‘Unflappable’ Todd Stroger gets an angry earful

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger finally met with taxpayers in the northwest suburbs Monday, and it wasn’t pretty.  Some elected officials in the area had threatened to secede from Cook County in the face of Stroger’s $426 million tax hike.

The Chicago Tribune tells the story, and it must have been quite a scene, with a state Senator chiming in (He’s a Republican, but, these days, that doesn’t matter):

Many in the audience listened politely, but they were there to show their anger.

“We are now starting to feel that we are now starting to get gouged,” said state Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), who introduced legislation that would make it easier for Palatine to secede from the county. “Do you really understand the competitive disadvantage you’re putting the northwest suburbs to?”

Palatine is looking at seceding from Cook County.  The Chicago Trib. calls this a long shot, and I’m sure it is.  But, wow.  Talk of secession in Illinois merits attention, even in a state already inundated with so many overlapping governmental bodies that even the most radically liberal and staunch conservatives weep trying to figure out where respective jurisdictions begin and/or end.

Back to the Chicago Trib.:

The secession movement in Palatine was a long shot at best, but it illustrated a belief by some suburbanites that Stroger wasn’t serving them and didn’t understand the economic harm a sales tax creates in border towns where shoppers can cross into another county for lower rates.

At Monday’s meeting at Harper College, the crowd applauded when Nancy Golemba, 48, of Inverness, said, “I think Cook County represents the residents of Chicago.”

As someone writing from the south suburbs, I applaud Nancy Golemba’s comment.  We have lived in Chicago’s shadow for far too long.  The Cook County Board should represent, well, Cook County.  But all too often, Chicago gets the nod when it comes to the board defining policy.

Stroger, who remained unflappable, said “people don’t trust politicians . . . and that’s they way this job works.”

He also said people near a county or state line sometimes get pinched by a sales tax increase.

Easy for Todd Stroger to say.  Someone else gets “pinched” while Chicago grows.

Well, that’s been happening far too long already.

It’s not that we don’t trust politicians, President Stroger.  In fact, we elect them in our respective suburbs.

Many just don’t trust you.