Green Grass and Graft: Corruption in the Suburbs

October 3, 2012

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From left to right: Terry Pastika, Citizen Advocacy Center; Dick Simpson, University of Illinois at Chicago; and Connie Mixon, Elmhurst College Urban Studies Program

Dick Simpson, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has spent his career documenting the “corruption tax” paid by all Illinois citizens when politicians use public resources for private gain. In his sixth corruption report, Simpson focuses on the suburbs, emphasizing that they are not immune from the many faces of corruption: political officials with ties to organized crime, police misconduct, nepotism, and bribery and theft from government agencies.

The former Chicago alderman will discuss his report, as well as the reforms needed to clean up Illinois’ broken political system and how Illinois residents can take back their government, during this forum at Elmhurst College.
 
“Although Chicago grabs the headlines, our entire metropolitan area is harmed by corruption,” said Constance Mixon, director of Elmhurst College’s Urban Studies Program, a sponsor of the forum. “Graft does not stop at the city boundaries. It is ordinary citizens who bear the brunt of corruption, who directly experience it, and who suffer from it.” 
 
The Citizen Advocacy Center is a co-sponsor of the event. “This is an outstanding opportunity for people concerned about the current dysfunctional state of our political system to learn how we can work together to strengthen democracy at the local level, where citizens in a representative democracy can have the greatest impact,” said Terry Pastika, executive director and community lawyer for the center. 
 
A copy of Simpson’s report can be viewed at www.elmhurst.edu/urban
 
“Elmhurst College is proud to partner with the Citizen Advocacy Center to help provide our local citizens with the tools needed to counter corruption and more effectively engage in the civic life of our communities,” Mixon said.
 
Elmhurst College was among the first colleges to develop programs in urban studies that focus on entire metropolitan areas, including suburbs. The Urban Studies Program is about understanding the cities and towns we live in—their people, their politics, their history and their culture. For more information, call 630-617-3569 or visit www.elmhurst.edu/urban.
 
The Citizen Advocacy Center is a non-profit, non-partisan, community-based legal organization dedicated to building democracy for the 21st century. For nearly 20 years, the staff of community lawyers at the Citizen Advocacy Center has focused on strengthening the citizenry’s capacities, knowledge, and institutions for self-governance. For more information, call 630-833-4080 or visit www.citizenadvocacycenter.org.
 
Elmhurst College is a leading liberal arts college located eight miles west of Chicago. The College’s mission is to prepare its students for meaningful and ethical work in a multicultural, global society. Approximately 3,400 full- and part-time students are enrolled in its 23 undergraduate academic departments and eleven graduate degree programs.
 
Recorded Monday, October 1, 2012 at Elmhurst College.