Good news from former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman

I hope all the city workers during this difficult time can reach into their pocket and support David Hoffman in his bid for U.S. Senate. Please click here and help, http://www.hoffmanforillinois.com/ I met David Hoffman when three city workers spoke in front of the Federal judge regarding our mistrust of Chicago to implement fair hiring. It was Bruce Randazzo, Frank Anton, and I that told the judge the city is not to be trusted. I also asked the Federal Judge if the City of Chicago would provide the Office of the Inspector General with additional funding. David Hoffman enjoyed that request. I am going to make a contribution to David Hoffman and I hope everyone can dig in and help. Let’s reward people that respect the taxpayers. My bone to pick with the Office of the Inspector General is the taking of furlough days; I want a complete independent Inspector General in Chicago. Crime takes no day off in Chicago, neither should the Inspector General. Chicago Clout has some unfinished business with the I.G.; I hope these concerns are still a priority. Good luck, Mr. Hoffman. Patrick McDonough

7 Replies to “Good news from former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman”

  1. August 27, 2009

    BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
    The resignation of Chicago’s corruption-fighting inspector general removes a giant thorn from Mayor Daley’s side.

    But David Hoffman’s departure to run for U.S. Senate also creates a political dilemma for Daley.

    » Click to enlarge image David Hoffman with Mayor Daley on the day he was named city inspector general in 2005.
    (Sun-Times Library)

    How can the mayor demonstrate that he’s serious about cleaning up City Hall corruption from the inside without Hoffman — or a former federal prosecutor in the same mold — who is not afraid to step on City Hall’s biggest toes?

    There is no doubt that the inspector general earned the nickname “Abbie Hoffman” for the political bombs he threw at the mayor’s office.

    Hoffman targeted corruption in the Buildings and Zoning departments, forced the resignation of the mayor’s human resources chief, uncovered $21 million in waste by garbage-collection crews and concluded Daley could have raked in nearly twice as much as the $1.15 billion he got from leasing parking meters by holding on to the meters and raising rates.

    The inspector general also struck a Daley family nerve by working hand in glove with the federal government to target the hidden interest that the mayor’s son and nephew had in a sewer inspection company whose city business rose sharply while they were owners.

    But Hoffman also provided the mayor with a layer of political insulation.

    Whenever Hoffman blindsided the mayor’s office with another embarrassing revelation, Daley could say he meant business when he promised to clean up the mess caused by the Hired Truck, city hiring and minority contracting scandals.

    Hoffman’s aggressive, relentless pursuit of waste and corruption at City Hall was a feather in the mayor’s cap, as Daley himself acknowledged Wednesday.

    “He never embarrassed me. You have to remember: I appointed him,” Daley told reporters.

    The mayor flatly denied that Hoffman was a thorn in his side or that he was happy to get rid of him. In fact, Daley insisted that he was prepared to re-appoint Hoffman to another four-year term.

    “You want a headline that Daley’s happy, smiling and all that. . . . The sanctity of taxpayers’ money [is paramount]. People work hard. They want their money protected,” the mayor said.

    Hoffman, 42, acknowledged that his job was made more difficult by the political resistance he faced.

    “When you’re an inspector general and you’re strong about your independence, sometimes it will not sit well with some people,” he said. “My approach has been to not pay too much attention to that and to focus on how we, as an office, can be effective.”

    Hoffman expressed confidence that the “strong, skilled group” of attorneys, auditors and investigators he has assembled would carry on without him.

    “I have a certain level of confidence that things are likely to remain in that independent fashion, but we’ll have to see. No one can predict the future,” he said.

    Daley said he’s looking for someone with the same background as Hoffman to replace the departing inspector general. The U.S. attorney’s office will be watching closely. So will Chicago voters.

    “If he picks someone they don’t trust, they’ll close down [joint investigations] and that will be gigantic blow. People will start leaving,” said a source, who asked to remain anonymous.

  2. Can anybody shed some light on how come there is not an inspector general or outside agency looking into how the PARK DISTRICT runs their operations?

  3. Pat, you should see about the Cloutmiesters opening for Britney Spears when she comes to Chicago. Maybe you can wear the same outfits she wears. But please do us all a favor and wear (boxers) when you exit your limo! (Response) The thought makes me sick.

  4. I know this won’t get posted because the blog owner is a shameless suck up to Jr. G-man, I mean former IG.

    but here goes anyway:

    Hoffman is basically exposed as a self serving hypocrite.

