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Stroger has cancer

Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007

First, let me say that I wish Cook County Board President Todd Stroger all the best in his fight with prostate cancer…

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger underwent surgery to have his prostate removed Monday as it was revealed that he’s battling cancer.

Stroger was diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 months ago, according to those close to him who confirmed the illness after the Chicago Sun-Times learned of it. With his wife, Jeanine, at his side, he came through surgery well, and there is hope that the cancer — found on a small portion of his prostate — did not spread, said Stroger chief of staff Lance Tyson.

Removing the prostate is a standard treatment for prostate cancer, medical experts say. Stroger is expected to spend the next two to three weeks recovering at home, Tyson said. “He’s doing OK.”

So, why did the Sun-Times have to dig out this little fact from insider sources while every other media outlet in the county was kept in the dark? Here’s a representative story from yesterday

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger will take a leave of up to three weeks for what is being described only as a routine medical procedure, his office announced Monday. […]

The procedure occurred Monday. Aides declined to say anything more about the medical condition or to disclose what hospital is treating Mr. Stroger, citing privacy reasons.

But now, according to the Sun-Times, Stroger wants to take everything public…

Stroger plans to embark on a public campaign to raise awareness of prostate cancer risks and the chance of successful recovery if detected early, Tyson said.

Count me as one of those who thinks Stroger gets too much bad press. Political reporters have never given the guy an even break, but way too often his office simply bungles things.

He cuts administrative costs at the hospital, but the stories focus on a handful of egregious patronage hires. He consolidates services, and the papers say he’s slashing critical care. The House votes to provide $100 million in funding, and pundits say he shouldn’t get the money until he cuts the waiting lines, which seems a bit bassackwards if you ask me.

Of course, he brings a lot of this on himself. His elevation following his father’s stroke caused an understandable outcry, which wasn’t helped by his so-called “allies,” particularly that blowhard Bill Beavers. As far as I can tell he’s never really walked through the budget with reporters so they could separate the hype from the facts. And he missed a golden opportunity when the House voted to appropriate that $100 million to point out how the cash would be used.

And now we have the initial coverup of his health status, which is gonna drive the reporters even more insane. Remember, he was elected in November, after he was diagnosed with cancer, according to the official timeline.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 9:08 am:

    Maybe this should be a question of the day - how much about a candidate’s/officeholder’s health should be made public? I mean, virtually all of them are fathers/mothers/sons/daughters. If that were the standard, as Stroger’s spokesman suggests, then NO health information would be disclosed.

  2. - Ferdy - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 9:13 am:

    Perhaps you should take a look at what Stroger’s actions REALLY did. Instead of making smart budget choices about where to cut, Stroger prescribed a 20% across-the-board cut–the sloppiest kind of budgeting there is and one that has cost truly needed healthcare services and policing. And since when do patronage hires into extremely responsible positions (such as his own candidacy) amount to a small matter in government?

  3. - Down in Egypt - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 9:17 am:


    It’s always nice to see someone else use the word bassackwards.

  4. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 9:27 am:

    Will his son take his place while he recovers? Did he go to Stroger Hospital?

  5. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 9:38 am:

    Looking more and more like a one-termer. Who beats him in the Democratic primary in 2010?

  6. - Levois - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 9:48 am:

    As much as I didn’t like what happened last year. And yeah I think some of should get over it. I wish him a speedy recovery.

    And I agree with Rich as president of the country board he’s made some mistakes. Also that he gets some bad press, but probably only because of what happened last year.

  7. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 9:55 am:

    I certainly join those in wishing him a speedy recovery, but…

    a Stroger hides the severity of an illness for political gain? Am I experiencing deja vu?

  8. - Boone Logan Square - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 10:04 am:

    Here’s hoping the cancer was completely removed. Here’s also hoping that we will not see a sudden replacement of Todd Stroger by Hans Eric Stroger as commissioner.

  9. - rachel - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 10:07 am:

    Did the “lost body” at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office have to do with the 20% budget cuts as alluded to by the funeral director?
    Although, I too, wish him a speedy recovery, I believe his illness was covered up during the election.

  10. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 10:22 am:

    All the best to Mr. Stroger.

    However—does it make any difference whether he is there or not. He is so clearly not up to the job. He simply doesn’t have the experience, either in business or in government, to run a large government unit. And he is far too heavily influenced by traditional Dem politicians who want to preserve patronage jobs and contracts at virtually any cost to the Cook County taxpayers.

    A situation that comes to us courtesy of our Democratic Chicago Machine, including all those lakefront libs.

  11. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 10:50 am:

    Two headlines in today’s Tribune:

    Stroger has prostate surgery


    County’s health system faces ax

    Hmm. Perhaps if the stories were combined, with a single headline - Stroger faces prostate surgery with ax at County Hospital - we’d see a change of heart regarding the devastating cuts to the Cook health system by the “President”.

  12. - ZC - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 11:06 am:


    In defense of “lakefront libs,” the wards adjoining the lakefront (including the loop) where presumably these libs must reside are 42, 43, 44, 46, 48 and 49. Forrest Claypool carried all these wards, 5 of them by 63% or more. For that matter, in the GENERAL, 4 of these 6 wards went narrowly for Peraica.

    And even for the lakefront libs who did vote Stroger over Peraica, Peraica’s torchlit election night march across the Loop still provides plenty of cover, in my opinion. The race that counted was Claypool vs. Stroger, and you can’t blame the lakefront libs for that one.

  13. - Bill - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 11:07 am:

    Good Luck, Buddy.
    Get well soon!

