Vetoing Stroger

For bill before he was against it

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Cook County
    For some reason, Todd Stroger is a political power player in Chicago.

    Add shameless flip-flopper to the list of adjectives we can all use accurately to describe Todd Stroger. (That list already includes incompetent and hack.)

    The Illinois Senate has sent a bill to the governor that would lower the number of votes Cook County Board needs to override a presidential veto. The measure reduces the veto total from a banana republic-like four-fifths to a more traditional three-fifths.

    In other words, under the present system commissioners could vote 13-4 to override a board president's veto and still fall one vote short.

    In fact, that's just what happened when the board tried to roll back Stroger's controversial sales tax increase.

    Under the new measure, which Quinn is expected to sign -- but who knows with him these days; he might just appoint a task force to study it -- a veto would take 11 votes.

    The measure represents a huge political defeat for Stroger. Not just because good prevailed, but because erstwhile ally Michael Madigan let the bill move forward after bottling it up for his own motives. And because the state senate voted against Stroger 48-1 when the bill moved to that chamber.

    One might surmise Stroger's support is eroding even further; he traveled to Springfield earlier this month to make a personal appeal to defeat the bill.

    The best part of the saga, though, may be the old press release that state Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) just dug out that Rich Miller posted on his Capitol Fax blog.

    It's from 2006 and announces Fritchey's support - along with that of then-Commissioner Mike Quigley and another conspicuous voice - of veto override legislation.

    "This is not about politics or power, this is about what is best for Cook County," the statement said.

    Oh yeah, that quote was from Todd Stroger, then a candidate for board president. He supported reducing the veto requirement, until he supported it.

    Funny how politics sometimes comes full circle.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.