What is surprising about the endorsements is Bobbie Steele, former interim CC President endorses, CC Commissioner Suffredin, and her son, Robert Steele who inherited her CC Commissioner seat endorses Brookins. I am not sure how the race is going to go, but the South Siders come out and vote for South Siders, this may help Brookins.
Prosecutor race divides Dems
'TOTALLY UP IN THE AIR' | Alvarez, Brookins add high-profile support
January 21, 2008
BY ERIC HERMAN Criminal Courts Reporter email@example.com
In a sign of how fractured Democratic support has become in the race for Cook County state's attorney, two candidates vying to succeed Dick Devine trumpeted endorsements by high-profile officials Sunday.
At a news conference at the Union League Club, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn threw his support to Anita Alvarez, a career prosecutor who is the No. 3 official in Devine's office.
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (right) reiterated his support Sunday for Ald. Howard Brookins (left), who gained the endorsements Sunday of Aldermen Isaac Carothers and Emma Mitts.
"She happens to be a woman. She happens to be Hispanic. And she also happens to be the most qualified person. We have a chance to make history," Quinn said.
Exasperating for voters
Meanwhile, Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) picked up endorsements from West Side Aldermen Isaac Carothers (29th) and Emma Mitts (37th), and from other African-American officials. U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) reiterated his support.
"We're going to be with Howard 100 percent. We're going to have every precinct captain, every volunteer" working for him, Carothers said.
For primary voters who use endorsements for guidance, the state's attorney's race has likely become exasperating.
Six Democrats are seeking their party's nomination. Three are officeholders -- Brookins, Ald. Tom Allen (38th) and Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston) -- and two, Alvarez and First Assistant State's Attorney Robert Milan, are career prosecutors. Defense lawyer Tommy Brewer is also running.
Since no candidate mustered sufficient support to be slated, the Cook County Democratic Party opted for an open primary. Seasoned observers are calling it a free-for-all.
Newspapers also split
Brookins, who is African-American, has substantial support on the South Side and said the Sunday endorsements "give us a tremendous shot in the arm." Suffredin has also garnered high-profile black support -- from U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), Secretary of State Jesse White, and former County Board President Bobbie Steele. Steele's son, Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, has endorsed Brookins.
Suffredin and Allen both have union support. Allen also has the backing of many elected officials, including 14 aldermen. Milan got Devine's endorsement last week.
Even Chicago's two major newspapers are split, with the Sun-Times endorsing Suffredin and the Tribune endorsing Allen on Sunday.
"It's totally up in the air," said a former Cook County officeholder, who asked that his name not be used.
The winner of the Feb. 5 Democratic primary will face the lone Republican candidate, Commissioner Tony Peraica.
Toddler wants to turn control of the healthcare over to someone else
CHICAGO -- After years of fighting to keep county hospitals under the control of the Cook County Board, it appears board president Todd Stroger is ready to turn them over to a new independent government board.
Officials say the move would save the county hospital system and its deteriorating financial situation.
The new board would have taxing power and control all contracts and hiring. This proposal is being considered as several more clinics could close by the end of the year.
With his father having died last week, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger was unavailable to comment on the report in Crain's Chicago Business. But several commissioners ABC7 interviewed Monday confirmed that the county is on the verge of a major change in how it pays for its public healthcare system.
At a cost nearing $1 billion a year, the Bureau of Health is Cook County government's single biggest expense and is blamed for most of the county's repeated, annual deficits.
For years, several commissioners have argued the county should get out of the healthcare business, and now, reportedly, board president Todd Stroger has agreed to consider one of their plans. It would cede control of the health bureau to an independent authority. The authority would include seven members, mostly healthcare professionals, appointed by President Stroger.
"We want to make sure they are health professionals and how you make it work with all the federal funding," said Larry Suffredin, (D) Cook County commissioner.
Critics charge the county's current health bureau costs are bloated by political patronage. Under the reorganization plan, all hospital and clinic operations and contracts would be controlled by the independent board. That also would have its own taxing authority, much like the park district in the City of Chicago.
"Can we really say it's free from patronage? Free from political influence? Absolutely not," said Roberto Maldonado, (D) county commissioner.
Meanwhile, pressure is building on Stroger and board members to find a long-term funding solution for the county's hospitals and clinics, several more of which could be closed later this year.
Commissioner Suffredin said the state legislature would have final approval over any new health authority with taxing power. He said he did not believe such a move necessarily would mean higher taxes.
"It would depend upon what they decide. It's possible there could be a tax increase. I would hope with a professional administrator, we would be able to get more federal dollars than we're getting now," Suffredin said.
The plan to set up an independent health authority also could be a key to breaking the ongoing budget stalemate in Cook County. President Stroger supports a sales tax increase to fill a $238 million deficit. It is hoped that some commissioners opposed to the increase might reconsider if Stroger agrees to reform in how the health bureau is run.