April 18, 2018

To anoint or to appoint? That is the legal question surrounding the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District seat of the late Commissioner Tim Bradford, who died on December 1. The MWRD is an independent agency created in 1889 by the Illinois legislature to treat and dispose of solid and liquid waste in Cook County, so the governor has authority to make appointments should any of the nine seats become vacant. But the county clerk and state's attorney made a rushed and legally dubious 2017 decision to put the Bradford vacancy on the March 20 primary ballot, with no candidates listed. The filing period closed on December 4, so nobody had the time to gather the 8,075 signatures to get a ballot line. Governor Bruce Rauner has since appointed David Walsh, a republican. The March 20 voters nominated Cam Davis, of Evanston, an attorney and former Obama Administration official, giving him an incredible 54,183 write-in votes. He was declared the Democratic nominee on April 10, but has not yet been certified for the November ballot. The Bradford vacancy legal issues are twofold: First, who serves? And second, for how long? This will soon surface in federal court. Full Article...

April 11, 2018

Ira Silverstein was not just defeated on March 20. Instead, the 20-year Democratic state senator was resoundingly repudiated, getting an abysmal 29.9 percent of the vote in the four-candidate 8th Illinois Senate District primary, losing 138 of the district's 166 precincts. He lost 19 of 40 precincts in the 50th Ward, his political base, 38 of 39 precincts in the 39th Ward, and 67 of 71 precincts in the suburbs. The winner was Ram Villivalam, a 31-year old lobbyist and field organizer for the Service Employees International Union, known as SEIU Healthcare, who received 14,689 votes, or 51.3 percent, to Silverstein's 8,586 votes, with 1,491 votes for David Zulkey and 3,864 for Caroline McAteer-Fournier. In the 45 years I have written this column, no incumbent other than former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has been beaten so badly. The reason for Silverstein's demise can be summarized in two politically toxic words: Sexual harassment, which is defined as (1) conduct, either through words or actions, (2) by a person in authority or employer, (3) which the recipient finds to be "offensive." Full Article...

April 4, 2018

"Massive resistance" it was not. The results of the 3/20 Democratic primary in Chicago's 454th Ward show that the low-income 5150 Northwest Hwy. project is not deleterious to Ald. John Arena and his allies. They crushed all opposition. In the 19th Dist., Arena ally State Rep. Rob Martwick won 4,049-2,108 (65.8%), carrying all 37 45th precincts in Jefferson Park and Gladstone Park, with foe Jeff LaPorte not topping 35% in any. In the 12th Dist. County Board race, Arena-endorsed Bridget Degnen won 3,065-2,494, and in the 10th judicial subcircuit, Arena-endorsed Stephanie Saltouros won 3,830-2,237-841. Arena may be polarizing and arrogant, but he is not the "kiss of death" his foes thought he was. Full Article...

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