Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hula hooping and Santa Claus at the Orland Park tree lighting

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Orland Park's Christmas tree lighting was a blast. It had the children rocking and rolling to the fun songs and energy of entertainer Rick Kelley and the music of the Encore Orchestra -- and they are an orchestra consisting of volunteers of all experience who come together to play great music.


But it's all about the kids. There were crafts for the children, music, hot dogs and pop sold by one of Orland's two Cub Scout Packs, and two horse-drawn carriage rides through the Civic Center's parking lots. The horses were King and Mary, who brayed to each other as they passed with their carriages filled with holiday celebrating families.


At the end of the evening, around 6 pm, Mayor Dan McLaughlin was joined by some of the village's officials -- Pat Gira, a cheerful and joking Kathy Fenton, Ed Schussler and Brad O'Halloran -- in lighting the tree, but only after a carolers sang several fun holiday songs. The tree -- there are two actually at Village Hall, one inside and one outside where everyone gathered -- was more than enough in height to keep the kids in awe. It was decorated with ornaments made by local children and multi-colored lights.


But the real hit was Kelley. This guy knows how to entertain children. He had them all up front dancing, singing, playing musical instruments and even doing a Caribbean Limbo. The finale was a hula hoop contest for the kids. Amazing how they can spin those hula hoops.


Of course, it reminded me of when I was a kid and in 1964 hula hooped at the Community Discount Store opening on 95th Street just past Stony Island Avenue. I won a Beatles' album.


And it got me thinking, of course. Instead of having elections, why not make the politicians hula hoop. We could have Liz Gorman, Dr. Victor Forys, Gerald Maher, Patrick Maher, and the rest hula hoop for the 17th District seat. I still think Liz would win hands (hips) down. I did see that Maher's Orland Fire Protection District had a little table and that wonderful lady who is their spokesperson. I had my wife check if there was any campaign literature there -- I couldn't bear it if there were, but it is a 19th Ward tradition. There was none, fortunately.



Still, the hula hoop contest would be a blast, although the thought of watching Todd Stroger, Cook County's "Tax you up the Wazoo" president, hula hooping, is sickening. That would take courage and faith in yourself, the very characteristics voters want but that Stroger lacks. He's such a coward and won't sit down for an interview in print or on radio, though his spokesperson, Chris Geovanis is the best among the herd (Caryn Stancik, Sean Howard, Chinta Strausberg included), At least she has some kahones! (Not cojones, the Peruvian musical instrument).


But back to the holiday spirit from some humor: Kelley can be booked by reaching out to him on email at rksings@aol.com. I hope McLaughlin, if he is really in charge of the whole kit and kaboodle, brings him back next year. (And no, I never met him before -- some politicians would screw someone just for knowing me. Well, not McLaughlin but maybe in a certain clerical office possibly?)


And if you are interested in the Encore Concert Band, you can reach them, too, at www.encoreband.com. If you play an instrument, you are invited to join them and try to keep up or even lead, if you have the talent. It's open to everyone.


-- Ray Hanania
www.RadioChicagoland.com

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Forys challenges Maher use of taxpayer funds for political newsletter

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Democrat Victor Forys’ Campaign Calls on Opponent to Refund Taxpayers for Cost of Publicly Funded Campaign Propaganda

Forys calls on Patrick Maher to refund taxpayers for cost of printing and mailing campaign propaganda on Orland Park Fire District newsletter.

Chicago, November 27, 2009— Dr. Victor Forys’ campaign is calling on their opponent to refund tax dollars used to print and mail the Orland Park Fire District newsletter to promote his campaign.  

“With the election less than 70 days away, it is absolutely unacceptable and potentially illegal for Patrick Maher to use taxpayer dollars to promote his campaign,” said campaign spokesman Rick Bohn. “In a time when people are struggling to make ends meet and pay their bills, he’s using their hard-earned tax dollars to defend his campaign positions.  People are tired of being used by corrupt politicians and they deserve better.  I call on Patrick Maher to use his campaign funds to reimburse the cost of printing and mailing the newsletter, and I’d ask that he use better judgment in the future. ”

Republican incumbent, Liz Gorman, issued a press release claiming Maher’s views on property taxes were incorrect and not representing the truth.  Patrick Maher then issued a front page response on the Eagle, the Orland Park Fire District newsletter, refuting those claims.

