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Proviso Probe

Thursday, September 07, 2006

N06, what Todd Stroger said to Proviso Dems

(photo by Carl Nyberg)

Alderman Todd Stroger, candidate for President of the County Board, took questions from the audience at the Proviso Democratic Organization last night. My take: he was better than atrocious, but not so good that he closed the sale for people wavering.

Stroger’s opponent in the November election is Commissioner Tony Peraica (Republican—Riverside). The Cook County Democratic committeemen selected Stroger to replace his father as the Democratic nominee after his father, John Stroger, withdrew from the ballot. The elder Stroger had a stroke about one week before the Democratic Primary in which he narrowly defeated Commissioner Forrest Claypool.

(In the past Rep. Karen Yarbrough has asked me not to report on what happens in meetings of the Proviso Democratic Organization. She feels it would inhibit discussion. So this entry is written based on what Stroger said and did without the audience questions or reactions.)

Stroger started by saying, “I have a good record, an extensive record.” He has been an alderman and a state representative, although he has neither served on the county board nor run in a competitive election. Later Stroger added that he has “Democratic values” which means he’s for the “working class, poor and working poor.”

“I know how to work with people,” added Stroger. His opponent has been criticized for not playing well with others.

Stroger addressed technology issues facing the county. “The county will need updating… [John Stroger] wasn’t a modern person; I have a Blackberry.”

Stroger described the health care system as “threatened” and promised, “We’re going to talk about health care and the environment.” He reminded people of his inspector general proposal.

In the Q&A session Stroger described his IG proposal. Instead of having a four-year term, the IG would have a six-year term. The IG would be authorized to investigate allegations under any of the seven elected officials, not just areas supervised by the President. And the President would choose the IG from a list nominated by the Chicago Bar Association and Cook County Bar Association ("The oldest African American bar association"). Stroger added the caveat that he couldn’t guarantee his proposal would be passed by the commissioners.

[UPDATE: Stroger's proposal would have the county board vote on the list of nominees submitted by the bar associations. See Chicago Defender (Demetrius Patterson). This would remove the conflict of interest of having the President pick his own IG. However, many of the commissioners have their cronies getting jobs and contracts in the county. So, it's not like they don't have the same basic conflict of interest the President has.]

When discussing the federal monitor of county hiring Stroger said he was opposed to spending $400 per hour on a monitor. He used gestures to show that a federal monitor would receive job applications and place them in an inbox. He made a federal monitor seem like just another layer of bureaucracy. He said, “I see no reason to give up even more independence to the federal government.” He then likened a federal monitor to the intrusiveness of the PATRIOT Act and said it was like the federal government “bugging houses”. He finished talking about the federal monitor by asking, “What makes them more qualified [to evaluate job applicants]?”

During the Q&A Stroger said, “I’m not sure what the Machine is. I’m independent of the mayor. He’s got his thing; the county has its thing.” Later he said, “Political hiring is a thing of the past.”

Stroger made the following statements about the county hospital and county health care system. “County is not doing a good job collecting from the insured. There’s an attitude everything is for free… County is $50,000 behind in collection… People should be treated with respect… Too many people depend on County.”

Stroger acknowledged “the liberal wing of the Democratic Party” is upset with how he was selected to be the nominee. He said he recognized the need “to appease them.” He then touted the support he has received from Commissioners Larry Suffredin and Mike Quigley. Then he said, “We’re searching for Forrest Claypool’s number in the car.” Stroger added definitively, “He will be onboard.” (This didn’t happen; see Chicago Tribune (Mickey Ciokajlo)). Stroger also said he’d be campaigning “up north” although he wasn’t clear where he meant.

When Stroger spoke about the 1,300 people hired after President Stroger became incapacitated Todd Stroger explained them in a few ways. He said 426 were deputy sheriffs required by a court order. He made other claims, including saying the Peraica’s chief of staff was among the 1,300 hired since John Stroger’s incapacitation.

(I called Mike Manzo, Peraica’s chief of staff to ask about this. Manzo said he was promoted to chief of staff in 2005. He called Todd Stroger’s statement “a lie.”)

Todd Stroger was vague when listing his accomplishments in the legislature. He mentioned the Safe Neighborhood Act, a gun running/assault rifle bill, juvenile detention, fly dumping, raising the minimum wage, a domestic violence bill and a nursing home bill. He said many of his bills were not passed into law because the Republicans controlled the Senate. He also said that it had been a long time ago and he’d have to check what bills he passed.

Stroger said his campaign was trying to reach younger voters, by email and other methods. Stroger said, “I’m not as modern as I used to be…. I don’t know all the technical stuff. They just kick me out the door and tell me, ‘Go talk to people.’”

Stroger has taken to calling himself a “Bill Clinton Democrat”. He explained this meant he cared about working people, sought to promote opportunity and cared about health care.


