WBEZ | Democratic machine http://www.wbez.org/tags/democratic-machine Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en With new garbage grid, Mayor Emanuel trashes symbol of Machine power http://www.wbez.org/news/new-garbage-grid-mayor-emanuel-trashes-symbol-machine-power-106712 <p><p><strong>Old grid &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;New Grid</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="800" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/INTERACTIVE+DATA+PUBLISHING/2013+Projects/April/GarbageRoutes/Garbage.html" width="960"></iframe></p><div class="credit">Dual maps code via <a href="http://www.twitter.com/GISDoctor">@GISDoctor</a></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F88447662" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel killed the last of the Democratic Machine last week.</p><p>Well, not quite.</p><p>The finalization of Chicago&rsquo;s new Grid Garbage Transition marked a dramatic change to the city&rsquo;s refuse collection grid. Its workings were left largely unchanged in the past 100 years. &nbsp;</p><p>That system has strong and storied ties to Chicago&rsquo;s Democratic Machine, which used city services as political levers to curry favor with voters &mdash; and as a vehicle to dole out patronage jobs.</p><p>&ldquo;Adopting the grid garbage collection system allows us to replace an outdated method that started when garbage was still collected by horse and buggy and divert personnel resources to support the citywide expansion of recycling,&rdquo; Emanuel said in a statement last week.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s garbage collection was based on the boundaries of the city&rsquo;s 50 wards, the recent re-map of which was the subject of controversy and a <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130402/chicago/new-ward-remap-unfair-says-federal-lawsuit">federal lawsuit</a>.</p><p>While ward boundaries zig-zag across much of the city&rsquo;s geography, the daily garbage routes put even the most gerrymandered territories to shame, resulting in a kaleidoscope of pickups, rarely viewed by the public.</p><p>It&rsquo;s those convoluted routes that Emanuel says costs the taxpayers $18 million in labor and fuel.</p><p>According to the mayor&rsquo;s office, by moving to a grid garbage collection system, &ldquo;the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation will reduce its average daily refuse collection truck deployment from nearly 360 trucks to less than 320 trucks each day, while using fewer crews and fuel.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Garbage collectors and garbage truck drivers have largely been union workers, but the status quo of sanitation services has evolved throughout the years, especially in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;In the old days, when I was alderman, we still had 50-gallon drums,&rdquo; said Dick Simpson, a former alderman and current University of Illinois-Chicago professor.</p><p>Simpson served as alderman for the 44th ward from 1971-1979. He said the office would get complaints if garbage wasn&rsquo;t picked up or if there were special pickup needs such as mattresses.</p><p>And he said good garbage collection was good politics.</p><p>&ldquo;Mostly it was used to make the voters happy and to get the voters to vote for you,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/eman.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(File/AP)" /></div><p>Simpson said addressing other city services such as tree-trimming, fixing curbs and street repair often went a long way with voters too.</p><p>When Chicago&rsquo;s Democratic Machine was at its zenith, party bosses, committeemen and precinct captains utilized the ward-controlled distribution of city services to give priority to those loyal to the party. And since many services were under the control of an alderman, it cleared the way for patronage jobs.</p><p>Simpson said the patronage system still hasn&rsquo;t died out, but it&rsquo;s been cut back.</p><p>&ldquo;Under the <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1138.html">Shakman cases</a>, there were 20,000 patronage workers,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/07/us/07chicago.html">Under the Sorich trial</a>, the clout list of people seeking patronage appointments under Richard M. Daley were 5,000,&rdquo; Simpson said, referring to the conviction of Robert A. Sorich, a former patronage chief of Daley&rsquo;s. &nbsp;</p><p>That trial was sparked by an infamous Sun-Times investigation into Chicago&rsquo;s hired truck program. It was found to have mob ties and employ deadbeat contract workers.</p><p>&ldquo;Is everyone on a garbage truck a patronage worker? &nbsp;Not necessarily, but quite a few were and quite a few are,&rdquo; Simpson said.</p><p>Simpson said that at one time, there was one driver and three loaders for each garbage truck. One was supposed to be sweep the alleys. With supervisors involved, there could be as many as five people for each garbage truck.</p><p>But as truck designs and garbage cans changed, so did the need for manpower.</p><p>The transition to the standard rubberized plastic bins began in the early &lsquo;80s. Modern garbage trucks can clasp onto the 96-gallon bins for automatic loading. It allowed for one laborer to be dropped from each truck crew.</p><p>Before the plastic bins, larger crews were needed because of the hodge podge of receptacles used by residents was inconsistent &mdash; and messy. And before that, well, as Emanuel said: it was collected by horse and buggy. And that was only for residents in nice neighborhoods. Many Chicagoans did not even have the luxury of garbage cans and&nbsp;relied on dumps scattered across the city.</p><p>The creation of Chicago&rsquo;s garbage grid did not fully take shape until the turn of the 20th century. &nbsp;Around that time, cities across the U.S. were dealing with increasing household and industrial waste, sometimes including coal ash and dead animals.</p><p>A report made to City Council in 1905 by the commissioner of public works sought to address serious issues with garbage at the time.</p><p>The commissioner was none other than Joseph M. Patterson, a storied Chicagoan, who went on to found the New York Daily News. He was also grandson to Chicago Tribune founder Joseph Medill.