“I think it sets the wrong precedent for how he’d use the taxpayers’ money,” Bohn said. “Mr. Maher obviously doesn’t believe there is a clear line drawn when it comes to using public funds for political purposes.  I think this is indicative of the corrupt culture of Cook County Board politics and I think that’s wrong.  He should apologize to the community for such an improper use of tax dollars.”

The Orland Park Fire District is funded through tax dollars paid by residents of Orland Park.

Victor Forys has pledged to run an ethical campaign free of patronage and pay-to-play corruption.  Forys will use his seat to increase transparency on the Board and find ways to save taxpayer dollars.

END

Excuse the hissy-fit at the Chicago News Bench (Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde writer there, I think)

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The Chicago News Bench took my writings out of context and used them to attack a public official, instead of dealing with the facts. The fact is that no where did I attack Jim Dodge (or any of the candidates for Illinois Comptroller, by the way). And when I pointed it out, and then decided the web site isn't worth writing about, the writer, Tom Mannis went berserk with wild accusations and mud slinging and name-calling.

Real professional, Tom. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. : )

Tom could be a professional writer, one day, when he gets past the childish behavior.

-- Ray Hanania

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Challenges facing taxpayers in Orland Fire District

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I don’t think I ever would have thought about the Orland Fire Protection District (OFPD) had it not been for the email I received from former Orland Park trustee Tom Dubelbeis. Dubelbeis, as I later learned, is a campaign adviser to Pat Maher, the son of the Orland Park Village Clerk David Maher whose royalty in politics traces back to the privileged 19th Ward Democratic Organization.

Dubelbeis was the “enabler” who “introduced me” to Pat Maher, in much the same way that a royal announcer introduces the Queen of England when she enters a room. In this case, Maher was entering serious politics beyond his role as President of the Orland Fire Protection District which I had assumed was just like any other fire department.

It’s not. In fact, it is one of the most expensive fire protection districts in the state with a budget of about $26 million a year. It takes 12.51 percent of your property taxes, the largest chunk of any government agency not including the school districts.

I guess that’s the definition of royalty. But in reality, it’s the taxpayers who getting the royal screws.

A TYPICAL SATURDAY, SHOCKED BY WASTEFUL SPENDING

Every Saturday, I like to work on my lawn, read a book and find those old black and white movies from the 50s on the TCM Channel. It’s the one time where I actually get to greet the mailman, too, and collect the mail personally.

You can imagine how shocked I was when I opened my mail and found a full color eight page brochure from the Orland Fire Protection District. It was addressed to “RESIDENT” so I assume everyone in the Orland Fire Protection Distirct, almost exclusively residents of Orland Park and unincorporated Orland Township, received one.

Most government brochures are informative. This one was all about politics, promoting the fact that Pat Maher is a candidate not for re-election but for a bigger job, one suitable for a person of his 19th Ward pedigree, the commissioner of the Cook County Board from the 17th District which encompasses Orland Township and the OFPD, and communities all the way north to Wheeling.

Right on the front page was the debate that Maher is engaging in as the foundation of his election campaign. Maher insists -- despite the facts – that the Orland Fire Protection District is a benefit to taxpayers. The front page article paralleled the arguments he made recently in a press release about how he has “reduced” taxes. The rest of the information was useless timber,  including “Tips” on how to shovel snow, and “Tips” for Thanksgiving. Hey, it reminded us days before Thanksgiving, “The Holidays are around the corner.”

Like I needed the Orland Fire Protection District to tell me in an expensive mailer that I would estimate probably costs over $25,000 to produce a mail, maybe more.

Is that a way to save taxes, Mr. President, your Excellency, your 19th Ward Prince?

I don’t think so. The whole purpose clearly is so that Maher can respond to charges that the Orland Fire Protection District is a costly waste of money to taxpayers. That’s not a good platform to run on, so candidates who manage bloated government agencies always tell you about how much they have cut back taxes, reduced spending, rebated money and protected your interests as a taxpayer.

Baloney.

OFPD IS ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE IN STATE

Fire Protection Districts were an ingenious idea when the suburbs were prairies and communities were miles apart and they couldn’t afford huge municipal budgets to pay for a fulltime fire department. A Fire Protection District was a great way to have each community share in the cost and save the tax payers money. The alternative is to have a volunteer fire department, as many communities big and small still do.

