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*** UPDATED 1x *** Schakowsky endorses Claypool; Chicago Magazine on Joe Berrios discussion thread

Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010

Posted by Barton Lorimor

UPDATED 1X
From Forrest Claypool’s campaign…

Today Independent candidate for Assessor Forrest Claypool was endorsed by Congresswoman Janice Schakowky of the 9th Congressional District. Schakowsky becomes the third Democratic member of Congress from Illinois to back Claypool’s bid.[…]

Schakowsky was joined by several other elected officials who broke ranks to support Claypool’s Independent bid including Assessor Jim Houlihan, Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Senator Jeff Schoenberg, Senator Heather Steans, Alderman Robert Fioretti, Alderman Joe Moore, Alderman Gene Schulter, Alderwoman Mary Ann Smith, Representative Robyn Gabel, Representative Harry Osterman, Committeeman Michele Smith, the 43rd Ward Democrats, and former Senator Carol Ronen.

Happy Labor Day, Mr. Claypool.

End update.

A few of you e-mailed me this morning about Chicago magazine’s article on Cook County Assessor candidate Joe Berrios.

If you haven’t heard about this piece, it is now available on the magazine’s Web site.

Because I am a born and raised downstate Illinois boy and am not as versed in Cook County politics as I should be, I am probably not the best person to talk about the article. Plus, Rich really went into the magazine not long ago for the way it spread out its content on Mark Kirk and his ex-wife for two days as you may remember. Those thoughts in mind, let’s turn this post into a discussion thread. Read the article. Tell us what you think. Let’s have the Big Dog share his wisdom, if he so chooses, next week.

p.s. - Please keep your comments professional. I may be the intern, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to use the infamous Capitol Fax banishment hammer of death… :)

- Posted by Barton Lorimor        

49 Comments
  1. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 11:27 am:

    Thanks Barton for keeping things going while Rich is away!

    Anyways, the article makes some valid points but they concerns are systematic to Illinois politics in general — not just to Joe Berrios. I just find it very disingenuous for the BGA and Chicago Magazine to continuously go after Joe Berrios as this poster child of Illinois politics and corruption. It is also highly suspicious that the BGA is continuosly hammering Joe Berrios right before a very big election — it seems more and more that they are using their non-profit funds to campaign for Forest Claypool. Again, I’m not saying their concerns are not legitimate — they are — but the BGA seems to be only interested in sensationalized, headline-grabbing news stories rather than substantive policy analysis.


  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 11:39 am:

    Berrios is a big man and a is now a big target for the goo-goos. Understandable — the guy is a walking, talking conflict of interest.

    But careful what you wish for. Why does Saint Forrest of Claypool want the job anyway (other than he might be able to win this one, even if his opponent is not in a coma).

    Daley’s former go-to guy is now the pillar of reform? Blago and Quinn were reformers, too. How’d that work out?


  3. - dave - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 11:44 am:

    the BGA seems to be only interested in sensationalized, headline-grabbing news stories rather than substantive policy analysis.

    Ding, Ding, Ding! We have a winner.


  4. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 12:39 pm:

    the article could have gone on and on about Joe the politico,
    his daughter (yikes) and more. I do think that Berrios
    deserves a giant whack, especially because Berrios
    means Keane in Spanish.


  5. - Bosco - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 12:55 pm:

    This has been an investigation going on since the beginning of the year. If it was politics as usual it would have been dead a while ago but this has legs and who knows how much bigger it will get.


  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 12:58 pm:

    Just Observing –

    Berrios is one of the worst examples of politics as usual in Illinois. One of the standard arguments against reform (and arguments made by reformers) is that so-and-so just does what everybody does, so he’s not so bad. It’s not “disingenuous” to describe any walking conflict-of-interest for the public. And it’s not picking on Berrios to single him out. He’s the one running for assessor.


  7. - Tom B. - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 1:00 pm:

    Hey Bart, can you shoot me your email. Need to send you the press release on Jan. Tom -at- our campaign website - dot - com


  8. - Jeter - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 1:02 pm:

    Whose to say that Joe Berrios will not make a good assessor. He seems to know the assessment process in Cook County well. What are Claypools qualifications? I would rather give my vote to someone who is going to assess properties fairly and has a staff that provides good service. That is what I have received at the Board of Review.


