When Toni Preckwinkle ousted Todd Stroger as Cook County Board President she immediately declared “this victory belongs to the people of Cook County.” and that the hopes of county residents have often been tempered by cynicism, “but not this time!” “Their message is clear. Now is the time to repeal the Stroger sales tax, now is the time to end patronage, now is the time to cut waste while preserving health care, human services, public safety and our forest preserves.”
Sadly, that was then and this is now. And all I see is Toni Preckwinkle The Queen of Non-Reform Reformers telling us that she is somehow better than the rest of the political hypocrites out there when she isn’t. She certainly is no better than her predecessor when it comes to a bloated and inefficient Cook County Government. Sure, she repealed that Stroger sales tax but little else of substance as the savings are mostly smoke and mirrors.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has really been no different than any of the other Chicago Democrats who abhor the thought of implementing real reform. Sure she likes to speak of reform in her rhetoric but at this point has become more of a political burden as people are beginning to question her resolve on the matter.
Matter of fact I don’t think Toni Preckwinkle is all that much different philosophically than that of the late Chicago Alderman Mathias “Paddy” Bauler whose major political accomplishment was to tell the world that Chicago “ain’t ready for reform……..yet.” And to think that Bauler made that comment (and often misquoted without the use of “yet” at the end) after he won a bitterly contested 1939 election in which his opponent ran as an, er, reformer.
Bauler, really was the epitome of a Chicago Democrat and I think those who have followed since have tried hard to emulate him. Perhaps it is something of a Badge of Honor you know. I mean the man did know how to hold on to his position – controlling the 43rd Ward from 1933 to 1967. And he did so despite accomplishing little politically. Then again, he didn’t want to either as he used his office to enrich himself while living life as if it were one big bar party until his death.
No wonder there have been so many to follow in his footsteps or at the very least sit on their derrieres like him. The way I see it, Bauler confirmed that the only prerequisite for a Chicago Democrat is to speak Chicagah Rhetoric. And all that means is that a politician should promise the people everything while giving them as little of it as possible in return. The people (a.k.a. the Saps) are there simply to fill up the public trough from which the politician satifies his (or her) enormous appetite from.
As for the political insiders who sorely want to do business in Chicagah? Well, that’s easy! There are now long established rules in place to govern pay to play. But there’s a hitch too, they must drip their blood onto the picture of a Saint while swearing to the powers that be that they will never ever rat out a “member of the Chicagah Political Family.” Now I am not sure who added that ritual to the Chicago Way of Doing Business, but I suspect that either the late Fred Roti or his even later father Bruno “the Bomber” Roti thought it would mean something special. Okay yes I made up that last part. But it did sound good given their reputations right?
Anyhow now you have it. That’s the deal with these enterprising Chicago Democrats of ours. But that also brings us to the bigger point here – please do not delude yourselves into thinking that a “victory for the people” means very much around here. It doesn’t! So go right ahead and remain as cynical as you damn well please okay? And hey, if you makes you happy then by all means go down and sit in the City Council Gallery or Cook County Government Meeting Room to heckle and hiss whichever elected or appointed official you would like to call out.
You’ve earned it like that Ice Cold Brew at the end of the day. But please – no empty bottle tossing okay? But you can tell them all to stop wasting your time with all the usual B.S. before retiring to a back room to discuss whatever the agreed upon deal is. And if they try to tell you that they are somehow okay with the ideals of an Inspector General or even a high ranking Ethics Official to protect the taxpayer – well you just all laugh in unison because that would be the biggest joke of the night!
Just ask Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle about that. You see she is thisclose to Joseph Berrios and has continually refused to distance or abandon her loyalty for him despite one blatant ethical lapse after another. And to prove to you just how loyal she really is to Joe Berrios all you need to do is ask yourself why she fired MaryNic Foster. Foster was one of Preckwinkle’s own top Ethics Officers but when she tried to punish Berrios for putting relatives onto the Public Payroll – she was gone. And still no action against her Big Joe to this day – how predicable!
So yeah right Toni – that was one hell of a victory for the people speech you gave that night you won. But I have to tell you – I would have had more respect for you had you just come straight out and tell people that you would stack the deck for Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios – Cook County’s King of Nepotism!
You know, that one act alone tells you can’t trust Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Sadly, though, that hasn’t been the only controversy involving her as she is knee-deep in the now infamous METRA Scandal. She also stuck her foot in her mouth when she gave a rather odd speech after her first 100 days as Board President. Of course there have been other transgressions as well but I’d rather have you do a Google Search of those yourself since, well, I want you to participate in the process too okay?
Chicago Democrats for some perverse reason seem to enjoy playing their little game with taxpayers and voters, especially when it comes to reform. But hey, what are you going to if those same voters and taxpayers in the City of Chicago and/or Cook County keep reelecting them so they can keep sticking it them? But I wonder – do they even even realize (or care) that they have made themselves the national laughingstock they have become? Oh well, I guess the voters ultimately get exactly what they pay for. Still, if it is their desire to perpetuate a rigged system that will only hurt them more in the long run, well, then so be it.
Besides, Mathias “Paddy” Bauler already told them they weren’t ready! Yet!
And that’s the way I see it – too.
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