At the last Cook County Board meeting, Dr. Simon also accused people at the hospitals of purposely calling in, protesting all the changes. When Commissioner Maldonado pressed Dr. Simon for numbers of employees working on any given day and how many called in sick he did not have them. When Commissioner Maldonado asked Dr. Simon why he was calling it a work slow down, he said because the call in's were increased. Dr. Simon went on to say this is costing money because now they have employees getting overtime for covering absent staff. But I can totally see Commissioner Maldonado's frustration with Dr. Simon, who made these accusations without any numbers or facts. That seems to be the theme with Dr. Simon, and we will see if he brings the right people to answer the questions at the next board meeting as Commissioner Maldonado asked.
And it's no surprise to me that the Southside paper had fantastic coverage of local politics, in this case Cook County. I guess we care more about what is going on, on the South Side, just look at the high voter turnout in the last Municipal election was from South Side Wards.
Of course, we get Bill Beavers, well acting the the hog with big nuts, right in the middle of all of it. It's no wonder, Darcel Beavers did not win election in the Ward that was given to her by her Dad. Yes Sandi Jackson will be the next Alderman for the 7th Ward. Not enough ballroom in that Ward for another Beavers.

Some call for Simon to quit Cook County's top health official under fire after Southtown publishes comments

March 29, 2007
By Gregg Sherrard Blesch Staff writer
Immigrant advocates on Wednesday called for Cook County's top health official to quit based on comments published in the Sunday Daily Southtown.

In an interview about Oak Forest Hospital, interim health chief Dr. Robert Simon expressed frustration that illegal immigrants are among patients receiving long-term care, which he said costs taxpayers $800 a day.

The county should make efforts to find their families and provide airfare to their countries of origin, Simon said.
"These anti-immigrant remarks are not reflective of the mission of the bureau of health," said Omar Lopez, representing the March 10 Movement for Immigrant Rights, the coalition that mounted massive downtown rallies last year.

Simon started a presentation to the county board Wednesday with a statement that blamed controversy on the Southtown, saying his words were cherry-picked and sensationalized.
"The statements were offered in the context of what I believed to be a discussion about finding solutions posed by one part of an overwhelming regional health care crisis and were not meant to demean or belittle any human being," Simon said.
His response was printed in its entirety in Wednesday's Southtown.

Minutes earlier, outside the board room, Simon's critics held a news conference calling for President Todd Stroger to demand his resignation.
Commissioner Roberto Maldonado (D-Chicago) joined members of the March 10 Movement and the National Nurses Organizing Committee, which represents county nurses and is engaged in a brass-knuckles battle against layoffs under Simon and Stroger's leadership.
Maldonado, whose district is largely Hispanic, said he called Simon after reading the Southtown story on Sunday and was not satisfied by Simon's official statement issued Monday.
"It was a very uncompassionate retraction," he said. "People can respectfully disagree on issues, yes, that's true. But you're not respecting me when you're making those kinds of comments."
Simon pointed out in his response that it's common for hospitals to make arrangements with families across borders for immigrant patients who need long-term care.
Stroger spokesman Steve Mayberry said Simon's job is safe.
"While Dr. Simon's comments having to do with immigrants are not reflective of the administration's philosophy, he has in fact been asked to rethink and restructure the way health care is provided in Cook County, and we look forward to him continuing that task," Mayberry said.
Nor was there any apparent support among commissioners for Simon's resignation.

"I think the comments as presented in the press were out of context," Commissioner Tony Peraica (R-Riverside) said.
"I don't think we have enough to go on to make an informed decision," Peraica said. "He's been in the position perhaps 60 days."
Peraica did, however, rail against Stroger's administration for failing to produce a document that shows exactly what positions and services have been cut, even though more than 30 days have passed since commissioners approved the budget.
The uncertainty has created terrible morale among employees, Peraica said.

Commissioner Joan Murphy (D-Crestwood) said she opposes the cuts at Oak Forest Hospital but doesn't think Simon should resign over the flap.
"They are too ill to go back to Mexico, if that's where they're from," Murphy said. "If their families could deal with it, they wouldn't be in Oak Forest in the first place. I've expressed to him (that) nursing homes don't want these patients.
"If they're moved to another location, it's like signing a death warrant for them," Murphy said.

NNOC spokeswoman Sheilah Garland rushed to a microphone to dispute the account.
Commissioner Bill Beavers (D-Chicago), who was questioning Simon at the time, shouted, "I didn't ask you nothin', sit down."

This made my day! Todd Stroger on jury duty.

Todd Stroger had jury duty and he forgot to bring a book to read? I would of gladly run a book on ethical behaviour over to him, told my boss it was an emergency and I needed a hour off. I can only hope we have pictures somewhere of this event, Todd wearing his red and white sticker and all. I wonder if Todd was able to sneak in a cigarette with his sister while he was there?

Would rather see him in a different court situation, but I'll take it
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger got a ground's-eye view of the county judicial system Tuesday when he was called to jury duty at the Criminal Courts Building.

Stroger is ultimately in charge of the county's huge judicial system, but he made a rookie mistake -- he forgot to bring a book.

"It was kind of a long day, just a lot of waiting," Stroger said. "Mostly you just play with your fingernails. You can't do much else."

Stroger was dismissed about 5 p.m. without being chosen. He was screened as a potential juror for a trial on an unlawful use of a weapon.

It was his first time sitting for jury duty in criminal court, though he's sat for juries in the Daley Center's civil courts three or four times.