  • I just read the entry that talks about Claypool's response to endorsing Stroger. So the guy lied at the meeting last night?

    By Anonymous ab of Bellwood, at 12:30 AM, September 08, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:06 AM, September 08, 2006  

  • Foot in mouth for Stroger once again. Somebody said best... this guy is not ready for prime time.
    Who are his handlers? Why does this campaign appear disorganize or is it simply Stroger free-lancing?

    By Anonymous Tanga G, at 9:26 AM, September 08, 2006  

  • Yesterday it was learned that ABC Television had caved to the Clinton apologists,such as Proviso Guru and Toddler, had made changes to the docudrama, The Path to 9/11. It seems that the more vocal members of the always lamented Clinton Administration ands the corrupt Democratic Party of Cook County where Bill Daley was from,directly involved in the real events depicted in the movie were bandying about words like "defamatory," and "slanderous," and "false." As a matter of fact, ABC was receiving entreaties from the same camp -- and were seriously considering -- to not air the drama at all!
    This is all well and good. I have always believed in the adage that all's fair in love and war and this is definitely a war of ideas. It is obvious to me that a little truth is frightening to these folks. If they are afraid of a movie, and what that movie will say, then what does that say for their so-called principles? What does that say about their crocodile tears when they accuse us of doing the same thing? What are they so afraid of that they are willing to prevent the American people from seeing a movie?
    I have no objections to them being royally pissed off because the movie doesn't fit their world-view; but when they try to prevent me from seeing it, then they have crossed the line to embrace the basic tenets of fascism and communism. ABC (Disney) has caved. They are cowards* of the worst kind.

    That said, here is a list of things I NEVER want to hear come out of the mouth of liberal scumbags ever again:

    Conservatives stifle dissent.
    Conservatives don't respect the First Amendment.
    Conservatives are casting a pall on reasoned debate.
    Conservatives refuse to debate the issues.
    Conservatives do not respect the rights of others.
    Conservatives want to impose their poltical and religious beliefs on all of us.
    Conservatives are delusional.
    Conservatives are fascists.
    Conservatives are nazis.
    Proviso Guru,Toddler and winers: You have made the Führer, Uncle Joe, and fidel very, very proud.

    By Anonymous Proviso Guru is at it again, at 10:01 AM, September 08, 2006  

  • So when Karen Yarbrough tells Nyberg to censor commments from politically active citizens, it's ok. But when another elected official objects to residents being videotaped at a crime prevention meeting for the exact same reasons as Yarbrough gave, that's outrageous?

    Nyberg is a political operative of Karen Yarbrough. Considering his open political affiliations and biases, why is Nyberg being paid to write his lies in the Forest Park Review?

    By Anonymous hmmmm, at 10:11 AM, September 08, 2006  

  • The Proviso Democratic Organization is a non-government entity operating on private property funded through personal contributions. If the Proviso Dems want to they can probably ban me from attending meetings.

    The Village of Forest Park is funded through taxes paid by the citizenry.

    BTW, what did I write about Calderone blocking videotaping of the community crime meeting?

    It’s clear Calderone wants to control the information. Gloria Backman began setting up to video tape the meeting. He told her not to do it and to object to the State’s Attorney.

    I think there may have been reason to have the video camera off for part of the meeting. At least one participant finger his/her neighbors as drug dealers.

    But Calderone's approach was bullying and inflexible.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 10:37 AM, September 08, 2006  

  • To: My Schizophrenic Web Stalker

    I must have really made an impression on you. I've tried to encourage you to take your meds and use a consistent pseudonym to no avail. Your attention span is nil. Since you obviously are ON SOMETHING, the only help that'll work has to come from within. Therefore, per the previous advice of fellow commenter "straight and to the point", GET A LIFE!!!

    By Blogger Provisoguru, at 10:42 AM, September 08, 2006  

  • Nyberg got busted! ha ha...

    Nice try, Carl. But the Democratic Committeemen selected Todd Stroger to fill in the highest elected office in County government. They also have many other decidedly governmental roles - and certain of their activities are in fact taxpayer supported. And even if they receive no taxpayer dollars, are you suggesting that we should acquiesce to deals made in smoke filled back rooms?

    To suggest that the Committeemen are non-governmental and that it's ok to prevent light from being shed on this farce is intellectual dishonesty at its most outrageous.

    Nyberg is a hypocrite.
    Nyberg is a hack.

