When you go to vote (in the Democratic primary), I request you consider some of my opinions, observations and insights.
Todd Connor is running to be a commissioner on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. He has a solid résumé (Northwestern grad, Navy officer, investigator of fraud and abuse, University of Chicago MBA, and management consultant). He has a clear vision of what to do. He’s going to advocate for treating all of the effluent dumped into the system, like the other 22 largest urban areas in the United States. He’s running an energetic outsider campaign.
Todd Connor has taken the time to learn what the district does at a level of detail that far exceeds even the incumbent commissioners. Connor has the smarts to deal with the financial and engineering aspects of the district, but he also has the abstract-thinking ability to integrate knowledge of natural systems into policy decisions.
Every two years, three of the nine district seats are elected for six-year terms. So you can vote for up to three candidates. I recommend voting for just Connor, or him and Mariyana Spyropoulos, a competent, progressive activist recently appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn.
I also recommend replacing Earlean Collins as a commissioner on the Cook County Board. I had a conversation with Collins in December 2008, which caused me to doubt her mental competence. I complained to her about the Cook County state’s attorney failing to investigate and prosecute corruption, especially in three of Proviso’s public school districts. Collins explained to me that I had an obligation to get a lawyer and get an indictment in the courts, and then the Cook County state’s attorney would begin prosecution.
Collins was clearly confused about the distinction between civil and criminal court. Collins later boasted that she chairs the committee that oversees the budget for the Cook County state’s attorney. I don’t know if Collins is clueless or going senile. County government is big and complicated, too big and too complicated for Collins to be an effective advocate for the district.
I recommend Ray Figueroa be elected as Cook County assessor. Figueroa’s opponents learned about property taxes trading assessment reductions for campaign contributions at the Board of Review. Figueroa, a former judge and an alderman who refused to help his people get city jobs, will administer the system fairly. (Figueroa was an ally of former Mayor Harold Washington, who defeated one of the Vrdolyak 29 to get a seat on the City Council. Figueroa posted a sign above his desk that said, “This is not an employment office.” He declined to run for re-election.)
Rather than write all my observations about Congressman Danny Davis, I request people reflect on his abortive run for president of the Cook County Board. What did we learn about Davis? How did his faux campaign serve the people of Cook County or the 7th Congressional District? I now categorize Davis as one of the people who can’t be trusted when he says something. What use is a legislator you can’t trust?
Carl Nyberg grew up in Oak Park and now lives in Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood. He has been a columnist for numerous newspapers in the west suburbs, including the Forest Park Review.