Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Liz Gorman has been riding a media tsunami of publicity

Over the past few weeks, Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman has been riding the crest of a huge tsunami of media coverage, leading the county debate on the fight against the repressive Tod Stroger 1 Percent Sales Tax.

She was on WTTW Channel 11 last week and will be on again tonight at 7 pm discussing the decision by County Board President Todd Stroger to veto the sales tax repeal passed last week by the county board. The repeal ordinance was introduced by Gorman and backed by 11 other county commissioners including John Daley and Larry Sufferedin.

The repeal ordinance was dubbed "The Gorman Repeal" and it sent shock waves through the beleaguered Stroger administration which was taken by complete surprise. Of course, STroger's administration is so incompetent, the only greater surprises have been his scandals and controversies -- hiring busboys and towel boys that he meets at restaurants and exclusive health clubs.

Sounds too weird! Imagine, getting a top county job just by serving Stroger a plate of food.

Stroger's publicity campaign has been weak and poorly constructed. No matter what he does, most residents of the county rexognize that Stroger is scrambling to try and save his down-spiralling administration. He inherited his post from his highly qualified father, the late John Stroger. But he just doesn't know how to hang on. Instead of strategic media, he hires glad-handers and goofs to push his agenda, when in fact they're hammering him with high priced consulting fees to place releases and photos in community newspapers that could get in without any outside help.

But Stroger's message is the problem. What is his message? i'll cut health services and release prisoners if you don't give me more money for my bloated administration? Pathetic.

Stroger is faced with a real dilemma. He's in a fight for his life to survive the Democratic Primary this Spring. And even if he does, it is unlikely that he will survive the General Election in November 2010.

What would he do? Well, how about something smart ... like ... cut your bloated administration first. Set the xample of leadership. Shwo people you can make the cuts first before you hammer the county with more repressive taxation. Then ask the county board to follow your leadership with their cuts, too. Then, and only then, hold public hearings to explore more ways to off-set alleged budget shortfalls. Engage the public in the process.

But that would be too smart. It's easier for him -- leaderless and uncreative -- and his high priced money-driven consultants, to raise taxes and demand more money. And that's another problem. Stroger's lack of credibility. When he says the county needs money, no one believes his whimpering political snivling. Chances are he's just raising taxes to benefit himself.

Tragic. Such a nice guy. But a poor county leader.

Stroger's injured political career is going to reinforce the Republican Party and undermine the ability of Democrats to win. His party has to be seriously concerned about the ability to survive this, and that may in fact undermine his primary election in the Spring.

-- Ray Hanania

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