    His fight against what HE saw as corruption was not some sort of moral calling as the media that fawned over him would have the public believe, but rather as a platform for his own self-aggrandisement and positioning for a political office.

    It will be interesting on the political stump for him to answer several questions about his tenure as IG such as:

    – did he accept pay from his City Job while on his 3 month tour on the reform commission ? or did he even get permission from his boss to take such a long time off ? Failure to do so would be violation of the City’s personnel rules that he was so strict on enforcing.

    – as a Senator he could be on a committee that would be convened on torture and interrogation techinques used against prisoners (like Gitmo). Did his former office of IG conduct its interrogations of City employees ? Were they read their rights ? Were they allowed to have counsel present ? Were they conducted in windowless rooms for hours at a time ? He is on thin ice on this one.

    – as a Senator he would have confirmation authority for nominations to positions such as Justice Department and the head of Civil Rights Division, responsible for Equal Employment and discrimination matters. As the City’s Inspector General, did his hiring reflect the diversity of the City of Chicago or, as according to his website, was the majority of his hires from zip codes along the lakeshore and lincoln park and other North Side environs ? How many minorities had non-clerical jobs in his office besides his token First Deputy ?

    – maybe on the stump he would explain how he could afford a $1,000,000 plus mansion in the City on a salary from all of his working life in the public sector?

    – while campaigning he would also be in a position to explain why in the first three years of his appointment there was very little activity in his office, yet in the last year he was doing a press conference every week ?

    – and maybe a brave soul from the media would ask about the allegations of the type of young, handsome men that his former employer Sen. Boren would hire in his time there.

    No exaggeration, people accused of murder have more rights than people interrogated by Hoffman’s bullies; at least a person accused of murder has a right to an attorney present during interrogation.
    Not so with Hoffman—his staff keep city employees on their own and confined to interrogation rooms for hours, browbeating them and asking the same questions over and over—telling them they can’t leave or they’ll be punished for being uncooperative.
    THAT’S the great unreported story, even bigger than political corruption in City Hall, the County Building or Springfield.
    That’s the real man-bites-dog story of 2009.
    But no reporter in Chicago seems to have the courage to break the story open.
    Having an honest, effective, independent Inspector General is extremely important to government at all levels, including and perhaps especially Chicago. But Chicago doesn’t have that.

    Hoffman and his borderline brutish, unlawful methods are the great untold story. Along with his homogenous staff of mostly young white investigators.
    The other stories of corruption at all level of government (city, county, state, federal) are told—they are there for all to read, see and hear. And that’s great. They need to be exposed, they must be exposed, wherever and whoever they are.
    But for the press to refuse to have their investigative reporters scrutinize Hoffman (because frankly, news organizations can be just as lazy and/or corrupt as a political organization), is unacceptable—just as unacceptable as it would be if the press winked as political corruption went unchecked.

    Personally, I think David Hoffman is a self serving weasel. I believe as part of an administration, there is a responsibility to report investigative findings to the proper authorities. The news media is not the proper authority. I think he has his own agenda and knew that he would not be around after September. Aside from that, he kind of reminds me of Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy.

    All of this is moot however because Mark Kirk will defeat whomever comes out of the Dem primary.
    (Response) you can post because you put an email unlike the other cowards.

  5. Inside the beast: How Cook County judges are elected
    Comments

    September 20, 2009

    BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporter/[email protected]
    “Mysterious forces” hover in the air in this Hotel Allegro conference room as Cook County’s Democratic ward and township committeemen carve up “The Beast.”

    “The Beast” is three seats on the state appellate court and seven seats on the Cook County Circuit Court.

    » Click to enlarge image Judges slating for the Democratic primary election.
    (John H. White/Sun-Times)

    In the old days, cigar smoke hung in the air as ward bosses parceled out the judgeships as prizes to lawyers who’d been loyal to the party or were relatives of powerful Democrats.

    Loyalty and blood still count for plenty here but now diversity in race, gender and sexual orientation matter as do, believe it or not, legal skills. This biennial pageant — held this year on Thursday, Sept. 10 — becomes less circus every two years and more negotiation. Instead of cigars, committeemen sport lap-tops they use to tap away and “tweet” during the slating.

    But before the day is over, these committeemen will hear a judge dare them to grab for “the most succulent part of the beast” instead of “the scraps;” a lawyer will confess that she ran as a “ringer” [fake judicial candidate] in the past to protect the party’s candidate and now she’d like to collect her reward — and one committeemen will even sneak in an actual cigar.