  9. - Bill - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 1:05 pm:

    Andy Shaw is hardly a “goo-goo” and the BGA is hardly non-partisan. They have their own agenda and good government is not on it.
    As far as Forrest “Gump” Claypool is concerned, he’d be twice as bad as Berrios. Fortunately, he won’t win no matter how much money he gets from his raving, brie eating supporters. He is just another tool of the over privileged.
    What happened to his “private business venture” that he pulled a Palin for? Oh wait, never mind!


  10. - Just a thought - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 1:05 pm:

    Why doesn’t some ambitious state legislator from Cook County propose legislation moving Cook County’s property tax appeals back to the courts? This may solve some of the issues regarding the concentrated power which currently exists in just a few hands. Though this isn’t to say that judges aren’t incorruptible either, but at least the concentration of power in Cook County and state would be disseminated.

    While I understand that there is no chance of getting this passed under Pres. Cullerton or Speaker Madigan, it would make for great political theater, and may even create a new power structure in Chicago, Cook County and even the State for that matter.


  11. - plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 1:21 pm:

    He seems to know the assessment process in Cook County well.

    EEk! The way the assessment process is used to fund the campaign coffers should be a crime. Joe Berrios, while not alone in exploiting this cash cow is precisely the wrong person for the job.

    Its like a fox guarding a locked hen house.


  12. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 1:28 pm:

    Regardless of peoples misgivings about the BGA and Claypool, the facts are blatantly clear- A doorknob would make a better assessor than Joe Berrios. His record is as long as it is clear. He represents everything that is wrong with our political system.

    I mean come on… he wanted to DOUBLE Stroger’s tax increase. More money for political patronage and wasteful spending to reward political allies. He has opposed common sense transparency rules for a reason- it would ruin his nice little setup.

    Berrios not only knows the assessment system well, he knows how to game it for the benefit of himself and his allies in Springfield, and he has demonstrated this year after year, at a cost to the average taxpayer.

    You simply can’t compare Berrios and Claypool. I mean come on… Berrios games the system for years costing homeowners millions, and the best you can come up with involves a harmless business venture? Please… Claypool is a tool of the over privileged? Then what the hell is Berrios? A gigantic piece of construction equipment for the over privileged?


  13. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 1:40 pm:

    “His campaign coffers reflect hefty contributions from the attorneys who appear before him, presenting more potential conflicts of interest. For example, the Chicago News Cooperative reported in The New York Times that the law firm Crane & Norcross donated more than $143,000 to Berrios over the past decade, and between 2006 and 2008 alone, the firm’s clients received $467.6 million in assessment reductions—second only to Madigan’s law firm, Madigan & Getzendanner, which won the largest total of reductions in that time, $490.4 million.”

    Why are we even having this debate?


  14. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 1:41 pm:

    Anon @ 12:58: I’m not really making the “everyone is doing it argument” what I’m saying is that the BGA should be addressing the issues they raise from a broader perspective, not using their non-profit status to campaign for Claypool. Almost all elected officials in Illinois are raising campaign cash from those that have the most to gain — it is a legitimate issue to raise — but to consistently hammer away at Joe Berrios right before one of the biggest elections of his career is just very suspicious to me.


  15. - regular democrat - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 1:44 pm:

    Who needs Rich we got you


  16. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 2:03 pm:

