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Thursday, Nov 29, 2007

* The Sun-Times takes up the debate today over Cook County Commissioner Bill Beavers’ statement that County Board President Todd Stroger can’t get his tax hikes approved “because he’s black.”

The editorial was unnecessarily harsh. Entitled “Clash clown,” it excoriates Beavers from the get-go

Cook County Commissioner William Beavers likes to call himself “the hog with the big nuts.” We think he’s nuts, all right, especially for injecting race into the county tax debate.

The editorial even quotes a random black person who agrees with their perspective…

“That’s ridiculous. There’s a big backlash against Todd Stroger. He came in and cut a lot of people then went back to the old patronage system and put in his own people,” said Alan Holman, 40, who is black and from the South Side

* And Mark Brown asks

Bill Beavers says Todd Stroger can’t get his county budget approved “because he’s black.”

That would be the budget that contains about $900 million in tax increases.

Does anybody think that might be part of the problem?

* At the risk of being flamed on my own blog, I’d say that the editorial is way out of bounds and that anyone who thinks that race plays no factor in Todd Stroger’s treatment in the press and his difficulties in passing a tax hike while (white) Mayor Daley has his own tax increase agenda is fooling himself.

* Mary Mitchell makes some excellent points in her own column today…

Still, there is a longstanding perception that what Beavers said is a sad fact — that if a white man were sitting in the president’s chair, commissioners would have passed the 2 percent sales tax increase without a ruckus rather than force Stroger to take a meat cleaver to the departments funded by the county.

She goes on…

Still, the perception that race is relevant when it comes to who heads up local government didn’t start with Beavers or Todd Stroger. It was no secret that the elder Stroger, who supported the regular Democratic Party in the face of a steamroller like the late Mayor Harold Washington, was installed in the top slot at the board because he was a loyal Democrat.

But contrary to off-repeated criticisms, patronage didn’t start with John Stroger, either. Black politicians didn’t invent patronage. They inherited it and learned how to make it work for their own constituents.

Interestingly, when the political pie was carved up, one of the region’s most powerful black politicians got the branch of government that primarily provides services used by people in the lower-income brackets.

Now, the old rules don’t apply — at least when it comes to the County Board.

So while Beavers’ comments were rude, he likely struck a chord with some blacks. After all, isn’t this the type of thing that happens all too often? As soon as a black person is in charge of something, the scope of his or her authority is challenged.

What’s going on at the Cook County Board is that kind of power grab. Stroger may have won his father’s seat, but his foes will be darned if they let him have even the amount of power his father had — or his clout.

The fact that many of Stroger’s harshest critics are angry white men has given Beavers’ outlandish remarks room to fester, and that will make it even harder for Stroger to pass a budget.

That’s unfortunate, especially since it will be Beavers’ constituents who will suffer.

* Look, there’s no doubt whatsoever that Todd Stroger is not the most competent politician in the world. But some of the criticisms have been far over the line, and Mitchell is right to point them out.

Are Stroger’s tax hikes excessive? Absolutely. Is Beavers a supreme goofball looking for an advantage in his nearly hopeless committeeman’s race against Sandi Jackson? Undoubtedly. But everyone needs to take a deep breath here and stop denying the reality that’s right in front of their faces.

Beavers certainly deserves criticism, but to say racism plays no role in this theater is patently absurd and flies in the face of how Chicago politics has operated forever.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Mr. Ethics - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:19 am:

    NO one wants their taxes raised. Is Mr. Beavers really blaming the white members for not raising everyones’s taxes? He can not be speaking for those who voted for him.

  2. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:20 am:

    So the white Democrats who won’t support the budget of a black Democratic Cook County Board President that includes massive tax hikes are racists? Wow, what does that make the GOPers?

  3. - Levois - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:21 am:

    You may be right about race playing a role in Chicago or Cook County politics, still playing the race card is still very convienient. Very convenient if you’re not getting your way.

  4. - Poli-Sci Geek - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:23 am:

    Wasn’t the previous cook county board president able to get his budgets passed? I think he might have been an African American.

  5. - Snidely Whiplash - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:24 am:

    I’m sorry, but to state that race plays any part in this whatsoever is over the line, let alone to back that up with the words of Mary Mitchell, who chooses to see race as the determining factor in everything and can’t seem to write a single column without injecting the words “black” and/or “white” into it at least once.