    Voters increasingly make up their own minds, so the ward bosses can’t guarantee the election of all the judges they slate, but most of the lawyers slated here today will likely make it on the bench.

    This is the way judges are chosen in Cook County.

    Dining on ‘The Beast’
    Judge Joyce Murphy Gorman won a seat on the court nine years ago — just four years out of law school — with surreptitious help from committeemen loyal to her husband, Democratic operative Bob Gorman. Now she wants to ascend to the appellate court.

    “I have spoken to many of you and many of you are questioning: Why don’t I get my say? Why is there a mysterious power exercising forces over me?” Gorman says raising her hands and looking toward the ceiling as committeemen listen with eyes widening.

    “I’m urging you to … exercise your power in your own way, and not sit back while the mysterious power watches you do their work for [them] and you wait to be thrown a scrap once in a while while others dine on the most succulent part of the beast.”

    The committeemen burst into laughter and look at each other in disbelief. “Who is the mysterious power?” some ask each other. Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and the other more-powerful committeemen? The trial lawyers who fund the party?

    Gorman, her arms still up, palms facing the ceiling, laughs to herself as she says, referring to the campaign-contribution forms candidates must file, “I look at people’s D-2s — I know what’s going on here.”

    From the looks the committeemen give each other, they’re not sure what she’s talking about.

    “I ask you to know what you’re getting here: Two of the candidates you’ve seen today have ties to the same powerful law firm,” she says.

    Two candidates have or had spouses with ties to the Corboy and Demetrio firm, which donates money to the Democratic Party. Is the firm a “mysterious power?”

    Gorman warns the committeeman that if they slate someone who loses at the polls, they will make themselves “irrelevant” losers. “I believe you’re ready to take back the process for yourself, and I can be your vehicle,” she says. “I hope to become the first Swedish. Irish, German, French, Bohemian, Polish, Italian appellate court justice. I can run and I can win”

    Ten minutes into what’s supposed to be Gorman’s three-minute speech to committeemen, Mayoral brother John Daley has had it and shouts, “C’mon, time!”

    When Gorman finally walks away, Burke asks, “Anybody know what law firm?” He adds that committeemen have a few minutes before the next candidate is scheduled to appear.

    Committeeman P.J. Cullerton (38th) laughingly says, “Call her back! Call her back!”

    Other committeeman laugh and shake their heads, “No! No!”

    The Rules for Ringers
    Here’s who wins judicial elections in Cook County: Women with Irish names. For whatever reason in this county where roughly half the residents are women and 17 percent claim Irish ancestry, women lawyers with Irish names win more than 50 percent of all countywide judicial elections.

    That’s why lawyers of Jewish or other ancestry often legally adopt Irish names to run for judge here. That’s why when party leaders slate men without Irish names, such as William Haddad, who would have been the first Arab-American full-circuit judge in Cook County, the party must recruit Irish women lawyers to run as “ringers” or “stalking horses” to flood the ballot and fracture the Irish-woman vote.

    The rules are clear for ringers, if unwritten. You do not campaign — not even a sign in your front lawn. Your job is to siphon votes from Irish women candidates really running for judge — not to win, though sometimes that happens, and then you get to be judge. You may be rewarded for your service by being slated for judge in future elections. But you’re not supposed to admit you’re a fake candidate.

    Apparently Barbara Bailey was not adequately briefed.

    ‘Ballot management’
    “Barbara Bailey, currently serving as an assistant state’s attorney — welcome,” master of ceremonies Burke (14th) says as he welcomes Bailey to the podium.

    Bailey talks of her work as a prosecutor and her involvement with the McNulty School of Irish Dance. She adds, “My father was a judge for over 20 years, and he was helpful getting union backing for the party.”

    “That’s true,” a committeeman adds from the floor.

    “I believe I would probably get union backing with his connections,” she says.

    Then she spills the beans: “I did run five years ago for judge. I did run in a race. It was my understanding that the committeemen or that people for the Democratic Party put out my petitions, I had them signed. I was told not to raise money and not do any campaigning. I didn’t. I got 88,000 votes not doing anything. … I came in third in that race, right behind the slated candidate.”

    Ohhh, bad form! You’re not supposed to publicly discuss how the party manipulates election with “ballot management.”

    The committeemen don’t gasp. They all know this is how the game is played. Is it good government? No. Is it fair that qualified Jewish or Italian-American judges can’t win countywide judicial elections in Cook County because the electorate here votes its ethnic prejudices? No.

    So this is what the party does.

