Thursday, October 07, 2004

Chicago corruption has *got* to go

This is a cancer on the Democratic Party.

The papers are full of stories about bribes, payoffs, idle city workers and contractors and taxpayer ripoffs. The feds are investigating, but this is no excuse for our civic failure to eliminate the corruption.

This quote from an FBI agent chilled me:

"I never cease to be amazed at the level of corruption in this city," said Thomas Kneir, the soon-to-retire boss of the FBI's Chicago office, after federal prosecutors unveiled criminal charges against two alleged bribe-taking city officials with a promise of many more defendants in the days ahead.

It's from this Mark Brown column in the Sun-Times.

Why can't we clean up our own house?

We've got a tenuous grip on majority status in Illinois, and if the Republicans are successful at painting 'Chicago Democratic control' of Illinois government as 'corruption and FBI investigations' we're going to have a hard time earning a majority of the vote in 2006.

It's crucial to the growth of the Democratic Party that we eliminate the cancer of old school corruption. How are we going to get taxpayers to spend more money on poor kids who need high-paid teachers if we don't trust the government to spend the money honestly? How are we going to convince the taxpayers to buy health insurance in one big, efficient pool for everyone without parasitic middlemen industries if we don't trust the government? How is the CTA going to get more state money if people don't trust the city government to stamp out featherbedding and patronage desk jobs? We're the victims of corruption. And we have got to stamp this out. We can no longer tolerate a culture of tolerance among Cook County Democrats for corruption.

I think people feel intimidated to crusade against Democratic corruption because of (a) a perception that the best vote-getters either condone or participate in corruption and (b) a perception that the best vote-getters will turn on candidates who campaign against corruption. Maybe (hopefully) I'm wrong. But we need to build up a force in the Cook County Democratic Party that will crusade against corruption -- and earn more votes in primaries for doing so.

Ideas are welcome.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Dan, Many people are fighting the corruption you have spoken about. Patrick McDonough of Hired Truck Scandal, Frank Coconate Chairman of NWSDO. Frank Avila, Ivan Tomic, Russ Stewart, all Lawyers. Victor Crown, Director of Research. Michael Fedanzo, Private Investigator. The Aviation Integrity Project. John a. Ostenburg Mayor of Park Forest. Mark Brown, Gary Wasbourne of The Tribune. Tim Novak, Sun Times. You.
I think the only wat things are going to change is with a unification of all us with a leader that can get Daley out of Business. On July 2, 2005 I heard Jesse Jackson Jr. speak .This white man was taken aback by one of the greatest and intelligent leaders in Chicagoland. I would give one million dollars to hear Jesse Jackson Jr. debate Daley. Maybe it is about time for all Chicagians to get past the color problem and get a Honest Leader.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Chicago is a nigger town. I tmakes me sick. Todd Stoger? com on .

Todd said...

I always love traveling to Chicago so when I found your blog I wanted to send you my recent posting on Oprah and Senator Obama -- I hope you don't mind me using your blog in my posting ("O" and "O" in Africa) -- I hope it helps promote your blog in fact --

http://spacebeaglenotes.blogspot.com/

thanks, todd

bouncing off the walls said...

I'm not sure it's just the city. When I've been around there, the corruption seems to go well beyond Chicago. For example, you all have a very high gas tax, and all the highways are horrible. When I drove across the state line on a road trip, the speed limit went down, the gas tax went up, and the roads with from smooth to pot-holed. When I got to Chicago, I thought things improved.

But I still think it's important to oust the political establishment. Big cities have a problem with non-reformist Democratic establishments. Urban politicians know that political success means catering to the base on social issues, while sneaking in corruption when no one looks. (Like a Democratic version of Tom Delay.)

In Los Angeles, recently, there's been a Democratic party shakeup. Old blood out, new blood in. Same thing in Denver. That's the kind of thing you need in Chicago.

bestonline323 said...

CHICAGO MAY be the third-largest city in the U.S. and the "Second City" when it comes to culture, but without a doubt, Chicago is America's first city when it comes to political corruption.

Not a day has passed in the last five months without the media exposing some lurid story of city hall corruption. The current ruler of Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley II--who just a short time ago was considered by Time magazine to be one of the best mayors in the country--suffered the humiliation of being interrogated by the U.S. Attorney's office about the recent scandals.

The recent revelations of corruption in Chicago politics may come as no shock in the city identified around the world with Al Capone. Yet what has been hidden is how the corruption was organized by the "City's Fathers"--the mobsters, the politicians and the businessmen.

-Elle
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