    Stroger’s budget can’t get passed because it’s bloated, calls for tax increases above the expenditures budgeted for, and is rife with payroll payouts to his family and cronies. He is criticized harsher than Daley because Daley at least surrounds himself with good people (how is Bill Beavers supposed to make him look?) and has stacked the city council with his yes men, whereas Stroger took office basically via a fraud upon the public, has proven himself over and over to not have a clue, surrounds himself with the likes of Beavers, and blatantly expends money on family and cronies without even trying to hide it. In other words, he is governmentally incompetent and politically naive.

    Daley may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but he is politically street smart and does put extremely qualified people into policy making positions. And trust me, I say this as someone who is no fan of Daley’s!

  6. - Ghost - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:28 am:

    The problem with discussions about racism is that racism has become a lote more subtle in its presenation in current times. I would bet there are people who think they are not racist, who subconsciosly have a negative reaction to Storger just because he is black. The problem is, many of themprobably do not realise it. They do not consider the influence of their own environment and social segregation may be effecting their perceptions. I am not disputing the existance of overt racsim as well.

    Most people are much more comfortable saying its all about the tax increase, and therefore they do not have to explore whether their reaction may also be colored by color. In short, racism is not black and white. A person may genuinely not like or want to see a tax increase, but may have a stronger reaction to it based upon the more subtle and unrecognized subconscious reaction to race.

  7. - Angry Chicagoan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:30 am:

    If race is a factor here, it is that Cook County government’s problems stem from the fact that hospitals and jails that few white people ever deal with put a very significant burden on the county budget. Whereas the city of Chicago’s big costs like public safety and streets and infrastructure are highly visible everywhere and have traditionally been better done in white neighborhoods than anywhere else.

    If Stroger was simply asking to cover his current deficit with a tax increase (and if he wasn’t trying to recreate his father’s machine), I’d therefore be inclined to give Beavers at least a little attention. But he’s asking for triple his deficit. That’s not covering for historically underfunded services to minorities, that’s empire-building for his civil service minions with nickel-and-dime taxation that hits the poor the hardest. The race card in this specific context is disingenuous and dangerous.

  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:30 am:

    Rich - I think you are bending over way too backwards to think that there is racism here. When white Dick Phelan was County Board president, it was black John Stroger who sided with Republican commissioners to cut back on the powers of the County Board President. Up to that point, it was a rubber stamp board. It was John Stroger who let the genie out of the bottle and it hasn’t gone back since. And when Phelan proposed the County’s first sales tax - a paltry 3/4% by comparison - he encountered stiff resistance from the Board. He waged a multi-month grass roots campaign to win the increase, with hearings all over the County and hundreds of witnesses. For Todd to just sit back, ask to nearly triple the County’s sales tax and ask for nearly triple what he needs and then complain that it’s race that’s giving him problems is just lame.

  9. - Tom - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:33 am:

    Snidely said pretty much everything that I came to say, but let me just add the obvious. Todd pledged only last year that he would not raise taxes. That is the biggest issue here. Now one year later he proposes the biggest tax increase in the history of the County??? This year’s budget is ridiculous. The budget will basically replace all of the people laid off last year even though a year has shown that the County can run without them.

    Finally, regarding Mary Mitchell, who are the evil, angry white men begrudging Stroger his rightful patronage? Mike Quigley, Forest Claypool? Is she saying that they are racists? As for Peraica, he is nuts and probably a racist (hell he hates everybody) but he would oppose this budget if Christ proposed it.

    In the end, Todd is largely incompetent and he made his own bed last year by sneaking into the seat and by pledging not to raise taxes. That is the real reason that he is powerless, not his race, and it disappoints me that you buy the racist line that his apologists throw around.

  10. - Me - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:33 am:

    Wait a minute. last time I checked John Stroger is black and since 1994 till 2006 he raised taxes pretty much every and any time he could….I don’t recall to many problems with him doing that…and he is black!

  11. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:38 am:

    Was racism a factor when Blago couldn’t get one vote for his tax plan in the House? Or was it just a bad idea poorly executed with no setup by a strangely disengaged chief exuctive?

    Todd doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt because of the riduculous way he got the job, his horrible PR efforts, his inexperience plus his Urkel-like demeanor.

