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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Family Council

In a surprise move last week, the Cook County Board announced its intention to supplant City Hall as the most corrupt institution in Chicagoland, a title that city government has held for decades.

Leading the way is temporary board president Bobbie Steele. Temporary, because she was chosen to replace John Stroger, who had to resign from the board back in March due to health problems.

Remember John, who I wrote about a few months ago? He's the guy who masked the severity of his crippling stroke long enough to win the Democratic primary, and then got his son Todd to replace him on the ballot. Unsurprisingly, Stroger No. 2 went on to victory last month, and he's set to take the presidency back from Steele this week. Before that happens, Steele is resigning.

What's she doing to carry the corruption flag? I mean, it's not like she could even think of trying to put her son on the Board in her place, after the controversy that surrounded Stoger's replacement. Especially since she promised she would serve out the rest of her term if re-elected.

So...yeah. That's what she's doing. The ward committeemen in her district are getting together to select Steele's replacement, and they're expected to choose her son Robert. He'll serve out the entirety of her term, then be re-elected a few times until he decides to pass the office on to his daughter one day. The Tribune has the sordid details.

In addition to making the County Board into a hereditary fiefdom, Bobbie's retirement will also give her a nice little double bubble. Steele has been on the Board for 20 years, and would normally get a pension based on her board member salary of $85,000 a year. But if she retires while she's still president (after a whopping eight months), her pension will be based on the $170,000 a year president's salary.

I don't even know what to say at this point. Clearly, the voters don't care anymore, if they ever did. In my ode to Daley a couple months ago, I said that I don't really care much about local corruption, as long as government still functions effectively (if not efficiently). I still believe that, but this political nepotism is really pushing my limits. It's one thing to line your pockets. It's another to toss the democratic process out the window.


Blogger Professor Doctor said...

Hey, congratulations to you guys for appearing in the Chicago Tribune!

In their "other opinions" section today, they took an excerpt of Gordon's post on the Litvinenko poisoning.

With regard to your actual post, I look at this as being less of a failure on the part of voters and more of a brazen attempt by a politician to take advantage of a loophole at the least politically vulnerable time imaginable.

I'm a pretty strongly committed Democrat, but I sure wish Chicago wasn't a one-party town. This sort of corruption on the part of too-comfortable incumbents is inconscionable.

Blogger Buck B. said...

Wow, thanks for the for heads up, Jon. Here's the link.

What bothers me about the voters is that no matter how blatant the effort to usher your kids in to office, they still get elected. Todd Stroger was elected to county board president (though it might have helped if his opponent wasn't insane.) Todd Lipinisi won both a primary and the general election, just two years after his father jury-rigged his candidacy.

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Jeff Goldstein is a wanker.