Joe Berrios, the Democratic Party chairman who wants to be Cook County assessor, got at least one vote – mine.
As much as I respect the sincerity of those people who are eager to campaign against Berrios on the grounds that he represents everything that is wrong with the “machine” politics of old, I just found it too hard to take some of their claims seriously when I walked into an Early Voting Center on Monday to cast my ballot for the upcoming elections.
YES, BERRIOS IS a walking ball of conflicts-of-interest. He is one of those political people who conducted himself on property tax issues while serving on the county Board of Appeals in the old-school manner that we’d like to think we have moved beyond in our political structure.
He probably is way too comfortable with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and state Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, who also are tax attorneys who argue their clients’ cases before Berrios.
But I sense too much self-righteous indignation when it comes to people complaining about Berrios – almost as though they think that by dumping Joe, they have somehow magically “cleaned up” our local political scene.
That statement is so absurd that I giggled while writing it.
WHICH MEANS I think too many people are looking to make a token gesture toward reform, while doing nothing to go after the larger structure. Berrios didn’t give us the set-up we now have, and it won’t go away if he is forced to depart electoral politics following the Nov. 2 elections.
So I don’t see the point of the Anybody But Berrios vote – particularly since I don’t see the primary alternative as being that much better.
I don’t have a personal problem with Forrest Claypool – who is running a campaign independent of the Democratic Party, even though he is a long-time Democrat.
But we’re talking about a former Chicago Park District superintendent, a one-time deputy commissioner of the same Board of Appeals that Berrios now serves on, and a former chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley.
YOU DON’T GET that kind of resume in the Chicago political structure by being a legitimate reformer. People who think Claypool will bring about significant change are kidding themselves.
I don’t want to kid myself. Which is why I just went ahead and voted for Joe.
That kind of sentiment also made me vote “no” on whether to not to bring the concept of recall elections to Illinois. I have great respect for an election’s outcome, and don’t like the idea of anything that tries to undo them.
Besides, I also believe that if we’re stupid enough to vote for someone, we probably should be forced to live with the results of our mistake until the next election cycle – which will come soon enough.