Sunday, March 18, 2012

Re-Elect Dan Patlak to Cook County Board of Review (Tax)

March 18, 2012 - Cook County got lucky when Republican Dan Patlak decided to run for the Cook County Board of Review. Patlak is a decent, honest man who is not a part of the political Machine that has given Cook County its massive budget problems. He was never a part of the corrupt Todd Stroger disaster. Cook County got even luckier when Patlak was actually elected in 2010.
Dan Patlak
There are some fake Republicans, however, who would like to see Patlak voted out. That would open the door to the Democrats regaining the seat on the Board. Patlak's opposition in the Republican primary election, for Cook County Board of Review 1st District, is Sean Morrison. Sadly, Morrison has shown himself to be a guttersnipe who has chosen to twist facts and outright lie about Dan Patlak.

Morrison was defeated by Patlak in the 2010 primary. Morrison, it seems, is still bitter about that loss and has not hesitated to sling wild and false accusations at Patlak. Morrison, who calls himself a Republican, is cut from the same cloth as is political loser and RINO Jim Dodge. (Morrison even looks a bit like Dodge.)

One need only look to the fact that Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman of Orland Park, a "progressive Republican," supports Morrison. Liz Gorman was a supporter of Dodge in his failed bid for Illinois State Comptroller in 2010 (he came in a far distant third to victor Judy Topinka and dark horse Bill Kelly).

The Gorman-Morrison axis, then, is probably an attempt by Progressives and Democrats working to take Patlak's seat away from the Republicans. This is not some wild theory, and I am not the only one who feels this way. Pat Brady, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, seems to agree.

The Illinois GOP only rarely interferes with local primary races (perhaps not often enough), but Brady felt compelled to jump into this one. Gorman is no friend of the Illinois Republican Party, and why she hasn't been drummed out of the party is a mystery. She has long been known for being "more than willing to routinely accommodate Democrats," after all.

“This race is a unique circumstance, no doubt about it,” The Daily Herald quoted Brady as saying in a March 16 article. Brady, reported The Herald's Matt Arado, "said he believes Morrison....isn't a genuine Republican candidate at all, but a 'Democratic plant.' (Morrison denies this allegation.)" Arado also quoted Brady as saying, “I see this as a blatant attempt to get a Democrat into that seat,” and, “So I felt it necessary to weigh in.”

Gorman's organization is using deceptive tactics on behalf of Morrison, notes George A. Tarasuk at Orland Park Patch. On March 8 he wrote, "In Wednesday’s mail I received two pieces of campaign literature. The first was a derogatory piece accusing Dan Patlak of Electioneering, Soliciting, Political Hiring and Shaking down Property Tax Attorneys. There was no indication of who sponsored this trash. The second came from the Republican Organization of Orland Township with Liz Gorman’s signature. The second was billed as, 'Your Official Republican Sample Ballot.' If it was a sample ballot, why didn’t it include all of the Republicans running for: Illinois State Senate 18th District, Illinois State Representative 35th District, and candidates for the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts?  For Cook County Board of Review 1st District it promoted Sean Morrison as 'one of our own.' This was not a sample ballot. It was a deception."

Tarasuk's full article at Patch also notes that Gorman is making robo calls for MorrisonRead more of Tarasuk's article here.

Sean Morrison has a right to run for any office, of course, whether he's a "real" Republican or not. However, as John F. Di Leo points out, challenging an incumbent is fine "if you campaign fairly.  Unfortunately, that’s not what Sean Morrison is doing."

"Knowing that he has no real grounds for demanding that the party overthrow the only Republican to beat an incumbent Democrat in Cook County in fifteen years (oh yes, it’s WORTH repeating)," wrote Di Leo in a must-read article at Illinois Review, "Sean Morrison has taken Patlak quotes out of context and run them in his radio ads, in the most twisted way possible.  This isn’t completely unknown in politics, but it’s particularly egregious in this particular race."

"The entire Morrison campaign," Di Leo wrote, "is based on a belief that Republican primary voters don’t understand the office of the Board of Review, and a hope that deceptive commercials can sway a na├»ve electorate on primary day. Sadly, not much can be done about it – the First Amendment protects most political speech, even most outright lies about the office and the officeholder. Slander and libel laws aren’t completely overridden by the First Amendment, but the bar is set so high as to tolerate almost anything."

Di Leo offers a simple solution to the Sean Morrison Problem. "We need to declare that Sean Morrison’s abuse of the system," he wrote, "unfair tactics and distortion about the office and its powers, are unacceptable in the Republican Party. We need to proudly re-elect Dan Patlak, and to shun Sean Morrison in any future political bid.  He’s proven to be the wrong kind of candidate, the wrong kind of politician."

Dan Patlak is endorsed by The Chicago Tribune and by The Daily Herald. Both  papers make very strong statements about Patlak and about Morrison.

Excerpt from The Chicago Tribune endorsement (emphasis added):

Patlak's challenger is Sean Morrison, the Palos Township Republican committeeman, whom Patlak defeated in the 2010 primary. Morrison, a security firm executive, has radio ads that suggest he will lower everyone's property taxes. The ads are misleading. The job is to review assessment appeals so property tax bills are fair. There's a race here because one faction of Cook County Republicans is feuding with another faction. There is no reason for voters to unseat Patlak. Morrison evidently knows that: He has built his campaign primarily on serial mud-slinging that doesn't speak well for his judgment. That is one of this job's core necessities. Patlak is endorsed.

Excerpt from The Daily Herald endorsement (emphasis added):

In fact, Patlak, while pointing justifiably to improvements he has pushed, does seem a little too comfortable with the status quo. But Morrison hasn’t made a strong case for replacing him, and some of Morrison’s charges have been wide of the mark or unsubstantiated. We endorse Patlak, based on his experience, and his record in helping improve how the office runs and its timeliness completing reviews.

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