September 20, 2017
BOYKIN PLANNING CHALLENGE TO PRECKWINKLE, WITH 1-CENT/OZ. SODA TAX TOP ISSUE

Cook County consumers, already socked with a 10.5% sales tax -- the highest in the nation -- are now paying a penny-per-ounce soda tax on sugared beverages. That adds up to 72-cents on a six-pack of Pepsi, and 68-cents on a 2-liter bottle. Where's the DuPage County line? It also adds up to severe political problems for county board president Toni Preckwinkle and her 8 pro-tax commissioners. Black Comr. Richard Boykin is planning to challenge her in the 3-20-18 Democratic primary, and starts off as only a slight underdog. The Board will have repeal votes on Oct. 10-11, but Preckwinkle can veto any repeal, and 11 votes are needed to override. It's a lose-lose situation: If Preckwinkle vetoes, it's the primary issue in the primary; if she doesn't, she looks toothless and powerless. Toni The Tiger is no more. The beverage industry will heavily fund all pro-repeal challengers, while Mayor Bloomberg will finance pro-tax ads. Comrs. Arroyo and Moody are under heavy pressure to switch, and newly-appointed Comr. Deer will likely side with Boykin, the 4 Republicans, and the 3 white Democrats to vote for repeal. ATTACHED IS A CHART listing commissioners, districts, and their 2016 soda tax vote. Full Article...


September 13, 2017
BERRIOS FACES QUANDARY IN 2018 ASSESSOR RACE

Imagine this TV ad next year: "I'm Assessor Joe Berrios. Re-elect me. I get you your tax bills on time." And the ads of his opponent, Fritz Kaegi, are going to slam Berrios with buzzwords like fairness, transparency, favoritism, special treatment for wealthy and politically-connected, pay-to-play, nepotism and inequities. Berrios has $1.6 million on-hand, but how to spend it? He has 6 months to reinvent himself, to eradicate his generally negative image, and sell the electorate on the great job he is doing in an office that determines the taxability and value of Cook County's 1.8 million parcels of property. It's not going to be easy. Kaegi is totally unknown. But he can win by telegraphing four magic words: "I'm not Joe Berrios." Full Article...


September 6, 2017
LAURINO-D'AMICO DYNASTY UNDER SIEGE IN 39TH WARD

There is no political consensus in Chicago's northwest side 39th Ward. A slight majority of residents think that the venerable Laurino-D'Amico Dynasty, which has ruled since 1965, is just swell; the slight minority think all bad things must end. Ald. Marge Laurino, who has a 100% pro-Emanuel voting record, is running again in 2019. Democratic committeeman Robert Murphy, who held her to 54% in 2015, says she is running because Emanuel asked her. Murphy, Casey Smagala and Lou Manfredini are possible 2019 candidates. Laurino believes voters understand that city taxes needed to be hiked in order to save city pensions. Murphy says that they -- meaning Tony Laurino (elected alderman in 1965), and his offspring, and his offspring's offspring, and a slew of in-laws -- were "present at the creation" of the current crisis, in the city council as well as Springfield. They view government as kind of a family employment agency, said Matt Podgorski, ward Republican committeeman. State Rep. John D'Amico (D-15), the alderman's nephew, had a tough 2016 primary, but has over $300,000 on-hand going into 2018, may have no primary foe, and is favored over Republican Amanda Biela next year. Full Article...


August 30, 2017
DEMOCRATIC WHITE MEN HIT "GLASS CEILING"

They have become tokens, inconsequential and irrelevant. White men in the Cook County Democratic Party have hit the proverbial "glass ceiling." Of the 16 countywide positions on the 2018 ballot, including 7 judges, slatemakers picked three white men -- or 18%. The remaining 13 were women and/or minorities. The Democrats' powerhouse remains county board president Toni Preckwinkle, who got a former aide elected state's attorney in 2016, and who got herself and two more former aides slated for MWRD commissioner and lieutenant governor for 2018. Other than Assessor Joe Berrios, all the re-slated incumbents appear secure. Berrios will be opposed by Fritz Kaegi, who won't be credible nor viable unless he spends $5 million. Lisa Madigan's once-rosy future looks less rosy; polls reportedly show her "approval" has plunged, due to her dad. In the judicial contests, one white male was slated, along with 3 blacks and one Hispanic male. A plethora of Irish-surnamed females will run for those judgeships, and likely win all five. Full Article...


August 23, 2017
MARTWICK MUM ON ARENA'S COLONIZATION PLANS FOR "NEANDERTHAL PARK"

Chicago Ald. John Arena (45th) is a man on a mission. He promises to desegregate the northerly Jefferson Park and Gladstone Park part of his northwest side ward -- aka "Neanderthal Park" -- by 2019, and is busily pushing his 5150 Northwest Hwy. project, which will bring in CHA-list tenants and mandate "affordable" (meaning below market) apartment units. Needless to say, there has been some pushback. This has created a predicament for St. Rep. Rob Martwick (D-19), in that the heart of his House district is "Neanderthal Park." But the loquacious Martwick, who usually is very chatty, has clammed-up on 5150. For him, it's no vote/no voice. "I don't get involved in zoning," he said. Republican Ammie Kessem is running against him in 2018, and will make 5150 a prime issue. If she gets decent funding, "Mums" Martwick may have a problem. Full Article...


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