WHERE IS THIS MACHINE YOU SPEAK OF?

(Photo courtesy of The Daily Beast)


By 
Maze Jackson


If the 2019 Mayoral Election proves one thing, it is that the mythological Cook County Democratic Machine is either non-existent or a mere shadow of its former self.  One only need to look at the 2019 Chicago Mayoral Election for proof.   In what “Machine” scenario under say a Mayor Richard J. Daley, would the CHAIRMAN OF THE COOK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY lose ALL 50 WARDS and only win 20 precincts out of 2069!?!?!?  Under what “Machine” scenario would a Democratic Committeeman be able to have any respect if they could not persuade their voters to vote the “right” way?  Under what “Machine” scenario would Democratic Committeemen be able to endorse any candidate other than the Chairman of the Party for the highest seat in the land?

(Election map courtesy of Chicago Tribune)


You see, this race wasn’t for the local school council (although those races are very important), this was for the crown jewel, the highest seat in the land, the most coveted position in Chicago politics…MAYOR OF CHICAGO, GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD!  And yet, there was Madame President Toni Preckwinkle, Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, in that exact scenario.  She was out of money, off of TV, and on political life support against a relative unknown, a former employee, who had come back for a hostile takeover of the City she had once worked for.  And instead of having the so-called “Machine” to rely on, she was left to work with a few political warlords, celebrity rappers, black businessmen, complete with an inexperienced staff who had never been battle tested. 

The Lightfoot political operation was in the smartphone world.


Meanwhile, Toni’s former White progressive allies were rushing to the assist the insurgent Lightfoot, showering her with cash, resources, and the “Machine” remnants and gears hoping to rebuild a new type of machine, a smartphone type of machine.  Think of it like the progression from typewriters to technology, from analog to digital, from snail mail to email, with all the iterations in between.  Lori’s team was thinking and planning in the smartphone era, while Toni Preckwinkle’s team thought they were innovating with Harold Washington Campaign 2.0.  Team Preckwinkle was insistent on selling the Black community a word processor even though all of us had smartphones in our pockets.  In the smartphone era, credit and debit card run the “Machine” and Toni had neither with  Black People.

The current Black political machine in Chicago is like the word processor…out of date!


But back to the so-called “Machine” Black People have been programmed to fear.  That so-called “machine” that is the convenient vehicle for White People to use Black People to get what they politically want when it’s convenient.  Be “loyal” Democrats when we want to raise and spend millions to take out a “disloyal” Ken Dunkin, but won’t raise $500K to help the Cook County Democratic Party Chairman win the mayor’s race.  Be “loyal” Democrats when it’s time to slate the type of judges that get Jason Van Dyke home in 3 years, but stand by idly and watch as local police chiefs that they govern attack Kim Foxx.  The so-called “machine” demands loyalty when it’s time for fear, respect, money, jobs, and contracts to be given to White Men with the most money and lowest voter turnouts.  That’s the “Machine” that Black People have.


In the meantime, not one of the White so-called Machine bosses carried their wards for Toni Preckwinkle. As a matter of fact, none of them carried ONE PRECINCT for her and she is THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COOK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY!  That’s not “Machine” or “Boss!” That’s just straight bull, but that’s what you get using a word processor in the smartphone era like Black People seem to keep doing.

(Black Terminator courtesy of Teves Design Studio)
https://www.milesteves.com/gallery/v/various+films/Black-Terminator.jpg.html

It’s time for Black People to leave the word processors behind and build our own new machine, and I’m not talking about a smartphone either.  I’m talking about building the Black Political Terminator, an artificial intelligence driven robot that destroys anything that gets in the way of building Black political power.  It’s time to junk our political word processors and prepare for a new day in Black politics! It’s time we get our own voter database and contact system, it’s time we train and create our own precinct captain, build our own bench, and elect Black politicians that are Black FIRST! It’s time to go from victims to victors!

#mazesaid

#WIIFTBP


(Now I recognize that some of you may not get the similes, metaphors, and analogies contained herein, which actually proves my point.)

The “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide

 

The “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide, is just that, a guide of candidates based on their history, actions, and plans as they relate specifically to the interests of Black people.  We decided to provide this list after receiving a recommended candidates list in the mail from a major political Party who shall remain nameless.  After research and review, we found numerous candidates who had a record of being hostile to the Black community, regardless of Party affiliation.  So we decided to create the “What’s In It for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide.