Stroger said lawyers didn't ask him any unusual questions, but some of his answers might have been unique.

"They asked about whether we had any positions on handgun control. I said, 'Yes, that it was part of my job to take a stance on that. I worked on the handgun control bill (in Springfield) and even as an alderman I went to Springfield with the mayor."

Lawyers also asked Stroger if he knew anyone who had been a crime victim.

"I said sure. I know of like a zillion people," Stroger said. "I know people who've been robbed, people who've been burglarized, people who've been killed, I'm sorry to say."

Stroger said he didn't consider trying to get out of jury duty.

"That's part of the American process, so I don't have anything bad to say about it," he said.

Jonathan Lipman may be reached at
or (312) 782-1286

Cool reception for Stroger when he shows for jury duty

March 28, 2007
A chorus of bitter whispers greeted Cook County Board President Todd Stroger as he appeared for jury duty Tuesday at the 26th and California courthouse.
Many prosecutors remain furious at Stroger, whose recent budget cuts led to dozens of layoffs in their ranks and a sense that the county's top official doesn't understand how the criminal system works.

But Stroger said he heard no complaints as he waited most of the day only to find out he would not be picked for a jury hearing an illegal gun possession case.

"They are county workers just like me," he said. "I don't think anyone would be quite that petty."

Stroger wore a red-and-white "juror" sticker, just like everyone else, and he squeezed -- sardine-like -- into the elevators with all of the other prospective jurors.

He also received a $17 check for his service, which he said he plans to give back to the county.

South Works Steel it has sat there long enough

Trump was able to demolish the old Sun-Times building and get a new skyscraper up, well almost, during the time South Works sits and has sat, nothing. I would like to see something finally done, beside nothing on this site. I remember when I was young how busy this place was, now it is so desolate. It's a real sad site now.
I hope that South Works finally goes to good use, again A city-within-the-city -- featuring residential, retail and high-tech business development -- would rise on the nearly 600-acre site of the former U.S. Steel mill in Chicago if a South Side development company can fulfill its vision.

At the last Cook County board meeting it was clear that Commissioners Gorman and Peraica are still not the best of friends. Commissioner Peraica accidentally misquoted a fact and said he was sorry to Commissioner Gorman, she immediately said "can we get this on record". Commissioner Peraica then went on to debate a no bid contract for cleaning services, Commissioner Gorman had to say she sang a song to her kids the Farmer in the Dell and the Cheese stands alone. Commissioner Maldonado brought up a good point to Dr. Simon, "Why don't you bring the people who know, or from that department so you won't have to keep getting back to us when you consult with the appropriate person." Good point, let's see if Dr. Simon will follow through.
Bill Beavers had to butt in twice and put his comments in. First to Commissioner Peraica then to Commissioner Claypool about the election being over, and "it's time to start working with President Stroger."
And a good point was brought up over and over, why are there so many contracts that only have one bid? Commissioner Gorman went on to say no one wants to do business with Cook County because it takes so long to be paid, and the bidding process is not easy to go through. Well shouldn't they be looking in to that them? Why can't that be straightened out? Commissioner Peraica and Moreno wondered out McCoy auto parts got the snow removal contract for Stroger hospital. I have driven past this place many of times on Ogden Avenue myself, and it looks like a parts yard for sure, I know it's a short distance down Ogden to Stroger Hospital, which is close if there is snow. Commissioner Moreno did say he also drives past the place and has never seen a snow plow, maybe they should look into it. I personally see so much junk vehicles and parts it's hard to tell if they have a plow on the front. But most of what on this part of Ogden is parts and repairs anyhow, one right after another, and accross the street. It's hard to tell where one ends and the next starts. That pretty much describes the trip down Ogden from Mt. Sinai Hospital to the Medical Center district (U of I Hosp., Rush Hosp., Stoger Hosp., Westside VA Hosp., Illinois Department of Health, Cook County Morgue)
Todd Stroger has got to stop all the grinning and laughing like a chimpmunk if he wants anyone to really take him seriously.
I like the prayer at the beginning by the clergyman, how he emphasized taking care of the poor, and the sick.
They also had visitors, a mayor and his crew from Ireland who were impressed with how clean our city is. Obviously these folks have not left the Loop on their visit, maybe a tour to South Works is in order here, nice trip through the South Side all the way to the far South Side.
And what is with Donna Dunnings, Todd Stroger's cousin, Chief Finance, and using a walker? Was she in some type of accident?

Todd Stroger's mob friends get cleaning contract.

They just recieved the no bid contract from Cook County Board by a vote of 9-8, last week. Friends of Todd Stroger. Wasn't there a non-controversal cleaning company out there somewhere?

