One-party bias is alive and well in Chicago, particularly at “Window to the World,” WTTW-TV—a great irony since state and federal taxpayers partially fund it and deserve two party representation. Two parties exist in Cook county…one composed of Democrats and the other, Republican, weak but struggling, seeking to get a toe-hold. But earlier this month on a debate panel supposedly disposed to honoring two sides, two candidates for county Assessor featured were Democrats.
One candidate for assessor was Joe Berrios heavy with Democratic party investiture: chairman of the Cook county Democratic committee…Democratic committeeman of the 31st ward…a Democratic member of the Cook county Board of Review (the old tax appeals body)…and father of Democratic State Rep. Antonia (Toni) Berrios.
The second candidate on the program was a so-called “independent” Forrest Claypool—but if anybody believes Claypool is anything but a Democrat he/she should look again. Claypool was twice administrative assistant to Mayor Daley, was appointed by Daley as superintendent of the Chicago Park District. He ran and was elected as a Democratic member of the Cook county board….then ran as a Democrat for board president. He was defeated by John Stroger even after Stroger was incapacitated by a major stroke and secluded from public view. As a matter of fact Claypool could well have been defeated by a dead man since no one but a small group of Stroger’s political allies saw him.
After the Democrats named Stroger’s son, an alderman, nominee Claypool refused to support him and declared his so-called “independence” from the Democratic party. But for all practical purposes Claypool was a Democratic faction leader…on good terms with the Left (or “reform wing”) of the party.
Claypool is running as an Independent against Berrios. In reality this is an internecine tong war between Democratic factions. Liberal, Democratic-leaning journalists such as Carol Marin, a paid commentator for WTTW, NBC-TV and The Chicago Sun-Times has assailed Berrios…as is her right…declaring rightly that Berrios has a strong conflict of interest since he is also a very prominent lobbyist representing among others the Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association, Illinois Licensed Beverage Association and the Regional Transportation Authority.
Berrios was backed for chairman of the Cook county Democratic party by House Speaker Mike Madigan who is also chairman of the Illinois Democratic party who lobbies Berrios in his capacity of member of the Illinois Board of Review….as does 14th ward alderman and Democratic committeeman Eddie Burke.
But here’s the interesting…almost scandalous thing. The Republican party has nominated a very well qualified candidate who is currently the Evanston Township Assessor.
The height of hubris and arrogance showed as the legally constituted Republican party candidate, the full-time assessor of Evanston township…a lonely Republican in the most heavily Democratic county in the U.S…. was blocked from appearing on the program, assuring that the public saw two wings of the same party. How did this happen when under the rubric of debate there should be two sides expressed to justify taxpayer dollars expended?
The decision was made for the two Democrats and no Republican to appear on “Chicago Tonight” by the program’s executive producer, Mary Field. She’s the executive who calls the shots and sanctions who shall be guests and who shall not.
The reason Republicans were blacked out on `TTW: Liberal elites in Cook county are enthused about “Independent” Forrest Claypool possibly defeating Dem Joe Berrios for Cook county Assessor. So much so that the imperious Ms. Field didn’t want the focus to be broadened—so she vetoed the duly nominated and far better qualified Republican candidate for Assessor from appearing on the show with Dem Joe Berrios and “independent” Forrest Claypool whom big media want to win.
. The two-man “debate” allowed interrogator Elizabeth Brackett to train her guns on Berrios’ finagling as Cook county board of (tax) appeals and Cook county Dem chairman with the conclusion that the only alternative to this Squid candidate Berrios is…tah!...tah!...the Knight in Shining Armor Claypool. Claypool is the good guy…the “independent.”
The idea that Claypool is “independent” computes only if you buy the notion that his close friends and allies David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel are. In this run Claypool needs a modicum of Republican votes such as there are in Cook…and actually there are many thousands in a soil that has been uncultivated for two generations… to beat Berrios.
Small wonder that Mary Field blocked the Republican candidate, Sharon Eckersall, from appearing. She could very likely have impress WTTW viewers as being far better qualified than the two Democrats.
Look at Sharon Eckersall’s credentials: a Certified Illinois Appraiser (Berrios and Claypool are not)…a Certified Illinois Assessing Officer (Berrios and Claypool are not)…Full knowledge of the Illinois property tax system basis her professional experience (I don’t know about Berrios but Claypool doesn’t) …Licensed Appraiser (Berrios and Claypool arenot).
How will Mary Field explain her decision to black out the Republican nominee? Indubitably it will run like this: The Republicans haven’t really run much of a campaign with her. There’s no strong evidence that her campaign is well funded. Where is the evidence of a campaign? Result: Eckersoll’s not going to win so why should we take up media time with her as a participant on the panel?
That’s as egregiously phony an argument as is possible to construct. The real reason Eckersall was blocked is that Field and Marin wanted to use WTTW as a “purifying agent” to elect Claypool without a pesky super-qualified Republican candidate “confusing” the electorate and possibly blocking Claypool’s win.
Regrettably Field’s right about Eckersall being underfunded by the GOP and not well known. But viewers like us imagined a public, partially tax-funded TV operation would use its public service facilities to make candidates of merit better known.
The argument that Eckersall isn’t well known should have been a challenge to Field—not a reason to block her out.… but that should not be WTTW’s or her concern.
The station has found plenty of slots for unelectable but Lefty Green party candidates to appear because the Greens represent liberal politics—even more so at times than the Dems—that Field, Marin and WTTW support.
That this is a one-party town is because of many historical factors. But WTTW is aiding and abetting one-party politics inimical to the fact that since 1856 the Republican party has been on ballots as the verifiable second party in the United States.
The continuing intransigence of WTTW-TV to blocking out and blacking out diversity of thought evokes in me the poignant words of the ancient sufferer in Psalm 89:46. “How long, O Lord, how long?”
The answer from On High will likely be:
“How long? What are you, stupid? Until you end the state and federal subsidies entirely including the insidious back-alley route of laundered public dough for public television and radio—so they have to depend entirely on the free market.”
In conclusion let me endorse for election
SHARON ECKERSALL (R) FOR COOK COUNTY ASSESSOR.
DAVID RATOWITZ (R) FOR 5th DISTRICT CONGRESS.
The Washington Post just moved the 5th district from certifiably Democrat to “toss-up.” This is the district represented by Mike Quigley which sent Dan Rostenkowski, Mike Flannigan, Rod Blagojevich and Rahm Emanuel to Washington. David, 41, born in Hazel Crest is an entrepreneur, former paratrooper, former Army Ranger who founded a real estate development and property management firm in New Orleans, earning concurrent MBA and JD degrees at Tulane.
After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005 he founded a construction company. He and his family returned to Illinois in 2007 and he established The Ratowitz Law Firm in Chicago. He has been active the Chicago GOP, Chicago Young Republicans and the Republican Jewish Coalition as well as the Tea Party, helping to organize its rally earlier this year in Daley Plaza.