Monday, November 15, 2010

Liz Gorman's bankruptcy is a non-issue for voters

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The only reason anyone is talking about Liz Gorman filing bankruptcy is because she holds a public office. Maybe whent he economy is going gangbusters as it was a decade or more ago, one might wonder why someone with that kind of public stature would have to file bankruptcy.

But in the past 10 years, the nation's economy has tanked. I think we have been on the edge of a depression for many years, struggling from collapsing. This is the worst economy we have had in years. The Gorman's troubles with their business -- although Liz is named in all the documents, she is the spouse in a business arrangement that has gone south. It happens.

Today, I know more than 50 people who have filed bankruptcy. They come from all walks of life. Business people. Professionals in medicine and engineering. A few reporters, too. So why is it a story? Because she is Liz Gorman and the news media doesn't consider bankruptcy's a story unless it involves a celebrity.

We wish Liz Gorman and her husband Gerry and their family the best. Going through a bankruptcy is never easy. But Liz Gorman is a champion of fighting for the rights of the consumer and taxpayers that she deserves extra-ordinary support from us. There are so few elected officials who have shownt he chutzpah and strength to fight for taxpayers the way she has over the past few years.

I would rather have a bankrupt county commissioner, than one who does nothing and has all the money int he world to show for it.

Liz Gorman's bankruptcy is just a reminder that although she has taken on the role to fight for our interests on the Cook County Board, she is just like everyone else. And sometimes, things don't always work out in our private lives the way we hope.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Voters oust Peraica and reject 19th Ward suburban takeover in Orland Park

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Voters oust Peraica and reject 19th Ward suburban takeover in Orland Park
By Ray Hanania

Suburban Cook County Voters in the Southwest and West suburbs tossed out one incumbent Republican commissioner in the 16th District and blocked a Machine Democrat from taking control of another in the 17th District.

Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica (R-16th), the often obnoxious and loudmouthed publicity hound who was shunned by his own party colleagues on the board, was thrown out of office Tuesday night.

Ironically, the woman and colleague he most scorned at board meetings, Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman easily defeated a challenge from Patrick Maher, the cousin of outgoing Comptroller Dan Hynes in a rebuff of the powerful 19th Ward Democratic Machine.

Neither election was about party politics, though, although the 19th Ward has tightened its grip on elections and government positions in Southwest Suburban Orland Park over the years. But the elections in both races were more about honesty and character.

The unofficial vote count is: Gorman 55,514 votes to Maher 33,819, and Tobolski 32,781 and Peraica 27,617 votes.

Only days before the election, Peraica was arrested late Saturday night after he was caught by police destroying campaign signs of his opponent, Tobolski. First, Peraica was stopped in Stickney, where police reported they suspected he was destroying signs but did not have a witness to file charges. Less than 20 minutes later, he was stopped in nearby McCook, where Tobolski is the mayor, and arrested when police saw him drive out of a driveway of an 80 year old woman’s home where a Tobolski sign had been destroyed.

During the stop, which occurred at 11:15 pm, a neighbor came running out claiming he also saw the suspects destroying the signs on his property. The suspect turned out to be Tony Peraica driving around with an aide and carrying a large fireman’s poll often used to pull down debris from burning buildings.

Peraica was dressed in black and a cap on his head and claimed he was merely driving around to put up his own signs. Of course, Peraica had no signs of his own in the white van. He was charged, booked and jailed until authorities released him at 3 in the morning on an I-Bond, not requiring a cash deposit.

In his usual self-destructive style, Peraica immediately called a press conference on Sunday and then again on Monday to spin his version of the story. But voters could not erase the image of an elected official acting so foolishly, driving around in the middle of the night in all black tearing down the campaign signs on private property of another candidate. Peraica

rejected publicity hound Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica handing his rival McCook Mayor Jeffery Tobolski a landslide victory on Tuesday.

In the neighboring 17th District, voters trounced the campaign of Patrick Maher, the controversial head of the Orland Fire Protection District and the cousin of 19th Ward scion and outgoing Comptroller Dan Hynes.

Maher and Liz Gorman were in a tight race months ago as Democratic activists from Orland Park and the 19th Ward flooded Maher’s campaign with funds and volunteers.

