Citizens of Oak Park: I need your help. I know the winter has dragged on way too long. I know that a March primary election for Cook County Commissioner is about as exciting as snowplows on your street. But you need to vote on March 18 in the Democratic primary and elect an honest person as Cook County Commissioner.
Ike Carothers is a former West Side alderman, the head of a once formidable West Side political organization, and a convicted felon.
Ike is not just any kind of convicted felon (such as people who dabbled in drugs in their youth but are now reformed). While alderman in 2010, Ike was convicted of helping a real estate developer obtain zoning changes in exchange for $40,000 in repair work on his house. He pleaded guilty and went to the Clink for two years.
Ike is not only a felon convicted of political shenanigans — he takes after his father. In 1983, his dad spent three years at the big house in Terre Haute after being convicted of the exact same crime. Did the favor-seeking real estate developers put something in the water at the Carothers' house?
Ike has now found the Lord and says he is a changed man. For that we are all happy. But there is a reason reformed bank robbers are not employed as bank managers. And politicians who steal should never again hold public office.
Please: Don't Like Ike.
Next is Richard Boykin. His claim to fame is that he was Congressman Danny Davis' longtime chief of staff. Published reports say that Boykin has claimed homeowner exemptions on three properties he owns, two on condos in Oak Park and one on a house in suburban Bolingbrook.
For the record, I own three properties in Oak Park, a house and two small apartment buildings, but I only claim a real estate exemption on one — the house that I live in because, well, that's the law. So Boykin may have a lot going for him, but on the politician truth-o-meter, he does not get a passing grade.
Then there is Blake Sercye. He is young, only 27 years old. He is an associate at Jenner & Block. He worked on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's campaign. Cook County Commissioner Tony Preckwinkle, who is a straight-shooter, supports him, as does Oak Park Village President Anan Abu Taleb. The Oak Park Democratic Party endorsed him too.
Candidate Brenda Smith is an aide to retiring Commissioner Earlean Collins. Nuff said. There is another candidate, Ronald Lawless, a former Green candidate, but in this election a vote for Lawless is a vote for Ike.
This is a three way race pitting Davis' clout against Ike's clout and the collective clout of Mayor Rahm, Preckwinkle and the Oak Park Democratic Party. I will vote for the candidate who has not been accused of illegal activity and has a chance of winning:
Jack Crowe is chief operating officer and general counsel of the Cristo Rey Network of schools.
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