    The slated candidate in that 2004 race was the highly-rated Haddad, who nearly squeaked in, with 121,000 votes. But Kathleen Marie Burke an Irish woman lawyer who was really running for judge was lucky enough to secure top ballot spot, winning 128,000 votes.

    Bailey, who has run a few times for judge, will not be slated.

    ‘Make your speech later’
    Today’s exercise is increasingly ceremonial. Burke and the committeemen have taken increasing measures to move this process behind closed doors. They already had a closed slating these candidates appeared at two weeks ago.

    And at the beginning of this session, Burke tried to stamp out the sometimes-embarrassing comments committeemen have made in years past about what a good poll-worker a lawyer is — as opposed to what a good lawyer a lawyer is.

    “A lot of people like to stand up and make speeches about what a wonderful person that candidate is while they’re here so they can listen,” Burke says. “I would urge you to refrain from that. Let’s get through the process and then you can argue for your favorite candidate when we go into executive session. You think that would work a little better? I think so. You can make your speech later on.”

    Addressing the first candidate of the day, former election lawyer Matt Delort, Burke says, “You’ve got three minutes judge. Step on the gas.”

    Delort obliges: “Many of you know me from having worked with me for many years in my former life as a local government and election attorney. Hopefully those past relationships have been fruitful and have endeared myself to you in some way.”

    Delort makes an important vow the committeemen always like to hear: “I will not run for judicial office … if I am not slated by this committee.”

    Candidates who are not slated and run anyway are considered “persona non grata,” excepting Irish women asked to run as straw horses. Patience is sometimes rewarded and Delort, while not slated, will be listed as an alternate in case an appellate judge retires before Election Day.

    ‘Where do you live, judge?’
    Next up is Judge Pamela Hill Veal, slated for judge four years ago thanks to her close ties to Cook County Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore. Now she wants to move up to the appellate court.

    She does not mention that the very appellate court she seeks to join lambasted her in an opinion last year for inexcusably jailing a lawyer for contempt of court. Veal got angry with the lawyer because she said the lawyer was refusing to accept Veal’s explanation of how the lawyer should write an order.

    But as it turned out, it was Veal who misunderstood the case — not the lawyer, the appellate court said in over-ruling Veal.

    “Nothing demeans the judiciary more than a frivolous and mean-spirited exercise of the contempt power,” Judge Robert Cahill wrote, excoriating Veal. “A judge who lunges for the contempt remedy at the first sign of perceived impertinence is not unlike the television cartoon judge who needs a gavel to control his courtroom.”

    As Veal finishes Burke asks, “Any questions? Where do you live judge?”

    “In Chicago,” Veal answers … like a rookie. The committeemen laugh.

    “Where in Chicago,” Burke asks her, in a tone that says she should know better what the committeemen are looking for.

    “Oh, I’m sorry,” she says, holding her head, while a committeemen shouts out “What Ward?!”

    “Oh, 34,” Veal says.

    “The 34th ward — the distinguished Chairman [Carrie] Austin,” Burke says, nodding to the ward’s committeeman.

    ‘I’m a life-long Democrat’
    Next up is Judge Sebastian Patti, wearing a bright green bow tie of the hue Burke favors in his own ties. Burke compliments him on his tie.

    A former lead attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency, Patti has risen through the ranks to supervising judge, then this year, by state supreme court appointment, to the appellate court.

    “Finally, let me reveal something to you that I think is important because there is a longtime commitment to diversity in the Cook County Democratic Party,” Patti tells the committeemen, “I submit my credentials as the only bow-tie wearing judge this morning, and I appreciate your support in that regard.”

    Lest there be any doubt about Patti’s coy comment, Burke stands next to him and says, “I’d also add, when he talks about diversity, ladies and gentleman, he became, when the Supreme Court appointed him to the appellate court, the first openly gay member of the appellate court in the state of Illinois.”

    The committeemen applaud. Patti smiles and leaves the podium.

    “Now the next person asking you for your support is Judge Arnette Hubbard,” Burke says.

    “She is not here,” a coordinator says.

    “She is not here,” Burke repeats. No real surprise here. Whatever her strengths may be, Judge Hubbard is notoriously late to the bench — not a morning person.

    Jim Epstein takes the podium. A former president of the Illinois Judges Association, Epstein needs little introduction. He gives an especially elaborate version of the vow not to run if not slated: “I can’t be the type of person who with one hand reaches out and says, ‘I want your support,’ but with the other hand, in a fist, says ‘But I’m going to run against you if you don’t slate me.’ That’s not who I am.'”

