WBEZ | Robert Grota http://www.wbez.org/tags/robert-grota Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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