It's down to two - let's make the right choice

Opinion: Columns

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By David Pope

The contest to fill the open Cook County Commissioner seat representing Oak Park, Austin, and the near west suburbs, has become, in effect, a two-person race. Either Richard Boykin or Ike Carothers is going to be our next County Commissioner.

Fortunately for us, one of these two is very highly qualified. Unfortunately, the other is not.

Richard Boykin emerged from a financially poor but culturally and spiritually rich upbringing in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood to attain academic and professional success, with a strong dose of commitment to public service. 

Now a successful attorney, Boykin spent nine years as chief of staff to Congressman Danny Davis (D-7th). I first met him in 2005 in that capacity and was impressed by his deep commitment to advancing the collective interests of both Oak Park and our neighboring communities. A year or so later, as he returned from D.C., Boykin made a very conscious decision to settle in Oak Park, attracted by our strong quality of life and our deep commitment to welcoming people of all backgrounds. 

Contrary to some other former representatives (and current candidates), who can barely find Oak Park and our near-west suburban neighbors on a map, Boykin has been actively engaged in the life of our community and that of our neighbors. He is deeply committed to building bridges among all of the populations that reside throughout the 1st District (including our neighbors from Austin, Forest Park, Maywood, Bellwood, Broadview, Westchester, and Hillside). 

That sort of collaborative instinct and uniting presence has been nonexistent in our 1st District representation for far too long. The big-tent unifying approach helps to explain why Richard Boykin is receiving virtually all of the endorsements in this race and why he has raised more individual campaign donations than all the other candidates put together.

Opposing him is Ike Carothers, who has considerable name recognition in this race, having served more than a decade as alderman (29th Ward) before being arrested and convicted on federal corruption charges. He served more than two years in federal prison but now has returned to try to leverage the name recognition and field organization built up by 50 years of Carothers political domination on the West Side into a seat on the County Board.

Three other candidates are also running but without the name recognition, broad-based support, or financial wherewithal to have any chance of winning. The difficulty in this race is that any vote cast for one of these "alternatives" is essentially a vote for Ike Carothers, in that it draws support away from Richard Boykin as the only legitimate contender who has any chance of stopping Carothers. 

Turnout will be the key factor in deciding this contest. Support from enough thoughtful, clear-minded residents here in Oak Park and throughout the district has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of representation that we will receive at the County Board table for many years to come. 

I urge you to take the time to cast that thoughtful vote for Richard Boykin on March 18 in this critically important election for 1st District County Commissioner. 

David Pope served as Oak Park village president from 2005-2013.

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Reader Comments

21 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Larry from Chicago  

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 7:06 PM

I am not voting for either of these creeps. Everyone knows about Carrothers but, I'm not sure Boykin is even a Democrat. He supported Mark Kirk for Senator! Where does he live? He gets a homeowners exemption for his home in Bolingbrook and, his condo in Oak Park!?

Bruce Samuels from Oak Park  

Posted: February 11th, 2014 5:30 PM

James: Au Contraire. I don't know where you have been but candidates that I have endorsed include my wife who received over a third of a million votes in 2006, me who received over 4000 votes in 2009 and 2013 and won office both times, the NLC who won three seats, etc. Have you run or publicly endorsed any candidates James? Please share with us.


Posted: February 10th, 2014 3:21 PM

No, Muntz, just ask for the Democratic ballot when you go to vote in the primary. No registration required, but you can only vote for one party.


Posted: February 10th, 2014 10:22 AM

So March 18 the primary election. Does that mean I have to be a registered Democrat to vote for one of these candidates on March 18?

joe from south oak park  

Posted: February 7th, 2014 11:32 AM

interesting, I'll have to take a look at both Lawless and Sercye more closely. All i know is Carothers as a career criminal politician and Boykin as a former Danny Davis Chief of staff are not the right choice IMO. I really dislike the comment from Pope that a vote for anyone but his two, is a vote against another. Using that thinking we will never get out of our current rut with corrupt machine politics.

Real List  

Posted: February 7th, 2014 11:11 AM

It's a no-lose election as far as I'm concerned: 1) Earlean is finally gone, although we'll continue to pay her two generous pensions. 2) Anyone but Ike will be an improvement over Earlean. 3) If Ike does win, it just reinforces the fact that OP is surrounded by ignorance, incompetence, and idiocy on all sides. District 9 is calling...

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: February 7th, 2014 9:02 AM

Geez - two more winners to choose from. When are we going to actually see some candidates that aren't connected or don't have a record?