Messy past for county cleaners
Ex-owner, in jail for fraud, took mobbed-up money

March 26, 2007
By Steve Warmbir and Steve Patterson
A founder of a janitorial company that recently received a no-bid contract from Cook County took money from mobbed-up companies and is currently in prison for bank fraud.
Julie Leopold was sentenced to 21 months in prison last year for filing false documents in her name and the names of family members to get hundreds of thousands of dollars in bank loans, court records show.
She and her son, Anthony Leopold, also took $179,000 from the son of Cicero’s mob boss — money that was part of the $10 million stolen from the Town of Cicero through a mobbed-up insurance company, evidence in a court case shows.
Julie Leopold’s daughter, Louann Darrus, said Friday her mother no longer owns the janitorial company, We Clean Maintenance and Supplies Inc. Darrus said she bought the company from her mother in April 2005 — her mother was charged the next May. Darrus has run the company since buying it, she said.
“I take full responsibility for every action this company has taken since,” Darrus said.
Darrus said company filings that showed her mother was still president were mistaken and the firm’s attorney changed them.
She denied ever relying upon her mother’s advice since buying the company.
“My mother has nothing to do with it,” she said.
Darrus’ statement seems to contradict what’s contained in a court filing by her mother’s lawyers, who were seeking leniency for her from the judge in the case.
“Louann continues to routinely consult with the defendant [her mother] regarding the business,” the September 2005 court filing says.
Asked about the filing, Darrus said: “I have no clue about that, sir.”
Whoever is running the company, it has done well with government contracts.
Last week, the Cook County Board voted 9-8, on a request by board President Todd Stroger, to approve a no-bid $357,000 contract to We Clean to clean the county building for the next 135 days.
The workers will replace county janitors who were laid off because of budget cuts.
We Clean has had the contract to clean the county’s Juvenile Court facility since January 2001 and also has a piece of a contract valued up to $160 million for janitorial services for Chicago Public Schools, records show.
The company is no stranger to controversy.
We Clean and other companies linked to Julie Leopold and her family got more than $750,000 in fraudulent loans, thanks to Leopold, who bribed a bank loan officer to get them, court records and evidence shows.
The loan officer, Donald Copeland, estimated he got as much as $200,000 in kickbacks from Leopold, according to testimony in his case, prosecuted by Michelle Nasser Weiss and Sergio Acosta.
Copeland was convicted in October and awaits sentencing.
In the 2002 trial of Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese, Leopold’s son, Anthony, testified under immunity from prosecution that he turned to his friend, Michael Spano Jr., for money when We Clean faced a cash crunch. Spano Jr. is the son of the Cicero mob boss at the time.
Spano Jr. dipped into the more than $10 million stolen by a mobbed-up insurance company from the Cicero town coffers, trial evidence showed.
In all, $179,000 in checks were sent to We Clean from November 1993 to December 1995, with some checks going to Anthony Leopold and others going to his mother, evidence showed.
The alleged loan required no collateral or promissory note when the money was handed out, court testimony showed.
By the time of trial in 2002, out of the $179,000, only $78,209 had been paid back, according to court testimony.
Chicago Sun-Times

Expect Dr. Simon to be making more news

I just see this hitting the fan, duck!
I expect to hear a lot more from a lot of groups on this Dr. Robert Simon, chief of Cook County health services, said the county should fly illegal immigrants living at Oak Forest Hospital back to the countries they came from. Simon was disputing that the county plans to evict about 220 patients by Sept. 1 -- as the patients were told Friday -- but defending his opinion that most of them should be living somewhere else, and not at the county's expense.

The hospital is home to 20 to 30 illegal immigrants who are profoundly disabled, estimated Horacio Esparza of the Progress Center for Independent Living.
Simon said the few beds retained in the county health system should be used for Stroger and Provident hospital patients who aren't ready to go home but don't need to be taking up a hospital bed, at a significantly higher cost.

"All those undocumented aliens, the taxpayers are paying the entire bill," Simon said.
The county does not receive any state or federal reimbursement for patients who are not citizens or legal residents.
"What I'm saying is, our primary concern has to be to the taxpayers and the citizens," he said.

Simon said moving the immigrants to their home countries should be done "in a humane way," identifying and communicating with family members who will receive them.
"We should pay the transport and the airfare to get them there," Simon said. "They're citizens of another country."
If sufficiently reducing the number of beds proves too complicated, he said, he would recommend eliminating the category of service and then hiring a contractor to run a less expensive skilled nursing unit at Oak Forest.

Apparently sensitive to his reputation in some quarters, Simon asked that his remarks about immigrants not be twisted to make him look uncaring.

That's what happened with comments he made to a Chicago Reader reporter in 1995 when he was chairman of the emergency department at Cook County Hospital, he said.

"Most of the homeless really don't care about themselves or are psychiatrically impaired," he was quoted as saying. "You can give them any opportunity in the world, and they would not take advantage of it. They could do things for themselves, but they won't. So who the hell cares about them?"

Holy Cross Hospital--Pictured, in trouble, again
Gap widens between rich, poor hospitals

While interviewing a young radiologist recently, Wayne Lerner, Holy Cross Hospital's interim CEO, was interrupted by an unsettling question: "Is this place still going to be here two years from now?"

Mr. Lerner says it's a "legitimate question" for the South Side hospital he took over in October. And Holy Cross is not alone. Like more than a dozen other hospitals in the city's poorer neighborhoods, Holy Cross faces a cash crunch that threatens its ability to make large, vital investments in facilities, equipment and technology — and that, ultimately, could threaten its survival.
I can remember when Holy Cross Hospital was first in trouble. At one time they wanted to keep it all Lithuanian Doctors, and if you were anything else you would have a hard time practicing medicine here. At one time I thought all doctors were Lithuanian, because that's all I ever had. But you get older and get away from the neighborhood you find out otherwise. The old Hospital on 65th and Pulaski, Von Solbrig Hospital, came to town, was opened by Jewish doctors and well, was short lived, it is now the 13th Ward headquarters, for Frank Olivio, Alderman, Mike Madigan, State House Speaker, and the Lithuanian Museum. (Balzekas)

Getting close to more elections

Will Unions be the deciding factor in the Aldermadic run offs?Based on his union's polling and the February results, Morrison predicts at least five aldermen should start cleaning out their desks: Madeline Haithcock (2nd), Dorothy Tillman (3rd), Shirley Coleman (16th), Ted Matlak (32nd) and Bernard Stone (50th).