The Lemont Fire Protection District, for example, covers an area of approximately 40 square miles and serves the Village of Lemont, portions of Woodridge, Darien, Bolingbrook, and Homer Glen. It collected about $12.2 million in revenues including $7.5 million from property taxes and they spent about $10.7 million in overall expenses.

I know that because the Lemont Fire Department puts their budget on their web site, obviously because they are very proud of what they do. Click here for the link.

The typical fire department costs about $8 million to manage

The Orland Fire Protection District budget is $25.6 million and covers only 33 square miles. It has 157 employees (or 81 percent of the entire budget), expanded this year with several new hires and positions from last years. Click here for the link.

That’s three times the average cost of a Fire Department?

Of course, when you see how they spend money, and understand that the Prince of the Orland Fire Protection District is planning to break into politics in a big way next year, you can then understand why they don’t care about spending $20,000 to publish a newsletter with a lot of worthless drivel.

$20,000, by my estimate, so that on Page 1 with his picture, Prince Maher can tell the taxpayers that he “abated” $1.3 million.

Of course he can abate $1.3 million. He’s collecting $25.6 million far more than any other fire department in the region (outside of Chicago).

When you look at the budget, it’s a shell game. He’s not cutting back taxes, he has a bloated budget that has so much excess funds including rolled-over bond issues that if retired would save tax payers millions but have been recommitted to a new training center.

Believe me when I tell you this is all about politics. When a politician tells you they are cutting your taxes, figure that your taxes will go up a fortune.

In fact, over the past eight years, my taxes paid to the Orland Fire Protection District have continued to skyrocket.

Do we get accountability? No. We get rhetoric and statistical shell games. When I pointed out one of the OFPD Battalion Chiefs was using his gas-guzzling Fire District-owned SUV for personal reasons outside of the district, they shrugged and said they’d look in to it.

It still goes on.

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, November 20, 2009

Riddles Comedy Club returning, in Alsip on 111th Street

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When I first got into comedy (the way I always do everything, with a bang and lots of controversy), Riddles Comedy Club was the first place that reached out to me to give me support. The Orland Park club supporting an Orland Parker was great.

I did my first three ever comedy open mics at Riddles Comedy Club beginning in November 2001 just putting together material and trying to figure out how to make American Arab comedy work. And then the owner at Zanies heard about me and scooped me up and put me on stage where I did thirty shows and then booked for a full week in August/September 2002 over the Labor Day Weekend. Just before the show, Jackie Mason announced a new Broadway play and he wanted to come through Chicago to practice and ready for New York and Zanies asked me to set aside three of my nine shows so Jackie could headline. Did I have a problem, they asked? No. But make sure to tell Mason I am Palestinian, I said. The owner and manager laughed saying the Middle East conflict had "no place" on a comedy stage.

Of course, I had sold out the nine shows to friends, family and news media. And the night of the show, Mason discovered I wasn't just an Arab -- gasp! -- I was Palestinian. And he told Zanies I could not perform with him "because I was Palestinian." Sure enough, that decision exploded in headlines and a five-day tsunami of controversy erupted. I think I did the Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS morning News, Donahue, Hannity & Colmes (Hannity is such an ass), ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS network news interviews, CNN and MSNBC and even interviews remotely in London, Paris, Moscow, Beirut, Jerusalem ... hey, doesn't everyone know Palestinians and Israelis don't seem to get along, and it's not really about the Hummus.

But that weekend when I was canned from Zanies -- and then decided to cancel the remaining six shows after I started receiving death threats (it was after Sept. 11, 2001 and I am an Arab who everyone thinks is Muslim and related to Bin Laden of course) at Zanies, Ken Stevens at Riddles reached out and invited me to do some sets on his stage not just for the publicity but because he cares about the comedy industry. He gave me tips, pointers and I still sucked! But hey, who cares? It was fun and the audiences loved it. I think I have some of the old Riddles shows on Youtube or Google video. Now I do standup all over the world (London, Dublin, Toronto, New York, LA with the Israeli Palestinian Comedy tour www.IPComedyTour.com). I have a performance this Sunday for Hadassah in Morton Grove and bookings through the coming year.

I really owe my comedy career to Bin Laden, my overall insane career in journalism, but most especially to Riddles Comedy Club which really gave me my first start.

Last night, I was performing at St. Xavier for 100 screaming little old ladies and seniors and that was a blast, too. And as I drove home on 111th Street I happened to see Riddles Sign back up on a club storefront.

