Wednesday, July 25, 2012

‘Confused politician’ truly redundant. Or, does 'slammer’ serve good beef?

“This isn’t a double-negative?”
GORMAN: Making sure she doesn't vote wrong

That bit of skepticism and concern came from the lips of Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman, R-Orland Park, when she and her colleagues were voting on a measure Tuesday that had instigated hours of debate at a previous meeting.

GORMAN WAS CONCERNED she was about to vote the “wrong” way on something because maybe the issue was worded in a way that she’d have to vote “no” to support something.

In fact, she wasn’t the only person confused. It took nearly 15 minutes to take a roll-call vote of 16 individuals (county Commissioner Earlean Collins, D-Chicago, was absent) because everybody was clueless about what was happening at that moment.

Commissioner William Beavers, D-Chicago, engaged in a back-and-forth repartee with the board secretary to ensure that his “yes” vote really was an affirmative one that meant exactly what he intended it to mean.

I would say it was amusing to watch. But the fact that it was our tax dollars at work made it most-definitely a chore.

WHAT WAS AT stake was the food service contract for Cook County Jail (yes, if we incarcerate people, we have to feed them).

Aramark, based in Philadelphia, had the contract.

But the county is now going to transfer over to Sioux Falls, S.D.-based CBM Managed Services, which has a division that specializes in food service at correctional facilities across the country.

It seems that one of the potential perks is that CBM is capable of offering the inmates a culinary treat – if they’re willing to pay for it themselves.

ONCE THE TRANSITION is made and things are up and running, inmates being held at the county jail will get one night a week where they can have an Italian beef sandwich for their dinner (a Buona Beef brand sandwich, I’m told).

Before you start getting all worked up about inmates being coddled, keep in mind that the only ones who will get such a sandwich will be those who have enough money in their jail inmate accounts to cover the cost.

But I can envision the rants and rages of the alleged “law and order” types, and perhaps that fear of instigating these people is what caused the county board members to be overly cautious about casting their votes.

Because this is exactly the kind of issue that gets distorted into a nasty attack ad or the subject material for a campaign mailing by some future opponent who figures real people don’t have time to figure out the “truth” behind the attack.

THEN AGAIN, THIS probably was the ultimate example of “fear and ignorance” combined in our government officials. It definitely wasn’t a pretty sight.

In the end, the measure got a 13-1 vote, with county Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy, D-Crestwood, being the lone “no” vote. Two other commissioners cast “present” votes – which probably means they couldn’t figure out at all what they should do when they were finally confronted with the roll call.

And soon, the inmates of our county jail will have a food option that might make their incarceration while awaiting trial (or serving a short sentence for a minor offense) just slightly more bearable.

Not that I would want to be held as an inmate for any length of time. Getting a sandwich stuffed with something other than bologna just doesn’t seem worth it.
AYKROYD (as Blues): Not a fan of the oatmeal

EVEN IF THE Cook County Jail develops a reputation for serving a quality beef sandwich!

I suspect that for most of us, all we’re going to know about the food at the jail is what we learned from The Blues Brothers film – namely that the oatmeal is lousy.


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