Forrest Claypool is an Independent candidate for Cook County Assessor in Cook County, Illinois, who is currently attempting to collect 25,000 valid signatures in order to get on the ballot. The Chicago Tribune published this editorial calling for people to sign Claypool’s petition.
Come Election Day, voters need to make sure Democratic candidate Joseph Berrios and his cronies don’t win the key to the office of Cook County assessor. One way to thwart Berrios & Friends is to make sure independent candidate Forrest Claypool gets on the ballot. Claypool needs to amass signatures before Monday so he can meet the deadline for filing his petitions with election officials.
If you’re a registered voter who lives in Cook County, sign a Claypool petition. Don’t know how? Contact his campaign at 773-328-2039 or via firstname.lastname@example.org and a staffer will come to you. If you’ve been collecting signatures, return your petitions pronto to Claypool’s campaign office at 2835 N. Sheffield Ave. in Chicago.
Why bother? Three reasons:
• Berrios, who sits on the county’s property tax appeals board and moonlights as a video poker lobbyist, is a terrible candidate for an office that wields so much power over property valuations. In his current role, Berrios has done plenty to benefit clients of the law firms of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton — fellow Democrats whom Berrios then lobbies for favors in Springfield.
Isn’t that sweet for Berrios, Madigan and Cullerton? Did we mention that Berrios chairs the Cook County Democratic Party and reports to Madigan, who chairs the Illinois Democratic Party? The departing assessor, James Houlihan, has long criticized the overlapped interests of Berrios and Madigan. Houlihan is right.
• Don’t ever forget Berrios’ enthusiastic support for County Board President Todd Stroger’s notorious sales tax hike. Berrios didn’t just want the 1-percentage-point increase Stroger eventually muscled through the County Board. No, Berrios wanted the full 2 percentage points Stroger initially proposed.
• Berrios, Madigan and the rest of their cozy cabal are terrified that Claypool will gather the required 25,000 valid signatures and get on the ballot. Berrios & Friends will challenge any Claypool signature they think they can. For Claypool, there’s no such thing as “enough” signatures. He needs lots of spares.
If you want to tell the insiders who rule Cook County as their fiefdom that they’re free to relinquish some turf, sign a petition to put Claypool on the ballot. Give him a chance to protect this crucial office.
Claypool is currently an Independent member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.