Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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:  

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


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

  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.

Stroger no champion of the have-nots

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
by Phil Kadner

T odd Stroger is right. There is a battle between the haves and have-nots in Cook County.

But the fact is that the haves support the have-nots with their tax money. They fund Stroger Hospital, named after Todd's father. They finance the court system, the highway department, the sheriff's department, the county jail and provide the paychecks for the patronage system.

County Commissioner John Daley (D-Chicago), the son of Hizzoner and brother of Richard II, understands what's going on.

Something has changed. Times are tough. People are losing their jobs and their homes. The haves may still have something, but not as much as they did a year ago.

And tomorrow, they may be among the have-nots.

So Daley was among the 12 commissioners who voted May 5 to rescind the sales tax increase that was imposed last summer and that Stroger claims the county needs to fund its programs.

And on Tuesday, he was one of 11 voting to override Stroger's veto of the county board's attempt to roll back the 1-percentage-point tax hike. That was three short of the votes needed to override the veto.

This is all about politics and the 2010 county election, Daley suggested, and he was right. But I'm not sure Stroger understood, although he has said the same thing.

Politics is not all bad, although people sometimes use the word as if it had only four letters.

The reason you have elections every four years is so people, taxpayers, can change the government if they don't like the way things are going.

Candidates can criticize the existing government and make the case for throwing the incumbents out of office. The incumbents can explain why they're better qualified to do the job.

Stroger has spent four years proving he doesn't have a clue about politics or taxes or public appeal.

You can't hire a restaurant bus boy with a felony conviction record on the one hand and claim you've done everything you can to balance the budget on the other.

You can't claim your cousin, whom you made the county's chief financial officer, is indispensible one day and the next day fire her for bailing your bus boy out of jail.

That's the sort of thing that makes the taxpayers question whether they can trust you with their tax dollars.

Stroger doesn't get it. Never has. Never will.

That's because has has always lived among the haves. He has clout. He has power. He has influence. He's connected. He's gotten political jobs handed to him all his life.

The have-nots are not only those without money but those without influence.

Stroger thinks people in the northwest, west and southwest suburbs should support Cook County because it is the right thing to do. He implies they only want to dismantle the county government now because it helps the poor, who are mostly minority.

I would respond that these white suburban people have spent billions supporting county programs over decades. And they are willing to continue spending billions if only Stroger would show them some respect by proving the money is spent wisely.

Commissioner Deborah Sims (D-Chicago), whose district also includes some of the poorest south suburbs, voted Tuesday to uphold Stroger's veto. She rejected arguments that the sales tax is hurting businesses in Cook County. Sims said her community has no businesses.

That is an exaggeration. But there are many areas in Sims' district that have few stores.

What she fails to understand is that the tax structure of Illinois and Cook County make it nearly impossible for small shop owners to stay in business in poorer neighborhoods.

Property and sales taxes, fees, and, yes, the cost of political corruption and crime, drive them out of business. It makes new merchants think twice about opening stores.

All Sims should do is look across the border of her district to Northwest Indiana, and she would see plenty of new stores.

Yet, a few miles away in Park Forest, Ford Heights, Chicago Heights, there's almost nothing.

Why? My guess is Sims has never asked the question.

Her have-not communities have even less today because of politicians like her and Stroger.

There are real problems with controlling the cost of county government. But no one trusts Stroger when he tells them that story.

Who gets hurt each time Stroger's credibility is damaged? The have-nots. The people who voted for Stroger.

Ironically, the same people hit hardest by that county sales tax increase to 1.75 percent. The same people who will put quarters into legalized video poker games. The same poor jokers who spend $1 on a lottery ticket hoping to get rich.

Elected leaders, such as Stroger, have betrayed both the haves and the have-nots.

What's left is a government in crisis.

The politically connected win. But everyone else loses.

Phil Kadner can be reached at or (708) 633-6787.

Recent Headlines

Cook County forest preserve picnic, camping permits for 2020 season to go on sale Nov. 15
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago’s public defender plans to ask Illinois Supreme Court to reverse decision that permits holding preteens in custody despite county ordinance
Monday, November 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Clerk Yarbrough touts ‘method to her madness,’ says hiring criticism ‘is purely personal’
Saturday, November 09, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Nonprofit hospitals forced to defend hundreds of millions in property tax breaks
Friday, November 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Land Bank must serve neighborhoods, not City Hall insiders
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

After judge’s dismissal, Skokie appeals federal lawsuit over Evanston water rates
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

2 teens in DCFS care were shackled and handcuffed during drive from a youth shelter: ‘Totally unacceptable,’ agency says
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

The lifelong damage we do in Cook County when we jail kids as young as 10
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Unfair assessments lawsuit dismissed after assessor makes changes — full reform called a ‘years-long process’
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial: Watch out, Cook County land bank. The public could foreclose — on you.
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Niles raises property tax about $21 per average household
Wednesday, November 06, 2019
Pioneer Press

Nov. 15 is Opening Day for Forest Preserves of Cook County Picnic and Special Event Permit Sales, 2020 Camping Reservations
Wednesday, November 06, 2019
Special to

$8M grant program aims to expand Cook County animal shelter space
Tuesday, November 05, 2019
ABC EyeWitness News

Even as Illinois court permits detaining pre-teens, across U.S. fewer youth being held
Monday, November 04, 2019
Injustice Watch

Cook County OK’d insider deal for Ald. Carrie Austin’s top aide
Monday, November 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A progressive measure intended to keep preteens out of Cook County jails was effectively struck down by an appellate court
Monday, November 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health CEO Calls on Other Hospitals to Increase Charity Care
Friday, November 01, 2019

Labrador retriever sworn in at Cook County state’s attorney’s office. Yes, really.
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County sheriff wants chief judge to take over electronic monitoring of suspects, citing the records of those released
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois appellate court rejects ordinance banning detention of 10-12 year olds
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Injustice Watch

all news items

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