    By Anonymous tired, at 11:13 AM, September 08, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:32 PM, September 08, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:49 AM, September 09, 2006  

  • To those who can openly state they support Toddler Stroger and his corrupt and merry men from the 8th ward,who have spent their lives working for corruption, and accepting it, you are traitors to the Democratic Party and its prinicipals and more importantly to all African-Americans who believe in honest goverment that allows everyone to participate in goverment, your day is done!
    As the title of the comment implies we are not looking for dialogs, nor believe in "political-correctness".
    We know our enemy WELL. We will refer to all of those who defend or apologize for The Beast (at any level) as CULTISTS. So for those "cultists",such as Proviso Guru, we recommend to get a bottle of Jim Jones Kool Aid and have a party or have a Charles Manson LSD sit in and groove till your ass falls off or maybe a Rev Moon wedding.
    There is ZERO tolerance for anyone who thinks corruption or working with Welch,Serpico,Calderone,Mazzulla,Bruno or Pasquale can be handled through diplomatic means.
    Supporting a canididate supported by Welch,Serpico,Moore,Pasquale is not cool (You are NOT a cultist YOU are an asshole).
    Cultists and there supporters(you know who you are) may only be referred to as THE BEAST , Assassin, Murderer, Thug, and any other sobriquet that denotes these animal's true nature are highly encouraged.
    We are PRO-USA, anti- corruption and NO ONE is exempt of criticism.
    With that out of the way, any left wing or right wing, liberals or conservative, demoRATS ('RATS to us) or RepublicRat may just kiss our very asses.
    We strongly believe the USA is the last hope mankind has to realize ever lasting peace. If anyone, (regarding of political affiliation) compromises the safety and security of this country they will get blasted.
    So there you are not many rules, just enough so this the Cultists can not hijack these pages as a propagandist beach head, 'cause:
    We KNOW the BEAST, we have lived in its bowels!
    We hold no punches. Our main purpose is NOT to debate our opposition but to annihilate it!

    By Anonymous Kill Korruption, at 7:47 PM, September 09, 2006  

  • One of the things I meant to include in the entry was Stroger's explanation of the hiring freeze.

    Stroger said that the hiring freeze meant that if someone in the county wanted to hire somebody, the employer would have to contact the budget people. If the position was authorized in the budget then it was OK to employ the individual.

    This doesn't seem like much of a freeze. If Stroger is correct in his explanation, it seems like without the freeze in place county supervisors could hire people beyond their budget.

    My suspicion is either Stroger doesn't understand the details of the freeze, he can't explain it or he was just plain misleading the audience.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 9:20 PM, September 09, 2006  

  • I nearly fell out of my seat when reading the comment from Carl that Karen asked him not to comment on the Dem. Com. meetings.

    I literally fell out of my seat when he complied.

    By Anonymous L. Nicole Trottie, at 8:24 AM, September 11, 2006  

  • Nicole, if the Proviso Dems want to exclude me from the meetings, they can.

    Is there any other media outlet that has comparable coverage of Stroger on the campaign trail.

    I'm satisfied that I got the story. Do I like the conditions? Not really, but they didn't keep me from covering Stroger.

    It would have been a more complete story with the audience questions and reactions, but it works.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 11:02 AM, September 11, 2006  

  • Carl,
    I for one who attended the meeting appreciate you covering the alderman's comments. In my view, those ascertions that he made are public--they are his words.

    As a member of Proviso, I would have not wanted our discussion to be recorded or in print. That would inhibit the free-flow of conversation in meetings. To my knowledge, anyone who wants to join can and also participate in discussion and enjoy voting for or against candidates.

    This is the first time I have been a member of the democratic organization in Proviso although I've been a member of a south suburban organization which is run very different. I like having input and a say.

    By Anonymous ab of Bellwood, at 5:28 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger hat_off_2da_hack, at 5:46 PM, September 12, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:22 AM, September 13, 2006  

  • I delete posts by "anonymous" because if multiple people post under "anonymous" in the same discussion it gets confusing.

    Please use a pseudonym. Thanks.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 9:53 AM, September 13, 2006  

  • I also attended the Proviso Democratic meeting where Todd Stroger attempted to give his reasons why he should be Cook County board president. He is far from ready to holding such a demanding position. Todd Stroger did not have a platform or issue of specific concern, was vague with his responses, and unknowledgeable about the goings on at the County. Hell, he did not even know the name of his own website.

    If he were really about the people of Cook County, Illinois, he would have never sought this position. I doubt whether I would support Peraica, but Todd Stroger must come up with something convincing very soon if he wants my vote.

    By Anonymous Was Not Impressed, at 3:27 PM, September 14, 2006  

  • The more I read about Todd Stroger, the more I realize that he is as qualified for this position as Tom Dart is to be County Sheriff.

    Neither one has the correct amount of experience to handle the positions they are trying to run for and I am fed up with all of the political chicanery just so that they can get into office. Todd definitely lacks the people skills to follow in his father's footsteps.

    By Anonymous Cobalt, at 9:35 PM, September 16, 2006  

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