    The fact that it would have been the highest sales tax rate in the country sealed the deal. He sure did provide cover for Daley, though.

  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:47 am:

    Yeah, Rich. You’re going to face a backlash.

    The editorial wasn’t overly harsh, but you can bet that Commissioner Beavers is going to have a field day with the editorial cartoon and is lining up black ministers to denounce it as we type.

    That said, I have to concur with all the other comments here. Todd Stroger is struggling to raise taxes for the exact same reason that Rod Blagojevich struggled to pass the Gross Receipts Tax: lack of merit, lack of public support, lack of political skill. Lest we forget, the County Board did pass Stroger’s first budget. The difference between that budget and this one is that Stroger is now demanding a $900 million tax increase to fill a $239 million budget hole.

    I will concede this: Mayor Daley is treated differently than Todd Stroger. But then again, Mayor Daley is treated differently than everybody, and its got nothing to do with race. Reporters, editors, and publishers are deathly afraid of City Hall. Period.

  13. - JWD - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:55 am:

    Playing the race card is way too convenient at this stage.

    Is Beavers (and you) trying to say that a white board president would have no problem passing a 2% tax increase to make Cook County taxes the highest in the nation?!? During this economic climate? With gas prices soaring, home sales plumeting and the City of CHicago having just raised taxes?

    What are you smoking Rich?
    (And can I have some? It might help me deal with incompetent county board presidents and governors)

  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:09 am:

    Some of you need to re-read what I wrote.

  15. - Leroy - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:22 am:

    Compare the patronage/bloat/corruption of the Daley administration to the patronage/bloat/corruption of the Stroger board.

    Methinks people in Chicago are a little too critical of Stroger, or not critical enough of Daley.

    Daley gets away with doing stuff that Stroger cannot. Many people resent that.

  16. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:25 am:

    Leroy -

    I agree. But see what I wrote earlier. Its Daley who is treated differently, not Stroger. Stroger gets the same treatment Rod Blagojevich gets. Daley gets kid gloves. Its not fair, but its not about race either.

    P.S. Can anyone tell me how often Commissioner Beavers challenged Mayor Daley when Beavers was on the City Council?

  17. - Anon - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:27 am:

    Hey, some of my best friends are black, too.

  18. - irishpirate - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:34 am:


    you need to rethink what you wrote. Does racism play a role in this? Yeah. It plays a role in just about anything. Is it a significant role? I don’t think so. Is Peraica racist? I kinda doubt it. Crazy and abrasive, yeah.

    Giving Chicago and Cook County the highest sales tax rate in the nation is NUTZ. Have Stroger or Beavers implemented real cuts in the county government? NOPE.

    Just weeks ago Beavers tried to get his girlfriend hired. Twelve percent of the health care workers for Cook County live in the 8th Ward. How many of those folks don’t do much?

    Now you could say that Daley and city government are just as bad. Possibly, but Daley comes off as more competent. Is that reality? Is Daley a wonderful manager? Hell, no. He plays the game better. John Stroger got just about everything he wanted for twelve years. He at least projected an aura of competence. His son looks lost. He should have stayed as Alderman. His political career would have lasted longer.

    The reason he can’t get his tax increase is basically the commissioners are worried if they vote for it they won’t be reelected. Seems like a good worry to have.

  19. - Leroy - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:37 am:

    YD - Contrast how the CTA ‘doomsday’ is being handled, versus the situation at the County Hospital.

    In the County Hospital’s example, the consensus is to tear it away from the county board, get rid of the patronage, and run it more efficiently.

    The CTA? Get more money from Springfield!

    Why hasn’t anyone advocated ripping the CTA out from under Daley’s control, getting rid of the patronage, and running it more efficiently?

    Because City of Chicago patronage is good, County patronage is bad. Why is that?

    Double standard.

  20. - Captain America - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:37 am:

    John Stroger, wonderful guy that he was personally, ran Cook County government into the ground financially. Todd Stroger inherited the fiscal mess that John Stroger and his minions created. Duirng John Stroger’s tenure, the newly reopened Provident Hospital, was literally run into the ground.

    Todd Stroger has limited political skills, no political capital, little management or leadership ability, and zero credibility with the general electorate because of the way he ascended to one of the most important jobs in Illinois.

    He’s in so far over his head with respect to his talent and political skill that his adminstration seemed doomed form the start. He has committed one major PR image gaffe after another - remember the private elevator?

