Saturday, February 04, 2006

The anti-Stroger

We've had quite the circus . . . in Cook County over the past few days.

. . . another indictment was handed down from US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office, charging a subsidiary of technology giant Siemens AG with defrauding Cook County. The company and two of its executives are accused of entered into a phony partnership with a minority owned business to win a $49 million contract with Stroger Hospital.

Only a few days later, the Chicago Sun-Times revealed the county's corruption watchdogs, the inspector general, auditor and ethics director and members of those offices, had made numerous contributions to President Stroger's campaign fund. It's little wonder that scams that defraud the taxpayers of Cook County like the Siemens scam at Stroger Hospital seem to slip through the cracks.

President Stroger . . . promised not to accept [any more] campaign contributions from these . . . officials, whose primary task is to investigate claims of corruption in Cook County government or other "sensitive officials".

. . . finally, there's the strange story of Vincent Jones, a relative of President Stroger and a member of Cook County Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore's political organization. Mr. Jones is accused of roughing up a Forest Park man who declined to have political campaign signs placed his yard. Police report that Mr. Jones became belligerent and threatened to have the arresting officers "politically taken care of".

That’s from the web site of Tony Peraica, the star of last Saturday’s Republican beauty show at Oak Park library, where he made the top of the (ballot) program, gave a crisp, intelligent, easy-listening talk, answered qq, and then had to run.  (He had an easy act to follow, it’s true: acting OP GOP chairman Richard Willis, who, apparently conscious of Oak Parkers’ reading problems, was kind enough not only to flash sentences on the overhead but also to read them to us, word for word.)

Peraica is an immigrant (from Croatia), having arrived here 34 years ago at 13 after losing both parents, speaking no English.  He’s a Cook County commissioner, since 2002, when he took 53% of the vote over a 14–year incumbent.  He’s going after John Stroger’s county board chairmanship and playing anti-corruption melodies to a fare-thee-well.  His web site is a winner.  It includes “Tony’s blog”, which makes good reading.

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