Riddles is reopening at 5055 W. 111th Street in Alsip. The grand opening is this weekend, Nov. 20. Here's their web page www.MyRiddlesComedyClub.com. Check it out. The place closed in Orland a number of months back, maybe even longer. It had changed hands and Ken had left. But Ken is back and professional comedy is returning to the Southwest Suburbs, finally. There isn't a better club around.

Break a leg Ken (and whatever else you can -- I love the fact that comedy is so full of violence!) I look forward to seeing you soon. (Check the Radio Chicagoland web site at www.RadioChicagoland.com. Im working on getting Ken and some of Riddles' great comedians on the show soon.)

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Liz Gorman refuses to give up on effort to cut back the repressive Stroger sales tax

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Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman first proposed repealing Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's repressive 1 percent sales tax last May 5. The ordinance she introduced morphed through her absolute perseverance into a campaign to continue fighting for the rights of taxpayers and she would not let up.

Today, Tuesday, Gorman with the backing of the majority of the county board, voted 12 to 5 to roll back half of the Stroger Sales Tax, a huge tax relief for cook county's overtaxed residents. The sales tax has raised hundreds of millions of dollars off the backs of economically oppressed residents and taxpayers.

Here's a link to the full story. Click HERE.

Gorman's refusal to back down when the first motion was defeated is responsible for Tuesday's vote. She is persistent and refuses to back down. And her persistence and the momentum gained by the full board, including by Commissioners Gregg Goslin, Timothy Schneider, John Daley and Peter Sylvestri to name only a few, was so impressive that the Illinois General Assembly took notice and intervened to weaken Stroger's ability to defend the sales tax hike. The legislature reduced the number of votes required to override Stroger's anti-taxpayer veto from 14 to 11 of 17 board members.

This week is a victory for taxpayers and Gorman and many of the board members deserve credit for refusing to back down.

-- Ray Hanania
www.RaqdioChicagoland.com

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pat Maher accuses Gorman of sponsoring challenger in Democratic primary

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Pat Maher, the president of the Orland Fire Protection District, is accusing Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman with sponsoring one of his challengers. Their evidence is that one of the candidates, Donna Sanders, a respected member of the local library board, is backed by Orland Hills Mayor Kyle Hastings. He says that the petitions for Sanders and John Maher, another candidate in the crowded primary, will be made available to the public.

Maher's campaign has been trying to ignore the challenge from Dr. Victor Forys, who has the backing of most Democratic leaders in the 17th County district in the February 2, 2009 Democratic Primary.

I had a chance to review all the petitions for all the candidates and the only thing thats truck me as odd was the petitions circulated by Maher's dad, Orland Park Village Clerk David Maher. In one instance on one of the petitions circulated by David Maher, the signatures of four family members at the same address were signed exactly alike, as if one person signed them.  That's how it looked to me. Of course, being a village clerk, David Maher would know that each voter must sign their own petitions and no one can sign for some else

In the release, Maher also denies he raised taxes for the Orland Fire Protection District, which is not truthful. The fact is Maher cut back the amount of taxes in the county's budget one year, and  then increased it back, creating an artificial reduction in taxes. The tragic fact is that under Maher, the Orland Fire Protection District has the largest tax bite of any government agency on your property tax bills. Look at them yourself, 12.51 percent of the entire property tax bill -- the largest bite with the exception of the schools -- is what the OFPD takes from your taxes.

You can bet this is going to a muddy campaign. Here is Maher's press release and statement from his campaign manager in front of the release, Trevor Montgomery:

Mayor Kyle Hastings of Orland Hills, his family and supporters circulated the vast majority of Donna Sanders petitions. Hastings is a known ally of Republican incumbent Liz Gorman. Paid workers circulated the majority of John Maher's petitions. Other petitions were circulated at a bar in Orland Park that has hosted recent fundraisers for Liz Gorman and is owned by a support of Gorman's. John Maher has only voted once since 2002 and filed at a different address than he is registered to vote. Copies of petitions filed by John Maher and Donna Sanders are available upon request. 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/16/2009
Media Contact: Trevor Montgomery
Democrat Patrick Maher Shuts Down Gorman’s Political Games
Republican incumbent Liz Gorman is already playing the tired old political games for which our failed Cook County Board is known.
Patrick Maher, Democratic candidate for the Cook County Board, has filed a petition challenge against two candidates — John Maher, of Palos Heights, and Donna Sanders, of Orland Hills. Maher said the addition of John Maher, in particular, to the ballot is a clear attempt by Gorman to confuse Democratic Primary voters.
“Putting someone with the same last name on the ballot to manipulate voters is one of the oldest and lamest tricks in the book. John Maher and Donna Sanders have a history of not voting in Democratic primaries, they are not active in local Democratic politics and they are not serious candidates. Most importantly, they did not meet the qualifications for appearing on the ballot,” he said.
Both John Maher and Donna Sanders filed petitions rife with errors.
“I’m not going to allow the Republican incumbent to hijack the Democratic Primary so she can pursue her selfish political agenda. She knows that I’m the strongest candidate in the field. My concern is that the primary voters and my campaign do not fall victim to politics as usual.” Maher said he personally filed the challenges because it was important for him to ensure that the Democratic Primary ballot includes only serious Democratic candidates.
“We’re at a crucial turning point in terms of Cook County government. I put my own name on these challenges because I’m not going to hide, to have someone else go through the process for me. I’m not going to play games. My campaign is about fixing the way politics is done and changing the way politics is conducted on the Cook County Board,” he said.
Gorman is already pulling out all the stops in her bid to interfere with the Democratic Primary and smear her strongest likely opponent in the General Election. Just last week, she sent out a misleading email indicating that the Orland Fire Protection District is raising your taxes. The fire protection district, of which Maher is President, has actually lowered its tax rate by over 20% and has returned more than $1.3 million in tax cuts to the voters.
A hearing will be held today at the Cook County Board of Elections regarding both petition challenges.
###

Friday, November 13, 2009

Forys appointed to state board of health by Governor Pat Quinn, faces battle in 17th District

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Dr. Victor Forys, the leading Democratic candidate in the 17th Cook County Board district's battle for the party nomination in the Feb. 2, was named this week by Gov. Quinn to the Illinois Board of Health.

Quinn and a laundry list of leading Democrats have endorsed Forys in his bid to the win the Democratic primary, but many media have been pretending he doesn't exist as a candidate to promote their friend and heir to 19th Ward political clout Pat Maher, the controversy-plagued president of the Orland Fire Protection District.

The 17th District is solidly Republican and the seat is now held by Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman, who in two terms has become the leading advocate for tax reduction on the Cook County board.

It's a fascinating race and any Democrat who wins the primary will have a tough time defeating Gorman, whose record on fighting taxes has emboldened not only other county board members but the Illinois General Assembly to fight the tax-raising administration of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. Two other candidates are running in the Democratic primary and one more is running in the Republican primary. (You can read a complete story by clicking here.)

Forys is being written off because the district is a bowling alley that geographically looks like it is founded on Orland Park. But while Orland Township may look like it has the weighted vote, as you move north, the voter density increases significantly.


The district, as you can see, stretches from Wheeling and Northfield all the way down along the Cook County Board to Orland Township in the South.

Forys ran in the last battle for the Congressional seat vacated by Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff to President Barack Obama, which was won by former County Commissioner Mike Quigley. Although Forys did not win, he raised a substantial amount of money and received strong endorsements, as he is doing again this year.

Forys believes that he can win the Democratic Primary on Feb. 2 by allowing Maher, who is backed by the 19th Ward Machine that is trying to put Orland Township is a political headlock, to fight with Gorman. And Maher hasn't hesitated to attack Gorman, even though the winners of the Democratic and Republican primaries won't face off until 9 months later. Maher is hoping to deflect voter attention away from the Orland Fire Protection District's outrageous tax increases and from the fact that the OFPD takes the largest bite out of the district's taxpayer's pocketbook of any other taxing body save for the schools -- more than 12.5 percent of the county's bills pays for Maher's fiefdom.

Maher is the politically ambitious son of Orland Park's part-time village clerk David Maher, who  is a county patronage employee working for 19th Ward superstar and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. Stroger oversees their budget and all are Democrats.

But Gorman has elevated herself above Maher and others by being the most vocal anti-tax member of the Cook County Board. Gorman was the only county commissioner to challenge a $190,000 county loan to controversial Regional Schools Superintendent Charles Flowers Flowers budget has since come under scrutinyA report by the auditor general shows that Flowers has since mismanaged millions of dollars in funds. His office has an annual budget of about $1 million and is reportedly more than $1 million in debt. The audit shows that Flowers has borrowed money to pay for all kinds of expenses, without proper records, but he insisted he has repaid everything.