    Quigley, Suffredin, and Claypool opposed John Stroger and Todd Stroger becasue they are genuine reformers, not because they are racists. County government is and has been very poorly managed almost forever, excepting some improvements that were made during the short Phelan era.

    I’d be more than willing to support a substantial portion of the Stroger tax increase, if the County Board would be willing to cede control of the County Health System to an independent trustee - exactly what the Blue Ribbon Commission appointed by Todd Stroger recommended. Absent any real commitment by Tood Stroger and the County Board to streamlining and reforming County governemnt, I can’t support any additional funding beyond the increase needed to support the current level of operations.

    My personal opposition to Todd Stroger’s reign of error has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with reform. I think its a tragedy that Cook County Government is so poorly managed that its mission to serve the poor and medically underserved communities has been jeopardized.

    Save Stroger Hospital and the County medical system form the colossal ineptitude of Todd Stroger and the entire Cook County Board. They are all completely unfit to serve as a Board of Trustess for the County medical/health system!

  21. - Sacks Romana - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:52 am:

    Chicago is one of the most segregated cities in the country. 60% of the schools in CPS are 90%-or-more all-black or 90%-or-more all-hispanic. I think race and racism intersect with almost every decision and action made at the city and county level, no matter how subtle.

    There’s a rich (and terrible) history that informs all of this related to the political disenfranchisement of blacks at every level (voting, participation in government, etc). I think the key lines from Mitchell’s piece are:

    “Black politicians didn’t invent patronage. They inherited it and learned how to make it work for their own constituents… Stroger may have won his father’s seat, but his foes will be darned if they let him have even the amount of power his father had — or his clout.”

    And I think Rich and Mary are both absolutely right in pointing out that this context exists. This is the subtext and ideology underlining the events.

    Everyone else pointing out that Stroger’s plan sucks, well yeah, you’re right. It does. And using Daley’s patronage system and insane tax hikes as justification for your own patronage and insane tax hikes, even while a racist double standard is being applied, still doesn’t make patronage or insane tax hikes an OK or good thing. Oh yeah, Beavers is ridiculous too.

    But this is why I read this blog. The obvious thing is that Stroger sucks. A discussion about race in Chicago and Cook county is fascinating, and a subject that many people try to brush under the table.

  22. - Independent - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:06 pm:

    Daley has been given countless free passes while Stroger is pilloried. How many “reformers” want Stroger’s head on a plate but hem and haw when asked about Daley’s corruption and mismanagement.

    Three reasons for this:

    1) Fear. No political or business leaders want the big dog against them.

    2) Daley has a very effective PR team. They have convinced Chicagoans corruption does not matter as long as their government is marginally competent. It doesn’t hurt to have Fran Spielman so eager for a scoop she’ll essentially reprint verbatim anything Daley or Jackie Heard says without an opposing viewpoint.

    3) The great unspoken truth: Chicagoans are terrified of having another black mayor. So-called reformers have bought into this line of thinking figuring a corrupt and increasingly incompetent Daley is better than a black mayor. Sad, but true.

  23. - Wumpus - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:21 pm:

    I agree fully with Mitchell that Whites created the system, now that Blacks are taking advantage, there is now some outrage…Regardless, they all still vote or the same crooks in chicago.

  24. - Toughts on Race - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:22 pm:

    In my opinion, anyone who believes that humans are divided into different races is a racist. People may have different color skin; but there is only one race, and that is the human race. I don’t deny that supremacy exists, and I acknowledge that a supremacist must also by definition be a racist–they believe in the existence of different human races AND choose one or more as superior; however, one need not be a supremacist in order to be a racist. You can find people of every shade from light to dark; and if you lined them all up next to one another, there is no dividing line at which you can say that one race ends and another begins. The concept of race is not based in scientific principle but, rather, mere conjecture. Does anyone actually still believe that Europe is divided into three zones, consisting of Northern, Alpic, and Mediterranean races? I don’t.

  25. - jerry 101 - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:32 pm:

    Rich, I’m in your corner.

    The reactionaries who scream about the “race card” need to do some self examination. Why are Stroger’s tax increases more incendiary than the tax increases posed by City Hall? The mayor encountered only a little bit of resistance and got every penny he wanted while he continues to rob other agencies of funding.

