Cook County Democrats slate Karen Yarbrough for Recorder of Deeds

State rep plans to run in 2012


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By Nick Moroni

Forest Park Review Editor

The Cook County Democratic Party announced last Thursday it is putting its support behind state Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-7th) in her bid for Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

Yarbrough has talked about running for the office in the 2012 race for months, and has said on several occasions that she hoped to be slated by the county. Her wish was fulfilled when the party unanimously named her as its candidate for the office in the upcoming race, according to a press release from her office.

"They really like my ideas," Yarbrough said.

She has been reaching out to the party since May. Members who didn't already know her from her work in state and local politics have "gotten a chance to know me and my work ethic."

Yarbrough's ideas include creating a fraud unit and making it easier to search for records — the current recorder's website, she says, is notoriously cumbersome.

Yarbrough added that her ideas for the fraud unit might require the passage of legislation.

"I know my way around Springfield ... and I've already had some conversations," Yarbrough said.

She also said she'd like to gather a group of lawyers, titleholders and any persons who frequently use the recorder's office and gather input on how improvements can be made.

"That office pretty much records," Yarbrough said. "It needs to do more than that."

Yarbrough's slating by county Democrats follows a recent suggestion by committee member and Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey (D-12th) that the recorder of deeds and the Cook County Clerk's offices be merged.

"Karen and I served together," said Fritchey, referring to the Illinois House. "I have ... respect for her abilities."

"I left a job that I love in the legislature ... to do some things to make Cook County government run more transparently and efficiently," he said.

He said the board could pass a resolution at its next meeting that would leave the decision up to county voters through a referendum on the November 2012 ballot.

"I want to directly give Cook County taxpayers the decision to determine how best to use their tax dollars," Fritchey said.

Yarbrough didn't appear to support the proposal to merge the offices.

"I have not talked with [Fritchey] about it," Yarbrough said. "I don't really know if he knows the real importance of that office."

"I'm open to the idea of looking at it if there are efficiencies," she added. "I don't think abolishing the office is the thing to do."

For months, Yarbrough has been saying that she wanted to be slated by the Cook County Democrats. Her backing comes after current Recorder Eugene Moore announced he was retiring. It is not clear if that influenced the party's decision to back Yarbrough. A call to the Cook County Democratic Party went unreturned.

But Yarbrough said Moore's retirement had nothing to do with the party's decision.

"Some committeemen didn't even know who held the seat and felt that I'd be a better fit for the job," she said.

Yarbrough's quest for recorder opens up the race for the 7th District House seat she'll be leaving behind.

Several have expressed interest in the seat, including Forest Park Commissioner Rory Hoskins, who said he would only run if Yarbrough bowed out.

"It's her seat," Hoskins said at a fundraiser back in August.

Yarbrough is not the only one interested in the recorder's seat. Darlena Williams-Burnett, Eugene Moore's chief deputy, is also reportedly considering a run.

Chris Welch, president of the Proviso High School District 209 Board of Education, has expressed interest in running for Yarbrough's 7th District seat. He ran unsuccessfully against her in the 2006 primary.

Next up, Yarbrough needs to get the necessary signatures to get on the March primary ballot.

"I really appreciate the outpouring of support from all parts of Cook County," she said. "I'll be in a neighborhood near you, asking people to sign my petitions."

"I got my work cut out for me."

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Silly from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2011 10:15 AM

Thomas, Realestate is down in the dump right now. A CCRD office will not give it any legs. I partially blame the real estate community for the debacle. At least in terms of the pricing that went sky high thanks to the over zealous agents who kept raising the bar. Banks get the blame for making bad loans to people that might not qualify, but maybe if prices were in order, they wouldn't be so many defaults or foreclosures.

Thomas Jones from Chicago  

Posted: October 10th, 2011 10:49 PM

As someone who works in the real estate industry, I believe that it would be a mistake to elemanate the CCRD office. I disagree that a hired adminstrator could adquatly execute the duties of that office. I believe a strong leader can restore relevency to CCRD office, and incorpporate the effeciencies needed to make it a self sustaining appratus of CC government. In addition a strong leader in that office can achive legislative approval of ideas to make the office a profitable revenue center

T.J. from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2011 7:24 AM

Most major cities don't have a recorder of deeds office. They simply role the responsibility into the clerk's office. Makes sense to me.

Stetson Siler from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2011 6:58 AM

Why is the Recorder of Deeds a political position? It sounds like a purely administrative position that a civil servant could be hired to do.

Silly from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2011 10:12 PM

I thought there was an idea out there that wanted to get rid of the CCRD office and blend it into the CC Clerks office and save $1Mill/Yr.

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