    Holy cow,
    Read this from Claypools camp…
    Claypool Receives Endorsement of Schakowsky and Others Committed to Reform Proposes Ethics Plan in Wake of BGA/Chicago Magazine Investigation
    CHICAGO, IL — Today Independent candidate for Assessor Forrest Claypool was endorsed by Congresswoman Janice Schakowky of the 9th Congressional District. Schakowsky becomes the third Democratic member of Congress from Illinois to back Claypool’s bid.
    “Forrest Claypool has a proven record of reform and that makes him the right choice for the voters of Cook County in the Assessor race,” said Schakowsky.
    Schakowsky was joined by several other elected officials who broke ranks to support Claypool’s Independent bid including Assessor Jim Houlihan, Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Senator Jeff Schoenberg, Senator Heather Steans, Alderman Robert Fioretti, Alderman Joe Moore, Alderman Gene Schulter, Alderwoman Mary Ann Smith, Representative Robyn Gabel, Representative Harry Osterman, Committeeman Michele Smith, the 43rd Ward Democrats, and former Senator Carol Ronen. Also joining with these elected officials in supporting Claypool are the Cook County Farm Bureau PAC and the Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization, whose support Claypool won over the past two weeks. The Northside Democracy for America organization formally endorsed Claypool on July 14th.
    These groups join with Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., Congressman Mike Quigley, and Commissioner Bridget Gainer, who endorsed Claypool’s Independent bid when he announced his candidacy on April 6th, 2010.
    “I want to thank the group of officials here today for their support. It is not easy to go against your Party or against special interests with deep pockets,” remarked Claypool.
    Democratic Committeemen who are now breaking from Berrios who is County Chair, WOW!!
    Great job keeping the Capitol Fax up guys, I missed it for a few days.


  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 2:03 pm:

    Just observing

    – Berrios is chair of the Cook County Democratic Committee! He’s not just another pol. Do you realize how much money is at stake, and for whom? He’s the worst possible choice for one of the most (potentially) lucrative jobs in public office. There’s no better person to hammer, just about regardless of his opponent.


  18. - Sacks Romana - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 2:36 pm:

    Look at it this way. Berrios losing is the single largest blow to Mike Madigan’s personal power and control that can happen this election cycle. I’m not sold on Claypool, but a vote for Berrios is the ultimate vote for everything that’s wrong in this city, county, and state.


  19. - Cynic Al - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 2:39 pm:

    Wow. Trying to defend Berrios by attacking the BGA…just pathetic. Is the BGA perfect? Of course not. But they are one of the few voices that tries corruption and waste in government.

    I thought the Berrios investigation and the reporting thereof was pretty solid work. To me, it wasn’t sensationalist at all. It laid out some of the big players, including Madigan, and how they were involved.

    If Quinn really wants to win prove he’s a reformer, perhaps he should consider supporting ethics legislation that would prevent the abuses that are outlined in the Chicago Magazine article.


  20. - Bill - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 2:51 pm:

    Hey Anon,
    Here’s a bunch more reasons not to vote for Forrest “Gump” Claypool.
    …Assessor Jim Houlihan, Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Senator Jeff Schoenberg, Senator Heather Steans, Alderman Robert Fioretti, Alderman Joe Moore, Alderman Gene Schulter, Alderwoman Mary Ann Smith, Representative Robyn Gabel, Representative Harry Osterman, Committeeman Michele Smith, the 43rd Ward Democrats, and former Senator Carol Ronen. Also joining with these elected officials in supporting Claypool are the Cook County Farm Bureau PAC and the Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization, whose support Claypool won over the past two weeks. The Northside Democracy for America organization formally endorsed Claypool on July 14th.
    These groups join with Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., Congressman Mike Quigley…
    What a bunch of zeros, elitists, and crooks! This list is why they shouldn’t let people from the north lake shore vote at all.
    Jan sure is a reformer…just ask Bob. Jesse jr.? Carol Ronen?
    C’mon! The Cubs will win a Series before Gump gets elected to another office. He’s toast. Yesterday’s news. Now pass that Brie!


  21. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 3:11 pm:

    Joe Berrios regularly puts his name on the ballot and lets the voters judge him. That’s far more than what can be said for his anonymous detractors here, who are founts of wisdom and insight when they don’t have to put their names on their opinions. BS! and, CS!


  22. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 3:12 pm:

    Have any of those people cost the taxpayers of the county millions by shifting the burden from corporations hooked up with insider lawyers? Anything those people have done is childs play compared to the havoc Berrios will and has been creating.