This list is not meant to be partisan and is unapologetic in its purpose, “to elect candidates in the best self interests of Black People.”  We will also provide insights and explanations for our choices in the most controversial and contested races.  It is our hope that providing this list will allow the Black community to begin electing candidates that best represent our interests, not because of the letter behind their name, but by the actions they have demonstrated.

THE “WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE BLACK PEOPLE?” VOTER’S GUIDE

SAFE ROADS AMENDMENT (For the proposed addition of Section 11 to Article IX of the Illinois Constitution)

Yes 

PRESIDENT/VICE PRESIDENT

2-Hillary Rodham Clinton & Timothy Michael Kaine

UNITED STATES SENATOR

You Pick- While not a fan of current US Senator Mark Kirk, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth continues to ignore the Black community.

ILLINOIS COMPTROLLER (Unexpired 2-year term)

15- Leslie Geissler Munger- Although Munger is a Republican she has consistently courted the Black community’s support, even hiring Blacks to highest levels in her administration.  Her competitor, Susana Mendoza, has consistently proven herself hostile to the Black community, whether voting to expand the death penalty, supporting the LaQuan McDonald cover up, or voting to expand red light cameras, Mendoza will continue the politics that have driven this state to be the worst for Black in the nation.

U.S. REPRESENTATIVES

Bobby Rush

Danny Davis

Robin Kelly 

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, STATE SENATE

Uncontested For future reference uncontested races mean they never have to answer “What’s in it for the Black People?”

METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT 6-YEAR TERM (CHOOSE 3)

51- Barbara McGowan

52- Mariyana T. Spyropoulos

*53- Josina Morita (Most likely to be the Cook County’s first Asian-American elected official, this candidate has a history of working in the Black community and earned our respect when she publicly addressed a colleague’s hypocrisy on criminal justice reform. She’s one to watch.)

METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT COMMISSIONER 2-YEAR TERM

58- Marty Durkan

STATE’S ATTORNEY

62- Kim Foxx You already know the deal…Don’t front! GO KIM!

CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT

64- Dorothy Brown

RECORDER OF DEEDS

65- Karen A. Yarborough

 

group-photo-1160x678

JUDGE OF APPELLATE COURTS- EPSTEIN VACANCY

71- Eileen O’Neill Burke

JUDGE OF APPELLATE COURTS- QUINN VACANCY

NO Bertina E. Lampkin DO NOT RETAIN (Loyal Burge era prosecutor)

JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- BIEBEL, JR. VACANCY

*73- John Fitgerald Lyke Make sure you vote for John.  He’s got a bright future, let’s get him big numbers!

JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT-ELROD VACANCY

74- Rossana Patricia Fernandez

JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- HOGAN VACANCY

75- Alison C. Conlon

JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- HOWLETT, JR. VACANCY

76- Aleksandra “Alex”Gillespie

JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- JOHNSON VACANCY

77- Carolyn J. Gallagher

JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- KARNEZIS VACANCY

78- Mary Kathleen McHugh

JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- LOVE VACANCY

79- Brendan O’Brien

JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- O’BRIEN VACANCY

80- Mary O’Donoghue Hannon

JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- PALMER VACANCY

81- Susan L. Ortiz

JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- RUSCITTI GRUSSEL VACANCY

82- Daniel Patrick Duffy

JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- WALSH VACANCY

83- Patrick Joseph Powers

JUDGE 1st SUBCIRCUIT- BRIM VACANCY

Jesse Outlaw

JUDGE 1st SUBCIRCUIT- HOPKINS VACANCY

Rhonda Crawford

JUDGE 2nd SUBCIRCUIT- SAVAGE VACANCY

D. Renee Jackson

JUDGE 4th SUBCIRCUIT- KUNKLE VACANCY

Edward J. King

JUDGE 5TH SUBCIRCUIT- EADIE-DANIELS VACANCY

92- Leonard Murray

JUDGE 5TH SUBCIRCUIT- STUART VACANCY

*94- Freddrenna M. Lyle

JUDGE 5TH SUBCIRCUIT- WILLIAMS VACANCY

96- Darryl Jones

JUDGE 6th SUBCIRCUIT- PONCE DE LEON VACANCY

Eulalia “Evie” De La Rosa

JUDGE 6th SUBCIRCUIT-SANTIAGO VACANCY

Richard C. Cooke

JUDGE 6th SUBCIRCUIT

Anna Loftus

JUDGE 7th SUBCIRCUIT-BURRELL VACANCY

Marianne Jackson

JUDGE 7th SUBCIRCUIT- RIVKIN-CAROTHERS VACANCY

Patricia “Pat” Spratt

JUDGE 9th SUBCIRCUIT-BERMAN VACANCY

Jerry Esrig

JUDGE 10th SUBCIRCUIT- HOWARD VACANCY

Eve Marie Reilly

JUDGE 11th SUBCIRCUIT- KELLY VACANCY

Catherine Ann Schneider

JUDGE 11th SUBCIRCUIT-ZWICK VACANCY

William B. Sullivan

JUDGE 12th SUBCIRCUIT- KAZMIERSKI VACANCY

Marguerite Anne Quinn

JUDGE 12th SUBCIRCUIT-  MATHEIN VACANCY

James Leonard Allegretti

JUDGE 12th SUBCIRCUIT-TRISTANO VACANCY

Carrie Hamilton

JUDGE 12th SUBCIRCUIT- ADDITIONAL JUDGESHIP

James Edward Hanlon

JUDGE 12th SUBCIRCUIT- FECAROTTA VACANCY

Ketki “Kay” Steffen

JUDGE 14th SUBCIRCUIT- MURPHY VACANCY

Matthew Link

 

BALLOT FOR JUDICIAL CANDIDATES SEEKING RETENTION IN OFFICE

*VOTE NO– By voting no, it allows you to select the judges individually and stop the bad judges from getting back in office.  Included in this batch of judges are former John Burge accomplices, LaQuan McDonald decision makers, and judges that have upheld the wrongful convictions of people who were eventually proven innocent.  It is here where we can make the most political impact on our daily lives. REMEMBER: If you vote “yes” all of the judges will be re-elected without having to answer for the decisions they made against the Black community.

 

SHALL EACH PERSON LISTED BE RETAINED IN OFFICE AS JUDGE OF THE APPELLATE COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT?

201- YES- Joy Virginia Cunningham

SHALL EACH OF THE PERSONS LISTED BR RETAINED IN OFFICE AS A JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT, COOK COUNTY?

VOTE NO FOR THESE JUDGES (DO NOT SKIP, YOU MUST VOTE NO)

258- Jeanne Cleveland Bernstein (Cook County Bar Association recommendation)

234- Charles Patrick Burns (Burge prosecutor)

304- Ann Finley Collins (blocked the appointment of Black judges)

232- Nicholas Ford (Burge prosecutor)

210- Vincent Gaughan (Issued gag order in LaQuan McDonald case)

262- Kay M. Hanlon (previously ran as Republican, switched to Democrat to get elected in Cook County)

222 -Bertina Lampkin (known as “Hang ‘Em High amongst Black judges, Lampkin was a Burge prosecutor, defended wrongful convictions, particularly hard on Black defendants)

240- Diane J. Larsen (Madigan ally, blocked redistricting reforms)

242- Daniel Joseph Lynch (sentenced Black man to 6 years in jail for contempt of court, removed by Illinois Supreme Court)

270- Patrick T. Murphy (publicly opposed Chief Judge Evans in attempted power grab)

282- Daniel James Pierce (led public charge against Chief Judge Tim Evans)

206- Irwin J. Solganick (Cook County Bar Association recommendation)

VOTE YES FOR THESE JUDGES

 

255- Robert Balanoff

299- Steven James Bernstein
211- Robert W. Bertucci
259- Kathleen Marie Burke
297- John P. Callahan
301- Bonita Coleman
251- Paula M. Daleo
213- Deborah Mary Dooling
253- Laurence J. Dunford

*215- Timothy C. Evans

305- Daniel J. Gallagher

235- Denise Kathleen Filan
279- John C. Griffin
203- Sophia H. Hall
291- Edward S. Harmening
285- William H. Hooks
229- Arnette Hubbard
217- Cheryl D. Ingram
219- Raymond L. Jagielski
307- Sharon O. Johnson
309- Linzey D. Jones
263- Thomas J. Kelley
*237- John P. Kirby
295- Geary W. Kull
287- Thomas V. Lyons, II
311- Terence MacCarthy
223- William O. Maki
293- Daniel B. Malone
249- Leroy K. Martin, Jr.
227- James Patrick McCarthy
265- Clare Elizabeth McWilliams
267- Mary Mikva
289- Raymond W. Mitchell
283- Allen F. Murphy
271- Timothy P. Murphy
243- Kathleen M. Pantle

313- Sandra G. Ramos
273- Jim Ryan
245- Kevin M. Sheehan
225- Sharon M. Sullivan
315- Susan Kennedy Sullivan
247- John D. Turner
275- Edward Washington, II
207- Alexander P. White
277- Thaddeus L. Wilson

ELIMINATE THE COOK COUNTY RECORDER OF DEEDS?

