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Burris: “There’s no one better qualified than me”

Wednesday, Dec 1, 2010

* Roland Burris

“I’ve always said there’s no one better qualified than me to be mayor,” he said.


* This story just gets
weirder and weirder

A notary public says her signature was forged on 400-plus nominating petition sheets filed by Chicago mayoral hopefuls Rob Halpin and James Meeks — a development that raises new questions for the supposedly rival candidates.

A signature and notary seal for Maricela Rodriguez appear on more than 25 percent of Halpin’s 1,185 petitions, including 266 circulated by a homeless sex offender, Arthur J. Hardy Jr.

Hardy also circulated 316 petitions for Meeks. Rodriguez isn’t listed as notarizing any of those sheets, but she does appear as the notary for 97 of the 4,691 petitions Meeks submitted to Chicago elections officials.

Despite that, Rodriguez, a district manager for a currency-exchange company, says she didn’t notarize any petitions for Halpin or Meeks.

So, to sum up, the implied allegation here is that Meeks and Halpin hired a homeless sex offender to gather petitions, who then allegedly forged a notary’s seal on the petitions he gathered for Halpin, but not for Meeks. However, somebody else allegedly forged that same notary’s seal on some other Meeks petitions.

If that’s true, then Meeks’ denials aren’t looking so great right now

Mr. Meeks says he believes the gatherer, Arthur Hardy Jr., effectively worked as a subcontractor for someone else whom his campaign had hired at the end of his petition drive to collect signatures on his nominating petitions.

Mr. Meeks says he does not know the name of that person but adds, “There was no coordination at all with Halpin. I don’t know him. I never met him.”

This may be the fault of the person who was hired by the campaign who also hired Hardy. It would be helpful if we knew who that was.

* As I’ve said before, Rahm Emanuel may or may not have a solid residency case, but this might all come down to the judge he draws

‘Rahm Emanuel may be the 800-pound gorilla in the mayor’s race,” said a savvy politico who phoned the other day, “but remember that Ed Burke is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes who gets to be a judge in this town. Keep your eye on the Daley Center.” […]

What my politico caller was asking was whether a judge blessed by Burke would be brave enough to rule strictly on the merits of the case, wherever that ruling might go.

Everybody knows Burke cannot stand Rahm Emanuel and is instead backing former schools and City Colleges chairman Gery Chico.

But another politico I called, one equally well steeped in Chicago politics, laughed at the notion that a ruling on Rahm Emanuel’s residency might depend on whether a judge felt beholden.

“Once a judge gets to the bench,” he told me somewhat ruefully, “they forget everybody.” It wasn’t a compliment.

Despite the politics involved in picking our judges, there are some excellent people on the bench in Cook County.

Then again, there are some utterly incompetent ones as well.

* Related…

* Sandi Jackson runs for re-election as alderman, not city clerk

* Deadline brings objections in mayor’s race

* Ballot shenanigans

* More than half mayoral hopefuls face petition challenges

* Rahm Emanuel pledges to end revolving door at Chicago’s city hall

* Rahm Emanuel on “Chicago Tonight”

* Stroger administration spent nearly $79,000 on zoo picnic for flood victims

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Lincoln Parker - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:20 am:

    Thank you for posting that Burris quote, I heard it last night and was going to to mention it in today’s mayoral thread. I just can’t fathom how delusional he is. I’m sure he has had nothing to do with the “Draft Burris” movement.

  2. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:26 am:

    If Meeks couldn’t harness volunteers from that big church he leads (and yes there would be a legal way to do it) and had to rely on a homeless sex offender, I shudder to think how bad he would be as mayor. He’s already way over his head.

    How does he vote on civil unions today, or will he find a reason to be absent?

  3. - amalia - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:31 am:

    Burris, and Meeks and Halpin….oh my!C

    nice that Sandi is not running for Clerk…onward Susanna!

  4. - "Old Timer Dem" - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:36 am:

    If you do not believe Roland, just ask him.

  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:39 am:

    Rod McCulloch looks to be in hot water again since he coordinated some of the suspicious petition circulating.

    What do you want on your tombstone, Roland?

  6. - MrJM - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:44 am:

    Then again, there are some utterly incompetent [Cook County judges] as well.

    Ms. Marin truly has a gift for understatement.

    – MrJM

  7. - shore - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:59 am:

    You could put together the best novelists and hardened political veterans to try and come up with political characters and stories and my gut is that their stuff would still be woefully subpar to what cook county and chicago democrats give us on a daily basis.

  8. - Bill - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:02 am:

    The sad thing is that given the current field of losers in the mayoral race, Roland is probably right.

  9. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:02 am:

    On his mausoleum, here is a little corner of marble left without chiseling. Roland NEEDS to be mayor of Chicago. Failing that, how about dog catcher?

  10. - Pat Robertson - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:05 am:

    ==“I’ve always said there’s no one better qualified than me to be mayor,” he said.==

    “And I do a great imitation of Daley’s voice. His mother would laugh until she couldn’t breathe every time I said this; she never got tired of it.”

  11. - Living in Oklahoma - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:26 am:

    Roland Burris. There is no elected office he is not qualified for. Except for all the offices he has held so far.

  12. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:30 am:

    Not exactly Trumanesque accountability from wannabe Mayor Meeks.

    The Buck Stops Where?

