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Todd Stroger, Lightning Rod

Re: The Works, March 5

Stroger is a nice guy and his father was a government lifer. But please let's get past this white/black thing. Not just the people in my district but many others are distancing themselves from Stroger because he is incompetent and was never qualified to be the Board President of the SECOND MOST POPULOUS county in the United States! Many have fought to get minorities a place at the table. But when do we start requiring those that are now at the table be competent, accountable and do what's in the best interest for ALL the people?

Patrick

Thank you for an unbiased analysis. The tactic was counterproductive for those candidates stooping to that level on a countywide basis. We continue to live in the most racially segregated city in America and that in itself lends to issues being viewed through two different lenses. As for Patrick, the fundamental flaw in your analysis is your refusal to believe that the best, most qualified person might just happen to be a minority. I guess that too is a function of the lens through which one views the world.

Freddrenna

In 3 years Stroger has cut the budget by 21 percent. Who else has ever done this? Created an independent hospital board, independent inspector general, and HR chief. Why isn't that reform?

JoeC

As a south-sider who's irritated with Stroger's management of county business, lifer politicians, and a system that allows lifers to run, resign and appoint their children, I say it's nice that you want to stick up for him. I believe in holding my elected officials accountable. Regardless of where they live or who their parent were. Even if the rest of Chicago doesn't. Two words: TERM LIMITS (from the senators on down). Two more: Special Elections (to fill all vacancies).

Toni

Even Rich Daley doesn't have his first cousin working as his PR flack. Stroger does seem like a nice guy, but the fact that he doesn't give a crap about even wanting to appear like he cares about voters outside of his ward suggests that his disconnect with reality will bite him hard come the next election.

Eric

What county do you live in JoeC? Stroger hasn't cut $1, much less 21% from the budget, hence the sales tax increase and his failed attempt to get a bond issue passed.

KatieL

Stroger most certainly has cut the county budget, whether or not the Sun-Times or the Tribune is willing to say so. Cook County has not raised its property tax from $720 million in over 15 years, one reason the county has struggled with a structural deficit particularly in the last five years. You try paying for today's costs with 1992 dollars. Well, the county can't do it either. The 2009 budget lops off about 600 jobs, increases spending overall for the health care system by roughly $31 million (a system over which Stroger handed off control last year by supporting the creation and installation of an independent board), and yet is virtually flat in terms of an increase over last year's budget. Costs go up, budget stays static—that's a real reduction in costs, and when you factor that in with the cuts in the 2008 and 2007 budget—where Stroger had to find ways to slash a half a billion dollar budget in the first three months of his term—these are not insignificant savings.

I've talked to more than a few of my fellow white folks on the north side, and I can say with complete certainty that the "I hate Stroger" phenomenon is most certainly all about racial bias. I've actually walked some of my pals through Stroger's record compared to Forrest Claypool's record and asked them why gutting union jobs, installing sweeping privatization and pinstripe patronage, and so forth is swell for Claypool, and yet Stroger gets no credit for strengthening and fully funding the county's inspector general's office, revamping the county's purchasing plan, bringing in a new HR chief, pushing green energy initiatives, and the host of other efforts that would constitute real reforms if he were a white boy.

geo

See chicagoreader.com for the complete texts of these comments and many more.

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