    Epstein is followed by Judge Mary K. Rochford. Rochford is married to Mike Demetrio of Corboy & Demetrio. Epstein was married to Judge Joan Corboy before her untimely death. Could these be the two lawyers tied to the “same firm” Gorman mentioned?

    Rochford last time around ended a 16-year drought of Democrats never winning election from the far north suburban 12th Subcircuit. She mentions another staple most of these candidates will use some version of: “I’m a life-long Democrat. My family are a life-long Democrats.”

    ‘A four-fer’
    “Our next presenter will be Judge Jim Ryan,” Burke says, referring to the second cousin of former Sheriff Michael Sheahan who served as Sheahan’s young general counsel early out of law school and was criticized in a 2004 grand jury report. The grand jury investigated charges that Ryan and other Sheahan aides killed an investigation of an alleged mass-beating of inmates at the Cook County Jail.

    No charges were filled against Ryan or anyone else as a result of the investigation

    “The grand jury generally found him to be not credible,” the report said of Ryan. “Ryan interferes with the operation of the jail, interferes in promotions, and gives orders or countermands orders that are inimicable to the proper operation of the jail. It has been said that Mr. Ryan doesn’t listen, is belligerent and has no expertise in corrections.”

    Appellate Court justices privately confide that they are very worried about this election should some of the less-highly-regarded candidates win.

    “It used to be that we had two lifeguards per swimmer,” a few of the justices told the Sun-Times, referring to judges who understand the law versus those that don’t. “Now we could have two swimmers per lifeguard.”

    Burke is informed that Ryan has not yet arrived so he goes on to the first candidate for circuit court, assistant city attorney Linda Pauel.

    With a slight Jamaican accent, Pauel describes her unique background: “I was born and raised in Jamaica, I happen to have mixed-race parentage. My mother is half black and half Chinese. My father is a Dutchman who adopted my sister who is half Venezuelan, so we really are a little bit of a melting pot just in our own home.”

    And she’s gay.

    One committeeman calls her a “four-fer.” She’ll have little problem getting slated.

    ‘I’ve helped to get out the votes’
    John Daley has Ald. Walter Burnett in a corner in heated conversation. Throughout the slating aldermen huddle in corners of the expansive room to horse-trade votes trying to put together the judicial slate.

    “Has Judge Ryan arrived yet?” Burke calls to the party coordinator.

    No. On to the next candidate, public defender Terry MacCarthy, whose father, Burke reminds committeemen, was the longtime federal public defender of the same name.

    “I have been a lifelong and loyal Democrat,” MacCarthy says. “I have helped Democratic candidates from the White House to the courthouse. I’ve helped with fund-raising. I’ve helped to get out the votes. Part of the reason that draws me to the Democratic Party is that the Democratic Party serves not only the advantaged but the disadvantaged.”

    Burke thanks him and asks if Ryan has arrived yet.

    No, he hasn’t.

    More lawyers appear to discuss their credentials and proclaim themselves “life-long Democrats.” In-between each one, Burke asks if Judge Ryan has arrived and is told he has not.

    As prosecutor Darren O’Brien talks about prosecuting the Brown’s Chicken murder case, suddenly the faint smell of an unlit cigar wafts through the air.

    Committeeman Randy Barnette (39th) shows off a half-smoked stogie he holds between his right middle and forefinger.

    “How bout this thing — I gotta bring back a little bit of the old time,” he says with a grin.

    Back up at the podium, O’Brien is telling the committeemen to take this slating seriously: “I’ve seen judges virtually every day of my career. Some are outstanding. Some are mediocre, some are dangerous. Before every election, my family and friends always ask me who they should vote for for the judges. And I always tell them who I think they should vote for and why. I tell ’em: Don’t guess because you could end up with one of the terrible ones. There’s too much at stake to allow a terrible judge, a judge who doesn’t care about the law, doesn’t try to do what’s right. Why settle for someone who’s mediocre?”

    ‘In the wrong place?’
    County Democratic Chairman Joe Berrios huddles with his top aid Tom Jaconetty and Ald. Fredrenna Lyle (6th) in the back of the room.

    JoAnne Guillmette talks about her work for Chief Judge Tim Evans, four committeemen, and her days as treasurer of the Democratic Party in Winnebago County.

    “Isn’t she in the wrong place?” one committeeman asks quietly in the back of the room.

    “I pray as I stand here today that I have the requisite number of men and women to stand in support of me and my candidacy for circuit court judge,” she says.