No

EARNED SICK TIME EMPLOYEE ACT

No. (This is a non-binding referendum designed to make Black people turn out to vote, with no intentions of passing the bill.  We should only consider this if it is a BINDING referendum).

INCREASED PENALTIES FOR GUN CRIMES

No. (This is a non-binding referendum designed to take advantage of crime in the Black community.  Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the country.  More jail is not the answer, more jobs and resources are.)

SHOULD CHICAGO WORK WITH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ON INFRASTRUCTURE

Yes. (Again this is a non-binding referendum.  All three of these questions were placed on the ballot to prevent term limits for the Mayor from being voted on by the people.)

It is legal to take this list with you to your polling place.  This guide is not meant to tell you who to vote for as much as to provide some insight from an unapologetically Black perspective on who Black people should consider voting for.  Our recommendations take into consideration a variety of factors based on particular insights we may have   Remember, this is the “What’s in it for the Black People?” Recommended Candidates Guide.  If THEY are complaining about the list, or the candidates we picked, just ask their candidate, “What’s in it for the Black People?”  If they get offended or don’t have an answer…you have you answer.

Early voting has already begun.  Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th!

Should we trust politicians at the end of their careers with our future?

This week it was alleged the Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was behind Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri’s attempt to change the position of Clerk of the Circuit Court from elected to appointed.  While the move would have affected Clerk Brown for the short-term, in the long-term it would have limited voter participation and decreased elected opportunities for aspiring future politicians.  Billed as a cost saving measure by Silvestri and applauded by Commissioner Larry Sufferdin, the resolution would have consolidated power for Preckwinkle, who is admittedly at the end of her political career, which brings me to today’s blog topic:

Should we trust politicians at the end of their careers with our future?  In other words, why should a generation about to take the reigns of power cooperate with a generation determined to hold on to that same power?  Do political appointments make the appointees loyal to their constituents or Party bosses?  Do you find it odd that progressive leaders are calling for an elected school board while their champion is simultaneous trying to increase her ability to appoint decision makers?

Thoughts?

 

 

Preckwinkle, Silvestri Smokescreen Goes Down in Flames

by

Maze Jackson

With a hastily released statement and a suspension of the rules, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioner Peter Silvestri’s attempt to strip Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown of her position went down in flames.  Community activists, Black businessmen, and seniors descended on the May 11, 2016 Cook County Board meeting to let the Cook County Board of Commissioners exactly how they felt about Silvestri’s resolution.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was called "Pettywinkle" by protester?
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was called “Pettywinkle” by protesters (Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune)

The meeting attendees were vociferous in their opposition to any attempts to disenfranchise Black voters in Cook County.  The resolution, sponsored by Elmwood Park Republican Commissioner Peter Silvestri,was billed as a cost cutting measure, not meant directly to target Clerk Brown.  Commissioners who asked to remain off the record acknowledged that Silvestri was acting at the behest of County Board President Preckwinkle, who has made no secret of her disdain of Clerk Brown, even going as far as having her removed from the Democratic Party slate of endorsed candidates.  Observers in the audience labeled the attack petty, as some even began whispering, “Toni Pettywinkle.”

The tension continued to mount prior to the vote and it was apparent that many of the Commissioner were nervous about taking such a the vote.  Shortly afterwards, Reverend Leslie Sanders,  community outreach specialists delivered a hastily worded statement placing responsibility for the resolution in the hands of the Chief Judge Timothy Evans and Commissioner Silvestri.  The statement read as such:

The proposal that the Chief Judge appoint the Clerk of the Circuit Court was initiated by Commissioner Silvestri, and not by my office. I was not informed in advance of Commissioner Silvestri’s intention to introduce this resolution. I am neither endorsing nor promoting it, and I met with and informed Circuit Court Clerk Brown of my position. The resolution will go to a Board committee for discussion and, in any case, this is not a change the County Board could implement on its own, but rather would need approval from the state Legislature.

Community leaders refused to accept the statement and demanded that “Pettywinkle” as they referred to her, oppose the resolution.  After the statement was distributed, the crowd became even more unsettled and became raucous, as Dorothy Brown sat quietly watching the who thing unfold.

