Todd Stroger is making headlines, and I hate to say it but I would rather have Todd Stroger in the headlines over Drew Peterson. The Capital Fax blog has kept away from the subject of the later, mostly because he has made himself so tabloid, and they keeping up their reputation as reputable news, also since Nancy Grace beats the Drew thing to death frequently and often.

Back to a real story, yes Earlean Collins needs more time to analyze her vote, whe has always been the one to say, "stop" "this needs more review" "there are more questions that need to be answered", yes the county needs someone like her on their board, too frequently they want to pass on something to get it off their desks.

Todd Strogers decision todayCook County Board President Todd Stroger is on deadline today.

At issue is whether he will, as promised, veto legislation repealing the sales tax hike he pushed for last year.

Or will he just let the rollback happen by doing nothing at the close of business today.

Stroger has made it perfectly clear that if he lets the repeal remain, the commissioners will have to deal with the budget crisis -- which includes cuts not only in health care but also in public safety.

And with an election less than a year away, some sources believe, he'll do just that.

"The black community will suffer from the cuts to the hospital and the criminal justice system -- that's part of the strategy, force the issue on to the commissioners by cutting the Bureau of Health budget," which is the bulk of the county's $3 billion-plus budget, said a source who spoke to Stroger's aides last week. The thinking is that the cuts would hurt the commissioners as they, too, gear up for elections.

"Of course, they're trying desperately to reverse the bad press he's gotten," the source said.

For his part, Stroger said delaying his decision on the tax repeal until today's deadline -- rather than vetoing the measure immediately as he said he would -- has nothing to do with next year's election.

But he's been coy about what he'll do.

"I'm not sure," Stroger said Friday, when asked whether he was leaning one way or the other. He's already said it might be futile to veto the measure if enough votes are lined up to override his decision. "We'll find out. . . . I think a little drama is good for the soul," he said with a chuckle.

It was a different tone from Tuesday, when Stroger lashed out at commissioners who voted to roll back the 1.75 percent sales tax to .75 percent, saying that losing the penny-on-the-dollar tax would shutter Provident Hospital and health clinics for the poor.

Stroger says he's working until today's deadline to get feedback from elected leaders in county government.

But last week's 12-3 commission vote (with two absent) in favor of the repeal speaks for itself, several commissioners have said. And representatives of the Cook County assessor and state's attorney's office said the budget and related spending decisions are the responsibility of the president and the commissioners.

It's been a tough week or so for Stroger politically. A hiring scandal involving a busboy-turned-$61,000-a-year county highway worker snowballed when it was revealed then county Chief Financial Officer Donna Dunnings bailed the worker, Tony Cole, out of jail twice, ultimately costing both their jobs.

And now the drumbeat is growing louder that powerful County Board Finance Chair John Daley and his brother, Mayor Daley, are distancing themselves from Stroger -- even saying they don't know whom they'll vote for in the 2010 county board president's race.
Who'd step in if Dems purge Burris, Stroger?

If Illinois Democrats succeed in purging politically radioactive Sen. Roland Burris and Cook County Board President Todd Stroger from the party's ticket, what fresh new African-American faces can they recruit to attract African-American voters to the polls?

Secretary of State Jesse White, 74, is the only statewide African-American officeholder other than Burris, and White is facing an easy re-election. If African-Americans go from having a senator and County Board presidency to just White, that could provoke a backlash, some party leaders warn.

"I think because of the sheer numbers, having a candidate that appeals to the African-American voting base is going to be very important to the Democratic Party," said Larry Rogers, an attorney who serves on the Cook County Board of Review. Rogers said he has been approached by people who would like him to run for Cook County Board president, which he said he would consider only if Stroger opts not to run for re-election; and also by people who would like him to run for attorney general, should Lisa Madigan run for governor rather than seek re-election.

One of those encouraging Rogers is state Sen. James Meeks, himself considering a run for governor if Gov. Quinn and/or Lisa Madigan do not meet his challenge to run on a platform of adequately funding education in Illinois.

Meeks argues that Jesse White's presence alone on the statewide ticket will not be enough to motivate the black electorate. Meeks made the same threat four years ago but backed down when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich promised to increase education funding, a promise, Meeks notes, that never came to fruition.


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