Meet the new Todd Stroger

Posted by Mick Dumke on Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 4:09 PM

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Cook County board president Todd Stroger knows he’s in trouble.

Hammered by the dailies and online commentators, used as campaign fodder in races that have nothing to do with him, and now facing a challenge from a former colleague who helped get him into office in 2006, he’s decided to try to remake himself in somebody else’s image.

The most recent evidence is his abrupt commitment to lowering taxes—the same ones he raised last year, causing outrage, protest, succession threats, and utterances of commissioner Larry Suffredin’s name in vain.

But that's not Stroger's only attempt at a makeover. He recently fired a patronage employee--the guy had a troubled past, but that wouldn't have mattered before--and in the last couple months he's even been trying to make nice with reporters. In a reversal of the usual order of things, a few weeks ago one of his aides got in touch with my colleague Ben Joravsky and asked if he was available for an interview. The suggestion was that Ben might actually give Stroger a fair hearing.

A couple of days later I ran into one of Stroger’s press guys on the street. I too was invited for an interview because, I was told, I might actually give Stroger a fair hearing.

Since then the honor has been extended to quite a few other fair-minded reporters in town.

Meanwhile, alderman Toni Preckwinkle—one of the ward committeemen who voted to give Stroger the Democratic nomination two years ago—has announced that she’s challenging Stroger for board president in next year’s primary.

The conventional wisdom has been that Preckwinkle will ensure Stroger’s defeat by splitting the black vote and clearing the way for Forrest Claypool. I have a hunch that Preckwinkle will poll better on the north side and in the suburbs than people think, and that she can beat the others among Latinos, but she’d apparently rather improve her chances by other means—several sources have told me she’s lobbying Stroger to drop out of the race altogether.

So far he’s declined. He’s busy calling committeemen and asking for their endorsements, with mixed success—"I told him it’s too soon," one committeeman explained to me, which is a fairly diplomatic way of saying "I’d rather go with someone who can win, or at least someone I wouldn’t fear being seen next to in public."

And if he’s getting ready to argue with Tony Peraica about just how much of the tax hike to undo, he’s certainly running. For his political life.

Comments (34)

Showing 1-25 of 34

Preckwinkle..."several sources have told me she’s lobbying Stroger to drop out of the race altogether"---why doesn't she have the same conversation with Daley? Many of us would love to engage in that chat with him.

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Posted by they all have to go on 04/15/2009 at 4:26 PM

New Alderman in the 41st Ward? Coconate? Time to smoke some pot!

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Posted by Russ Stewart on 04/15/2009 at 5:17 PM

This isn't the new Todd Stroger, it's just the planned getaway. After the thief breaks into your house and steals your stuff, they don't just carry it down the street. They hide it in a bad at least. That's what Stroger is doing now.

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Posted by Thomas Westgard on 04/15/2009 at 6:22 PM

... hide it in a bag ...

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Posted by Thomas Westgard on 04/15/2009 at 6:22 PM

Those comments about an upstanding 41st ward Alderman are not helping matters. Lets all get along until after the election.

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Posted by Jackson Lewis LLP on 04/15/2009 at 7:33 PM

Jesse Jackson Jr. is my choise for Cook County Bored ElPresidente.

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Posted by Albert Einstein on 04/15/2009 at 10:30 PM

I hope Frank Coconate would run for Mayor. He would embarrass Daley,even he couldn't win.

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Posted by Coconate Fan on 04/15/2009 at 10:35 PM

SEIU, the union that’s pushing EFCA as a saviour for workers, is having labor problems of its own. The Washington Post reports today in Union in Dispute Over Layoffs that SEIU workers, who are called the “Union of Union Employees,” are filing a grievance about layoffs: The workers union’s leaders say that the SEIU is engaging in the same kind of practices that some businesses use: laying off workers without proper notice, contracting out work to temporary-staffing firms, banning union activities and reclassifying workers to reduce union numbers. “It’s completely hypocritical,” said Malcolm Harris, president of the workers union. “This is the union that’s been at the forefront of progressive issues, around ensuring that working people and working families are taken care of, but when it comes to the people that work for SEIU, they haven’t set the same standards.” For those of you who pay attention to labor organizing as part of your HR duties, you can’t miss the exquisite irony of this one. So much for representation.

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Posted by I thought I heard it all on 04/16/2009 at 6:39 AM

Shhhhh. quiet don't fight... we had an agreement. Do not take the bait, stop.

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Posted by Jackson Lewis LLC on 04/16/2009 at 7:36 AM

City Plumber Michael McGann exposed Daley and his corrupt Building Department. He single handly stopped a clouted Contractor from poisoning an Elementary School's water supply, in order to make an enoromous profit. McGann's immediate Supervisor has been indicted by the FEDS,for another Building Department related crime. For years citizens request for an Audit of the City Building Department and its activities,have gone unanswered.