Gorman was the only voice to challenge Flowers' poor leadership. But this past June, the entire County board joined Gorman to repudiate Flowers and reject the loan and acknowledge Gorman's leadership.


And, Gorman was the leader of a coalition of Republicans and Democrats on the Cook County Board to repeal Todd Stroger's repressive 1 percent sales tax, which is crippling the county's taxpayers and forcing businesses to relocate to neighboring counties. Stroger used his veto to block the last effort. Gorman was so persistent that she help force the county board to try three times to repeal and roll back the tax and that caught the attention of the Illinois General Assembly which then voted to reduce the number of votes needed to override Stroger's outrageous 80 percent override vote need.

Now, Gorman and others are planning to launch another drive to rollback the sales tax with a better chance of withstanding Stroger's pro-tax veto.

Forys will have his work cut out for him in November against Gorman, but first he has to win the February Democratic Primary, and that's a race some don't want you to know he is in.

Of course, don't right off  Donna Sanders who also hails from the Orland Township district and is running in the Democratic primary. A popular library turstee, Sanders has real credentials and you can't ignore the powerful woman's vote in this district. They have a voice. On the Cook County Board, that voice, though, belongs to Gorman.

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Mahers" crowd the suburban 17th District Cook County Board race

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There were too many "Mahers" running in the last election. Two in the village race, one in the Township race. And now, we have three again in the race for the Cook County Board's 17th District in the Republican and Democraic primaries on Feb. 2, 2010. Election contests in the February 2, 2010 primary will be held for President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, County Clerk, Treasurer, Sheriff, Assessor, County Commissioner (Districts 1 – 17), Board of Review Member (District 1); Water Reclamation District Commissioner (3 seats), Regional Superintendent of Schools and Township Committeemen.


In the 17th Cook County District, a Wild West gunfight is shaping up with three Mahers all lined up with ambitions unholstered. They are:


Patrick Maher, the beleaguered president of the Orland Fire Protection District. A democrat.


Gerald Maher, who lost twice in his bid to unseat Orland Park Village President Dan McLaughlin. A Republican.


And John J. Maher of Palos Hills. A Democrat, also.


That's two Mahers in the Democratic primary and one in the Republican primary. On the doubly odd chance that it could happen, we could see two Maher's actually running against each other in the November election.


Of course, they are all trying to unseat Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman, who I think is invincible. Gorman refused to give up and stubbornly fought to repeal the 1 percent Todd Stroger Sales Tax that other commissioners insisted could not be repealed.


And although three efforts to roll back and repeal the sales tax failed, the fight itself was so impressive, it opened the eyes to the sleepy taxpayers into believing that they are more important than the greedy county board president and his selfish patronage politics. More importantly, Gorman's persistence pushed the Illinois General Assembly into also believing that some action was necessary.


The legislature made a largely symbolic effort to repeal the sales tax but House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, the Democratic Party leader, refused to undermine his pal Stroger and pulled the plug on the effort using some legislative puppets he controls through fundraising and campaign donations.


But the legislature did change the rules reducing from 14 to 11 the number of votes needed on the Cook County Board to override a veto by the county board president who more than likely won't be Stroger after next November's genera; election -- maybe even after next year's primary. Stroger is being challenged by some seasoned heavyweights including Congressman Danny K. Davis, County Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown, Ald. Toni Prekwinkle and WRMD President Terrence O'Brien.


There are other candidates in the 17th District race. On the Democratic side, the Democratic bigwigs have circled around Dr. Victor Forys, while Maher has the predictable alliances from Orland Park.


And, Republican Mark Thompson of Des Plaines and the Maine Township supervisor has also entered the race. Who's behind him? (A certain disgruntled Republican county board commissioner, I presume.) Who's behind John Maher? Who knows! And there is also Donna Sanders of Orland Hills running in the Democratic primary, too.


The Green Party has two candidates in the primary, Matthew J. Ogean of Orland Park (Who is also running for Orland Township Green Party Committeeman) and Richard Delka of Des Plaines.


Gerald Maher is also challenging Gorman for Orland Township Republican Committeeman. McLaughlin is running for Orland Township Democratic Committeeman, and he is unchallenged.


Here's a link to the complete list of filed candidates: Click here.

-- Ray Hanania
www.RadioChicagoland.com