I am asking all off my Chicago Clout fans to make sure you purchase the James Laski book, My Fall From Grace: City Hall to Prison Walls. Please purchase the book from Authorhouse,com, click here: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail~bookid~50214.aspx Amazom.com, click here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1434362809/ref=cm_rdp_product or shop Barnes and Noble or Borders. In the conversations with Mr. Laski, I hope we will “Connect the Dots” in the Hired Truck Program and address other public issues regarding Chicago Government. The two hosts in the interesting show will be Frank Avila Jr. Attorney and Mick Dumke, a political expert. If you have questions and/or you would like a signed book, please let me know. This is turning out to be an interesting month after all. Patrick McDonough
5 Replies to “Chicago's James Laski "Chicago Clout" Television Appearance”
What I would really like to see on the show, is Marian Santos and Mr. Laski, with their Attorneys. With of course me, and you.
when is this show going to be aired ? also I would like to add that as a former member of his organization that I read the book and thought it was great, I hope to see another in the future.
If we want an autographed book, how do we get the money to you? I’d like one as a gift for a friend retiring from the police dept in the next few (wks)? months.
(Response) Buy the book and I will let you know when you can get it signed. I do not take money.
When is the show going to air and will it be available on your site? Can’t wait to see this interview.
(Response) I llok forward to this show. Patrick McDonough
BY JAMES LASKI Now that Barack Obama has been sworn in as our 44th president, one has to ask how much Windy City politics will influence our new chief executive. Illinois has had a long, 150-year history of public corruption. Three former governors have ended up in federal prison. Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, was recently arrested by the FBI, and is awaiting a formal indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Over the past 30 years, at least 25 aldermen, two city clerks, and a host of lobbyists, judges, contractors and city employees have been arrested, convicted and sentenced to federal prison for public corruption. More than 40 government employees and trucking owners alone were indicted in the Hired Truck Program Scandal, a scam by which private trucking firms bribed elected officials to place their service vehicles on the city payroll. One major political hiring scandal that took place in Chicago resulted in Mayor Richard M. Daley’s patronage chief, Robert Sorich, being sent to a federal penitentiary. Through it all, the Chicago political machine has survived. Despite some adjustments, it’s still business as usual. The Chicago system is the same one Barack Obama used when he decided to run for a state Senate seat. He didn’t court a local civic league group, or consult with his pastor, or his neighbors. Instead, he did things the old-fashioned Chicago way: He went to his alderman, an influential politician, and told her he wanted that seat. He also mastered the talent of challenging petitions, knocked every opponent off the ballot, and ran unopposed in his first election. This tactic has long been a real art form in Chicago politics. The architect of that system is our country’s most powerful mayor, Daley. His style of running a political machine with an iron fist, a political army and a huge war chest is second to none in this country. It was the inner circle in Daley’s office that dispatched hundreds of workers and thousands of fund-raising dollars to guarantee Rahm Emanuel would win his congressional seat in 2002 (his first political race). This is the same Rahm Emanuel who is now Obama’s chief of staff. Another member of the Obama team and inner circle is David Axelrod. The top political strategist in Chicago, he has also been Daley’s chief consultant for a number of years and is a brilliant tactician. Axelrod also handled multiple campaigns for the Democratic National Committee and its most influential member, Rahm Emanuel. Also adding to the Chicago flavor is Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s senior policy advisers. A former Chicago Habitat Company CEO, she is a past cabinet member of Mayor Daley, and has worked with Bill Daley, the mayor’s brother, who served on the Obama transition team. The people mentioned so far do not take into account all of the ancillary figures from Chicago who will also take up residence in D.C. as part of the Obama patronage army. Although Obama professes to be a political outsider, he has certainly learned the ropes of fund-raising the Chicago way. The Obama presidential campaign raised more than $600 million, shattering all records. When Obama first ran for the state Senate, Chicago businessman Tony Rezko, who is awaiting sentencing for public corruption, funded a portion of that first campaign. Our president, who still claims he’s an outsider, has openly acknowledged his own maturation in the Chicago political arena. Politics change a person. The political culture often promotes power and ego over the public good. The Chicago political machine breeds corruption by illegal patronage and hiring practices that have existed in the city for decades. The old adage “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know” is the key to getting a job in Chicago. That philosophy has been taken to a whole new level over the past 20 years. To dismantle the machine, you need to cut cancerous patronage out. By and large, people have been rewarded in Chicago not for their education and skills, but for how many votes they can get from their precinct, or for how much money they can pay their political bosses or benefactors. The other political cancer in Chicago that needs to be cut out is the system’s abuse of fund-raising. Current fund-raising rules allow for too much leeway and misuse. For example, Blagojevich is alleged to have been involved in pay-to-play politics, by trying to auction off Obama’s now vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. In Chicago, Daley’s war chest is in the millions of dollars, and many of his contributors also have contracts with the city of Chicago. On their face, such arrangements may not be illegal, but the appearance of, or the potential for, impropriety is readily apparent. The answer is to require public funding for all political campaigns. We also need independent boards, not politicians and their patronage chiefs, to issue government contracts and jobs. Obama has embarked on a course of change, and his political rhetoric indicates that things will be different. However, his political roots are deeply embedded in the bare-knuckle, down-and-dirty blood sport known as Politics, Chicago Style. Our new president, along with his inner circle, will certainly bring a Chicago flavor to the nation’s capital. At the end of the day, though, the question will remain: Can this country stomach it? Only time will tell. James Laski was the city clerk in Chicago from 1995-2006 and was indicted in the Hired Truck Program Scandal. He spent 11 months in federal prison. He is the author of “My Fall From Grace: From City Hall to Prison Walls.”
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