Tillman did not respond to requests for an interview, but the others all dismissed Morrison's predictions -- some with a thumb to the nose.

"Bring it on. Bring it on," Coleman said. "Their money bought the first election, but it's not going to buy this one."

Stone said: "They can stuff their polls because everything I show is exactly the opposite."

FBI inquiries give county officials reason to sweat

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times

"I'm happy to talk to you," said Paula Perkins, "but the FBI just called and are on the way over. I'll have to hang up when they arrive."

FBI? On the way over?

Now that's the kind of statement that commands my full attention.

I called Perkins about 3:30 Friday afternoon because I'd learned about a letter she wrote. It was sent last week to all 17 commissioners of Cook County as well as to County Board President Todd Stroger's chief of staff, Lance Tyson, and county Inspector General Joseph Price.

Perkins, 39, is a single mom and a 19-year veteran of Cook County government where she worked as an administrative assistant in the Contract Compliance Department making about $64,000 a year. Her job was to certify that minority- and women- owned companies were, in fact, really run by minorities or women before being awarded big, fat county contracts. In other words, her job was to determine which businesses were on the up and up, not just fronts for a bunch of white guys masquerading as minorities.

Perkins is now out of a job.

She held one of those Shakman-exempt positions, meaning she served at the pleasure of the president and could be fired at will.

How did she get that job in the first place? "I didn't have any political backing," she told me. "Nineteen years ago, I came off the street . . . was given a typing test, and I've been there ever since." But at the end of January, shortly after Stroger took office, Perkins says she was called in by her boss, Betty Hancock Perry, head of Contract Compliance, and Kim David Gilmore, head of Human Resources, and was terminated.

Was she a bad employee?

Perkins contends that on her last performance report, she scored in the "high 90s."

Was she a budget cut?

It doesn't seem so.

Right after Perkins lost her job, somebody else got it. Her replacement reportedly hailed from the 8th Ward, the home ward and political base of Stroger and of his father before him, former County Board President John Stroger. Then, within just the past few weeks, that person reportedly was moved out.

Perkins' letter to the commissioners said that in the week before her discharge, she had a private conversation with Gilmore to tell him about "things going on in Contract Compliance that could prove unlawful regarding Ms. Perry" and another member of that department.

Hancock Perry declined to comment. Reached by telephone, Gilmore said that he had "looked into what she [Perkins] was accusing them of. And basically she was rehashing stuff that had already been worked out and for which Ms. Hancock Perry had already been disciplined . . . [it] had been addressed by the inspector general and the president already."

What did Perkins' boss do to get "disciplined"? Could he tell me?

"No, no, I wouldn't get into that now," said Gilmore, "not without an assistant state's attorney on the phone telling me I could go ahead and speak about her." And then he added, "Maybe I shouldn't have used the word 'discipline.' "

Maybe not, but something apparently happened.

Why was Perkins fired? "I can't answer that," said Gilmore, adding, "I've heard a lot of hearsay but I don't think it would be fair for me to repeat it."

Was the fired Perkins, perhaps, on to something? Could that be why the FBI, which likes to work 9-to-5 whenever possible, raced from their downtown Chicago office on a Friday afternoon in heavy traffic to Perkins' house in the south suburb of Dolton?

They made pretty good time, too.

"Oh, that might be the FBI," said Perkins at 4:17 p.m., hearing someone at the door.

She hung up. I waited. At 5:20 p.m. she called back.

"There were two FBI agents," Perkins said. And they spent an hour talking about "her work."

I have no idea if Perkins told the FBI anything they didn't already know. But the speed with which they arrived makes one thing pretty clear.

The heat is still very much on.

"They're over here everywhere," acknowledged Gilmore, who is new to his job and who says he has spoken with the feds about matters unrelated to issues raised by Perkins.

We know there are ongoing federal probes involving the handing out of county contracts and hiring.

Since last summer, we know the government has either raided or subpoenaed documents from the county highway department, the medical examiner's office, the forest preserve district and the county hospital.

And now, most recently, we know they've taken a little trip to Dolton.

If I were a county official right now, especially one in a position to hire or fire, I think I'd be very careful.

Busy news day, City, County and State

Cook County inmate stabs 4 at Stroger Hospital before escapingBefore the exam, his handcuffs were removed, which is standard procedure if a doctor requests it, Cook County sheriff's spokesman Bill Cunningham said.

At one point, Reese asked to use a restroom, and the guard followed him. Suddenly, Reese turned and stabbed the guard in the neck with a shank, a thin piece of metal up to five inches long, authorities said.

They said he then stabbed a nurse and a civilian standing nearby before running off, making his way down some stairs and outside. There, the guard caught up with him, and the two briefly struggled before Reese broke free and climbed aboard a shuttle bus in the hospital driveway and stabbed the driver, who knocked him to the ground, authorities said. Is this part of the result of extreme downsizing at the Cook County Sheriff's department? Now we have to worry about Tank Johnson, our bear who has taken up residence at Cook County Jail for a while

Our Governor and Lt. Governor aren't agreeing with each other over taxes

And who is going to be left in Cook County to pay taxes?But the twist in recent years is that people aren’t just leaving Chicago — they are also leaving suburban Cook County. “What we’re seeing is like ripples in a pond,” Johnson said. “The city and central core are losing, the inner suburbs are starting to face some losses and the suburbs on the outer edge are growing like crazy.”
Cheaper housing and job growth in more distant suburbs are the main draws.

