Cook County Board President Todd Stroger can't get his budget passed "because he's black," his floor leader angrily charged Tuesday.Let's talk about race. Unfortunately in Chicago politics race has always been an issue. It was an issue many years ago when Harold Washington ran for mayor. In this case though the race card came up conviently in the comments of Bill Beavers. In other words sometimes it's about not getting your way and it can almost be childish although at times it's effective.
Commissioner William Beavers said "if Todd was a white man, he wouldn't have half these problems," further alleging "this is a remake of the Harold Washington days" at City Hall, where racially fueled votes often ended in 29-21 decisions.
"Who's gonna control the county -- white or black -- that's all this is," he said.
Beavers railed on that one of Stroger's top critics, Commissioner Tony Peraica, "hates everybody who's black ... all black elected officials," going on to say Peraica used to beat up black people growing up in the Bridgeport neighborhood.
Peraica and others say the comments are not only untrue, they're born of a desperate frustration that Stroger can't pass a 2 percentage-point sales tax hike or other increases.
"Todd Stroger's credibility -- which has nothing to do with race -- is at a low ebb," Peraica said. "He needs to build up that credibility."
Even Commissioner John Daley, a Stroger ally, was surprised by Beavers' words, defending Peraica. "It's wrong for anyone to play the race card," he added.
Todd Stroger may not getting his budget passed not because he's black, but because he's not proven himself politically able. I could even aruge as I would have with the governor that Stroger is probably used to being a legislator. Stroger served in the Illinois House of Representatives before he returned to Chicago for his appointment as an Alderman on the Chicago City Council. I would even dare say that Stroger is a backbencher, I could say that about the governor too.
As for Beavers well everyone should know by now that he has a big mouth. Apparently it's going to hurt him and I asked why Russ Stewart said he'd lose his commissioner's seat back in May. He already has lost his aldermanic seat that he got his daughter, Darcel, appointed to and we'll just have to see about whether he'll remain the elected head of the Democratic party in the 7th ward. He's facing a challenge from freshman Ald. Sandi Jackson, the same one who vanquished Darcel Beavers back in February.
Hey I've got one more thing to share with you on this issue. The Sun-Times had an editorial and I saw this nice little line from it...
Anyone advocating new taxes in this economic downturn is going to be met with strong resistance, no matter what color his or her skin is. Notice that no presidential candidate is running on a ticket of raising income taxes. There's a reason.Hah, pretty good and a lesson that good ole Todd has yet to take heed. It's good advice too and I generally wonder if he's willing to do the right thing and cut Beavers loose. If nothing else cut Beavers loose and find another floor leader.
Stroger needs to stop letting Beavers be his mouthpiece. He needs to denounce racial rhetoric and be the political tactician the public needs. Stroger must stand up for all taxpayers -- black, white, and brown. He's got to be his own man and defend his own plan. Daley did it: He didn't get a rubber stamp on his tax plan. More than 21 aldermen voted against his property tax. Some of the dissenters were black, white and Hispanic. Neither tax plan is about race.
Stroger should listen to what Daley said. "A leader can lead -- and a leader can also hear."
Here are some other blog posts of interest
Beavers leaves it to the race card as America's worst governmental body gets worse from Marahton Pundit
Denial from the Capitol Fax blog
Because He's Black?!? from Illinoize
Commissioners Gone Wild from Chicagoist
County Board Follies from Second City Cop