Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



Todd's budget problems go beyond race.

Thursday, November 29, 2007
Special to suffredin.org
by MARK BROWN

Real issue is hefty tax increase pushed by a political lightweight


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?


I was over at the Cook County Board meeting the other morning to see how the commissioners were going to handle Stroger's budget. Everyone looked bored laboring through the tedious process of debating proposed budget amendments.


That's how the budget is done at the county, where much of the time, the process even resembles democracy.


It's a lot different from the City Council, where Beavers earned his stripes before coming to the County Board this year to watch Todd Stroger's back, a move we were led to believe at the time was at the request of Todd's father, the ailing John Stroger Jr.


At the county, there are 17 commissioners, some of whom are actually Republicans. They're not just Republicans in name, but often vote and think and act like real Republicans, which Beavers didn't see a lot at the City Council.


The board also has independents -- troublesome Democrats who pretty much do as they please without waiting for marching orders or becoming overly concerned with how their chief executive might punish them if they get out of line.


Neither the Republicans nor independents would survive very long by green-lighting record tax increases, especially after promising voters they'd do the opposite, even if the County Board president were some shade of pink.


That makes it tough for Todd Stroger, who unlike his father doesn't even have one of those 17 votes and hasn't done much yet to earn the respect of those who do. Nor does he have the political muscle to quash amendments to his budget or muzzle debate.


Voters weren't warned

And that brings me back to Tuesday's meeting. You see, I slipped out for a while during the boring part, and when I got back, everybody was buzzing about what Beavers had said.


"If Todd was a white man, he wouldn't have half these problems," Beavers complained, preposterously comparing the county impasse to the 1980s' Council Wars fight of former Mayor Harold Washington.


"Who's gonna control the county -- white or black -- that's all this is," Beavers continued.


You should understand none of this was part of the meeting. There was a break in the action, and Beavers was invited to step before the cameras, and this is some of what rolled off his tongue. When I got there minutes later, he was back at his desk, smiling and relaxed.


Maybe I should have written about it that day, but I didn't really want to play the part of the white man rising to the bait. After a day's reflection, though, I'm ready to bite.


Todd Stroger's problems are more than skin deep.


His budget is in trouble because it doesn't make sense to people that they should have to pay so much more in taxes to the county. Voters weren't warned that a problem of this magnitude was coming, certainly not by Stroger or his father. They don't want to pay, and their elected representatives aren't keen on crossing them right now.


I would think this is also at least partially true in the African-American community, although only one black county commissioner is threatening to hold out against the tax hikes.


Race card cuts both ways

And so, while it's possible Beavers sincerely believed every word he said, it's also quite possible he was resorting to an old political tactic to shore up Stroger's base of support. If African-American voters believe this fight is all about race, then they're more likely to rally behind Stroger -- and those who back him.


Yet, I will admit there's a grain of truth in what Beavers said, the grain being that it's probably easier for a white politician to stand up to Stroger because he's black.


But more so because he's weak. More so because he has come across from the start as a lightweight who doesn't take the job very seriously. More so because he put forth a shaky budget.


And I'll one up Beavers.


I would suggest the main reason Todd Stroger was elected was "because he's black."


He never even would have been the Democratic nominee in the first place if party leaders weren't determined to preserve his father's ballot spot for an African American after the elder's debilitating stroke.


The race card cuts both ways.


It might work better to cut the budget.



Recent Headlines

Editorial: What happened to the elk?
Friday, August 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wells Fargo to offer $15,000 grants to potential Cook County homebuyers
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suit alleges Cook County detainees secretly monitored in bathrooms in holding cells at courthouses
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Half the elk at Busse Woods died last year, and officials arenít sure why
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

A letter from Dr. Jay Shannon regarding gun violence and Stroger Hospital
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

As Evanston adapts to minimum wage hike, nearby towns say they have no plan to join in
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit could blast a $250 million hole in county budget
Monday, August 06, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Pappas: Automatic refunds of $19.5 million going to 53,000 homeowners because of property tax cuts
Monday, August 06, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Thousands of Cook County homeowners to receive property tax refunds
Monday, August 06, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board Adopts Resolution Concerned With Foxconn Impacts
Thursday, August 02, 2018
Journal and Topics Media Group

FBI: Ex-employee alleges Dorothy Brown picked up cash payoffs at bagman's home
Thursday, August 02, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Demolition of MWRD dam to clear way for fish and recreation
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff Tom Dart to pair inmates with pet dogs
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County Minimum Wage, Sick Time Advisory Questions Approved for November Ballot
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Journal and Topics Media Group

Editorial: Berrios and Kaegi: What a new assessor can and can't fix
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Your Personal Data May Be Exposed in Cook County Traffic Records
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
CBS Chicago

Garcia avoids public tiff with Preckwinkle, delays plan for county revenue forecasting commission
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County TIF districts bring in $1 billion
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County board moves to prevent repeat of pop tax fiasco
Friday, July 20, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County forest worker was going 76 mph in 30 mph zone, had THC in system during fatal crash while on job: prosecutors
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP