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Sandoval overreacts… Again

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013

* Tribune

If voters in Cicero have a hard time distinguishing between Larry Dominick, the candidate, and Larry Dominick, the incumbent town president, it’s probably because Dominick himself doesn’t seem to know the difference.

Town spokesman Ray Hanania confirmed last week that uniformed community service officers driving official town vehicles have gone door to door, questioning residents about whether they had applied for mail-in ballots for Tuesday’s municipal primary election.

Dominick’s opponent, former McPier executive Juan Ochoa, has encouraged voters to use the ballots, widely available since 2010. Ochoa’s campaign says the Cicero officers were dispatched to suppress those (mostly Latino) votes.

In a letter to the town attorney, Cook County Clerk David Orr said the visits “could easilybe construed as an attempt at voter intimidation.” […]

In a separate letter to Dominick on Tuesday, the clerk noted complaints about electioneering at early voting sites, including the Cicero Community Center, where a large banner reads “Cicero Town President Larry Dominick Welcomes You.” Two other signs flank the stage.

“Since you are on the ballot, it is inappropriate for these signs to be on display with voting nearby,” Orr said in a letter to Dominick on Tuesday. “Please take down the signs immediately.”

* CBS2

Tuesday morning, a lot of Cicero will be getting a lot of extra attention.

Not just by voters electing their town president, but by investigators with several departments, including the Cook County sheriff, and the county clerk.

In Cicero, current President Larry Dominick is in a bitter fight against contender Juan Ochoa. […]

To ensure no fraud occurs, the state’s attorney will provide manpower, as will the sheriff’s office. The county clerk will pony up 11 election attorneys, when two would be typical.

“I just want it to be prepared,” Clerk David Orr says. “I just hope things are smooth and people behave themselves.”

* Which leads us to this press release from Sen. Marty Sandoval…

Sandoval Calls for Orr’s Recusal from Cicero Elections

Cicero, Illinois – State Senator Martin Sandoval, joined by 16th District Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski, today called on Cook County Clerk David Orr to immediately recuse himself from the Cicero elections charging that Orr has openly taken a partisan political position in an election in which he is supposed to be objective and non-partisan.

Sandoval said he sent a letter urging Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, the chief law enforcement officer on election day, to order David Orr to immediately recuse himself for conflict of interest due to his political bias in the Cicero elections due.

Sandoval charged that Orr has played a political and partisan role in the municipal elections in the Town of Cicero, aiding and supporting his political allies, candidate Juan Ochoa and his endorsed cohorts including Chicago Alderman Ricardo Munoz, Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia and U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez. Sandoval charged that Orr has donated thousands of dollars to candidates actively involved in the Ochoa campaign, which creates a direct conflict of interest. Additional instances of bias include David Orr’s physical appearance at rallies with Ochoa and his supporters (which included convicted felon and former Cicero President Betty Loren-Maltese).

Sandoval, who is Vice Chairman of the Illinois Senate Committee on Local Government, said he will call for public hearings to examine Orr’s conduct in this election and in past elections, and will be filling legislation to eliminate the elected office of Cook County Clerk, making it a separate, non-partisan agency similar to the Chicago Board of Elections.

“David Orr’s conduct and conflict of interest has tainted this election in Cicero. David Orr is politically partisan and has and continues to use public resources to support his political allies to work against those he opposes,” Sandoval said. […]

Sandoval said that Orr has in the past donated directly to many of the people supporting Ochoa in his battle against incumbent Town President Larry Dominick. Orr’s office employed Alderman Munoz’s spouse in the past, and his decade’s long relationship with Ochoa supporters, County Commissioner Garcia and US Rep. Gutierrez has been well known and dates back to the Harold Washington era.

“There is no doubt that David Orr has been a political clerk and not an objective, independent guardian of Cook County’s voting system. Instead of protecting the rights of voters, he has been using his influence to harass one campaign while ignoring allegations of obvious voter fraud by workers supported by his allies. That is an outrageous abuse of David Orr’s powers and clearly a violation of his responsibility to insure fair, balanced and non-partisan elections,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval, who is Vice Chairman of the Illinois Senate Committee on Local Government, said he will call for public hearings to examine Orr’s conduct in this election and in past elections.

“David Orr’s political activism in this election has compromised his judgment,” said Sandoval. “The voters of Cook County deserve better.”

Oh, c’mon, man.

* Anybody hearing anything about what’s going on in that town today?

* Related…

* Street gangs, racial discord, gropes and gas — all standard Cicero campaign fare

- Posted by Rich Miller        


22 Comments
  1. - Squeeky - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 2:32 pm:

    It’s a shame. Cicero was pristine until David Orr got involved.


  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 2:37 pm:

    Who’s the reformer this time — Dominick or Ochoa? It’s confusing. Neither one is exactly out of central casting for the role.

    It’s been like that since Capone. Great housing stock (beautiful bungalows) lot of industry, lot of hard-working people, mobbed up government.

