Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
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 is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Three Duties for the Fire Probers

Sunday, October 26, 2003
Chicago Tribune
Editorial

In the grim wake of an Oct. 17 fire that took six lives in a Loop high-rise owned by Cook County, several government officials who should have voiced immediate demands for sweeping investigations instead have spent much of their time running for political cover.

Finally, six days after the fire, John Stroger, president of the Cook County Board, named an investigative panel led by former federal appellate justice Abner Mikva. That puts Mikva in charge of asking some tough questions about the county's stewardship of the high-rise. Stroger made a good choice; Mikva has a reputation for integrity and independence. But you also have to admire Stroger's luck. Not many of us get away with choosing who will investigate our decisions, as well as the performance of our subordinates and of the political contributors we've hired to manage valuable property for us.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich wasted no time declaring Stroger's panel lacking in expertise. Blagojevich countered by appointing James Lee Witt, former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to direct a separate, state-sponsored probe of the case. This after Blagojevich spent several days ducking suggestions that, given the dire concerns a fire of this nature raises about the safety of high-rises statewide, he should launch an independent probe.

(All but invisible has been Illinois' state fire marshal, Peter Vina, who has broad statutory authority to conduct investigations. A spokesperson said last week that in this case Vina's office will leave the investigating to the Chicago Fire Department -- but has contributed a canine unit to assist. Great. The conduct of the fire department itself merits scrutiny, but rather than investigate, the state fire marshal deploys Fido.)

In sum, citizens are asked to trust that probes led by Mikva and Witt will be sufficiently independent to determine what went wrong -- as well as what steps might keep that from occurring in the next high-rise fire. That public trust will hinge on whether Mikva and Witt can get past the fact that several political careers are on the line and resolve some deeply troubling issues:

- Did Cook County cut corners and imperil safety when it renovated the building in the 1990s? And did the Stroger political donors who were under contract to manage the structure have the necessary safety precautions in place?

- Does Chicago's building code adequately protect people who work in, dwell in or visit high-rises? Or should building owners and managers be subject to tougher safety standards?

- Did Chicago firefighters properly balance the need to suppress the blaze with the safety of occupants attempting to flee via a stairwell?

- What protocol determines who asks building occupants to evacuate? And in this tragic case, did someone badly bungle that decision?

During the maddening void of public leadership early last week, the Tribune urged Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, Illinois' top legal officer, to launch an investigation. She considered such a move but demurred when Blagojevich acted.

So three huge responsibilities fall to Mikva and Witt:  the duties to determine why six people died, to suggest better safety protocols -- and to keep all the twitchy politicians very much at bay.

 


Recent Headlines

Cook County Health eyes new call center, more nurses to better compete for patients
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Obamacare money boost helps Cook County hospitals budget next year
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health puts brakes on plan to sell HMO on Obamacare exchange
Friday, August 15, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

City home values only glimmer in bleak Cook property value report
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Trends in Estimated Full Value of Real Estate in Cook County
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The Civic Federation

Forest Preserves of Cook County Offers Wilderness Camping Opportunities for Families
Monday, August 11, 2014
Special to suffredin.org

Court: Bears owe Cook County $4.1 million in ticket taxes
Thursday, August 07, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

3-week closures announced for Crawford repaving
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Skokie Review

Appeals court rules against Preckwinkle tax on business
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Panel: Cook Co. use tax violates state law
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

County awards $680K to groups working to curb recidivism
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Inmates signing up for Obamacare: Dart
Monday, August 04, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Property tax bills rise at Cook County's biggest buildings
Monday, August 04, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

9,000 Cook County Jail Inmates Enroll in Obamacare Amid Mental Health Crisis
Monday, August 04, 2014
5 NBC Chicago

'Transit deserts' don't serve workers, study says
Sunday, August 03, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Berrios relatives risk injury for right to crowd county payroll
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest Preserve HQ plans expansion in River Forest
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Records falsified in Metra work logs
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Tribune

How we shaft the mentally ill
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Tribune

County Board Of Review To Digitize, Streamline Property Tax Appeals System
Monday, July 28, 2014
Journal Online

all news items

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