Thursday, May 7, 2009

What Are You Waiting For, President Stroger?

Posted By on 05.07.09 at 04:28 PM

Not that he listens to me, but I have some advice for Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.

Tell Mayor Daley to kiss your--well, you get the idea.

In other words, it's time for Stroger to make like former south side congressman Ralph Metcalfe and break from the Daley machine. I know this won't be easy for Stroger. The Strogers--father and son--have been loyal to the Daleys--father and son--for years and years and years. Back in 1983, John Stroger endorsed Mayor Daley over Harold Washington at great peril to his political career--a fact that the mayor has apparently forgotten. When he was alderman, Todd Stroger supported Daley's schemes, no matter how wacky.

And what's Todd Stroger's reward? Daley advising him, through the media, to roll back the county sales tax hike.

Look, I know there's waste in the county budget. And I'm sure the county could have avoided at least part of that sales tax hike by cutting some patronage, much of which exists with the mayor's blessing.

But, please, who is Mayor Daley to lecture on fiduciary management? This is the man who invented the TIF slush fund, which sucks in about $550 million a year in off-the-books property taxes. About $96 million of those tax increment financing dollars come from the county. Daley lecturing Stroger on financial management is a little like Blago lecturing Governor Quinn on ethics.

Well, two can play this game. Now that Mayor Daley is suddenly an expert on the county sales tax, Stroger should show off his expertise on city finances. He should have his representative on the Joint Review Board vote against the mayor's next TIF proposal, instead of meekly succumbing like he usually does. And while we're at it, he could come out against the Olympics. I don't think anything the county proposes will burden local property tax payers like that boondoggle.

I don't know when Daley's black political allies will ever learn that it's not a two-way street with this guy. He takes and takes and takes but when it's time to put his neck on the line for someone else, man, he's the first to run away.

I agree with Greg Hinz on this one: it sure looks like Daley's throwing Stroger under the bus. So what does Stroger have to lose? Take your great stand. And while you're at it, talk Commissioner William "Big Nuts" Beavers into joining you. It's time for him to break free too.

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