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Posted by Plumber calls Daley out on 04/16/2009 at 7:46 AM

Michael McGann win was due to the brillant defense tactics of Attorney Frank Avila, in exposing the corrupt command structure,in the City Building Department. Scott Loeff,Marlean Hopkins,Irma Rodriquez, Jorge Herrera,Peter Ousley(moved to another Dept)James Harney,Brian McGinnis,and the semi secret Building Appeals Board.

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Posted by Thanks Frank Avila on 04/16/2009 at 8:05 AM

Back for the credit! Right on script. Exit stage left. Mayor Daley saw the wisdom of this and corrected a mistake. Thank you Mayor Daley for the private interview, now we move Chicago forward together. We are together with Mayor Daley to make this a great City.

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Posted by Work Done on 04/16/2009 at 8:15 AM

Do a story on Michael McGann. He is a hero. Do as story with his new lawyer and pictures of him with Mayor Daley and David Hoffman. And the fat dude. Justice rules thanks to Mayor Daley.

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Posted by Yo Mick on 04/16/2009 at 8:22 AM

Professional lair and Daley enabler ,and all around cleanup boy. David Hoffman is never called in to investigate any of the city hall hatchet jobs performed on City Workers,to cover Daley's corrupt practices.

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Posted by Peter scales strikes again on 04/16/2009 at 9:01 AM

Honest employees are returned to work, loafers are fired!

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Posted by The system works on 04/16/2009 at 9:25 AM

Daley is the boss,if you displease him you are gone. McGann won because some his mini,tried to protect a corrupt Contractor at the expense of little Children. McGann and his Attorney were probabily well organized,and Daley didn't want the heat. How would it look,.. Daley involved in the poisoning of little Latino Children,to help a clouted Plumbling Contractor. Daley should stepped in sooner to stop the persecution of McGann,before it went public.

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Posted by The Sysem Guys talk a lot of s..t on 04/16/2009 at 10:23 AM

McGann has heavy clout, his rainmaker is the real deal. A super heavy player that makes the deals and brings the cream to the top. I am going to watch tv tonight and learn more. I love you Mayor Daley, you are my friend, buddy, and pal.

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Posted by Bottom Line.... on 04/16/2009 at 11:23 AM

McGANN'S clout was he and Frank Avila and crew were organized. Daley and his gang of idiots... Scott Loeff and Anna D'Asceno,Marlean Hopkins, Peter Ousley(69 west Washington),had a very weak case. If all these minions of Daley had a tea spoon of brains,they would have thrown in the towel, long before the hearing. Anyway, Daley or Mara George called the Three Human Resource Board Monkeys,to end the travesty,and mockery of justice.

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Posted by bottom feeder on 04/16/2009 at 11:43 AM

...will soon have a comment on this matter.

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Posted by The Schlonge... on 04/16/2009 at 12:56 PM

I am a mom from the Northwest suburbs and I am going to vote for Stroger, just because he is black doesnt mean we have to be so judgmental of this man. He has gone above and beyond in his service as president, he was handed a super mess and all things consided, he's doing a pretty good job!! Keep up the good work Todd you have my families votes.

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Posted by Suburb Soccer Mom on 04/16/2009 at 1:23 PM

Sure Stroger was handed a mess,but who made the mess. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. .25 out of $100 is not much to yell about.

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Posted by I am confused on 04/16/2009 at 2:24 PM

Mccann a hero? Why? because they gave him 15 days off? If his name was Coconate, they would have given him death in the elctric chair! McCann is part of the Daley combine, he worked for Sorich!

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Posted by City Worker on 04/16/2009 at 2:41 PM

City worker do you have proof he worked with Sorich

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Posted by inquiring mind on 04/16/2009 at 3:58 PM

McGann had a witness that turned the tables on all the City Bigwigs. Thanks to the fatboy, McGann was saved. Whistleblowers should work together to save Chicago.

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Posted by Expert Witness saved the day! on 04/16/2009 at 4:11 PM

Frank Avila was attacked by Mr. Loeff which resulted in Police Report #HR-1226-95. This happened in Chicago's City Hall Lobby! Is this the way Chicago employees treats the Attorney for the Inspector General and FBI whistleblowers? Frank Avila saw firsthand the way many employees are treated in Chicago. According to Frank Avila, "I have never seen a case as clean-cut without any evidence such as Michael McGann's."

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Posted by Jim Montogemery on 04/16/2009 at 4:31 PM
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