Cook County official says opponents are racist; one beat up black children.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
by Joseph Ryan
Fellow board members call allegations 'outrageous'
With the push for a major sales tax hike stalled, one Cook County board member is blasting white opponents as racist and accusing a Republican commissioner of once beating up black children.
"He hates everybody that is black," County Commissioner William Beavers said of Tony Peraica, who is running for county state's attorney. "And the rest of them follow suit. I knew him when he was a young man, when he was over there in Bridgeport beating up black folks."
About the stalled tax hike plans, Beavers said: "It is all about race … If this was a white man in power, they wouldn't be fighting like this."
The comments came during a long recess of an unproductive budget haggling session this afternoon.
White commissioners immediately denounced the statements as a desperate move by commissioners who are frustrated by stalled budgeted negotiations.
Cook County Board Chairman Todd Stroger has not yet commented.
Peraica called Beavers' allegations "outrageous."
"I was appalled by his comments," he said, noting that he married a Muslim woman from Pakistan. "I think it is really an affront to all rational human beings."
Cook County commissioner John Daley, a Chicago Democrat and finance committee chairman, as well as commissioner Forest Claypool, a Chicago Democrat who opposes Stroger's massive 2 percent sales tax hike proposal, disputed Beavers' statements.
"That is silly," Claypool said.
Meanwhile, commissioners seem at a standstill on how to fill a budget shortfall reaching $300 million. Daley put off discussion on any tax hikes today, saying there is no agreement on one plan.
The board narrowly voted for a minor measure that would keep the county's highest paid administrators from landing a
cost of living pay raise next year. The measure will save $626,000.
Later this afternoon commissioners could vote on a plan to cut spending up to 7 percent across the board and close all the county's health clinics. The Republican-backed plan is expected to fail.
Stroger, speaking before the allegations of racism, said the budget negotiations are "stuck" and he was unsure when or if a compromise would emerge.