Posted: February 7th, 2014 8:31 AM

Bruce, no one's voting for your candidates. I can't believe you haven't figured that out by now. Deal with it.

think for youself from forest park  

Posted: February 7th, 2014 12:20 AM

Mr. Pope you have failed to mention that Mr. Boykin is a lobbyist and a lobbyist to the County Board. Also look at where all the money he has raised has come from.. All out of district, how about people who actually believe in him giving him their hard earned money, not political insiders looking for a return favor. Please don't insult our intelligence. People, do your own research and make up your own mind. A pile of money and inside connections is not a recipe for a great canidate.

Captain Stubing from Pacific Princess  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 12:45 PM

Did anyone notice that Richard Boylekin, in the picture above, strikes the same pose as Isaac from the Love Boat? And he's running against an Isaac? Voters may have too much Isaac on the brain come ballot time. Time for a new campaign manager.


Posted: February 6th, 2014 12:25 PM

David, how do you justify Mr. Boykin's support of Mark Kirk's campaign in 2010 in targeting several African-American areas with so called "voter integrity squads"? Not exactly someone I would expect to see on a Democratic Primary ballot.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 12:13 PM

I've been very impressed with Blake Sercye and believe he warrants further consideration by the voters of the district. Mr. Sercye has attended several community events (even before he announced his candidacy), and more recently, he strikes me as an individual who is looking to positively impact the district. Upcoming forums will be critical in evaluating all the candidates and their positions and ideas for County government.

Maya Morgan from Forest Park  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 11:48 AM

Although Mr. Boykin has stellar credentials, I prefer a candidate who has "hands-on" involvement in the community i.e. volunteer with a local community organization, ran as an elected public official in his/her community on his/her own merits, etc. Boykin, it appears to me, is only attaching himself to Congressman Danny Davis' name and recognition and has never done anything on his own politically or community wise (unless he was being paid). I hope people understand and don't believe the hype!

Maya Morgan from Forest Park  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 11:30 AM

Why is it down to 2? And which candidates do not know where to point out Oak Park on a map? Both Ron Lawless and Blake Sercye have ties to the Oak Park community, Lawless as a long time resident and Sercye as a graduate of Fenwick High School. Both Lawless and Sercye have been involved in Chicago's Austin and near west suburban communities as volunteers and activists over the years. I do not know of any Boykin involvement as an activist or volunteer in Oak Park or Chicago's west side. Do you?

Friar Tuck from Oak Park  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 9:49 AM

In my view, Blake Sercye's Fenwick upbringing trump any and all ties to Danny Davis, our completely useless and verbose alleged "representative." The last thing Cook (Crook?) County govt needs is one of the usual Dem hack suspects. Also, I've spent lots of time in OP politics over the past 20 years and have no idea who Ron Lawless is...


Posted: February 6th, 2014 9:20 AM

Is there also a vote to secede from District 1 and join our RF brothers and sisters in District 9?

Bruce Samuels from Oak Park  

Posted: February 6th, 2014 8:53 AM

Ron Lawless is an Oak PARK resident. Blake is not.

K. O'Keefe from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 7:59 PM

I agree with Cdonovan. Blake Sercye is the right choice for commissioner. He grew up in Austin and attended Fenwick High School before going on to Princeton and then U of C for law school. He is smart and committed to representing all residents of the first district, not just the big donors and political insiders.


Posted: February 5th, 2014 7:31 PM

David, I didn't know that Blake Sercye dropped out of the race for the 1st District seat. Maybe the district deserves someone other that those in the Danny Davis camp. Let's try some new blood.

Bruce Samuels from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 5:24 PM

Around the turn of the century Ron and I and several other involved Oak Parkers tried to reform the Democratic Party but our current state senator who was given the mantle of power by Phil Rock, rejected us and did not invite us to his intraparty meetings. So Ron went the way of an independent, and he remains the same. Ron and I reject the DPOP endorsement of Berrios, the Cook County Assessor who has a cloud of nepotism hanging over his office. Vote for Ron Lawless (#106).

Bruce Samuels from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2014 5:22 PM

David?what planet have you been living on? Not only has Ron Lawless been living in Oak Park but as a Green Party candidate he received over 5,000 Oak Park votes?more than you ever did. Ron Lawless has name recognition by virtue of being involved in Oak Park politics for many years. He is a progressive candidate who believes in the power of people, and does not bow down to the politicians, even if they are in congress.

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