Friending Todd Stroger

Outspoken activist stands firmly behind "the toddler"

By Peggy Cassidy
|  Thursday, May 28, 2009  |  Updated 9:54 AM CDT
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City Desk with Todd Stroger (Part 2)

He's very nice and extremely polite, but can he govern?

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City Desk with Todd Stroger (Part 1)

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger must make a decision on whether to veto the repeal of his unpopular sales tax hike. He joins NBC5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern on City Desk.

City Desk with Todd Stroger (Part 2)

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger sits with NBC5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern.
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She's a longtime Cook County employee who's been working as a writer and researcher in the county's communications office for the past 17 years, but Chris Geovanis is perhaps better known as an outspoken activist for causes often thought to be unpopular -- "a zealot on behalf of the indy-media movement," as Chicago Reader reporter Michael Miner says. 

Now she's taken up another unpopular cause in becoming a favorable voice for County Board President Todd Stroger.

In 2006, Geovanis, who has twice been arrested while pushing her personal agenda, briefly left her job to do political campaigning for then-Board President John Stroger in his fight against board member Forest Claypool. When John Stroger had a stroke and his son took over, Geovanis -- who had returned to her county job by then -- came to believe in Todd Stroger, as she had in his father.

"He's not a smoothie," Geovanis recently said of "the toddler," but "he's basically a very nice, extremely polite, somewhat reserved individual," she told the Chicago Reader.

Admitting that Stroger has made some mistakes since taking office, Geovanis blames the local media for painting a picture of Stroger as inept -- making him "the most scorned, ridiculed, and lambasted board president Cook County has ever known," Miner says. 

According to Miner, Geovanis claims that "the journalistic ranks in Chicago have been so ravaged by layoffs that no one has the time or personnel any longer to probe beyond stereotypes," and so Stroger has become a a media whipping post.

But not in Geovanis' mind. She backs Stroger, and he her, apparently. And in Cook County government, it's good to know who your friends are.

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