Al Sanchez former City of Chicago Streets and Sanitation Head indictedSanchez, 59, was charged with nine counts of mail fraud, and Delvalle, 34, was charged with one count of perjury in a 10-count indictment returned today by a federal grand jury.

Sanchez was commissioner of Streets and Sanitation from June 1999 until he retired in June 2005, and was deputy commissioner from 1995 to 1999. The department has about 4,000 workers. Before joining Streets and Sanitation, Sanchez worked in the city’s Health Department and was the first deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Information and Inquiry, where he performed certain personnel duties in both of those departments.

Delvalle has been a city employee since April 1997, working at various times in Inormation & Inquiry, Streets and Sanitation and the Chicago Police Department.

What next?

At work earlier this week one of my co-workers was telling me he has to go on cholesterol medicine and that he can't give up his ice cream. I told him I was lucky to be lactose intolerant so I won't have to worry about it. He let me know the nuts and corn chips will get me. Now they tell me Chinese food will too. What next?

An 86 year old Cook County employee was put on desk duty when reporters found out he did not have a valid drivers licence, and his position required driving. A couple of things came to mind. Are so many elderly working because they have to, or do they want to? I give this guy a lot of credit for still working regardless.

Virgil M. Poole, productive 86 year old

Cook County Health care for Cook County only The county's increasing caseload of indigent patients has been made worse by other counties' public health departments, who send their patients to Cook County for specialty care they can't provide, Suffredin said.

"The health departments of these various counties have actually given people Metra tickets and maps on how to find the Stroger (Hospital) emergency room," he said. "Those patients when they arrive, arrive with a diagnosis."
Obviously these other counties need to do something with their residents for pay for some of Cook County services

Cook County worker is getting 1K for stress from her boss
This lady needs to deal with stress, get used to it the people who schmooze the most become bosses, because the rest of us are too busy doing out job and doing it right to schmooze. Yes, and then you end up with a clueless leader that can schmooze the higher ups. That's how it is, and yes it seems to be worse at the county.

Cook County Board Meetings best Reality TV.

Increased viewers for Cook County Board meetings, and Commissioner Silvestri can't figure out why so many tune in. If you have ever watched a Cook County Board meeting, or one of the Committee meetings you will soon figure out that this is the best reality TV ever. The Commissioners and of course the President are so full of interesting personalities brought into one group to interact. The following is an article written by Carol Marin, on another very interesting Commissioner, Mike Quigley. Mike Quigley the Commissioner who recieved a dozen yellow roses from President Todd after a very interesting board meeting. Yes, a lot of name calling and fighting, but it was around Valentine's day and Commissioner Mike Quigley sent President Todd Stroger a heart shaped box of candy.

Where's Quigley aiming as he shoots from hip?

March 18, 2007
BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist
Sitting over soup and a sandwich last week, Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley looked a little tortured, like a guy with an anvil on his head.
Small wonder.

A Democrat elected in 1998, Quigley was the Lone Ranger of Reform his first four years in office.

In his second term, joined by three other reform-minded commissioners, Democrats Forrest Claypool and Larry Suffredin and Republican Tony Peraica, he was one of the Four Horsemen, riding hard against the bloated budgets and constant corruption of Cook County.

But today?

Today Quigley is viewed as the Benedict Arnold of county politics, the turncoat who keeps turning, reform one day, un-reform the next. He knows that's what people are saying about him, and claims he doesn't care.

"I have a great wife, two wonderful girls," he told me. "I don't need this."

By "this," he means public office.But I think he does need it. Quigley is a driven politician, in the best sense and, occasionally, in the worst.

The reason he's being called a traitor is that after fighting the good fight for so long against former County Board President John Stroger, after selflessly withdrawing from the 2006 primary race for president to give Claypool a fighting chance, Quigley did something that caused jaws to drop.

He threw his support to Todd Stroger.

Son of John, Todd was slipped into the race at the 11th hour by county ward bosses after they were finally forced to tell the truth and admit that Stroger Sr. was far too ill to run. It was a dirty rotten trick played at the last possible moment to preclude a viable independent from getting into the general election.

That meant Todd Stroger would have only one opponent, the Republican Peraica. And in a county that is ever-more Democratic in its voting patterns, even an uninspired candidate like Stroger couldn't screw it up enough to lose.

Calling the election a "grim choice," Quigley lent Stroger his own chief of staff for the campaign, attorney Jennifer Koehler, who today remains one of the new president's top deputies and one of the most highly paid deputies.

The "new" Quigley argued that he was going to take Todd at his word that he "was going to move the county in a different direction" and even install a truly independent inspector general.

But when the new president took office and proposed a slash-and-burn budget that eliminated more nurses and prosecutors than highly paid bureaucrats, many of whom were Stroger's friends and family, the "old" Quigley jumped back on his steed, galloping with the Horsemen, supporting a more targeted, more specific budget.

But wait.

Before the budget battle was over, Quigley was off his horse and at Stroger's side. His switch was the critical factor in Stroger's budget victory. Ironically enough, that Stroger budget had no extra money for the new and improved inspector general's office.

It was enough to give you whiplash.

So what the heck is Quigley doing?

Taking things "issue by issue," he says. "I know I've been very consistent, supporting the right measures, the right way; it wasn't always calculating."

But Quigley critics maintain that's exactly what it was, calculating. Laying the groundwork, perhaps, for higher office or greater influence. "I think that he thinks himself an insider now and probably has convinced himself that he can be more influential in an administration devoid of ideas,'' Peraica said last week.