    I guess I just don’t see an argument here. All I see is “So you say Berrios is an extremely corrupt threat to the average taxpayer!? Well…. Claypool isn’t perfect… this one person who did this one kind of corrupt thing endorsed them.”

    In the end, you can whack on Claypool all you want, but as long as he’s not Joe Berrios, he’s the better candidate.


  23. - Niles Township - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 3:13 pm:

    Bill:

    Don’t be so optimistic. This race hasn’t started yet. It will after Labor Day. People will throw Berrios out before Quinn gets tossed. Out in the burbs, plenty are voting for Claypool. If he can move some numbers in the city, he will have it, and that is what after labor day TV will be all about.


  24. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 3:35 pm:

    Let the voters judge him? That’s not how it works in Cook County for down-ballot offices. The strength of what’s left of the machine — which still counts for offices with limited visibility — has always carried Berrios.

    To say that voters judge any candidates in Cook County for most county-wide races (judges, MWRD, Board of Review, etc.) is empty rhetoric.


  25. - rudy - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 3:38 pm:

    Assume Claypool becomes Assessor. Assume he raises all the commercial assessments. Then Berrios remains in his safe seat (Board of Review position)for 2 more years. Assume Berrios and the Board continue to reduce Claypool’s higher commercial assessments for the tax lawyers, who then earn even more in fees for the larger reductions. Assume that in 2 years Berrios runs for re-election to his Board post from its geographical district–a friendlier electorate–not countywide like the Assessor. Assume nothing changes, except the tax lawyers earn more and Claypool has a job and a position from which to weigh his prospects for higher office.


  26. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 3:50 pm:

    What is Jan up to? Just a side note, shes making endorsements that are nontraditional and not always aligned with others? Could she be contemplating running for something else like County Chair? Its odd that she uses her influence in everything from Senate races where it is appropriate all the way down to the Cook County Court races. Any thoughts?


  27. - anon - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 3:53 pm:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the term for the board of review is 2 years, meaning Berrios will be out of office since he won’t be on the ballot for the board of review.

    I’m just not sure of the length of the term. A call to the board of review was met with awkward suspicion, and I was told a supervisor would get back to me… All over asking how long the term is!


  28. - Bosco - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 3:56 pm:

    Labor Day till November is going to be interesting. The TV ads are going to be one of those pop the popcorn and grab a coke because it’s going to be entertaining.


  29. - Quinn T. Sential - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 4:00 pm:

    {Claypool Receives Endorsement of Schakowsky and Others Committed to Reform Proposes Ethics Plan in Wake of BGA/Chicago Magazine Investigation}

    No sign of Elaine Nekritz or Mike Kreloff in that list of North Shore luminaries. Looks like Barry and Mike will be under-cutting Claypool and directing the minions to try to carry the water for Berrios and the status quo once again. They know where their bread is buttered.


  30. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 4:05 pm:

    Rahm, yeah, that Jan’s a real power-broker. What will she run for next? Tell me, what could she win other than her current seat (opportunity knocking for someone in 2012).


  31. - cicero - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 4:26 pm:

    Berrios is in trouble. He’s replaced Todd Stroger has the media’s favorite target.


  32. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 4:28 pm:

    Bill, keep bringing the gas, man.

    He reminds me of what Jerry Kramer said about Vince Lombardi: “He doesn’t play favorites. He treats everyone like s—.”

    Ryan and Blago are lucky to have you, Bill.


  33. - Niles Township - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 4:44 pm:

    opportunity knocking for someone in 2012
    ————

    Pollak will give her a run for her money even this year, but will still come up short. People are getting dissatisfied with her. She has done little for the district, and is way over involved in House politics and in supporting the president without question or comment. Doesn’t seem to have a brain of her own.


  34. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 4:44 pm:

    They’re getting the band back together! once upon a time,
    there were lots of progressive members of the Democratic
    Party. then lots of people went corporate. look where that
    got us, Blago, Tiffany Madigan’s husband’s contact, Toni
    Berrios in elected office. thanks for waking up, Lakefront
    electeds!!!!!