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown
Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown watched the proceedings unfold (Photo courtesy of ABC 7)

When Preckwinkle took the podium she gave the floor to Cook County Commissioner John Daley, who immediately moved to suspended the rules, at which point (click to watch video)  Silvestri announced that he was holding the resolution in committee, at which point the crowd erupted with applause.  Cook County Board Commissioners, who often operate in anonymity were put on notice that they would be receiving the same scrutiny as the Chicago City Council, as shouts of “What’s in it for the Black People?” rang out from the audience.

The old Cook County Hospital is set to be redeveloped but the community wants to know, "What's in it for the Black People?"
The old Cook County Hospital is set to be redeveloped but the community wants to know, “What’s in it for the Black People?” (Photo courtesy of CBS 2)

Coincidentally, on the same day, the Cook County Board also passed a $375 million dollar bond deal to finance the redevelopment of the old Cook County Hospital.  Considering the County is using the same Black contractors who have been accused of  leaving the Black community out the last time the County Hospital was rebuilt, that scrutiny is warranted and will be intense.  Just listening to the audience, it does not appear that Target Group and Rite-Way Construction will be enough to satisfactorily answer the question, “What’s in it for the Black People?”

Is Cook County Clerk Resolution a $375 Million Smokescreen?

by

Maze Jackson

May 10, 2016

 

Black community activists were outraged, at what has been perceived as a blatant attempt at voter disenfranchisement, when Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri introduced a resolution to change the position of Clerk of the Circuit Court from elected to appointed. This would effectively nullify the election of current Clerk Dorothy Brown, who was re-elected overwhelmingly, in spite of the Cook County Democratic Party flip-flopping on her endorsement.

Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvertri
Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri. (Photo credit Daily Herald.)

While Silvestri sponsored the ordinance and maintains it’s not “personal,” insiders say Silvestri does not make a move without Preckwinkle’s approval, and Preckwinkle’s disdain for Brown is no secret. Preckwinkle led the charge to have Brown dumped by the Democratic Party, and when she couldn’t defeat her at the ballot box, she’s apparently decided to go the legislative route, hoping to cash in on her growing political clout.

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown
Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown. (Photo credit ABC 7.)

Brown did not help matters by requesting a raise earlier this week. While some of her colleagues agreed Brown’s points were valid, they also agreed the timing was not good. In today’s toxic political environment, no politician wants to tbe on record voting for a raise, especially another politician’s raise, so Brown’s proposal was dead on arrival. Preckwinkle, apparently seeing that as another opportunity to attack her nemesis, allowed Silvestri to float the resolution of changing the position from elected to appointed.

In a county, city, and state with a reputation for corruption and cronyism, any attempt to place more decision-making power in the hands of politicians is sure to be met with fierce resistance by the local activist community, and like clockwork,  activists are organizing a protest for tomorrow’s Cook County Board meeting. Even if the resolution passes, it must be approved by the Illinois General Assembly, which is dominated by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. Black caucus members have already signaled they would oppose any such legislation, as the have in the past, especially when it limits opportunities for elected advancement.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is feeling her power.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is feeling her power. (Photo credit NBC.)

Understanding all of those dynamics, I had to wonder why would the Cook County Board President allow such an outrageous resolution to see the light of day, knowing the potential outrage it would cause, particularly among the activist community? I mean I understand using Silvestri to keep her hand hidden, but why such a bold move against another Black woman?  So I did some calling around, and while I expected to discuss the Brown resolution I was pointed to this from today’s Finance Committee Meeting:

To pay the costs of the Refunding, the Bonds shall be issued from time to time in one or more Series, all as may be determined by the Chief Financial Officer, provided that the aggregate principal amount of any Bonds issued pursuant to this Ordinance shall not exceed $375,000,000. The Bonds shall be designated substantially as “General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 2016,” with such additions or modifications as shall be determined to be necessary by the Chief Financial Officer at the time of the sale of the Bonds.

16-2696 PROPOSED ORDINANCE Bond Refunding

The Cook County Board will be authorizing $375 MILLION DOLLARS in bonds, coincidentally on the same day we have to save Dorothy Brown?  Now don’t get me wrong, I think the bonds will go for a great cause, the redevelopment of the of Cook County Hospital. I think it will be an awesome project, and I will be glad when it is rebuilt. I love Chicago and I think our city is becoming more dynamic everyday. But with $375 MILLION on the line, I had to ask…What’s in it for the Black People?”