But let's always remember, as we speak of reform in Chicago, that no one has a corner on political purity.

Not Quigley, who came up, with Machine backing, out of the 44th Ward. Not Peraica, who was happy to have the support of the old Cicero Machine until they betrayed him. Not Claypool, who was twice Mayor Daley's chief of staff before breaking with him. Not Suffredin, who is a lobbyist in a minefield of potential conflicts of interest.

They are all bright and complicated politicians.

But in the end, Quigley may be the most complicated of them all. If passion is a virtue, he transforms it into a vice. Todd Stroger, he once told me, is "Bambi in the land of Godzillas." Claypool, he said at lunch last week, "has no soul."

Quigley is one of the smartest, most talented public policy wonks to ever land at the County Board.

He's committed to the environment, women's issues, racial justice and fiscal sanity. I believe he is, most of the time, a reformer.

But lately, you need a road map to figure out where he's going and why.

When lunch was over, Quigley was heading back to the County Building to tell Donna Dunnings, the county's $144,000-a-year interim chief financial officer and Todd Stroger's cousin, that he would not vote to confirm her.

I'm not saying that's a bad idea.

But you can only shoot from the hip so many times before you've shot everyone in sight.

Todd Stroger now is doing business with companies connected to convicted, incarcerated Betty Loren Maltese and a Mobster Spano. What next? Since Tony Peraica's building painting on Halsted and Archer is holding up so well, he should keep it there for next election, also to remind people they could have voted responsibly, and didn't. Maybe Todd was at the Parade in the Guiness beer bottle?

Todd Stroger will still be President with a projected 3 million dollar deficitNot even a month after the Cook County Board made massive cuts to pass a $3 billion budget, next year's deficit already is in the millions.

Cigarette sales, collection of hospital-patient fees and fees from recording property deeds all are lower than county officials anticipated when balancing this year's budget, according to records released Monday.

Wary commissioners, however, are cautiously going over numbers that show $3 million shortfalls each in recorder and hospital fees and a $1.8 million shortage in cigarette sales-tax revenue.

The county had lowered its expectations for cigarette sales from $223 million expected last year to $175 million this year, but it's falling short of that mark already.

Commissioner John Daley (D-Chicago), chairman of the county board's finance committee, wasn't alarmed by the numbers but said the recorder's shortfall "is unusual, and we're going to have to address it."

Recorder Gene Moore did not return calls Monday, but Fratto said that drop is likely based on slow home sales.

Todd Stroger's buddies get no bid contracts"Also Monday, the county board voted 9-8 on Stroger's request to approve a no-bid contract with a cleaning company that has ties to Stroger's political organization and to Cicero-based mob figures.
We Clean Maintenance & Supply got the $357,000 contract to clean the county building for the next 135 days, replacing county janitors laid off because of budget cuts.

Company officials, citing the "security of our clients," declined to comment.

By August, county officials expect to award a competitively bid cleaning contract.

We Clean is headed by Julie Leopold, mother of Anthony Leopold, who testified in the criminal trial of ex-Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese that the firm was loaned money by Michael Spano Jr., son of town mob boss Michael Spano Sr. Leopold paid some of the money back to Spano, but also to another man convicted in the case, John LaGiglio.
The $179,000, it was revealed, was illegally pilfered from town funds and led to Loren-Maltese's conviction.

Todd Stroger needs to get a grip on reality

Todd Stroger noticeably absent from this parade, but two people he was rather nasty to were here. Dick Devine and Tom Dart did not get booed, as they participated in the St. Patrick's Day parade. Would Todd have been booed again?

More surprises every day from Todd Stroger. The ever so honest cough, cough Dr. Simon, Daddy John Stroger's personal physician who proved himself so trustworthy in that affair, has decided to eliminate all the long term care patients at Cook County's Oak Forest Hospital. Where will they go? Who knows? Yes, we all lost trust in Dr. Simon following former President John Stroger's resignation with a totally illegible signature after the deadline for entering the Presidents race had ended. Now Todd Stroger wants an already severely cut department, the Cook County Sheriff, to enforce County Stickers. Yes, that will bring in all kinds of money to the County according to Todd. Todd needs to get a grip, the Sheriffs department just recovered a whole lot of Pot,pounds and pounds of it, other drugs, and over 2 million dollars worth of cash over the weekend. Really Todd take them off of these types of assignments and check for County stickers on cars? Todd get a grip. What other truths has Dr. Simon going to let us in on?

Already very busy and understaffed Cook County Sheriff's police will check cars for County stickers County Board President Todd Stroger "is committed to making sure that all of the funds that are due Cook County are recouped, especially in this time of financial crisis," county spokesman Steve Mayberry said. Patrol officers in the unincorporated areas were among the thousands of jobs cut as part of the $3 billion budget County Board members passed last month.

Simon said it might be less complicated to eliminate all long-term care rather than reduce the number of beds, the doctors said.

If the county tries to reduce the beds from 220 to 70, as Simon proposed, each patient asked to leave would have an opportunity to contest the transfer in a hearing with an administrative law judge, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health said.
But the rules are different if the category of care is eliminated.

The county would have to get permission from the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, an additional hurdle.

If the state grants permission, however, the displaced residents merely are guaranteed 30 days notice.

"If it would be downsized, one would have to seek the permission of the residents to move them out," Ashenhurst said was the way Simon explained it. "He seemed surprised by that."

