Thursday, August 21, 2008

Who is the Most Corrupt?

I still will back Todd Stroger and the Cook County board against all comers--to pay for all their political friends and relations on the bloated county payroll, they've given us a 10.25 percent sales tax, have put a once-fine teaching hospital on the critical list while endangering the health of millions of low-income county residents, have winked at corruptio, over-crowding and deaths in the county jails--but on the principal of "Family Hold Back," I have to say that there's a lot of competition out there.

R. Brawer's posting on New Jersey reminds me of Mike Royko's informal contest one year as to whether Chicago or New Jersey would have more elected officials under federal indictment by year's end. New Jersey won, by one legislator if I remember correctly--but that was the whole state against our city!

Still, I divide honors among Brawer's New Jersey, Doug Levin's Hatchetville, who win on fundraising ingenuity, and Janet Reid's Vernon, Ca.

Bribery helped in the process, of course, as did the old principal of voting early and often, and getting the dead to vote.

Mr./Ms. Brawer, Mr. Levin, Ms. Reid, if you e-mail me your addresses at I will see that your prizes arrive in due course.

Sara Paretsky

P.S. I removed an anonymous attack on Libby Hellman from the original contest post. I think if we're going to attack people through this blog, we have to be adult enough to sign our opinions.


steve z. said...

I too find it difficult to believe that Toddler Stroger and his extended family (which numbers in the hundreds) can be topped. Ever hear Toddler try to pronounce the word obstetrics? It's both amusing and frightening at the same time. And why would he be expected to know how to pronounce it? After all, the county hospital is named after his father.

Where else can public officials bequeath their offices to their children? It's kind of like having European royalty, except our "royalty" begins the day with an Old Style tallboy and ends it with the receipt of a bag of cash. Now Emil Jones wants to hand his office to his son, just like old man Stroger supposedly did when he was in a coma. "Hand it all over to Todd," we're told he said... How fortunate we are in Illinois to have these magnificent leaders!

Sara Paretsky said...

Oh, Steve, I so agree. I'm even fantasizing about trying to run for president of the cook county board myself--but my husband thinks I'd be dead 24 hours after announcing my platform!

Greg said...

I'll vote for you (and send money if you make it past 24 hours)!

Michael Dymmoch said...


I'd vote for you. Hell, I'd vote for my cat over Stroger.

Why no mention of our @#$%&!!! governor? Or do you think he's just nuts?

Mister Snitch! said...

Bah. Not only is NJ far more corrupt than Chicago, we're more ENTERTAINING as well.

While running for governor, Jon Corzine promised that he would be "honest if elected", certainly one of the more unique political promises in the annals of same.

After being elected, Corzine was badly mangled in a car wreck caused by his SUV's speeding. When he left the hospital, he held a press conference to apologize to the public for the bad example he'd set. He then was observed exceeding the speed limit while leaving THAT event.

We won't start on the governor BEFORE Corzine. That would require a novel. Suffice to say: He was found to have placed his boyfriend in a state job for which he was not qualified, he resigned and blamed anti-gay prejudice, got a messy, ugly divorce, and he became a priest.

We grifted away $6 billion for new and improved schools. Vanished. A handful of small fry got slapped on the wrist, and the matter laid to rest. Now the state's borrowing the money it lost, and pinkie-swearing not to do let it happen again.

The city of Hoboken recently broke state law by spending more than it took in. To fix it, the state put Hoboken in the care of a machine politician who left HIS city over $20 million in debt.

The UMDNJ became the first medical school in the nation to be placed under federal supervision, like a mobbed-up union. The officials in charge were then placed in charge of ANOTHER state-run hospital, which had $700,000 stolen from it in a payroll fraud while being transferred from private to state hands.

The head of cardiac surgery at that hospital got his job after becoming famous for removing the wrong lung of a patient, insuring a long and horrible death. The surgeon got his position after heavily contributing to party boss Bob Menendez' campaign.

In terms of sheer entertainment value, I'd bring up The Sopranos, but that would just be piling-on.

sara paretsky said...

Oh, Mister Snitch, it hurts too bad to laugh. I can't compare the Todd-meister with your Hoboken story because I'm on the road, away from all my documents, but I will concede that you make Illinois look marginally less like a Superfund site!