    I’ll tell you one thing: they treat their seniors like royalty. My mother-in-law was in fantastic, brand-new senior township housing with incredible service — cleaning, rides to the store, home nurses, turkeys at Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc.

    And they helped her vote, too, right in the complex, lol.

    That was in Betty’s day. And she loved her some Betty. They all did.

    Old-school politics. The Leyden and Cicero GOP still get it.


  3. - Snucka - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 3:00 pm:

    One would like to think that a State Senator could get someone to produce much better-written press releases. Sheesh.


  4. - titan - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 3:01 pm:

    If the County Clerk were to step away from running the election, who would run it?

    Mr. Dominick? That’s how it would have been done before election consolidation in 1980.


  5. - Verizon guy - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 3:14 pm:

    I am a supporter of Alderman Munoz because he is a reformed man


  6. - titan - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 3:14 pm:

    Maybe this is setting up a push to have County Boards of Election Commissioners everywhere


  7. - Ray Hanania - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 3:17 pm:

    Cook County Board President David Orr has acted in an unfair and biased manner. The signs he complains about in the Cicero Community Center, are in a separate gymnasium 350 feet from the entrance of the room in the same center where early voting took place. Mr. Orr complained about signs but did nothing when we complained four weeks ago about suspicious absentee balloting by Ochoa’s campaign workers, including ballots filled from vacant lots, dead voters and gang members in prison. The county election process should be like Chicago’s election process where the head of the election board is not a partisan political office holder with political biases and allies running in contested races. Thanks RAY HANANIA


  8. - Ha! - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 3:41 pm:

    Squeeky - “It’s a shame. Cicero was pristine until David Orr got involved.”

    Thank you for a much needed snowy afternoon laugh!


  9. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 4:12 pm:

    Word on the street is Orr ignored a complaint that nine people had voted absentee from a one bedroom apartment…..good job reformers


  10. - reformer - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 4:13 pm:

    Marthy wouldn’t be an ally of that reformer, Larry Dominick, would he?


  11. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 4:40 pm:

    === It’s a shame. Cicero was pristine until David Orr got involved. ===

    LOL


  12. - Wrinkles - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 4:43 pm:

    Wouldn’t Sandoval be guilty of the same offense? He charged Orr with using the power of his office to aid a candidate for which he supports (and coincidently Sandoval opposes). Wouldn’t Sandoval be doing the exact same thing by utilizing the powers of a senator for political purposes just as Orr is supposedly doing as county clerk?


  13. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 4:45 pm:

    Sandoval’s press release is laughable… but that goes without saying.


  14. - chicagopublius - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 4:48 pm:

    Here’s what was going on in Cicero as of 3:30: really really low turnout among Latino voters; Ochoa campaign completely unorganized: 40 people at HQ doing nothing: no GOTV effort; no lists of likely supporters; no one really leading the campaign. It’s too bad.


  15. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 5:49 pm:

    PQ should have “Squeezy” slither up there and put the big squeeze on the bad guys to keep it clean.
    But wait, who are the bad guys again?
    And what, “squeeze” means something different in Cicero than in Springfield?
    Never mind.


  16. - What is to be done? - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 6:11 pm:

    Intimidation, suppression or corruption would never ever happen in Cicero


  17. - Esquire - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 7:26 pm:

    Few people wanted to be bothered with history, but Cicero was a rough and tumble town even before Capone arrived.

    While I am not prepared to go so far as to eliminate the elections department in the county clerk’s office, it is worth noting that the State Board of Elections was created as the result of the inability of some former Secretaries of State to resist the impulse to play favorites when administering elections.


  18. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 7:36 pm:

    –Few people wanted to be bothered with history, but Cicero was a rough and tumble town even before Capone arrived.–

    LOL, give Al a break, will you?


  19. - Esquire - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 8:41 pm:

    An earlier comment referenced Capone, I was responding.

    Check out the Chicago Tribune newspaper archives, the Cook County Sheriff (John Traeger) had to run gambling raids in Cicero almost a decade before Torrio moved into the town and before Capone assumed power. Prohibition was not even an issue yet. The crime rackets then related to gambling and vice.


  20. - Esquire - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 8:46 pm:

    Okay, Wordslinger, I checked again. You were the one to refer to Capone initially in a post. I completely agree that when Cicero was prosperous and loaded with industries that it was a rich territory.

    As for the Cicero and Leyden GOP organizations, these precinct operations seem to have plenty of backing from area Democrats. Call it a pact or an alliance. Sandoval is supposedly a Democrat, but he has been doing Dominick’s bidding in this instance. Months ago, when opposing Skip Saviano, Sandoval was denouncing the GOP. Today he is working for the Cicero GOP slate. Sheesh.


  21. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Feb 26, 13 @ 11:18 pm:

    Sandoval jumped the shark with that press release. Sheesh.


  22. - Chicago resident - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:07 am:

    I think that Martin Sandoval is being completely objective, given that he is a paid employee of the Town of Cicero. Sandoval definitely isn’t being political at all.


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