  26. - Anonymoose - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:41 pm:

    Rich, consider yourself flamed.
    By any objective standard, Todd Stroger is a poor leader. Even when compared to other scions of local political families, he rates at the bottom.

  27. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:48 pm:

    If this is about race, and if, as Beavers says, it is analogous to the council wars and Todd Stroger is Harold Washington, does that make John Daley crusading white liberal Larry Bloom?

    If Stroger hadn’t continually made PR errors since taking office, and if Beavers weren’t such a hack who has put his foot into his mouth before (and even in this situation, suggesting Gene Moore, who supports cuts to his office budget, wasn’t smart enough to understand he’d been had by Republicans - that’s offensive), maybe we could say race has played a role.

    But come on.

    Daley gets a pass from the council because he’s demonstrated success and has worked over many in the council in the past several decades. he gets a pass from voters and press because no one likes or understands county government - so they have no sympathy for it.

  28. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:59 pm:

    Isn’t Richard M. Daley the son of somebody who wielded some clout? And how long has he been in office?

    Saying politician X should get the same treatment as Daley is kinda comparing apples and oranges. Daley is Daley.

    Let’s compare Todd Stroger to another Illinois politician who recently proposed a big tax increase: Rod Blagojevich.

    Stroger’s attempt to raise taxes is going better than Blagojevich’s, but worse than Daley’s.

    What Beavers and the rest of the Stroger camp would like is for Todd Stroger to get the kind of deference that George Dunne got. This is unrealistic for a few reasons.

    1. The system of electing commissioners is different. Instead of being slated by the parties they have to get elected in individual districts. This has been a blow to the tradition of cutting a deal with one D boss and one R boss and having that be the final decision.

    2. Dunne probably didn’t start out getting the kind of deference in the beginning he got in the end.

    3. Times have changed. People expect gov’t to be more open and focused on serving the taxpayers and constituents. Stroger talked about moving forward when he was campaigning, but it seems like he wants the perks of going backwards.

    IMO, the best case that Stroger is getting barbs from the media that he wouldn’t get if “White” is comparing him to Dan Lipinski. While Stroger got more attention for his nepotism than Lipinski the differential wasn’t as great as the example given by Rich over Stroger’s tax increase vs. Daley’s tax increase.

  29. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 1:22 pm:

    Another reason why Stroger doesn’t get much respect from his critics: people don’t think Beavers and members of the Stroger camp respect Todd Stroger.

    Todd Stroger is the lightening rod offered by Beavers and the Machine. If Stroger survives, this works for them. If Stroger is destroyed, the Machine will find somebody else to do the job.

    When Stroger shows that he’s in charge of his camp then his critics will give him more respect.

  30. - fedup dem - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 1:28 pm:

    Rich, how can you say that Mary Mitchell had some “excellent points” in her column with a straight face? Todd Stroger’s proposed excessive tax hike is not being opposed because it was proposed by a black man; it is being opposed because it is being proposed by a doofus who sees nothing wrong with hiring loads of friends and family to high-paying do-little or do-nothing jobs.

    If todd stroger were a white man, he would have lost the general election to Tony Peraica by at least 200,000 votes. Stroger won only because his fellow African-Americans put his skin color ahead of his clear lack of competence and ability when they went to the polls.

    By their words and actions in this matter, Todd Stroger, William Beavers and Mary Mitchell have been anything but a credit to their race…the Human Race.

  31. - so-called "Austin Mayor" - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 1:42 pm:


    Of course, race is a factor in nearly every political consideration in America. But the application of Occam’s Razor to this question reveals that Todd can’t get his tax hikes approved, not “because he’s black”, but because he’s a “hack-ass”, i.e. a political hack without political skills.

    – SCAM

  32. - Truthful James - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 2:01 pm:

    Tod Stroger had the bad luck to comme into officie during a disintegrating economy, with more and more citizens unable to keep up with variable rate mortgages marked up to market, with unemployment rising. he had not the innate skill and experience to deal with what in fact is a recession — had never faced that before. Neither had his department heads and personal staff, which leaves him reliant on Beavers and company. Bill Beavers sees his political power plummeting as the Jackson family invasion takes its toll. He needs to re-establish his constituency.

    Tod has to choose between the political spoils available from County health care jobs and the quality and costs of healthcare to his citizens. He chose neither, instead proposing tax increases. A bullet was there to bite and he chose to swallow it himself.

