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Joe Berrios's Broken-Down Machine



    Joe Berrios's Broken-Down Machine
    Read Full Profile | Forrest Claypool
    Claypool, the Democratic Cook County Commissioner turned Independent candidate for Cook County assessor, is running on a platform to end corruption.
    Learn More About Claypool

    Joe Berrios must be the weakest party boss ever.

    This morning, I visited several polling places in my liberal, lakefront ward. The usual $50-a-day precinct workers, recruited from neighborhood social service agencies, were standing in front of schools and park fieldhouses, handing out palm cards. On the official “Sample Ballot,” which had the name of the alderman and the committeeman, and the logo of the ward’s Democratic Party, county assessor was listed as “No Endorsement.”

    But the workers were also handing out a second card -- a flyer for Forrest Claypool. It didn’t list the names of any local politicians, but it mentioned he’s been endorsed by the Tribune, Sun-Times, Daily Herald, Pioneer Press and Southtown Star.

    “These are all Democrats,” said the precinct workers who handed me the cards.

    “Forrest Claypool’s not a Democrat,” I said. “He’s an independent.”

    The guy didn’t know that. But he’s not paid $50 a day to know that.

    But it was obvious that the ward’s Democratic organization was supporting Claypool over the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. Can anyone imagine a Chicago ward committeeman not supporting Richard J. Daley for mayor, or George Dunne for county board president? The quisling would have been stripped of his patronage at the very next meeting of the central committee. He would not have been allowed to appoint an assistant tombstone inspector.

    Berrios has no jobs to hand out, except to family members. That’s why his committeemen can stab him like this. Berrios may be head of the Machine, but it’s an old, broken-down Machine. If it still worked, do you think the Irish would have given it to a guy like Berrios?