Just make sure you point down as you do so.

    If this entry seems a little silly, well, it was written in the same spirit as this whole conversation.


  28. - anonymous - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 3:19 pm:


    I think a sizable minority, if not majority, of Democratic voters right now would like some sign OF ANY KIND that Stroger is running Cook County. This “Lakefront Loser” sure would like to know who’s in charge. (By the way, thanks for elevating the level of debate with your childish name-calling, Prez!)

    Cynic is absolutely right. And the only intellectually honest position in which it is ok for Stroger to be out of public sight for months is if it was OK for Richard J. Daley to be out of public sight for months. And I haven’t seen anyone make that argument. If it wasn’t right then, why is it right now? My parents told me over and over again that two wrongs don’t make a right. Were they wrong?

    This is not a monarchy. The voters reign supreme. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work, and I’m not going to stop insisting on it because I’m told that’s how Illinois/Chicago/the world works or because of a litany of patronizing “FACTS”.

  29. - grand old partisan - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 3:23 pm:

    Mr. Prez, the only facts that are relevant here are the answers to these questions:

    (1) Is John Stoger currently capable of and/or actually providing the executive leadership required of his office?

    (2) If he is not, who IS currently providing that leadership, and (3) under what authority?

    These are not silly questions. They are not unreasonable. They are perfectly legitimate, and the people have a right to answers.

  30. - Team Sleep - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 3:50 pm:

    Let’s also not forget that this is a FULL-TIME job that Mr. Stroger holds. It’s not as though he can take six months off like a state rep or senator can. He is elected to run the office every day of the year when he is in town. If he cannot run the office, a replacement process should commence. This is not disrespectful to Mr. Stroger. Let Jesse White, Bobbie Steele, Danny Davis and whomever else is interested fight it out like the 17th CD race.

  31. - respectful - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 4:37 pm:

    If Stroger were capable of reassuring his constituents that he’s alive and well, why wouldn’t he have done so by now? There should be a succession procedure, as we have with the U.S. President, when he is unable to function though he’s still alive. Meanwhile, the current game doesn’t serve the interests of 5 million county residents.

  32. - middleman - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 5:32 pm:

    Hey Rich, I don’t know the answer to this one: Now that Stroger’s home has been sold, and he no longer lives in his own district, has he automatically given up his Commissioner seat? And does he have to be a Commissioner in order to be President? Has this move made his health a moot point?

  33. - Reality Check - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 5:45 pm:

    Stroger didn’t sell his home yet, and appears to be staying at a friend’s condo near the Rehab Institute, so he hasn’t given up anything, and he still lives in the district.

    Although the legislature did not make changes to reflect the single member districts, it is possible to be President without being a Commissioner.

    Nice try.

  34. - Tony P's guy - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 5:47 pm:

    Middleman: The home’s for sale, not sold. If it sells while he’s a commissioner, he can no longer be a commissioner. But he can still be board president because you don’t have to be a commissioner to be board president.

  35. - Lt. Dan - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 7:55 pm:

    We really need Forrest’s leadership at a time like this. Where are you Claypool?

  36. - Poolclay - Thursday, May 25, 06 @ 9:07 pm:


  37. - Accuracy - Friday, May 26, 06 @ 8:10 am:

    From Steinberg’s column today re: Daley I and the stroke lie from Beavers:

    “Daley recuperated at his Michigan home — while reporters, newspaper lore has it, lurked in the bushes, trying to ascertain his condition. By September — four months, Ald. Beavers, not a year — Daley was holding press conferences again.”

  38. - Snidely Whiplash - Tuesday, May 30, 06 @ 9:44 pm:

    I think the public has a right to know who (if anybody) is running the county government they pay their taxes into.

  39. - Lis - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 4:16 pm:

    I was supposed to have an appointment set with a Dermatoligist 2 months ago for to help my complexion so I can find a job. I think I have Discoid Lupus Erythematosus. My appointment #610533. Find out why I haven’t heard anything?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Durbin Calls on Gov. Rauner to Meet With S......
* Durbin Statement on Pfizer-Allergan Invers......
* Letter: Sen. Durbin is right on refugee is......

* Opinion: Sen. Kirk must stand with crimina......

* RLC Roundup: Drivers Aim Lawsuit At Tinley Park Red Light Cameras
* Dueling pair of children being used to fight for attention of Chicago, world
* No Positive Loitering Tonight
* Fairness.
* It brings out the rats.
* If we are to get Goldman Sachs out of ESEA, we will have to be the ones to do it.
* Black Friday on North Michigan Avenue.
* Does America need a "council of elders"?
* Snow Money
* There's Snow Business

* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

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