    That is not the leadership expected of him when he was elected.

    Consider the strengths of Daley’s departmental staffs and compare them with Stroger’s people.

    Stroger had an out. Casting away the Health Care rowboat would have given him leverage. Another Blue Ribbon Commission would have done likewise on the other Departments. including charging for some services which professionals demand — looking up plat books, etc.

    Mayor Daley has always had the best of internal support. Tod has not yet figured out which keys to use. Call it incompetence, call it a delayed learning curve. Civic leaders must be masters of minutia as well as the big picture.

    They also have to betray an interest in the job, the constituency and the business leaders. I think these may be the areas in which Tod has fallen behind.

  33. - Hog Wash - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 2:02 pm:

    I read Mary Mitchell’s column very early this morning and I laughed out loud. Her premise is nonsense! This is most easily refuted by the fact that Forest Claypool was about to defeat Stroger’s father until he was stircken, and the same issues that Claypool raised were applicable to both father and son. The issues themselves have nothing to do with political power and are not racially black or white, but rather they are tied solely to the color green.

    Cook County voters; of all races, have had enoughof the bloated bureacracy and wasteful spending government of the Stroger family. So much so, that they came close to electing Tony Peraica, and may well have if it were not for the racist galvanizing call to battle within the african american community which suggested that their targeted voters should not let them “take this office away from us”.

    This budget issue has nothing to do with Todd’s race, but his administrative and fiscal competency for the office he is holding. To suggest otherwise is a diversionary tactic and pure fallacy.

    The proposed tax increases are exponentially greater than the funds necessary to operate the government systems, even at the bloated and mismanaged levels required. This is a voter back-lash against the incomptence and self serving county administration, which just so happens to be head by an incompetent African American at this time.

  34. - Garp - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 2:27 pm:

    Ole Bill Beavers thinks whitey been stealin so long-now it’s his turn. He better do it quick though because Jesse Jr. seems to like what he got.

  35. - John Ruberry - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 2:48 pm:

    Rich…you are way off on this one. Cook County residents like myself don’t want to get stuck with the nation’s highest sales tax. Sadly, we had the chance to keep Toddler in the city council, but voters made the wrong choice.

  36. - Norman - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 3:19 pm:

    So will you refute this editorial in your next Sun-Times column?

  37. - B-no name nickname needed - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 3:30 pm:

    Rich, i do side with you. it’s obvious that there’s a double standard. it’s not that a white board president wouldn’t be questioned, it’s that he would have had more support from the “reformers.” it’s not overt racism that causes racial profiling with traffic stops. those officers don’t hate blacks and hispanics, but there is a something that goes off in their head that makes them question whether a particular african american can be legitimate.
    also don’t forget the agenda of the Phelan adminstration and Stroger’s are dramatically different at core. John Stroger as well as Todd Stroger focus has been health coverage to those who can’t afford it. John established that and Todd is continuing that legacy. Those that can’t afford are not the majority of voters in districts belonging to any of the “reformers.”
    this is politics, pure and simple. one side versus the other. the sides are not entirely defined by race, but it plays a significant role and so does social class. Don’t forget the tax hikes were proposed by Joan Murphy. her district is significantly different from Sufferdins and Claypool.
    Personally, i don’t think any of the commissioners are racist, but racism does play a role. peraica well i go back and forth. many of the Blacks who worked for campaign feel that he was racist, although he was nice enough to open a campaign office in a Black neighborhood. primarily Peraica is a lunatic and is upset that he himself is not a Ward Boss. had eddie vrdolyak given more clout in his organization, there is no doubt that Peraica would still be a Democrat and fat happy one at that.
    good choice Eddie.

  38. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 3:52 pm:

    Leroy -

    Let’s get our facts straight.

    Todd Stroger has not embraced reform of the Cook County health care system. He has not supported independent management, and he has not put an end to patronage.

    The CTA, by contrast, is already run independent of the city. They are managed by a separate board, half appointed by the Gov with approval of the Illinois Senate. Half appointed by the Mayor.

    Post-Kreusi, the CTA has implemented broad reforms, including major pension concessions on the part of the unions, to reduce the costs to taxpayers.