    She doesn’t. She won’t be slated. Many of the committeemen don’t hear her as they gather in the back of the room, sheets and resumes in hand, to horse-trade.

    “Jim Ryan ever show up?” Burke asks.

    No.

    Burke decides to take the committee into executive session to pick the three appellate justices and all non-committeemen leave the room.

    According to some who stay, the slate starts out this way: Patti, Veal and Rochford. But suburban committeeman revolt, saying they want Epstein, an Evanston resident, on the ballot. They have the votes to claim their spot on the ticket so Rochford is dropped down to “alternate” along with Reyes.

    It’s somewhat ironic that Rochford is the judge pushed aside to make way for fellow “Corboy-tied” lawyer Epstein in that she lives even farther up the North Shore — and in the last election became the first Democrat to win that suburban seat for the Democrats.

    There’s some discussion about the appellate case slamming Hill Veal, but minority committeemen insist they want an African-American as one of the three appellate court nominees and they judge her the best of the three that presented that morning.

    I can’t keep going to my people and telling them to vote for these tickets that are all old white Irish guys — we need some color on this ticket,” said Ald. Lyle, an African-American attorney.

    ‘Don’t over-sell the product’
    Presentations by the Circuit Court judicial candidates resume with one of Chicago’s best-known African-American attorneys, Bill Hooks, asking to be slated for the judgeship the state supreme court recently appointed him to on a temporary basis.

    The former Marine colonel’s reputation precedes him and from Burke on down the committeemen give him a warm welcome and only mildly chide him about the 54-page resume he dropped in their laps. One committeeman stands to speak on Hooks’ behalf and Burke cuts him off, saying, “Don’t over-sell the product.” Clearly, the decision has already been made with Hooks.

    Susan Kennedy Sullivan tells the committeemen: “My first campaign efforts were to support John Kennedy, that’s John A. Kennedy of Winnetka, my father, who was the Democratic candidate in 1962 against a young upstart, Donald Rumsfeld. Wouldn’t history have changed if he had won?”

    Burke smiles and says, “I’m pleased to be reminded of your Dad. He was a wonderful fixture, battling for Democratic principles up there on the North Shore when it wasn’t very popular, tall and distinguished with white hair.”

    But the North Shore already has Epstein so Kennedy won’t get slated this time around.

    Ray Mitchell, a former partner at the prestigious Winston & Strawn law firm, doesn’t talk to this crowd about the briefs he wrote in defense of former Gov. George Ryan, instead focusing on how his father was a union electrician.

    Some of the committeemen in the caucuses say they don’t like him working for a firm that represents the gun companies. But Mitchell’s defenders say he’s a good lawyer who will make a good judge. He will get slated.

    Tom Lyons, son of the former Democratic Party Chairman, may seem a bit over-confident when he says, “I look forward to being slated by this party — I certainly hope to be.” His confidence is well-placed. He will be slated.

    It seems the more confident a candidate is that their slating is in the bag, the less they say. The decisions are mostly made and these speeches are mostly just to get committeemen’s attention for future slatings.

    John Patrick “Jack” Callahan mentions “My family has a long history of involvement in the Democratic Party … in the 17th, 19th, and 18th wards, Oak Lawn and Western Springs.”

    Left unsaid is that even as he was thinking about this run for judge, his 18-year-old son and namesake died tragically the night before his graduation from Marist High School in May.

    Callahan will be slated.

    Diann Marsalek, who also suffered a personal tragedy 13 years ago when her then-fiance, Republican state Rep. Roger McAuliffe died in a boating accident, tells committeemen she followed the rules last time when she was not slated and did not run against the party. They will reward her this time with slating.

    Good enough for the president
    The final slate: Pauel, Hooks, Mitchell, Lyons, Marsalek, Callahan and Sandra Ramos.

    In the last few years slightly less then half the slated candidates have won election to the bench. In Cook County, the Feb. 2 Democratic primary is tantamount to an election because a Republican has not won a countywide contested election in decades.

    Like sausage-making, parts of the process can be hard to stomach. But all 10 of the slated candidates appear to have been found qualified by most of the bar groups or are on their way to getting good grades from the bar groups.

    Any attempts to replace the current system with an appointive “merit selection” system like many other states have have been squashed by Illinois political leaders, who are loathe to give up their power and who argue if it’s a good enough system to choose presidents, governors and legislators, it’s good enough to choose judges.

    “Slating tells us who has been a loyal servant to the party, and not who will be independent, knowledgeable and fair on the bench — it’s a lousy way to pick a judicial candidate,” said Cindi Canary of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

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