I never heard of Mark Thompson until he announced his candidacy for commissioner in the 17th District. His web site describes him this way:
"Mark Thompson has 8 years of experience as a Municipal Chief Executive as he was elected and re-elected Maine Township Supervisor for two 4-year terms (1993-2001). He has experience as an Attorney and former Prosecutor. Mark served for 10 years as Chief Deputy Director under then-Secretary of State Jim Edgar. Additionally, Mark is a former member of the Northwest Municipal Conference and was elected to two terms as Secretary of that body."His goal is to beat Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman who is the incumbent in the 17th District. Gorman has her critics in the Republican Party, mainly those associated with ostracized Commissioner Tony Peraica, a decent person who works hard at making every enemy a worse enemy and every friend an enemy, too. Peraica can't seem to work with anyone. He seems obsessed not with his own re-election, or defending the rights of residents in his own district, where he will likely face-off (if he is fortunate to beat his Republican challenger Western Springs trustee Brian Sloan) in November with Democratic challenger Jeff Tobolski in the November election, but rather he is focused on hating Gorman.
Is Thompson a Peraica disciple?
I can't connect all the dots, and I don't think it matters, but there is no doubt that they sure share the same kind of profile. Because Thompson REALLY hates Gorman.
In the past six weeks, all I have received from the Thompson campaign, which claims on his web site at MarkThompson2010.com that his foe is "Todd Stroger," are negative mud-slung garbage that has nothing to do with the issues facing the district and have everything to do, every time, with bashing, name-calling and slander against Gorman. Gorman's web site is www.LizGorman.com.
Where is the 10 point plan to defend the rights of taxpayers in the 17th District that stretches like a bowling alley from Orland Park in the South to Wheeling in the north?
Where are the plans to confront the Stroger Sales tax -- something that Gorman has done brilliantly and effectively over the past two years. In fact, if Thompson says his fight is against Stroger, why hasn't Thompson released a press release detailing how he would roll-back the remaining 1/2 percent sales tax hike that Stroger imposed?
More importantly, why is Thompson focusing all of his attacks against Gorman, the one member of the Cook County Board who didn't flip-flop on the sales tax issue and singlehandedly helped build the coalition of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who have forced the roll-back of the first 1.2 percent of the sales tax.
It was Gorman's persistence that has kept the battle to roll back the sales tax alive until it finally succeeded after four major votes. Might I remind everyone that nine (9) commissioner originally voted to approve the sales tax? That one of those, had he not voted to support it and now opposes the sales tax, could have stopped the whole issue with one correct vote but failed int he first place?
Gorman did not fail in her fight against Stroger. She's been all over it. The roll-back was the result of a coalition finally coming together and standing firm with 12 votes to support rollback, and, with the help of the Legislature -- which legislative members said they were motivated by Gorman's persistence and refusal to give up -- voted to lower the number of votes needed to override Stroger's headlock on the corruption plague Cook County Government that he heads.
Peraica tried, too, to roll back the sales tax. But he couldn't get one of the other 17 commissioners to "second" or support his motions so they could even be considered. Is that what Thompson is promising too? More reckless lone-gunmen style politics where personality clashes prevent a good commissioner from defending the needs of taxpayers?
Part of this battle is about the needs of the taxpayers. But a large part of the battle, as I discovered in sitting through a press briefing that Gorman conducted at her offices with United Republican Fund activist and columnist Fran Eaton (She writes for the Southtown and the Illinois Review which is a great resource on conservative politics), is that there are some Republicans who are not happy with candidates who have been slated for office in Orland Township. (Click here for the link to the interview session.)
Gorman talked about her achievements and what she plans to do when she returns to the Cook County Board. Gorman didn't initiate any attacks against Thompson, although Gorman DID respond to questions posed about assertions and claims and name-calling Thompson has made.
She was the sole voice in challenging giving Cook County money to Stroger pal Dr. Charles Flowers who Gorman repeatedly warned the Cook County board for a year was not managing his finances properly as regional schools superintendent (Why do we even have that job in the first place). Here's a story from WBBM TV (Click HERE for the YouTube video) detailing how Gorman opened the County Board's eyes to Flower's alleged mismanagement of his office's finances.
I suspect all of this not only involves Peraica, but also another Gorman nemesis, Patrick Maher, who also spends a lot of time attacking Gorman even though he is in a tough race on the Democratic side Feb. 2 being challenged by popular candidate Dr. Victor Forys. Forys and Maher are running in the Democratic primary race and Gorman and Thompson are in the Republican primary, both Feb. 2. Maher is the son of Orland Park village clerk David Maher. And is anyone surprised that another Maher is also trying to unseat Gorman as Orland Township Committeeman, Gerald Maher?
When everyone gangs up against a candidate, and a woman, by the way in a field of only a few women candidates, and they are all hammering her and attacking her and calling her names and slandering her family and avoiding talking about the issues like the fact that Gorman has helped save the taxpayers millions over the years, you have to wonder what's going on.
I think the taxpayers and the voters are smart enough to figure this all out. A bunch of arrogant men in politics -- isn't that always the case? -- want to take control of the 17th District and they don't like a woman who has the chutzpah to kick ass and take names when it comes to defending the rights of taxpayers.
I've been upfront in this column repeatedly. I think Gorman is doing a great job when it comes to defending the rights of the taxpayer sand voters. I haven't seen anything from Thompson or the Maher-twins either about what they would do to really put the brakes to Stroger's mismanagement of Cook County and Stroger's abusive taxation policies, other than their vicious attacks against Gorman.
I think voters see that, too.
-- Ray Hanania