Stroger Counts To Four

That's all he needs to win veto war

Unless Todd Stroger has the inability to count to four, his veto of the Cook County Board's sales tax rollback will stand.

Stroger only needs four of 17 county commissioners to stick with him to sustain the veto, and even a pol as dubious as he likely wouldn't have vetoed such a politically appealing measure without so much as negotiating a compromise without having counted heads.

"I will not allow county commissioners to grandstand," Stroger said today during a Tuesday news conference at Provident Hospital, which would have been endangered by the tax cut. "I do support a more fiscally responsible 25 percent rollback."

Speaking of grandstanding, today's presser was basically the kickoff of his re-election campaign. And despite the drumbeat of criticism from board members and media, Stroger remains undeterred.

"I'm not wounded, if I believed everything written about me I wouldn't be wounded I'd be dead."

Maybe he'll even run against the Daleys, who have finally split with him over the issue.

And Stroger didn't choose to announce his veto on Cliff Kelley's WVON-AM radio show by chance; Kelley's show is the place to go if you want to reach African Americans who don't like the mayor.

The move also puts pressure on the two commissioners whose votes are most in question: Earlean Collins and Deborah Sims. Stroger only needs one of them if the other board members hold to their original votes.

"Collins and Sims represent many poor citizens," the Tribune editorial page notes. "[T]he very people getting hurt the most by the regressive sales tax."

Or are they the very people helped by the services the tax brings?

"We know that more people need our services and that if we pull back now there will just be a lot of people without any healthcare whatsoever," said Stroger.

This is just the beginning of the debate. The Trib wants readers to start dialing up Collins and Sims. Stroger is dialing up his re-election bid.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, an award-winning online Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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