    Ridiculous. Sufferdin, Claypool, Quigley and Maldonado are all opposing the sales tax increase for different reasons. Sufferdin because he’s running for countywide office, Claypool and Quigley because they believe its the only way to put an end to waste, and Maldonado because Stroger’s staff threatened to cut off the health care of undocumented immigrants if he didn’t “get with the program.” There is no vast, left-wing conspiracy.

    Furthermore, its widely known that Joan Murphy doesn’t plan on running for re-election, and sponsored the tax increase so that she too can join the long list of elected officials who are trading their current posts for plum public jobs that will pad their pensions. You can bet she’ll be landing her bum in a fat county job after this is all over.

  39. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 3:52 pm:

    Ghost, I am ashamed of you!

    “The problem with discussions about racism is that racism has become a lote more subtle in its presenation in current times. I would bet there are people who think they are not racist, who subconsciosly have a negative reaction to Storger just because he is black. The problem is, many of themprobably do not realise it. They do not consider the influence of their own environment and social segregation may be effecting their perceptions. I am not disputing the existance of overt racsim as well.”

    What a ugly stinking load of CRAP!

    Can you imagine telling someone that they have a problem, but don’t know it because they have a problem? How could you know you are wrong when you are unaware of how wrong you are? PLEASE! This isn’t even remotely believable and utterly inhuman. Sick!

    History tells another story. One that clearly demonstrates that we as human beings are aware of our feelings, subtle or subconscious. That history clearly shows that we are fully capable of recognizing our faults and taking action to remedy those faults. To claim that we don’t know we are what we are is insideous PC nonsense. George Orwell, Stalin and Pol Pot couldn’t have said it better, and did!

    I don’t know what Kool-Aid you were forced to drink at University, but it is poisonous. I have recently read at FIRE how campus indoctrination programs spreading CRAP like this have been getting jammed down freshmen throats. Read about the University of Delaware’s frightening Soviet-style indoctrination program.

    “Most people are much more comfortable saying its all about the tax increase, and therefore they do not have to explore whether their reaction may also be colored by color. In short, racism is not black and white. A person may genuinely not like or want to see a tax increase, but may have a stronger reaction to it based upon the more subtle and unrecognized subconscious reaction to race.”

    Baloney! An “unrecognized subconscious reaction to race”. That is one sick screwed up way of thinking, isn’t it? Take responsibilities for your decisions. Don’t believe that others disagree with you because they are too unaware of their own subconscious bigotries. What an elitist, arrogant crock of S**T!

    This kind of thinking prevents any dialogue and treats diverse beliefs as mental illnesses whose victims are too demented to realize it. Horrible!

  40. - Anono - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:20 pm:

    Black politicians in Chicago and immediate environs stand-up to all other politicians…except the Irish ones… can’t do it and won’t do it…for many reasons. So then, Beavers is so frustrated that he can’t do it, that he uses white people– generally, and Peraica– very conveniently, as metaphors for Daley with out saying “give Tod the respect you give Richie or you are racist”. It was so powerful of a sentiment that John Daley was compelled to respond– even though he didn’t need to. In a very simplistic sense he (Beavers) is simple, and simply correct, if you ignore merit and capacities . Sort of like Machine Affirmative Action at work here. Now, since Beavers is a product of a system which promises just that… and political inheritance ie. Daleys, Lipinskis, Hartigans, Madigans etc, etc. Well therefor, given those rule, mores and beliefs, Ol’ Boss Hog Nuts might be mad, but he’s not crazy.

  41. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:40 pm:

    Shame on Mary Mitchell–she knows that Bill Beavers is Todd’s bulldog…I usually give her the benefit of the doubt, but not with this assessment of yet another politician who when he doesn’t get hat he wants overestimate the amount of crap the public will swallow…

  42. - Nice Guy - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:41 pm:

    So Called ‘Austin Mayor’ - could you please dispense with the juvenile name calling?

    Calling Stroger ‘hack-ass’ is unbecoming.

  43. - some former legislative intern - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 5:29 pm:

    Tom: its nice to have some anaylsis from you besides the usual one sentance.

    That being said, Rich, saying that race has anything to do with the oppostion to Stroger’s tax proposals is about the dumbest thing I have seen you write in the 12 years I have been reading CapFax or the blog.

