Morrison takes high road against Preckwinkle’s mud
Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison is being challenged by novice candidate Abdelnasser Rashid. But make no mistake about this race, the real challenger is Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle who blames Morrison for repealing her coveted sales tax on sweetened soft drinks and soda pop which slammed the suburban communities like the 17th District harder than any other area of Cook County.
By Ray Hanania
The 17th District in Suburban Cook County looks like a bowling alley which stretches from Des Plaines and Elk Grove Village in the north to Orland Park and Tinley Park in the South. It’s an iconic metaphor, however, for the skill that is required to win.
You have to be smart and focused on the real issues.
And while the district represents 36 very different and diverse communities, the voters in the district share one common denominator, a powerful opposition to excessive taxation. That’s exactly why incumbent Sean Morrison has the sizable edge over novice challenger Abdelnasser Rashid.
While mailers against Morrison have been filled with ugly, negative, and vicious attacks against Morrison, Morrison has not taken the bait. Normally, when you demonize someone, that person fights back. It’s a cheap strategy by the inexperienced to define themselves first by throwing mud at their rival hoping the rival gets lured into the deep end with a vicious, emotional rebuttal.
But Morrison did not take the bait. Instead, Morrison, who took over the seat from the much loved predecessor Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman, who is the Republican Committeewoman of Orland Township, is focussing on solid reasons why he should be re-elected.
During Gorman’s time in office representing the west suburban county district, she carefully carved a name for herself in Granite as one of the region’s most dependable champions against unjustified and excessive taxation. When she stepped down to enter private industry, Gorman and the community chose wisely, selecting Morrison as the best person to continue that crusade against outrageous taxes as the 17th District’s new commissioner.
Gorman faced down former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, who imposed a burdensome one cent sales tax on Cook County’s residents. Almost singlehandedly, Gorman organized the opposition which quickly forced the repeal of the sales tax.
Morrison is in a similar seat, fighting the excessive taxing policies of Stroger’s successor, Toni Preckwinkle. Preckwinkle ran against Stroger denouncing the sales tax, too. But once she was elected, she quickly broke her promise and re-introduced it. And then, Preckwinkle proposed and rammed through an even more burdensome sales tax on pop, soft drinks and sweetened drinks that sales showed would impact suburbanites far more than residents of Chicago.
At one point, I really thought Preckwinkle was going to change things, and not sink down into Machine politics or spending most of her time catering to the needs of Chicago while ignoring the needs of Cook County’s suburbs. It’s a shame. These days, people are hoping Preckwinkle runs for Chicago mayor, now that her pal Mayor Rahm Emanuel has decided not to run for re-election. Her winning would get her hands out of our suburban lives.
The racial element of the Preckwinkle soda tax push was obvious. Preckwinkle was catering to and protecting her Chicago voter base, while placing the tax burden on suburban voters. Over the years, suburban taxpayers have been victimized by Chicago-based politicians who have shoplifted the hard earned suburban to cover the failures, corruption and waste of Chicago spending.
After Preckwinkle’s soda pop tax was approved — a whopping one cent per ounce punitive tax — Morrison, like Gorman, organized the opposition and gave strength to the movement to repeal the tax. That happened quickly. Morrison established himself as a champion for the rights of taxpayers not just in the suburbs but for all of Cook County.
Many people thought that Preckwinkle’s soda tax would pull the rug out from her ambition. But fortunately for her, she was challenged by a rival who lacked the resources or the charisma to win. And, unlike Chicago voters, suburban voters are not vengeful and give elected officials many chances even after they have been taken by them to the cleaners many times over and over again.
Preckwinkle, however, is not so forgiving. She organized a campaign that targeted many of her opponents on the county board who fought the soda tax and embarrassed her. Now, Preckwinkle is targeting Morrison, and she is the biggest financial contributor to Rashid’s campaign.
During the past two months, Preckwinkle has channeled nearly $120,000 into the fight against Morrison through the Cook County Democratic Organization, which Preckwinkle has chaired since taking over the post in April.
The campaign contributions are among the largest doled out by the Democratic Party in a local race. And while some hoped Preckwinkle would use her new post to strengthen the Democratic Party, clearly she is instead using it to strengthen her own interests. Her priority is a personal agenda of vengeance against Morrison who embarrassed her by causing her soda pop tax to fizzle.
Voters in the 17th District know that there is only one choice, Morrison. I don’t know Rashid. He seems like a decent person, although I am wary of some of his supporters. One day, Rashid might make a good candidate, if he can get out of Preckwinkle’s grips. He couldn’t get out of the grip of outgoing Cook County Clerk David Orr, however, where he worked as a deputy for years.
What Preckwinkle’s candidate has failed to do is address the real concerns of suburban voters with specific proposals and ideas. In contrast, Morrison has shown a proven track record of standing-up for the rights of taxpayers. Instead of denouncing and criticizing Preckwinkle and her soda tax, Rashid is embracing her.
Voters are tired of the namecalling, the mudslinging, and the vicious attacks that twist news stories and distort facts to exaggerate issues. They want someone who can stand up to Preckwinkle’s deceptions. Clearly, the only candidate in this race who has the courage to call out Preckwinkle’s outrageous taxes is Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison.
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Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
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His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.
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