Sample Ballot

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Fuzzy mentioned this yesterday, and Nikkos brings it up today but I wanted to reinforce this. Go Vote.

Now, for those that live in Cook County, you may want to read on why I’m voting for, and endorsing, the man who had a stroke

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I wish President Stroger a full, and speedy, recovery. But I am not a huge fan of him, or his policies. REgardless of my feelings on him, given the field of candidates for Cook County Board President, he’s–in my opinion–the only one worth voting for.

Periaca, the republican challenger, pulled a stunt a few months back to showcase Cook County’s “waste” by publishing the salaries of all Cook County Employees. Claypool, the democratic Challenger, is the reform minded candidate. Stroger’s opposition. While I am all for reform, I’m afraid that Periaca or Claypool will use methods that will harm the county’s most at risk citizens. My clients.

There is tremendous waste in county government, especially in the forest preserve and the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. I believe if Claypool or Periaca could target these areas, the county’s coffers would be much better off.

But their method will be to push privatization for all county services. That would mean handing off Probation and stewardship of the Juvenile Detention Center over to private companies to administrate and run. Ask yourself this question: Do the neediest kids in the system need to be watched by public servants, or by a corporation concerned with the bottom line?

Kids in the Justice System need to be monitored, and watched, by people who are well trained, motivated and are concerned with their well being. A private agency cannot give this level of service because they will always have to monitor one additional aspect–the bottom line. They will have to skimp on training because of the bottom line. Their workers will use their experience to get better jobs in social services. That’s what I, and hundreds like me, did. By passing the responsibilities of probation over to a private agency, the County would be making a financial decision that negatively affects the most at risk kids.

We shouldn’t have a private police for in Chicago, neither should we have a private jail for juveniles nor private probation officers monitoring kids. That is what Stroger’s opposition represent. Fix the spending problems, reign in patronage and waste. Force county employees to be accountable. But do not balance a county budget on the backs of its most needy citizens–do not privatize Probation or the Detention Center.

I would be remiss in not disclosing that this directly impacts me. As a county employee, I’d probably be targeted in an effort to eliminate “patronage” or “waste.” Fact is, I work for a department that provides extensive evaluation and treatment for a very difficult, and expensive, population (Juvenile Sex Offenders). Private agencies charge between $350 and $1000 for the evaluations I write as part of my job. A private agency will charge, even on a sliding scale, $50 per client per hour, for the groups that I, and my coworkers, provide as a part of our job. Also, the supervision that probation (we also do home checks and school visits) provides for my clients is not typically a part of an agency’s treatment plan. Supervision, in the community, is the key to prevent a sex offender from re-offending.

I don’t like Stroger, but I like his competition less. For that reason alone, I’m voting for him. Better wasteful spending than cutting services for a dangerous population.

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