But weeks before the election, FOX Chicago News reporter Dane Placko reported that Maher was hiding a secret. He had been arrested and charged with a felony in the brutal beating while a college student of another student. That student today remains with brain damage. Maher went to trial but later agreed to a plea bargain misdemeanor assault.

Making matters worse, Maher did not disclose the conviction when asked on campaign forms by several local news media. And, it appeared that Maher had intentionally tried to hide the conviction, using a different birth date on his records. Changing a birth date makes it almost impossible for anyone to determine in a person has had a prior conviction. Maher’s father is the Clerk of Orland Park and an employee of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“I’m thrilled to have the backing of the voters,” Gorman told me last night during her victory celebration. “I’ll continue to fight to defend their rights against excessive taxation and bloated county budgets.”

Maher tried and failed to link Gorman to outgoing County Board President Todd Stroger. In reality, Gorman was Stroger’s political nightmare. Gorman led the fight to repeal Stroger’s one cent sales tax hike. And when the move was rebuffed by Stroger and the board seemed to wane, Gorman persisted and reintroduced the effort several times until it passed and half of the tax was repealed.

Her colleague Peraica tried to introduce similar legislation but not on member of the Cook County Board would second his efforts, showing that he had no friends or alliances on the county board.

Peraica and his minions, including two writers at extremist WIND AM Radio and two activists in Justice, were constantly attacking anyone who questioned his failed leadership.

“I am honored to become the representative for the voters of the 16th District of Cook County,” Tobolski told me last night. “I will fight for their rights and make their interests and needs a the priority.”

The election contests were overshadowed by the statewide battles for the U.S. Senate between Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, and Illinois Governor between incumbent Democrat Patrick Quinn and downstate Republican challenger Bill Brady.

Kirk has claimed victory while the race for governor remains too close to call at this writing.

Nationally, Republicans took control of the U.S House, a tradition that has repeated itself in most off-year elections. The party that controls the White House has lost control of the U.S. House in every election except two, once right after the Depression and once right after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Democrats expected to lose control of the House as Republicans lost control of the house during the second term of President George W. Bush.

The changing of control of the House now puts the pressure on Republicans to confront the deteriorating economy and the increasing job losses that began under the Bush administration. During the first two years of the Obama administration, the Republicans were in lock step rejecting everything Obama introduced.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tony Peraica loses election. Charges of destroying signs cost him the election

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Tony Peraica loses: His last minute Ninja routine destroying signs cost him the election

Loudmouthed Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica is projected to lose to McCook Mayor Jeff Tobolski in one of the most outrageous examples of alleged campaign abuse by an incumbent.

Only days before, Peraica was arrested for allegedly destroying election campaign signs for Tobolski in McCook, after he was spotted in Stickney by police who suspected he had destroyed Tobolski signs there, too.

Peraica had a knack for pushing his face in front of every press conference, and turning every opportunity in to a PR stunt. But his arrest may have sealed the deal this time, and Tobolski has a strong voter lead over Peraica as the final precincts in Suburban Cook County are tallied.

With 214 of 230 precincts reporting, Tobolski leads Peraica by a landslide margin. Tobolski has 50.64 percent to Peraica with 42.29 percent. Tobolski took all of the 25 votes in the one precinct in Chicago.

Tobolski has 31,047 votes to Peraica who trails with only 25,933 votes, a comfortable margin of more than 5,000 votes. With only 16 precincts left to count, and an average of about 216 votes per precinct, or only 4,300 remaining votes in the district, Peraica falls short even if he takes all 100 percent of the remaining votes.

Say good bye to Tony Peraica.

Congratulations to Jeff Tobolski, who, for the first time, will give the 16th Cook County Board real representation.

-- Ray Hanania

9 pm: Gorman projected winner in 17th District as count continues with heavy lead

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Gorman projected winner in 17th District as count continues with heavy lead

9 pm: The vote count is not yet completed, but with 213 of 278 precinct reporting, Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz'Doody Gorman (R-17th) is leading by a strong margin. Gorman has 42,444 votes to Maher's 26,174 votes. That's about 70,000 votes cast in 213 precincts. With 65 precincts remaining, that means if the vote totals hold consistent, that there are about 23,000 more votes left. To catch up, Maher would need 16,000 votes, leaving about 7,000 votes to decide the race. 

In other words, Maher would have to take almost 20,000 of the remaining 23,000 votes in the remaining 65 precincts to win, a statistical impossibility.