The hospital's long-term residents are severely disabled, indigent and have complex medical needs, said Dr. Srinivas Jolepalem, an attending physician who has been a persistent critic of the cuts.

If they are transferred to nursing homes, they no longer would have physicians on hand daily to oversee their care and respond to emergencies, Jolepalem said.

Encore Tom Dart in Parade

The Cook County Sheriff's Department!

Yes, there was Tom Dart, our Sheriff walking and waving with his wife, and the rest of the politicians, Mayor Daley, Senator Dick Durbin, and others at the beginning of the parade. And minutes later, there was Tom Dart with the Sheriff's department. How did he do it? Yes he will get my vote again for amazing participation in a St. Patrick's day parade, and also for going up against Todd Stroger so well. Yes, anyone who has dug their heels in against Todd Stroger and not let run more amok than he already is, is certainly a favorable candidate for re-election.

Stroger's choice for finance chief -- his cousin -- faces fight from commissioners

A growing number of Cook County commissioners are getting ready to fight board President Todd Stroger's choice for the county's top finance job: Donna Dunnings, his cousin.

"Donna sort of suffers the sins of all Todd's errors," said Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago), a sometimes-ally of Stroger's who plans to oppose Dunnings' nomination. "This kind of position, this kind of money, you should do a national search."

Critics heaped charges of nepotism on Stroger when he announced plans last month to nominate Dunnings, the county budget director, to replace Tom Glaser as chief financial officer. Glaser will become chief operating officer at the county health bureau, a new position.

"She'll be questioned on how she could be the (county's) budget director and how we came up with a $500 million budget shortfall," Suffredin said. "Because I don't think anyone saw that coming."

Suffredin (D-Evanston), often a critic of Stroger, said he won't oppose Dunnings. His vote would be key to any successful attempt to block the nomination.

"I can't support the continuous patronage that's going on here," said Commissioner Elizabeth Gorman (R-Orland Park). "I can't see the Republicans voting for this. It smacks the hard-working people in the face who are getting laid off."

Stroger's other nominations also will see some opposition, and Suffredin plans to have hearings on all of them at once.

Stroger nominated Joseph Fratto, executive director of the Chicago Park District pension fund, to replace Walter Knorr as comptroller. Fratto was Stroger's boss when Stroger worked at the park district and is brother of Anthony Fratto, a longtime adviser to Mayor Richard Daley.

Stroger named Carmen Triche-Colvin to be county purchasing agent. She's the wife of Stroger's close friend and ally, state Rep. Marlow Colvin.

Commissioner Suffredin was against Todd on budget, supports Todd's cousin Donna Cummings as chief financial officer, Commissioners Quigley and Gorman who supported Todd on Budget will oppose his cousin.

Cook County Jail, where Tank Johnson will call home for at least 2 months

Tank Johnson immediately taken into custody to serve time Lovie Smith and Brian Urlacher testify on Tank's behalf I am still not happy about the Thomas Jones trade, but at least Tank will be out of Cook County Jail for the next season

4 of the Aldermen whose wards are involved in the Olympics planning voted down the 500 Million collateral
Three of the four African American aldermen whose wards would be directly impacted voted against an ordinance Wednesday that would guarantee at least $500 million.
The guarantee is contingent upon the city being selected for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
City council members voted 45-5 in favor of the ordinance. All five aldermen opposing the ordinance were African American - Arenda Troutman's (20th), Dorothy Tillman's (3rd), Toni Preckwinkle's (4th) - whose three wards would be the most impacted. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) and Shirley Coleman (16th) voted no also.

At the last Cook County Board meeting Tony Peracia was anything but a potted plant. Yes he vowed that after he lost the election for Cook County Board President he would not be a potted plant. Tony Peracia was cut off by Commissioner Butler for getting close to his 10 minutes on a subject. Tony Peracia was on the subject of the voting machines and why there is still both the scan ballots and the touch screen being used. He did point out that most election judges are senior citizens and have a hard time seeing the touch screen. He also made good point that they do have more problems with the touch screens on calibrations etc. He also made a good point that the scan sheets would give a backup as well as be able to be used in a power outage. So when are they going to make the decision to go to one voting method and save money by doing so? So why pay for both?
I know that Commissioner Peracia is not happy with Commissioner Gorman for defecting from the budget. I know Commissioner Gorman is now the Republican GOP Chairman for Cook County, winning against a Peracia backed opponent. What I don't understand is how a South Side gal, daughter of a Chicago Fireman, defected to the Republican Party anyhow. Now she is the Chairman of the Cook County Republicans and she backed Democrat Todd Stroger against other republicans on the budget. She also needs to loose a few names: Elizabeth Ann Doody Gorman.

The defectors Tony Peracia refers to are Commissioners:Gorman, Goslin, Quigley and Silvestri.
The alternative budget originally co-sponsored by the four defecting commissioners would have been a rare win for taxpayers and citizens. Why they didn't stick with the majority of their colleagues, as one news columnist wrote, remains "a mystery."

Backlash from the Cook County BudgetPeraica then posted a more biting message on his Web site titled, "Tell Liz Gorman the Truth Hurts." He included her e-mail address and office phone numbers so her constituents could complain to her more conveniently.

Why the amplified umbrage for Gorman?

"When the Republican county chair votes in favor of Todd Stroger's budget that preserves (Stroger's) family members, financial donors and Democratic committeemen, and we're firing sheriff's police officers, it's demoralizing to Republicans who are trying to rebuild," Peraica said. "I believe (Gorman) is held to a higher standard as a leader of our party."

