Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Stroger, the race card and Blagojevich

This Tribune article details how Cook County Board President John Stroger, in his imperious, meandering way, cut off debate during the Cook County Board of Commissioners meeting to remark that many black constituents have been asking him if the (all-white) group of reform Commissioners are targeting his bloated budget because he is black.

The article's tone is a bit appalled by the "spectre of race divisions on the board."

Stroger argues that since Mayor Daley gets essentially a free ride fron the Chicago City Council on his budgets, and Governor Blagojevich gets an easy time from the Illinois General Assembly, why should he have such a hard time with his legislature?

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On the issue of race and the County Board, Stroger said, "There are people who want to know why I have been treated differently from the governor and the mayor.

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First of all, Governor Blagojevich has a harder time with his budget than President Stroger does. Second, it's a bad thing that our aldermen defer to Mayor Daley on the budget. We ought not be replicating that institutional deference in the County Board.

Third, I think the Trib is a little hard on Stroger. I mean, the man is simply telling the truth. I have been amazed at how many black people believe that Stroger is unfairly targeted because he is black. Not because he's an old school machine politician who would rather spend our precious resources on patronage than expansive public investment that benefits all of us, but because he is black. President Stroger simply said that lots of black people have told him what they think. And he went out of his way to say that he doesn't think the reform commissioners have a shred of racial animus.

Race is always with us. There isn't anything wrong with talking about it. And that being said: let's get some black commissioners to oppose Stroger's tax increases! With all the money we spend in Cook County, we might be able to offer universal health care. This is where progress will come from -- not D.C. but our overlooked, unglamorous local governments.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dan,
C'mon, you know that what Stroeger was saying. The "other people were saying it," line is nothing but a veiled threat. He was injecting race into the matter.

Does a white commissioner ever say at a meeting that his consituents think Stroeger gets a free ride merely because Stroeger is black? No, even though that has been said by many whites about President Stroeger and other black elected officials. Stroeger made the statement to stir it up and hide his own poor record. This risks straining race relations even as leaders like Obama are trying to move us ahead. These boneheaded moves by lame politicians trying to save their skins will put Obama in jeopardy. Many well meaning white voted for Obama because he promised that this sort of divisiveness was to be a thing of the past. Stroeger brings out the threat that it isn't.

Race is with us, but it shouldn't be used like Stroeger does - a a crutch to evade and dodge his responsibilities as a public servant, and as a sword to combat his political enemies. The result of this irresponsible rhetoric is much farther reaching than some political feud. Stroeger shouldn't be defended for telling the "truth." He should be castigated for stirring up racial animus and for being a poor excuse for a County Board President.

Stroeger must go.

-Mike

Lazerlou said...

I've decided to start my own blog becasue Dan likes local politics too much. Dan don't you know all politics is Federal? www.lazerlou.blogspot.com . So if you like my insane trial lawyer rantings, come read my blog.

Glenn Brown said...

But the difference in treatment is there and in ways that ought to be questioned. The best example is, my commissioner and a guy I really like, Forrest Claypool.

He shares an office with my alderman(and I believe yours Dan) Schulter and, in many ways, is to Shulter what Schulter was to Kelly in the early years - his protege.

Now, I like Schulter in many ways but he is so far up Daleys ass that Rich is smelling Bryll Cream. One simply cannot ignore Claypools organizational affiliation with Daley - or the differences in treatment of two very bad executives.

Lazerlou said...

Actually it is lazerlou@blogspot.com no www needed. I'd appreciate some of the christian god fearing types on dan's blog to come over and to call me an idiot on my blog.

LK