  14. - Voice of Reason - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 12:04 pm:

    As in politics and in government there are many ways to skin a cat. Cook County is the second largest county in the United States. The government includes a variety of elected officials from different areas of the public sector. As is the case with most individuals, they see their singular jobs as more important than the next. The job of the President is to look at Cook County as a whole and make the best decisions possible. A month and half is an extremely short time to dissect every department in regard to cuts and reforms within every department and office in the county. In demanding 15% cuts, every elected official and every department is put on an equal level. Every department and elected official has important roles that contribute to the well-being of Cook County. However, in the grand scheme of things, no elected official is either better or greater than the next.

    Now if you want to talk in detail…get a copy of the actual budget (Also, a copy of that budget can be reviewed on the Cook County website), and see if every department took a 15 percent or as some have said 20 percent cut.

    Obviously, everyone can not afford the same cut but in order to change and reform government you have to start somewhere. The budget process requires department heads to meet in good faith and compare numbers to see what options are available to make the budget work with the dollars available. Unfortunately, due to arrogance and the unwillingness to work together with President Stroger, some elected officials wanted to politicize the process when they knew that cuts were coming four to five years prior.

    The same Commissioners, press, and critics who disagree with the moves and changes being made did not support a tax increase to keep front line workers, administrators, and county staff working. Also, the same Commissioners and critics did not offer any valid ideas for increased revenue or funds that would help the county balance its deficit. Let’s not be fooled…If people are really concerned with Cook County government, let’s not sabotage an elected official, under the appearance of trying to establish your own political agenda.

    Put yourself in the President’s shoes for one minute. You inherit a deficit of 500 million dollars.
    Option A.) Do you continue to spend tax payer dollars and continue to borrow additional funds by putting yourself in deeper debt?
    Option B.) Do you make the hard decisions to reform and implement changes that are necessary for Cook County to function properly?

    A Response to Patronage

    Just recently Donald Stevens, the beloved Mayor of Rosemont passed away. His son, Bradley Stevens, was elected by the trustee board to take his place. Other major departments in Rosemont are also directly related to Mayor Stevens. However, the decision for Bradley Stevens to be the next mayor was applauded by media outlets, and the same critics that complain about patronage in Cook County. There is a time in everyone’s life where they must take a stand and decide what team you are going to play for. If you are going to be against patronage for one, then you should against patronage for all. And if you are in the middle, what is the reasoning for criticizing one, and praising the other.

  15. - Toad - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 1:14 pm:

    He gets bad press because he deserves bad press…you’re a member of the media, write something good about him if you feel that badly about it.

  16. - Captain America - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 3:19 pm:

    I wish Todd Sroger a speedy recovery abd good health for the rest of his term. Thereafter, I wish him complete and total political oblivion and a happy and prosperous retirement from political life.

    Don’t blame the lakefront libs and independents for electing Todd Stroger - blame the Republican party for nominating an unelectable candidate. I agree with the previous blogger who noted that Peraica’s outrageous conduct on the primary election night suggests why he was an unacceptable alternative to lakefront libs and independents.

  17. - Way Northsider - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 4:40 pm:

    I hope the man is testing the county health services - he deserves to.

  18. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 6:48 pm:

    the cuts in preventive services at Cook all but guarantees that poor people will die from cancer not caught early, unlike Stroger, whose County employee, taxpayer supported health benefits are “gold-plated”. How shameful!

  19. - Clara "The Clairvoyant" - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 6:56 pm:

    I wish Todd Stroger the best of luck. Now, what I am about to say will seem by some as though I am kicking a guy when he is down but that is not my intention.

    I have a problem with any elected public official who “hides the facts” from the public in order to help assure himself of being elected or re-elected. The fact that Todd Stroger deliberately withheld from the voters the knowledge that he had a serious medical condition while all the time knowing his own medical condition is to my way of thinking simply a man who will lie or do whatever it takes to keep himself in office. Just like his father, Todd decided that his getting elected was far more important than exhibiting any honesty about his true medical condition with the voters.

    I am sure that people feel sorry for Todd’s health situation but if Todd Stroger hid this from the public, how many other serious political concerns do you think he would be willing to hide from the public in order to benefit himself?

  20. - Fed up - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 9:19 pm:

    I too hope he beats cancer but this man does not deserve the job. He hires family and friends to do jobs that they are not capable of. He lies to the press at every turn.He is an embaresment to the democratic party and the county of Cook (Crook)

  21. - Southern Man - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 9:34 pm:


    I’d love to know what government functions Todd supposedly “consolidtated.” Remember, he won his budget fight last year by peeling off four commissioners from an alternative budget that cut hundreds of duplicative, high-paid white collar political positions and restored the draconian cuts in health care for the poor and working poor. He’s protected the old patronage system as if his life depended on it, at the expense of mostly African American citizens dependent on the county for medical care.

  22. - Peoria Pete - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 10:24 pm:

    Rich- Why should political reporters or anyone give the Toddster an even break?? What has he done to deserve one?? He and his cronies have dissembled about John Stroger’s medical condition to get him through the primary and them concealed information about his own medical condition to get him through the general election. He was a big nothing in the legislature and a big nothing in the city council, and was handed Daddy’s job as a birthright. He has not given the people of Cook County an “even break” and in all likelihood never will. You don’t deserve from others what you will not give to others.

  23. - A Citizen - Tuesday, Jun 19, 07 @ 10:53 pm:

    - Peoria Pete - I wish you had not said that part about “He was a big nothing in the legislature ” now I’ll have nightmares about guv stroger. Nuts!

  24. - Bridget Dooley - Wednesday, Jun 20, 07 @ 12:44 am:

    You’re wrong on this one, Rich. Todd Stroger deserves every bit of bad press he gets and then some. He’s unsuitable for office and has negatively affected many less fortunate people than himself.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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