Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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


  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.

  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.

Todd Stroger misses an opportunity to educate the public.

Sunday, June 24, 2007
Chicago Tribune
by Bonnie Miller Rubin

To tell or not to tell? That is the question -- especially last week, when news of Todd Stroger's
prostate cancer became public.

In this tell-all age, Stroger's lack of candor sparked a heated debate on how people cope with a
serious illness, and just how much information they owe their employers. In this case, that means the
citizens of Cook County.

Are public servants obligated to divulge sensitive health information, or are they entitled to the same
right to privacy as the rest of us? Are the standards different for a local politician than for someone
whose finger is poised on the nuclear button? Do we admire total transparency (see Edwards, Elizabeth)
or do we long for the stiff-upper-lip stoicism of a Jacqueline Kennedy?

My interest wasn't just as a voter, but as a cancer survivor. I wasn't running for office, but my
diagnosis in the 1970s collided with the start of a dream job. The questions of not just what to tell
-- but when and to whom -- were almost as vexing as the illness itself.

I started out trying to keep things quiet -- unsuccessfully. I'm a wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve person,
and ultimately I simply had to manage my non-Hodgkin's lymphoma the same way. Pouring out my story to
everyone -- including strangers on airplanes -- became my coping mechanism, a way of shining a light on
the boogeyman in the closet. Besides, I already had enough anxiety without adding the burden of

Openness not only became my pre-emptive strike, but it allowed me to bask in people's inherent
goodness. The casseroles, funny cards and office gossip provided a much-needed antidote to doctors,
procedures and the grind of radiation. No amount of control would have been worth swapping for that
deep well of support.

Still, in a way that I couldn't comprehend in my 20s, I now understand the skittishness in outing
oneself. The fears of exposing one's vulnerabilities are not unfounded in a society that worships youth
and robust health. Employers already marginalize the old and the sick. No need to hand them more
ammunition. For all our talk of compassion, the ashen face of chemotherapy is still at odds with the
workplace -- especially in today's harsh business climate.

Judging by the buzz around the water cooler and on talk radio concerning Stroger's illness, the public
seems split on the dilemma of disclosure.

This latest news -- coming on the heels of the "total deceit" surrounding the severity of John
Stroger's stroke -- is a fatal erosion of trust, said one friend.

"You get one pass," said the friend, who voted for Todd Stroger last March despite the shenanigans over
his father's health. "And the Strogers have officially used them up."

Another Chicagoan -- no Stroger fan -- was surprisingly tolerant, viewing the revelation simply as
business as usual, not as more evidence of subterfuge. "These are politicians, not role models," he
said with a shrug.

Experts, too, agree that coming clean on chronic conditions is not clear-cut. Any discussion about
Stroger's situation cannot be separated from the fact that he knew of his condition while running for
office, said Dr. Lainie Ross, a pediatrician and researcher at the University of Chicago's MacLean
Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

"I have a right to vote on real information," Ross said. "And if you knew of this before, then you've
deceived me."

But she also said the public's right to know must be balanced with the politician's right to privacy as
a patient. "There needs to be some give and take. ... The decision about how much information should be
disclosed shouldn't be left totally in the hands of voters nor to the politicians and their advisers
and handlers, but rather, there should be public discourse and some shared decision-making."

Though John F. Kennedy's back problems and Franklin D. Roosevelt's polio were kept out of view,
attitudes changed in the 1970s, partly as a product of Watergate. But more than three decades later,
Americans are still conflicted on the subject, said John Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont
McKenna College in California. "We simply want our leaders to be like us -- but better than us."

There's no doubt, however, that the bigger the office, the greater the obligation for disclosure. "Our
very survival may depend on the president's good judgment," Pitney explained. "Is there anything you
don't want to know about someone who's asking you for the power to blow up the world?"

This point was driven home dramatically in the 1980s when we were treated to a diagram of Ronald
Reagan's bowels, he said. But when Jimmy Carter's hemorrhoids led off the evening news? "Well, maybe
that was something we just didn't need to know."

I feel the same way about Todd Stroger, who now joins the 10.5 million other Americans who have faced
down cancer.

Stroger had a golden opportunity to show courage, the way Betty Ford did first with breast cancer, then
again with addictions; the way Magic Johnson did with HIV; the way Mike Wallace did with clinical
depression. He could have enlightened others on the importance of early detection, chipping away at the
stubborn stigma that still surrounds these issues. He could have even made a dent in our cynicism and
won over some skeptics. But he didn't.

That's his call. And that's his loss.

Recent Headlines

The PrivateBank pledges $10 million to the Cook County Land Bank
Friday, July 25, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners switch votes, rehire erstwhile contractor
Friday, July 25, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Commissioners switch votes, rehire erstwhile contractor
Friday, July 25, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County to cut buildings' carbon emissions
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Fox 32 Chicago

Cook County Board sends assault weapons referendum to the ballot
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County mulls fund-of-funds investment, other changes
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Pensions & Investments

Forest Preserves of Cook County to get expertise, guidance from new Policy Council
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Special to

Preserves and parks offering memorial trees and benches for a price
Monday, July 21, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Community leaders, sheriff aim to help mentally ill inmates
Monday, July 21, 2014
FOX 32 Chicago

TIF Revenue Down 2 Percent in Suburban Cook Co.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Palatine Patch

Recorder of Deeds staffers accused of political motive in firing
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County sheriff's department will focus on catching people wanted on arrest warrants
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

An unwelcome surprise from the Cook County health system
Monday, July 14, 2014
Chicago Tribune

New Cook County Health CEO must find millions in savings - stat
Monday, July 14, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Fitch cuts rating on Cook County
Saturday, July 12, 2014

Man trapped in Cook County Jail 30-plus hours files court papers
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Man trapped in Cook County Jail visiting room for 31 hours
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Orr, Suffredin To Explain Expanded Voting Rules At Town Hall
Wednesday, July 09, 2014

County land bank sweeping up the debris of the housing crisis
Monday, July 07, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Exoneree Diaries: Jacques mentors in Cook County juvenile detention
Monday, July 07, 2014
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

all news items

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