We’ve all gotten a good laugh off of the public official in Dixon, Ill., who originally was suspected of ripping off as much as $30 million from her city, but now has officials saying she enriched herself by as much as $53 million.
|SIMS: Crooks are everywhere, she says|
Quite a sum, considering that Dixon’s total annual budget in recent years has only been about $8 million.
YET IN RECENT days, we’ve had some Chicago political types taking a little too much pleasure in bringing up the Dixon situation, where Comptroller Rita Crundwell faces charges that claim she took municipal funds for herself (much of which allegedly enriched her horse farm) during a 22-year period.
Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims of Chicago’s Far South Side and surrounding suburbs brought up Crundwell earlier this week when criticizing a measure meant to make county board members more accountable for the way they spend expense money.
She’s right that some people are too quick to toss out the “crook” label when it comes to the Chicago political establishment but would never think of using it for political people outside of the city.
But Sims seemed just a bit too eager on Tuesday to trash someone else, rather than trying to figure out how to resolve the problems locally.
SIMS ISN’T ALONE. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, told reporter-types in Springfield this week that a measure to merge the state comptroller and treasurer offices into one government post is bad because you don’t want so much financial power invested in one person.
Because that, supposedly, is what the real problem is in Dixon.
|MADIGAN: Dixon the example of what's wrong|
Personally, I agree that merging the two state offices is a short-sighted move (one that probably would result in another measure 20 years from now to split the duties back into two positions). But I’m inclined to think that government in Dixon is on such a smaller scale that it is near-to-ridiculous to treat it as comparable to state government. It's only natural that a small municipality can get by with fewer people than the government of the state of Illinois.
Sims and Madigan come off as Democrats too eager to rub it in the face of the town that likes to think of itself as Ronald Reagan’s birthplace.
IT IS AS politically-partisan a maneuver as any of the trash talk that conservative ideologues have engaged in when trying to trash urban interests. It is just as petty!
For our officials to gain the “moral” high ground, they have to act above such tawdry behavior.