* Was it the “bounty” or something else that did in Gary Skoien yesterday? What follows are two different versions of the same Metra board meeting. It’s a good lesson in how the “media filter” operates.
* First, the Tribune story, entitled “‘Bounty’ remark stalls politician’s bid for Metra board - Democrats dig in heels on nomination”…
After Gary Skoien, the former chairman of the Cook County Republican Party, offered a $10,000 “bounty” for the arrest and conviction of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley two years ago, he was fired from his real estate job. On Wednesday, the political gaffe may have cost him a bid to become a member of Metra’s board.
Suburban Cook County commissioners had no trouble reappointing two Metra board members, Arlene Mulder of Arlington Heights and James Dodge of Orland Park, but the commissioners split bitterly over Skoien’s nomination, leaving its fate uncertain. […]
Republican Commissioner Peter Silvestri of Elmwood Park, whose district includes portions of Chicago’s Northwest Side, where Daley is popular, moved Wednesday to approve Mulder and Dodge, but deferred action onSkoien’s nomination until the commissioners meet again.
Silvestri acknowledged that the “bounty” comment still rankled some officials, but said it was up to Skoien whether to offer an apology.
* But is that what really happened, or did the Trib impose its own version of reality on the situation? There were other things going on at the Metra board that the Trib missed. The Daily Southtown’s report follows…
In a short but snippy meeting that included south suburban allies hurling accusations at each other, the Cook County Board’s suburban caucus chose to defer its choice on one of three seats on the Metra board.
Support was split between Metra director Elonzo Hill, of Country Club Hills, and former Cook County Republican chairman Gary Skoien, of Palatine. Neither had a majority of votes.
Commissioners Deb Sims (D-Chicago) and Joan Murphy (D-Crestwood) accused chairwoman Elizabeth Doody Gorman (R-Orland Park) of trying to cut Democrats out of the process so she could retaliate against Hill. Gorman said Hill didn’t back her choice for leader of the Metra board last year.
“To not appoint someone because they didn’t do what the chair (Gorman) wanted sends a very poor message to any appointment we make,” Murphy said. “It may be an abuse of power.”
* The back story, from yesterday’s Southtown editorial page…
Gorman said she is taking the action because Hill did not support Orland Park Trustee James Dodge, a current board member, for the board presidency last year. Hill supported Carole Doris, of Downers Grove, who won the election. “He could not support someone in his own back yard,” Gorman said of Hill.
But there’s a flaw in Gorman’s argument. She is looking beyond her back yard for Hill’s replacement. If she wants Hill out because of the Dodge issue, we can understand the politics involved. But if Hill is replaced, he should be replaced by someone from the Southland. There are many capable individuals who could represent the area on the Metra board. Instead, a northwest suburbanite appears poised to get the seat in a move that is most political.
Gorman replaced Skoien as the Cook County Republican chairman earlier this year, after Skoien resigned. Before that, as the GOP continued to wither away in Cook County under Skoien’s tutelage, Skoien made headlines with a hokey political stunt: He offered a $10,000 bounty for information leading to a conviction of Mayor Richard Daley. There is little that leads us to believe he will make an effective Metra board member — let alone one who will put the interests of the Southland high on his agenda.