August 31, 2022

There are occasions when dawdling is a good thing, like with late property tax bills due to procrastination by officeholders and/or bureaucrats who invariably shun and shift the blame. Later is better than sooner. Out of sight is out of mind. Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi blames a technology glitch relating to transitioning from a mainframe computer to a new integrated property tax system as the reason why the 2021 2nd installment tax bills for all 1.8 million parcels will be mailed this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas rather than around Labor Day, which is normal. And expect those bills to be pricier and recipients to be unhappier. “It’s entirely (Kaegi’s) fault,” said state Senator Rob Martwick (D-10), a Northwest Side Democrat and partner in a Loop law firm which specializes in property tax assessment appeals. “He (Kaegi) was elected (in 2018) to fix those so-called ‘technology glitches’ in the office,” Martwick said. Martwick was a supporter of former assessor Joseph Berrios in the 2018 Democratic primary, which Kaegi won. Kaegi in a statement said “issuing tax bills is a shared responsibility of all offices,” that he’s “taken all steps” to “update an obsolete and dysfunctional system” and that the “delays were due to the need to export” his new system data “back to the old mainframe” used by BOR for 40 years. Kaegi added that BOR “should join the county in the new system.” In other words, he blames the Board of Review and the board blames him. Full Article...

August 24, 2022

There is little difference between being hapless and being a loser, although in politics they are usually synonymous. Hapless means being afflicted with bad fortune, bad luck and general helplessness. That fatal diagnosis invariably means loser. This year’s “Exhibit One” is Republican Darren Bailey, the Downstate farmer and state senator who had the good fortune, good luck and plenty of unexpected help to win the June 28 Republican governor primary with a blowout 57.5 percent (see chart). Former governor Jim Edgar (R) recently said that Republicans can never win in Illinois if they nominate somebody who half the state hates. With Bailey, who is pro-gun, anti-abortion, pro-Trump and anti-COVID mandates, they did just that. And the consequences were swift and predictable: Bailey’s money dried up, his campaign went into hibernation, Pritzker dominated the media in July and August, unloading a ton of negative media ads on Bailey, and the Republican is on track to get buried by 700,000-plus votes, losing worse than governor Bruce Rauner did in 2018, when he got 38.8 percent. See CHART of recent IL gubernatorial primary and election results. Full Article...

August 17, 2022

It is difficult to metaphorically “run” for public office when tethered to a proverbial “ball-and-chain.” That situation tends to drag candidates down politically and makes winning elections difficult. And that is precisely what hapless Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey is doing to the otherwise well-funded and very electable Republican county commissioner candidate Matt Podgorski in the Republican-leaning far Northwest Side and northwest suburban 9th District, which is being vacated by Pete Silvestri (R). 9TH DISTRICT/DAMAGE CONTROL: Bailey is 2022’s Trump – a “ball-and-chain” on all non-Downstate Republicans, including Podgorski. Podgorski, who spent $195,992 in the primary, vehemently disputes the “Bailey drag” premise. He noted Trump lost the district, as is currently configured, by 14 points (57-43) in 2020, and Bruce Rauner (R) by 5 points in 2018, but Pat O’Brien (R) trounced Kim Foxx by 35 points in 2020, Leslie Munger (R) won for comptroller by 4 points in 2016, and Rauner beat Pat Quinn (D) by 18 points in 2014. “It’s not a question of pro-Pritzker Democrats voting for me,” he said.  “It’s all about the non-Bailey Republicans and centrist independents sticking with me. That can be done.” Podgorski expects to raise $350,000. Full Article...

August 10, 2022

The MWRD is MIA. That’s a mouthful of pithy acronyms, but aptly reflects the reality that the nine elected Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioners and the $1.3 billion-budgeted agency is perpetually out-of-sight and out-of-mind. But it’s more like “MIIA,” which is missing-in-inaction. Nobody knows who they are, what they do, or why they’re needed and why those people need to be elected.The 2022 6-year winners (see chart) were incumbent Spyropoulos, Yumeka Brown, and Theresa Flynn, the candidate backed by IUOE Local 399 (stationary engineers). The IUOE has been sulking since 2018, when their incumbent/employee Martin Durkan, lost to Garcia. GET THOSE WIPES OUT OF THE PIPES: For the 2-year Shore vacancy, history was made – or maybe it was predictable – when a man, the slated Dan “Pogo” Pogorzelski, defeated two women – the Pritzker-appointed incumbent Chakena Perry whose husband is a top aide to the governor, and Elizabeth Joyce, part of the Avila slate.  Full Article...

August 3, 2022

WIMP is an acronym for "World of Identity and Minority Politics," which aptly describes the process of judgemaking in Cook County. A few non-inhabitants of the WIMP world were victorious. How much is a Cook County judgeship worth? I don’t mean how much it pays, which is $207,000 plus benefits and pension. I mean how much will a lawyer spend to win the robes? For Stephen Swedlow (D) in Chicago’s Loop/Lakefront 8TH SUBCIRCUIT the cost was $719,520 (through June 30), which came in the form of a $950,000 loan from himself. Luckily for him there remains $230,362 unspent.Inasmuch as Swedlow defeated Jennifer Brae 29,972-22,160 on June 28 with 57.5 percent, a margin of 7.802, the tab came to exactly $24 per vote.Eight factors determine outcomes: (1) slating, good for 40 percent, (2) name ID from a prior run or gender ID, with a female surname good for nearly 50 percent, (3) saturation advertising (like Swedlow) and money, (4) ethnicity, with Irish surnames helpful, (5) bar ratings and media endorsements, (6) number of opponents, (7) subliminal negative perceptions, as certain names can be off-putting, and (8) wedge constituencies, such as built-in votes from gays and marginalized others. Full Article...

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