Monday, October 19, 2009

Reading the election fine print in the 17th Cook County District

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A friend went to Randy's Market Monday in the Mall that the Village has been trying to shut down for the past year at 143rd and LaGrange when a woman came up to him and said, "Can you sign this petition? We want to get rid of Todd Stroger."

Now, my friend is no big fan of Todd Stroger, the Cook County Board President who shoved a 1 percent sales tax hike down our throats forcing businesses in Orland Park and other communities on the county's western borders to flee. So he said he stopped to sign and saw that it was actually a petition to Put Patrick Maher, the Democratic candidate for the Cook County 17th District on the ballot.

The friend was smart enough to ask what was up considering Pat Maher's father is in fact David Maher, the clerk of the Village of Orland Park, the very same village trying to shut down Randy's Market. And of course, he also knows that those "Mahers" are related to the powerful 19th Ward family of Tom and Dan Hynes, who both, by the way, have been big political backers of the Strogers, Todd and his late father John, for years.

I emailed Pat Maher (earlier today) asking him if in fact he is campaigning to oust Todd Stroger, because that would be a good story. It's especially a good story since Maher and Stroger are both Democrats and he is trying to unseat Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman, the Republican incumbent from the 17th District who has been a serious pain in Stroger's ass this past year. It was Gorman who wouldn't relent on the campaign to repeal Stroger's sales tax. Although the effort fell short several times, her efforts have made the Sales Tax repeal the most talked about issue for voters in Cook County. Maher, by the way, is the president of the Orland Fire Protection District.

Maher must face-off first with Victor Forys, who has a penchant for raising huge campaign contributions, in the Democratic primary. It's not a certainty that Maher will win and Forys has lined up significant Democratic backing for his campaign from Gov. Pat Quinn and many Democratic commissioners and party leaders in the bowling alley district that stretches from Orland Park to the northwest suburbs.

When asked about the incident, a manager at Randy's Market told my friend that he thought the petitions were for the Mahers (Gerald and Robert) who opposed the closing of the mall but who are not related to the David and Patrick Mahers. Ironically, David Maher published a letter in the local paper blasting the "other" Mahers claiming they were telling people they were "related" and abusing their "good name."

(I emailed Maher asking for his response and comments and also also Gorman and Forys. I'll post their comments in an update if and when they come in.)

Candidates turn in their signatures for the February election beginning Monday October 26 and have until Monday Nov. 2, which is another story I'll be writing about called "coincidences." (There are no coincidences in politics.)

Aaah. Politics! Nothing changes whether its in Chicago's Machine backyard or in the mini-19th Ward called Orland Park.

-- Ray Hanania

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