  13. - matt - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:35 am:

    Forging notary stamps? What would the point of that be? To avoid a small fee for notarization? To avoid finding a notary public? Even if the signatures were forged, getting it notarized wouldn’t be a problem. But that attempt at fraud certainly demands a closer look at the signatures themselves. Forging a notary stamp is a lot harder than forging a signature, and if they did that, well…

  14. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:36 am:

    With regard to judges — I was never too concerned about anybody connected to Burke doing anything questionable. Neither good nor bad.

    On the other hand, there have been certain other persons of influence who got people onto the bench, and those people always seemed to remember where they came from.

    Of course (and not related directly to the above), but if somebody can explain why somebody thought putting a Corboy street sign immediately outside Daley Center is fair, when his firm tries cases in the building, really ought to try to flesh that idea out because I’m not following the logic.

  15. - siriusly - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:56 am:

    Didn’t Roland Burris run for Mayor of Chicago once before? Maybe in 1999?

    I seem to remember that 70% of the voters decided that someone was more qualified than him.

  16. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:57 am:

    matt raises a good point.

    Why forge notaries?

    Here’s a scenario.

    The person got the sigs, but then had a falling out with the campaign (e.g. didn’t get paid what he thought he was promised).

    The campaign has the signed sheets, but the circulator is refusing to sign them in front of a notary unless he gets paid (or whatever he wants).

    It seems like the logical thing to do would be to pay the circulator.

    But matt’s right. It’s hard to construct a scenario where forging the notary’s signature was the logical thing to do.

    OK. Here’s another one. The stuff got turned in on the last day and the notary had gone home but left her stamp.

  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:04 pm:

    Objecting to Rahm Emanuel seems to be becoming a cottage industry. The Chicago Board of Elections listed the objections for various city and aldermanic offices online (a record year for filings and objections). After counting thirty objections to Emanuel online, I stopped looking and there were pages of additional objections to go through.

    This case is going to be a circus.

  18. - 31st Ward - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:08 pm:

    Roberto Maldonado used the same notary on some of his sheets. He used her on his statement of candidacy and its very obvious that the signature on the statement of candidacy does not match the official signature of the notary.

  19. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:33 pm:

    I actually had some hope for Meeks but if he can’t get legit sigs with the size of the congregation he has then he has no business thinking he can run the City. Hopefully , he gets the boot.

  20. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:40 pm:

    I’m sure that what Burke is looking and hoping for is a judge that rules strictly on the merits of the case.

    To my knowledge, there is no precedent for a judge or even the Board of Elections ruling that someone who has rented out their home is still a resident.

    Any judge who ruled in Rahm’s favor would be creating precedent, not ruling based on existing law.

    Rahm clearly needs a string of activist judges all the way to the Supreme Court in order to succeed.

  21. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:41 pm:

    Rod McCullough? How does he keep getting work?

  22. - I'm not sayin'... - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 2:25 pm:

    Sorry - but I can’t read the Burris quote without hearing it to the tune of Stewart & Colbert’s “There’s no one more American than me” song at the Rally to Restore Sanity :)

  23. - Niles Township - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 2:38 pm:

    Danny Davis gets top billing on the ballot.

  24. - titan - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 2:49 pm:

    Yellow Dog - Really, all Rahm needs is a judge who finds that the Election Code’s provision on residency for voting purposes also covers residency for “running for municipal office” purposes. That is not a huge stretch (and even has a plausible degree of logical basis). See below:

    (10 ILCS 5/3‑2) (from Ch. 46, par. 3‑2)
    Sec. 3‑2. (a) A permanent abode is necessary to constitute a residence within the meaning of Section 3‑1. No elector or spouse shall be deemed to have lost his or her residence in any precinct or election district in this State by reason of his or her absence on business of the United States, or of this State. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to prevent homeless individuals from registering to vote under the provisions of this Act.

  25. - soccermom - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 2:49 pm:

    No one would be a better mayor….

    Does that mean it would be better to have no one than to have him?

  26. - Okay Then/Will County Woman - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 8:01 pm:

    Now that Meeks has put himself out of the running for mayor(not that he ever really was in the running to begin with)Braun and Davis better put pressure on him to bow out officially if either of them wants to make it to a run off against Emanuel.

    Strategically Braun and Davis have been missing opportunities to get press lately—especially Davis. Today is yet another perfect example. Where are their statements on Meeks’ homeless sex offender forged petitions? Not to mention his voting no to civil unions.Presumably neither has money for tv/radio ads, so they need all the free press that they can get. I’m not saying they need to bash Meeks at this point, but they do need to take subtle jabs and still make policy/character points if they are to distinguish themselves in the minds of black voters.

  27. - Okay Then/Will County Woman - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 8:20 pm:

    The really sad part here is that the IL republicans have once again been caught sleeping. If they had someone decent (meaning a moderate with some actual accomplishments and skills with a background similar to U.S senate hopeful David Hoffman) to run, it is very possible that Chicago would have its first republican mayor in 70 or so years.

  28. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:12 pm:

    –The really sad part here is that the IL republicans have once again been caught sleeping.–

    You’re not kidding. Who are these guys afraid of? Cross’, but more shockingly, Radogno’s silence was unbelievable to me. They’re leaders of what? The Tea Partiers? Careful what you wish for.

    Those maniacs are itching to go against Dick Lugar, a giant of the GOP, Senate and Midwest, and a great American statesman, in two years. Why? Because he doesn’t toe the incomprehensible Tea Party line. As former Sen. Danforth said:

    “If Dick Lugar, having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”

    Amen, reverend.

    GOP, save yourself. We need you, not the Rush, Becks, Hannity’s and Sarah Palin’s of the world.

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