</p><p>Patterson was blunt in his report:&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Those who have interested themselves in the problem of garbage disposal in Chicago are agreed on this proposition: The dumps must go. &nbsp;Dumps poison the air for miles around; and if ground made by dumping is dug up years afterwards it is found still putrid. &nbsp;Dumping is a barbarous anachronism for a twentieth century city.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/captainmycaptain.jpg" style="float: left;" title="A survey, published in the 1937 study by Harold Gosnell titled Machine Politics: Chicago Model: outlined services rendered by captains from 1928-1936." />The dumps were littered all over the city, many amid residential areas.</p><p>Patterson documented how New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh dealt with municipal trash. &nbsp;He recommended the council adopt the method of &ldquo;reduction,&rdquo; which involved pressing liquid out of solid trash to make it better suited for burning or dumping.</p><p>While a <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203476804576612851452362670.html">2011 Wall Street Journal article</a> points out that Chicago currently uses three workers per garbage truck, the 1905 report called for a garbage teams of up to five workers per wagon. Each used about four horses. &nbsp;The report, with entries by the Assistant Superintendent of Streets, indicated that a typical team averaged two loads per day, with a ward employing between 8 and 19 garbage teams.</p><p>By 1914, a similar report indicated that burning trash was more commonplace and newer methods of transportation such as street cars were used to transport ashes. By this time, waste management began adopting barges and transfer stations to move garbage to a centralized location away from densely populated areas.</p><p>But even as new technology and transportation options took root, management was still handled by ward offices.</p><p>As the city&#39;s population grew in the early half of the 20th century, so too did its political apparatus, with European ethnic groups settling into defined enclaves.</p><p>Ethnic identity was a major part of Machine politics, which sometimes capitalized on poor English skills of immigrants to function as a middleman between communities and the government. Those service jobs were often taken care of by precinct captains.</p><p>In Chicago, each ward elects a party committeeman, who would recruit precinct captains charged with getting out the vote.</p><p>A survey, published in the 1937 study by Harold Gosnell titled <em>Machine Politics: Chicago Model</em> outlined services rendered by captains from 1928-1936. &nbsp;Among the services rendered were brokerage for streets and alleys, as well as providing legal aid, help with weddings, providing coal and handing out Christmas baskets.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/trashburners.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Concrete structures like these were common for many Chicago homes. While their use among residents was mixed from storing garbage, to using liners to burning garbage and leaves, they fell largely out of use as steel drums became more common. (Photo courtesy of David Aguayo)" />By this time, concrete structures began to pop up in the alleys of Chicago. The structures are still visible on many Chicago homes, with most forgetting their original purpose.</p><p>These were generally used as trash receptacles, and up until the &lsquo;70s were in use by many residents to burn garbage and leaves.</p><p>As the concrete receptacles fell out of use, residents switched to steel garbage cans.&nbsp;</p><p>Tim Samuelson is a cultural historian for Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Cultural Affairs.</p><p>&ldquo;Years ago in many neighborhoods, you requested a new garbage can from the alderman or the neighborhood Streets and Sanitation office. &nbsp;It was typically a recycled oil drum - sometimes repainted and stenciled with the politician&#39;s name on it,&rdquo; he said. &nbsp;</p><p>Then a shift to the plastic carts began in the 1980s, under the watch of Mayor Harold Washington. He began to more aggressively roll out and replace the city&rsquo;s steel cans in 1985, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/new-garbage-grid-mayor-emanuel-trashes-symbol-machine-power-106712#doc3">according to a report by the city&rsquo;s Department of Planning issued that year</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;When there was the change to uniform plastic carts, many local politicians were unhappy that this ages-old tradition of providing a garbage can to constituents was over,&rdquo; Samuelson said.</p><p>That however, still did not stop some politicians from playing favorites, with some homeowners managing to secure multiple bins for for their homes throughout the &lsquo;80s and &lsquo;90s.</p><p>Now, all that seems to have changed, with even aldermen acknowledging that it makes more sense for garbage to be handled by the city.</p><p>&ldquo;As a former Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation ward superintendent, I have first-hand knowledge of the city&rsquo;s refuse operations and of some of the unique challenges each community can present,&rdquo; said Ald. Michelle Harris (8th). &nbsp;&ldquo;I&rsquo;m pleased the department has developed a thoughtful system that meet the needs of residents while making smarter use of our resources.&rdquo;</p><p>The sentiment was echoed by fellow Alderman Anthony Beale of the 9th ward.</p><p>&ldquo;The ward-based refuse collection system is outdated and inefficient,&rdquo; Beale said. &nbsp;&ldquo;By transitioning to the grid system we can eliminate waste and redirect those valuable resources to support other service areas.&rdquo;</p><p>While it remains to be seen how much the city will save off the new grid, much of the city&rsquo;s attention has been focused on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/09/chicago-recycling-fail-1_n_641087.html">Chicago&rsquo;s long-delayed recycling program</a>, which floundered under Daley&rsquo;s administration with <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-05-03/news/0805020335_1_blue-bag-program-blue-bags-cart">the now defunct blue-bag system</a>.