No, Commissioner Tony Peraica Did Not Pull A ‘Ross Perot’ With ‘Those Folks’

Give me a break.

Look, I would never vote for Tony Peraica, but he did not use a racial slur Tuesday at a meeting of the Cook County Board, and Commissioner Deborah Sims should be ashamed.

Here’s the rub from the Chicago Sun-Times:

Peraica, who is white and represents the western suburbs, was talking about how cutting the county’s share of the sales tax could help the unemployed — mentioning specifically how the African American community has been hit especially hard by joblessness and how "those folks" could benefit from slashing the tax.

"What we need to do is concern ourselves with the taxpayers. We had 70,000 foreclosures in Cook County last year, we have conventions leaving, we have 11.2 unemployment rate in Cook County," he said.

"In the African American community, it’s probably 40, 50 percent unemployment, among males in particular. This is not the way to help them. The way to help those folks is to let them keep their money in their pockets."

At that point someone yelled out "Those folks?"

Peraica quickly responded: "All folks, all folks — everybody who makes up Cook County."

But the original two words set off Commissioner Deborah Sims, an African American whose district covers Chicago’s South Side and the south suburbs.

"I’m offended. ‘Those folks?’ If that isn’t the most racist statement that’s ever been made in this board," Sims fired back.

First off, Commissioner Sims, I’m sure that was not the ‘most racist statement that’s ever been made in [the Cook County] board." The board has had quite a ride. Peraica was obviously expressing empathy, and that’s a good thing. We could use more of that in Cook County.

More here at the Sun-Times, but it’s really not worth it. I’m not voting for Commissioner Sims in the primary. Hopefully others will follow suit.