Boykin getting signatures, eyes possible race for board prez

County commissioner deciding whether to run against Preckwinkle

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) — whose district includes Oak Park, where he lives —  has taken another step toward running against Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The commissioner's team is now circulating petitions to gather the necessary signatures. Boykin, who has been seriously considering a possible run for that position for several weeks, confirmed this was the case over the phone on Monday.

Boykin said his team is circulating petitions for both board president and his own 1st District commission seat, for which the term expires next year.

"We're circulating both sets — one for the first district and one for board president," Boykin said. "We'll make a decision by the end of September. We're still on track to do that, but I wanted to be prepared for either case."

Boykin, who has been a vocal critic of numerous Preckwinkle-led initiatives — most notably the unpopular penny per ounce sweetened beverage tax — said he's been encouraged by several polls indicating the board president's political weakness.

However, he's still looking for a third-party poll showing how he'd perform in a head-to-head matchup with the incumbent board president.

According to a We Ask America poll, released earlier this month, 68 percent of the poll's 900-plus respondents disapprove of Preckwinkle's performance on the job, and 75 percent said they probably won't vote for her next year.

"We're seriously considering a run and we just want to be ready, process-wise, just in case we decide to do it," Boykin said. "There are a number of things that need to come into focus in the coming weeks for us to do it."

Boykin said, when it comes to the beverage tax, "We all ought to be concerned less about politics than about the skyrocketing cost of living driving residents out of the county."

The first-term commissioner also addressed a Chicago Sun-Times report that quotes an adviser to former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg, whom the adviser said is ready to spend "whatever it takes" to support politicians who voted for the beverage tax.

In 2012 while he was mayor, Bloomberg passed a measure that would "limit the sales of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces," according to a New York Times report. The measure, however, was struck down two years later by the New York State Court of Appeals.

Last month, Bloomberg's office announced that it was spending $2 million to purchase ads defending Cook County's sugary beverage tax.

"Residents care less about those ads than what they can afford at the grocery store," Boykin said. "This is a pocketbook issue."

 We're sending a lot of money into other counties and the state of Indiana, where people are going to buy their sweetened beverages."

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com  

Reader Comments

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Brian Slowiak  

Posted: September 15th, 2017 8:17 AM

A James Peters: . I do include a note asking if soft drinks are unhealthy and dangerous why does Preckwinkle just ban all soft drinks. I also asked that the tax might aid minority kids, the tax might be dangerous to the white kids because their parents can afford the tax and damage the health of their kids. Isnt that racism? A ban on soft drinks saves all kids, maybe . I also wrote why there is no reduction in the patronage army and asked if she was going to lay off 900 Correctional Officers, was she going to layoff the corresponding upper management? I have written four times, o response. Let the starving of the system start with us.

James Peters from Oak Park  

Posted: September 15th, 2017 4:28 AM

Brian. It's the SODA TAX REVOLT. I'll see you in line out in Oak Brook because our circuit's are similar. I like Butterfield's on Summit Ave. for breakfast, and hit the Home Depot off 22nd. We need to keep it up because the Crook County Board doesn't care about the middle-class vote. They think they own it. Taking money off the table is the only way to get their attention.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: September 15th, 2017 12:53 AM

I make the tax circuit. Petes for groceries, Costco for groceries and extras and soft drinks ,, plus gas Binnys in Oak Brook,, a fast food mom and pop for lunch, and then i place all the receipts in an envelope and mail to The Cook County Board President. While waiting in line for Cokes at Walgreens in Westmont, I was standing in line with a gent buying cases of Coke. He said he also was from Cook County. There are only four items I buy in Cook County, Pizzeria Uno, Dmatos,Gene and Judes and Johnnys in Elmwood Park.

Richard Fischer from OP  

Posted: September 14th, 2017 8:59 PM

Depending on the cost of the pop you buy that tax is between 40 to 60 percent. Our forefathers turned Boston Harbor into a giant cup of tea for less taxation.

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