  35. - Bosco - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 4:51 pm:

    I just found this web site.

    www.joeberrios.com

    Check it out!!!!


  36. - Rod - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 4:59 pm:

    I think Joe Berrios will do a good job. If you have a problem with assessments all you need to do is to hire Madigan & Getzendanner, problem solved. Whats a matter wit yous guys don’t you understand nuten! Geez u must be from below I80 or some utter place.


  37. - Bosco - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 5:05 pm:

    Madigan & Getzendanner own lots of chicago property and Berrios is the tax assessor. Who gets lower property Taxes? And we cook county residents pay for there games.


  38. - Honorable mention.... - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 5:36 pm:

    “I want to thank the group of officials here today for their support. It is not easy to go against your Party or against special interests with deep pockets,” remarked Claypool.
    Are you kidding me, Claypool recieved over $4ook from four donors alone. He is part of the haves and wants to stick it to the have nots, who has the deep pockets here.
    BGA (501c3), Dane Placko and Carol Marin are campaigning very hard Mr. Claypool, very interesting here.


  39. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 6:12 pm:

    For the person asking if BOR terms are two years — the answer is yes and no — the terms are staggered — sometimes the terms are two years and sometimes the terms are four years. I don’t really understand how it works, but I believe Joe Berrios will retain his BOR seat if he loses for Assessor.

    For the person commenting on Nekritz and Kreloff directing “their minions” — I don’t know who, if anyone, they personally will endorse, but the Northfield Township Dems endorses based upon the vote of the membership, not the will of the Committeeman.


  40. - Bubs - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 6:30 pm:

    Don’t leave State Senate President John Cullerton out on the Cook County Tax Appeal gravy train. He’s in on it too, for a truckload of money every year.

    There is a dark side to this story, that runs to the very heart of the Chicago Democratic Machine.


  41. - ForCryingOutLoud - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 6:50 pm:

    I would say a lot of politicians are on the Cook County Tax Appeal gravy train. I haven’t meant one honest or “for the people” politician.


  42. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 7:26 pm:

    WordSlinger Look at her moves, she is obviously positioning herself to try to be the progressive boss of the North Side and North Shore, not that she could be successful.


  43. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 9:23 pm:

    And Jan didn’t endorse him anonymously, and Claypool isn’t running under a pseudonym like most of you guys. Cheap shots from the cheap seats. Get some skin in the game, why don’t you.


  44. - The Fox - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 10:01 pm:

    Mike Madigan is doing one helluva job as Ill. Dem. party chairman. All those fakers he wasted time and effort on up in Evanston have been twisters their entire careers. You gotta be a slow learner, Mike.


  45. - Quinn T. Sential - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 10:17 pm:

    Just observing

    {I don’t know who, if anyone, they personally will endorse, but the Northfield Township Dems endorses based upon the vote of the membership, not the will of the Committeeman.}

    Except when the vote of the membership was rigged by the will of the Committeeman in 2006 so that Claypool would not get the endorsement over John Stroger.

    They get to play both sides of the fence again here if Elaine comes out for Claypool, while Krelloff and Barry do the dirty work for Berrios and Madigan


  46. - fedup dem - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 10:20 pm:

    Note to Anon 3:53… Berrios’ seat on the Board of Review is not up for election until 2012. Thus, were Berrios to lose on November 2, he would still remain as one of the three members of the Board of Review.


  47. - Levois - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 10:34 pm:

    Someone knows their Chicago political history.


  48. - Levois - Wednesday, Sep 1, 10 @ 10:35 pm:

    I do think that Berrios
    deserves a giant whack, especially because Berrios
    means Keane in Spanish.

    Someone knows their Chicago political history. :)


  49. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 2, 10 @ 1:02 am:

    I really couldn’t care less about this race, but just reading the snide, vicious comments hammering Claypool and defending someone with such an obvious conflict of interest like Berrios makes me want to gag.

    I don’t live in Cook, but isn’t it enough that the whole Board of Review process is cooked? Do you need to hand them the Assessor’s office, too? Is there ever enough for these people?

    This state is sick.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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