The Chicago Tribune is refusing to endorse House Speaker Michael Madigan for re-election in his Southwest Side district…but it’s not endorsing his opponent, Michele Piszczor, either.
There are other messes to clean up, and they happened on Madigan's long watch: the pension holidays, the deals that allowed a handful of insiders to claim outrageous and undeserved retirement benefits, the big-spending budgets, the Medicaid expansions, the 67 percent income tax hike. Madigan's a brilliant political strategist and an iron-fisted leader, but it's hard to admire any of that considering the state of the state. We think — we hope — he's finally ready to put that muscle behind some painful but necessary fixes.
As for Piszczor, the paper said, “We’re tempted ... she has a lot of gumption ... but we don't think she’s ready yet for the job. So we offer no endorsement.”
Madigan gets much friendlier coverage in the Southwest News-Herald, which covers the remaining white neighborhoods around Midway Airport: Archer Heights, Chicago Lawn, Gage Park, Garfield Ridge, Greater Ashburn, and Madigan’s own West Lawn.
In an article titled “Race Should Not Be An Issue In Politics,” columnist Ray Hanania wrote,
... an alderman’s race or ethnicity should not be the most important factor in deciding who is the best alderman for a ward. Ald. Ed Burke in the 14th Ward and Michael Madigan, the Democratic Committeeman in the 13th Ward, are among the most effective in bringing services to their wards, and their wards have large Hispanic populations, too.
(Piszczor, who is Mexican on her mother’s side, has been making an issue out of the fact that the district is 72 percent Latino.)
Hanania also wrote an article accusing Piszczor of lying about her backing by right-wing activist Jack Roeser, and connecting her to the anti-immigrant Tea Party by association.
"Caught in a lie," Hanania concluded, "Piszczor should do one honorable thing for voters and withdraw from the race for state representative."
The News-Herald has also published articles about a Job Boot Camp Madigan hosted, and a resolution he passed to welcome home a West Lawn Marine who served in Afghanistan.
Madigan is one of the most vilified politicians in Illinois, but he always gets love in the old neighborhood.
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