Gorman's GOP colleagues recently elected her chairman of the Cook County Republican Party over an opponent backed by Peraica.

Certainly, Gorman's support of Stroger's budget placed her in a risky position. The bulk of her Orland Township constituents voted against Stroger for Cook County Board president. Stroger took 24 percent of the Orland Township vote to Peraica's 76 percent.

Chicago City Council busy
Flags at all city buildings will be lowered to half staff any time an Illinois member of the U.S. military dies in the line of duty under an ordinance approved Wednesday.

Chicago on Wednesday toughened its penalties on owners of dangerous dogs, doubling fines and adding possible jail terms of up to six months if owners don't comply with orders to turn over their animal

Two Seasons in Chicago - Winter & Road Construction

We are not entering the construction season. All we can hope for is that the Dan Ryan Expressway is finished ahead of schedule. A view from the Sears tower, south looking towards the Dan Ryan. Alternatives for the South siders is either the Red or Green El line. The State Street bus is also the scenic and slow route.

Dan Ryan Expressway updates

Last phase of the Dan Ryan Expressway construction

At the last Cook County Board Meeting, Commissioner Sims brought up a good point. The board has not ruled out tearing down the old Cook County Hospital. There are all kinds of things going on, like tearing the wings down in back (those used to be Wards) along with the Old Children's Hospital (which also housed the burn unit on floor 5) and the old Physical Plant. So far nothing is being done but to have security watch the building. No landmark status yet. How long are they going to let the building just sit there? Yes, the Cook County Board wants the building used for something that will fit into the neighborhood. The neighborhood, is the Illinois State Laboratory, The VA (Veterans Administration) Hospital, University of Illinois Hospital, U of I Medical School, U of I Dental School, Rush Hospital, and Rush University(Medical School), the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. and the new Cook County Hospital now called John Stroger Hospital. The construction was completed on John Stroger Hospital in late 2002, and the old hospital is still.......undecided what to do with it. Yes, Todd Stroger was noticeably late to that last meeting.

You learn something new every day

A few years back Rachel Barton was jumping off a Metra Train and the last minute and was caught in the doors. She was caught in the door and had a lot of surgeries and therapy. But she was trying to save a violin that was at least a century old. None the less it changed how Metra operated. New rules that had the conductors step out and make sure no one was coming out and getting stuck in the door at the last minute departure. I was also surprised that a concert violinist has good taste in Music when she is not playing Classical. Yes, she is also a Megadeth fan, like myself.

Rachel Barton with Dave Mustaine, Megadeth

Blagojevich and wife need some better friends

The Governor and his wife need better friends

55-year-old Anita Mahajan, an affluent, educated businesswoman, was grimly preparing to meet her lawyer and surrender to authorities who would lock her up in a cell overnight until she could make bail.
Mahajan, whose company had a no-bid contract to do drug testing for the Department of Children and Family Services, is charged with defrauding the state of $2.1 million. If convicted, she faces significant penitentiary time.

She is the latest shoe to drop in what seems like a never-ending series of federal and state investigations of the Blagojevich administration. What makes Mahajan's story of more than passing interest is that she and her husband, Amrish, not only have donated $40,000 to the governor, but they have also used Patti Blagojevich as their real estate broker, resulting in $113,000 in commissions for the first lady in 2006. Not to mention that Amrish Mahajan, a bank president in Harvey, has financial ties to Antoin "Tony" Rezko, the governor's former close friend and biggest fund-raiser. Rezko was federally indicted last year, charged with a scheme to defraud the state pension system.

The day following both Mahajan's arrest and the governor's state budget address, Blagojevich hit the road to sell his plan, to take his case, in his words, "to the people."

One week from a bright green River

The parade lineup, starts at 12 Noon a week from today Next Saturday's ST. Patrick's Day parade highlighted participants are:

102. Mayor Richard Daley & Family

103. Cook County Commissioner John Daley

104. Congressman Daniel Lipinski

105. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart

106. Racine Kilties

107. Michael Collins

108. Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine

It's no wonder the 13th Ward has the most people come out to vote, our Cook County Commissioner and our Congressman are all participating in the parade.

Todd Stroger needs to find lost funds.

One thing I got out of a Sermon years ago was, "The happiest people are the people who need the least" and "You never see a Brinks truck following a funeral procession, do you?" This stuck with me. Life is not about money and accumulating things....too many people don't really understand the meaning of life.. Anita Mahajan stole 2.1 million? Why? And worse yet......from DCFS, taxpayers,....Why?

Anita Mahajan, who has had business ties to Gov. Blagojevich's wife, used lucrative no-bid contracts to steal $2.1 million from taxpayers while lying about her company's tax status, prosecutors said Thursday.
Mahajan, 55, was released on $250,000 bond Thursday night after being charged with six felonies. Gov. Blagojevich said Thursday his wife Patti, a real estate broker, no longer does business with Mahajan or her banker husband, Amrish Mahajan.
Money stole from Department of Children and family services

Steve Patterson is quite a trooper. Arrested, taken away in a paddy wagon in handcuffs covering Todd Stroger and still he is out there, covering Todd Stroger. Go figure Tom Dart, who Todd Stroger cooperated with so well on the budget dug this up. Steve Patterson's article covering the $500,000+ missing money at Cook County
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is shaking up the financial staff at the county jail after audits revealed thousands of dollars missing from inmate accounts.
A spokesman confirmed

Yes parking is out of control, no argument there I prefer CTA over trying to figure out where to park.

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