WBEZ | Cook County assessor http://www.wbez.org/tags/cook-county-assessor Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios on property taxes, nepotism http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/cook-county-assessor-joseph-berrios-property-taxes-nepotism-101306 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS5226_Saurez%20and%20Berrios%202%20CROP-scr.JPG" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />Here&rsquo;s the good news: This year, property tax bills have arrived in Cook County mailboxes in record speed. The bad news? Many of those bills are up, despite lower home values.</div><p>The <a href="http://cookcountyassessor.com/index.aspx">Cook County Assessor&rsquo;s Office</a> is charged with setting property values to help determine each owner&rsquo;s taxes. Monday on <em>Afternoon Shift, </em>we talk with the man who oversees the office, Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.</p><p>Berrios has been under fire lately for hiring his sister and son to work for him. The Cook County Board of Ethics recently slapped Berrios with a $10,000 fine and ordered him to fire them.</p><p>Berrios isn&rsquo;t backing down from his decision, though. He&rsquo;s challenging the ruling, citing a previous Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&#39;s opinion.</p><p>Earlier this month, he <a href="http://www.wlsam.com/Article.asp?id=2492445&amp;spid=">explained to WLS 890&nbsp; AM</a> that he doesn&#39;t see any harm in keeping his son and sister on staff:</p><p>&ldquo;Well as long as they&rsquo;re showing up for work and doing the work they&rsquo;re supposed to work, yeah, it&rsquo;s right. If you&rsquo;ve got someone who&rsquo;s a ghost payroller or someone not doing the job, then it&rsquo;s wrong. But as long as they&rsquo;re coming in and doing a good job, and I have great expectations for them, because I demand more of them than I do anything else.&rdquo;</p><p>Tune in Monday just after 3:30 to get the latest from Assessor Berrios.</p></p> Mon, 30 Jul 2012 13:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/cook-county-assessor-joseph-berrios-property-taxes-nepotism-101306 Assessor election suggests white reformers ought not go it alone http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/assessor-election-suggests-white-reformers-ought-not-go-it-alone <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-03/Claypool_at_Salem.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The results of a fiercely contested Cook County election are exposing a gulf between white liberals and minority voters.<br /><br />Forrest Claypool&rsquo;s anti-machine rhetoric has proven popular over the years with white progressives. But he needed broader support to beat Democrat Joe Berrios in Tuesday&rsquo;s Cook County assessor election.<br /><br />In particular, Claypool had to do better in heavily minority neighborhoods than when he tried to unseat Cook County Board President John Stroger in 2006.<br /><br />He didn&rsquo;t do better.<br /><br />Jamiko Rose, executive director of the Organization of the Northeast, said the results show how far the progressive movement has to go. &ldquo;We need to identify the issues that different ethnic communities care about and build relationships and work on those issues,&rdquo; she said.<br /><br />Many community organizers say a good-government agenda isn&rsquo;t enough. They say reformers also need to focus on issues like jobs, schools and public safety.</p></p> Wed, 03 Nov 2010 22:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/assessor-election-suggests-white-reformers-ought-not-go-it-alone Joe Berrios wins big in Cook County assessor’s race http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/joe-berrios-wins-big-cook-county-assessor%E2%80%99s-race <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-03/Joe Berrios1CROP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Democrats across the United States are smarting after election defeats Tuesday, but the party&rsquo;s leader in Cook County is basking in victory after a bruising battle.<br /><br />Four candidates faced off to replace the retiring county assessor, Jim Houlihan.<br /><br />Forrest Claypool, an independent, raised the most money in the campaign&rsquo;s closing months and got a lot of good press. But Joe Berrios, the chair of the Cook County Democratic Party, still outpaced Claypool by more than 200,000 votes.<br /><br />Berrios said there was a lesson: &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t count us out. Don&rsquo;t count the Democratic Party out and do not count our organization out of anything.&rdquo;<br /><br />Claypool said the results showed something else. &ldquo;We just got squeezed in the middle between straight-ticket Democratic voting in the city and straight-ticket Republican voting in the suburbs,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Claypool offered a suggestion for anyone else who would take on what he called a corrupt political machine: &ldquo;Fight within the party structure.&rdquo;<br /><br />Republican Sharon Strobek-Eckersall finished third; the Green Party&rsquo;s Robert Grota, last.<br /><br />The assessor sets the value of nearly every property in the county to help determine each owner&rsquo;s taxes.</p></p> Wed, 03 Nov 2010 08:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/joe-berrios-wins-big-cook-county-assessor%E2%80%99s-race Berrios wins assessor race http://www.wbez.org/story/assessor/berrios-wins-assessor-race <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-02/joe berrios courtesy of friends of joe berrios for assessor.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Democrat Joseph Berrios will be Cook County's next assessor, defeating independent Forrest Claypool.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>With 79 percent of precincts reporting, Berrios had about 47 percent of the vote, compared with Claypool's 32 percent. Republican Sharon Strobeck-Eckersall had about 18 percent and the Green Party's Robert Grota received nearly 3 percent.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Berrios has been involved in Democratic politics since he was a teenager. He's a member of the county's tax appeals board.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>He's also faced criticism for his relatives' jobs and alleged tax breaks for friends and political donors.</p><p>Claypool conceded Tuesday evening. He's a county commissioner who was the former chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan is retiring.</p></p> Wed, 03 Nov 2010 02:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/assessor/berrios-wins-assessor-race Toothache interrupts Cook County assessor candidate Forrest Claypool http://www.wbez.org/story/african-american-politics/toothache-interrupts-cook-county-assessor-candidate-forrest-claypool <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-01/ClaypoolCROP.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Candidates across Illinois are trying to make the most of their last day before Tuesday&rsquo;s election. But a leading contender in a tight Cook County race had to step off the campaign trail for a few hours.<br /><br />Assessor candidate Forrest Claypool said his &ldquo;emergency&rdquo; began last night after Halloween trick-or-treating. &ldquo;I made the mistake of stealing my 9-year-old daughter&rsquo;s Tootsie Roll,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It was like a hydraulic lift on my cavity filling, and just pulled it right out.&rdquo;<br /><br />Before he knew it, Claypool was in a Hyde Park dentist&rsquo;s chair. The repair on Tooth No. 18 forced Claypool to cancel a Monday afternoon appearance at Manny&rsquo;s Deli, a frequent stop for politicians before Election Day. He hoped the Novocain would wear off in time to meet rush-hour commuters at the Roosevelt stop of CTA&rsquo;s Red Line.<br /><br />Claypool, a Cook County Board member, is running for assessor as an independent. His main competition is Cook County Democratic Chair Joe Berrios, a member of the Board of Review, the county&rsquo;s tax-appeals panel. Claypool accuses Berrios of arranging tax breaks for friends and political donors and criticizes him for helping put family members into government jobs.<br /><br />Berrios insists he hasn&rsquo;t played favorites at the Board of Review and calls himself an advocate for county homeowners. A spokesman said Berrios planned to spend his last evening of campaigning at a downtown event with Chinatown business leaders.<br /><br />One of the race&rsquo;s key battles is for black votes. On Sunday, both Claypool and Berrios spoke to African American congregations. The two are also running ads on black radio stations.<br /><br />The contest also includes Republican Sharon Strobek-Eckersall, a former Evanston Township assessor, and the Green Party&rsquo;s Robert Grota, a Cook County assessor&rsquo;s office analyst. <br /><br />The office sets the value of nearly every property in the county to help determine each owner&rsquo;s taxes.</p></p> Mon, 01 Nov 2010 21:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/african-american-politics/toothache-interrupts-cook-county-assessor-candidate-forrest-claypool