He could close the gap, but it is a wide gap. The Orland Parker Blog is projected Liz Gorman the winner.

That makes Gorman the kingmaker in Orland Park and she shut down, singlehandedly, the Orland Park Democrats who went full court press with money (from unions and the Hynes clan -- Maher is a cousin of Dan Hynes) to defeat Gorman.

But Maher's undoing was listening to whomever is the moron who advised him to try to hide or disguise his past. His past conviction and his efforts to hide it, including using a false birth date so that reporters and rivals might not discover the conviction, was his undoing.

You can't hide the truth.

And Maher's strategy to link Gorman to failed Cook County Board President Todd Stroger was a preposterous and stupid strategy.

Gorman singlehandedly stood up to Stroger's repeated tax hikes and when the other commissioners were prepared to give up, Gorman rallied them to a second and third try until half of the one percent sales tax was repealed.

Maher's poor leadership of the Orland Fire Protection District also was an albatross he could not disguise either with false claims that he cut taxes. The Orland Fire Protection District is one of the highest taxed fire districts in the state and one of the two highest in the nation. $25 million to run one fire protection district. It's outrageous.

Other projected winners: State Rep. Kevin McCarthy over Tea Party Republican Jeff Junkas. And, the balance is out there as Jeff Tobolski, the mayor of McCook, continues to lead with a healthy margin in the race to unseat mercurial and loud-mouthed county commissioner Tony Peraica. The Peraica-Tobolski battle will be close but Tobolski got a boost when Peraica was arrested when he was caught destroying election signs on Saturday night. Peraica was arrested, jailed for four hours and had his mug shot taken, forever burning the image of his mug shot.

What was Peraica doing in Stickney and then McCook at 11 pm at night wearing a black shirt (according to his mug shot image released by McCook Police) and driving around in a van?

Voters are not stupid, Peraica. At least most of them are not.

To review the final tallies:


-- Ray Hanania

You think something is going to change the day after the election? Think again

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You think something is going to change the day after the election? Think again

No, I'm not talking about whether the polls are right and the Republicans will sweep -- although let the Republicans take responsibility for the mess former President George W. Bush and VP Dick Cheney left on us after 8 years of mismanagement and a phony concocted war that cost billions.

I'm talking about the fact that no matter who wins, the economy sucks and it ain't gonna get better no time soon. Yes, Wednesday, millions of people will still be out of jobs. There are so many families out there in need and who have problems they just can't address because even if they do have jobs, they are not making enough money.

Healthcare sucks in this country despite the lies on the TV commercials from those special interest groups, like the one that portrays the fat lady who complains she had cancer and would have died under Canada's free medical system because she would have had to wait -- an out right lie that every acknowledges except for the fat lady's sponsors -- and she came to the US to get cancer treatment, the best int he world. Yes, the American health system is great -- not the best -- but who paid for her treatment? The phony commercial doesn't answer that. Because that is the problem. The privileged fat lady had a sugar daddy cover her cancer problem and yes, if you have money, who needs health care reform.

People are at home sick hoping to put off medical care for as long as possible because they can't afford it. That's the problem. Sure, healthcare is great in America -- if you can afford it and most people can't. And worse, the system is rigged to screw the poor.

For example, if you go to an emergency room in Chicago, the bill will probably be about $4,000 for basic care. If you don't have insurance, you have to pay and not being able to pay or having been there before and having failed to pay, you would be out on your sick ass.

But, if you have healthcare insurance, the insurance company negotiates a reduction in costs. The bill goes down to about $900. You pay your co-pay or deduction and the insurance company pays the balance.

So why is the system made to help the people who can afford healthcare and designed to screw the people who can't. Old people who have health care from retirement and bloated pensions could care less about the rest of the world and they only care about themselves. Because in this country, we don't care about seniors so they get scared and are easily stampeded to believe stupid claims like the death panels. How ignorant, but effective to swing the vote against healthcare.

And we'll still have government control even though the Republicans insist that they are opposed to increased government intervention in our lives. The truth is every Republican and Democrat and elected official lives completely under government controlled healthcare options. It's so good, they just don't want to give it to the rest of us, so they have us believing that we should hate what they love.

Are we stupid? Must be!

The debt will continue to rise and China will still be our mortgage banker. And they will continue to pump cheap and poisoned products in to our country and no one is doing anything about it because the people who can are benefiting from the relationship.