    Todd is running into problems for two reasons. First, voters don’t like the way he was selected to take his father’s place on the ballot. It was too slick. Dan Lipinski has the same problem. Voters don’t like the way he took his dad’s place, and he has had challenges every year. Second, Todd promised no new taxes. Now he is going back on that. So, a politician in a weakened position broke his promise. Friends, that is going to cause you problems no matter if you are black, white, brown, purple or orange.

    Rich, I know you lived in Chicago only a short while, so maybe I can forgive you, but race plays the smallest roll in city government than ever. Look at the opposition to Daley’s tax increases on the city council. It was mixed, so was the support. The most vocal critics were white alderman. I grew up during Council Wars (it was one of the things that got me interested in politics in the first place when I was 11 years old. Everything then was black and white. Today, is it more “reform” versus “regulars”.

    Finally, Rich, in 1983 all black politicians lined up to support Washington and most (with the exception of George Dunne, RIP) supported Byrne, Daley or Epton once the primary was over.

    Who were the main individuals that put Todd into office? Who were the main driving forces behind replacing him for his father? White ethnics. And why did they do that? Not for some nobel conception of progressive government. It was to protect the patronage so their precinct captains could keep their great county jobs! One need only look at the primary of Stroger vs. Claypool to see how little race was a factor. White machiners moved heaven and earth to make sure Claypool was defeated. Why? Because they viewed him as a threat to their clout. Nothing more/nothing less.

    Someone from Todd’s staff needs to tell Beavers to keep his mouth closed. Or, is he so weak that he can’t even do that?

  44. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 5:31 pm:

    ===Finally, Rich, in 1983 all black politicians lined up to support Washington ===

    That’s unbelievably incorrect. Byrne and Daley had quite a lot of black political support.

  45. - irishpirate - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 5:47 pm:

    In 1983 all black politicians lined up to support Washington AFTER the primary. Prior to that many, including John Stroger, supported other candidates.

  46. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 6:08 pm:

    Rich, what do you think of comparing Todd Stroger’s tax proposal with Rod Blagojevich’s GRT proposal?

  47. - Anono - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 7:04 pm:

    You should compare Beavers’ to Blago’s

  48. - Anono - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 7:17 pm:

    Hey Miller-

    I have a digital caliper if you need to borrow it…

  49. - ids - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 8:04 pm:


    Obviously racism is totally human and in Chicago politics. You once mentioned how you grew up around downstate (middle state?) Illinois rascists. I can not imagine how that plays out with downstate (middle state?) House Democrats. That seems a more complete story on racism in politics. Or how Todd Stroger’s first (only) veto was when the Board voted a tax on the biggest air polluters in the County with dirty air, to try and get them to stop, for the health of people who breathe in the county- Stroger’s own constituency gets crunched with his veto for dirty power. Or look when Emil Jones excised democracy on the Senate floor for ComEd, putting the crunch on his own constituency, is another take on the combination of how racism plays with corruption in politics. IMO, you are really no better able to handle rascism in politics than you’ve been able to deal with evil in it or corruption.

    Also, comparing TS to MD is apples and oranges, you should be able to see that.

    Vanilla Man should try reading Blink by Gladwell.


  50. - Leroy - Friday, Nov 30, 07 @ 6:47 am:

    “Leroy -

    Let’s get our facts straight.

    Todd Stroger has not embraced reform of the Cook County health care system. He has not supported independent management, and he has not put an end to patronage.”

    Yes, YDD…let’s get our facts straight. Can you give me some kind of evidence that has occurred over the last 20 years (yes, two decades) that Daley is interested in making the CTA a more efficient operation?

    “The CTA, by contrast, is already run independent of the city. They are managed by a separate board, half appointed by the Gov with approval of the Illinois Senate. Half appointed by the Mayor.”

    You call half the board members being appointed by Daley independent? I see you are using the Chicago definition of the word ‘independent’.

    “Post-Kreusi, the CTA has implemented broad reforms, including major pension concessions on the part of the unions, to reduce the costs to taxpayers.”

    Really? ‘Post-Kruesi’, wow…what is that, like 6 months? Quite the track record of reform. Meanwhile, the unions and hacks in the CTA have been running hog wild over the last two decades.

    Really, who are you kidding YDD? You can fool the Chicago voting public and probably most the Northern Illinois mushrooms in Springfield with your rhetoric…but please! Put some effort into it next time. You need to live up to your alias!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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