The old Cook County Hospital is finally getting redeveloped. (photo courtesy od Chicago Sun-Times)
The old Cook County Hospital is finally getting redeveloped.  (Photo courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times.)

What I found out was troubling. I found out that some commissioners actually asked, “What’s in it for the Black People?”  They got a community benefits agreement, but it was rushed.  They asked WHO would get the contracts and some of the same old characters who sold their contracts last time they rebuilt Cook County Hospital were back representing Black business again. Who is ensuring that the Black people participate in the contracts and job opportunities? You guessed it, the same company that had Black people doing less than 5% of the business in the city of Chicago. Which one of them has helped create new economic opportunities for the Black community? You don’t know? Neither did they, so coincidentally the Dorothy Brown issue comes up on the same day as they have to answer the question regarding that $375 million bond vote.  May 11th Cook County Board Meeting.

The reality is Dorothy Brown isn’t going anywhere, but that $375 million dollars is…in a cloud of smoke!

#MazeSaid

Cook County Goes Back to the Future

by

Maze Jackson

 

As Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle prepares to raise the Cook County sales tax by one penny, she should consider that it was that same penny that got her predecessor “lynched in the media.”

On December 4, 2006, Todd Stroger was sworn in as Cook County Board President. He replaced the interim Board President Bobbie Steele, who had only been in office since August 4th of that same year, completing the term of Stroger’s father. John Stroger had been County Board President until he was incapacitated with a stroke.

New County Board County Board President Stroger only had three months to craft an $3.1 billion budget that had a $500 million deficit . “The apparatus was in place to put a budget together, but no one took responsibility during the interim presidency,” Stroger said during an interview.

Stroger consulted his advisers, who all agreed that county government needed to be reformed. Stroger mandated across-the-board cuts of 21% for all 28 departments under his control. He requested the same from the other county officers, who all generally complied, with the exception of the Sheriff’s and State’s Attorney’s Offices.

Was former Cook Count Board President Todd Stroger right all along? Will it lead to a political comeback? (photo courtesy of ABC7 Chicago)

When Stroger directed the hospital system to make “$90 million” in cuts, they recommended closing Provident and Oak Forest Hospitals.   “Oak Forest was in the South Suburbs, and our flagship hospital, the County Hospital is 45 minutes away from Robbins. Our (Black) people needed that hospital, especially with so many Blacks moving to the South Suburbs,” Stroger stated.

“And when you look at Provident, that hospital was the biggest economic engine in that community, plus Michael Reese (hospital) was going to close. It was just too important to close, so we went back to every department and scraped together every bit of money we could, and we kept those hospitals open and balanced the budget in our first year.”

In Stroger’s 2nd year, Cook County found itself $238 million in the hole again because “the union agreement increased every year. We had to solve the problem.” So Stroger along with Ralph Martire and the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability came up with a plan that “paid the bills without taking it out on the employees or over burdening the taxpayers, but we knew we needed revenue.”

In 2007, after trimming as much waste as possible, making almost every reform suggested by advisers and critics alike, and even voluntarily signing on to the Shakman decree, President Todd Stroger passed a balanced budget that included a one penny sales tax increase.

“Not only was the budget balanced, it addressed the structural deficit created by the labor agreements that continue to increase every year, “ Stroger said. “When President Preckwinkle came in she basically replicated my plan, but when she cut the sales tax, she found herself back at square one.”

As Preckwinkle seeks to pass the same one-penny sales tax that many say was the deathblow to the Stroger Presidency, she is finding unlikely opposition.

“The sales tax may be the easiest for the County Board to pass, but it will be hardest on the working families when everyday purchases  – diapers, toothpaste, kid’s clothes – get more expensive. And it will be hardest on businesses who risk losing customers to Indiana or Will County. Cook County needs revenue to provide quality health services and a just criminal justice system, but a tax that hits the hardest on the hardest hit is not the way to go,” County Commissioner Bridgette Gainer (D-10) emphasized.

Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer opposes the “Toni Tax”

The “Toni Tax” as it is being called will likely pass, but no politician ever wants their name directly associated with a tax. Just ask Stroger.

“The newspaper and media made my name and tax synonymous. Say tax and people said Stroger. Water, property…any tax was The Stroger Tax, and I only asked for one penny,” Stroger finished. “At least I kept the hospitals open for that penny.”