The terrorist threat continues and the candidates have all figured out how to use that terrorist threat to distract American voters from their own failures as government officials and candidates in public office. As long as there is something to fear, we don't have time to think.

You think anything is going to change Wednesday, the day after the election?

Think again.

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chicagoland Syndication 11-01-10: Stroger name most vilified name in this week's election

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Poor Todd Stroger was everyone’s enemy in this election
By Ray Hanania
Chicagoland Syndication/Permission to reprint in full

It’s never easy for the children of powerful politicians.

Even Rich Daley, who will surpass his father’s record as mayor when he steps down from office next year probably in May, had it rough.

He was immediately marked as the person to prevent from becoming mayor. His father’s closest allies ended up becoming his chief obstacle. But Daley never gave up and the battle to survive made him a tougher person.

That was not to be the case of Todd Stroger, whose father was the affable president of the Cook County Board. Todd’s succession to his father was far smoother and too easy.

In the end, that was probably his fatal mistake.

Stroger was easily defeated in his bid to win the seat he was appointed to take, heading up the multi-billion dollar Cook County government his father had a hand in crafting.

But if that were not shame enough, to lose the job to his father’s former allies and friends, Todd Stroger became the number one person vilified in this week’s elections.

There were three names thrown around in the negative attack ads. President Barack Obama on the state and federal level, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich on the state level, and Todd Stroger on the county level.

In fact, I would say that more abuse was heaped on Todd Stroger than on any one individual political figure in the tsunami of election advertising that saturated our television, radio, newspapers, mail boxes and home telephones.

In a way, I do feel sorry for Todd Stroger. He was destined to stumble in to controversy, although he was always well meaning. When he tried to help someone, that someone usually got into trouble and Todd Stroger took the blame.

His name was thrown around like it was mud, far from the stature that it once carried when his father walked in to meetings of the state and county Democratic organizations of the contentious county board room.

Tragically, the battle for Tuesday’s elections really had nothing to do with Todd Stroger. But it was his name most voters will remember as having been the problem. From taxes to bloated spending, to searing political rivalries, Stroger was more in this week’s elections than he ever dreamed he would be after losing his bid to keep his father’s job.

People won’t remember the Todd Stroger that I once knew many years ago as a young kid being ushered into the Illinois legislature. He always had a smile, like his father, and was more of a centrist and moderate than a contentious extremist.

I once wondered if he might decide to run for mayor of Chicago in the February elections. There is still a few weeks left to file the nominating petitions.

But I imagine this election has done so much harm to his name that maybe he might just decide to fade in to a less controversial and more lucrative position in private business.

I wish him luck.

(Ray Hanania is a morning radio talk show host. He can be reached at

Tony Peraica caught red-handed ripping down signs, mugshot taken

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McCook Mayor Jeff Tobolski called Tony Peraica's assertions that he set Peraica up for an arrest Saturday night "ridiculous."

And Tobolski has the weight of th efacts on his side.

1 - Peraica was first stopped in Stickney where police suspected but had no witnesses to prove he was driving around vandalizing signs.

2 - Peraica was all dressed in black to disguise himself that late at night.

3 - He was stopped 30 minutes later in McCook, after leaving STickney, by a McCook police officer who saw him pulling out of a driveway belonging to an 80 year old lady who had a Tobolski sign that was vandalized. The police officer pulled him over.

4 - The lady in the home said Peraica never came to her door to ask to put up any Peraica signs.

5 - Peraica lied saying he was putting up his own signs, but the police said there were no such Peraica signs in the van he was driving with a campaign worker.

6 - A man who lived above the McCook Bohemian restaurant came out after seeing the commotion to complain he saw Peraica destroy signs on his property.

7 - Peraica says this was all set-up except that of course, did Tobolski lure Peraica in to McCook to be stopped? What was Peraica really doing in McCook? Do you know how hard it would be to set something like this up?

Peraica is full of beans and the running joke now is that if Peraica and his cohorts are thrown out of office Tuesday, Nov. 2, he'll probably go in to a business ripping down signs. Because that seems to be all he is good at.

Click here to listen to the radio interview with Tobolski, Peraica's challenger for the 16th Cook County District, and comments from callers.

Here's Peraica's mug shot one more time.