</p><p>But one thing&#39;s for sure: ward-based garbage in Chicago has been trashed.</p><p><em>Elliott Ramos is a data reporter and web producer for WBEZ. Follow him at <a href="http://www.twitter.com/chicagoel">@ChicagoEl</a></em></p><p><strong>Documents</strong></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/136641937/1905-Report-to-the-City-Council-on-Garbage-Collection-and-Disposal" name="doc1" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View 1905 Report to the City Council on Garbage Collection and Disposal on Scribd">1905 Report to the City Council on Garbage Collection and Disposal</a> by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/WBEZ915" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.749792186201164" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_28472" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/136641937/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-broup3eatkf57kw9xq7" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/136642538/1914-Report-of-the-City-Waste-Commission-of-the-City-of-Chicago" name="doc2" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View 1914 Report of the City Waste Commission of the City of Chicago on Scribd">1914 Report of the City Waste Commission of the City of Chicago</a> by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/WBEZ915" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.749792186201164" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_67468" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/136642538/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-dto1icjisy0ouw6l088" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/136703980/1985-Report-from-Chicago-s-Department-of-Planning" name="doc3" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View 1985 Report from Chicago's Department of Planning on Scribd">1985 Report from Chicago&#39;s Department of Planning</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="undefined" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_18989" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/136703980/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 18 Apr 2013 06:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-garbage-grid-mayor-emanuel-trashes-symbol-machine-power-106712 The Sullivan of Sullivan High School http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/sullivan-sullivan-high-school-104800 <p><p>Roger Sullivan wasn&rsquo;t an educator, or a scientist, or an explorer, or a military hero, or a celebrated humanitarian. His public service consisted of a single term as a probate court clerk. So why does he have a high school named after him?</p><p>In Chicago, the reason is obvious. Roger Sullivan was the political boss who built the Democratic Machine.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-14--Sullivan H.S..jpg" style="width: 430px; height: 286px;" title="Sullivan High School" /></div></div></div></div><p>Born in 1861, Sullivan grew up in rural poverty outside Rockford. He came to Chicago as a teenager to work in the West Side rail yards, and soon became active in the Democratic Party. His election to the Cook County Probate Court came in 1890.</p><p>Chicago had a competitive, two-party system then. The Democrats had several factions who battled among themselves. The Republicans were divided that way, too.</p><p>If either party could become united, that party would easily win elections. Different political chieftains kept trying to build a permanent coalition. Sullivan was the man who succeeded.</p><p>Over the course of twenty years, he gradually brought the local Democrats together. Often it was like herding cats. But though he suffered setbacks, he kept going. And as the Sullivan group began winning more elections, more ward leaders joined up&mdash;which in turn, made the Sullivan group even stronger.</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/1-14--Sullivan%20%28LofC%29_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 420px; float: right;" title="Sullivan Himself (Library of Congress)" />Sullivan also became a force in national politics. He was elected National Democratic Committeeman from Illinois in 1906. At the 1912 convention he helped secure the nomination for Woodrow Wilson. Now Sullivan was touted as a backroom boss who had the vision to work for progressive causes.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Sullivan himself became quite wealthy. His enemies made pointed hints about how he&rsquo;d obtained that wealth, but nothing illegal was ever proven. There was enough money to be made from politics in legal ways, without blatant stealing from the public treasury.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In&nbsp;1914, after decades operating behind the scenes, Sullivan became a candidate for the United States Senate. &ldquo;The chief wants to be a statesman,&rdquo; one of his associates explained. Illinois was still a Republican state and Sullivan lost, but only by 17,000 votes.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">He went back to building the local party. By 1920 he had control centralized in his hands, and newspapers were starting to write about the Democratic &ldquo;machine.&rdquo; That April 14th, Roger Sullivan died of a heart attack.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">He had played hardball politics, but had never been vindictive. &ldquo;The men who are strong enemies today may be friendly six months from now,&rdquo; he once said. In his obituary the <em>Tribune</em> called Sullivan &ldquo;the benevolent boss of Illinois Democrats.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In 1926 the Roger Sullivan Junior High School opened at 6631 North Bosworth Avenue. When the city later abolished junior highs, it became a four-year general high school, as it remains today.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 22 Jan 2013 05:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/sullivan-sullivan-high-school-104800 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 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