Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chicago Still Suffers from Corrupt Image

Chicago Still Suffers from Corrupt Image | NBC Chicago: " . . . One reason Chicago maintains its unscrupulous profile is its tradition of Mike Royko-style investigative journalism and its focus on the darker side of politics, Grossman said. Chicagoans are also deeply interested in that subject, and enjoy speaking about it publicly – arguably more than in most parts of the country. So, corruption cases that might otherwise not attract much sustained attention get thoroughly discussed and dissected.“In some cities maybe where the public culture is less vibrant, corruption doesn’t bubble up as quickly,” Grossman said. But Simpson points out that there several realities still make Chicago a cradle for graft. It is dominated by one party, the Democrats (conversely, the outlying suburbs, with its own tradition of corruption, is overwhelmingly run by Republicans). Despite laws to curb patronage, machine-style politics abound, notably on the hyper-local level. Family dynasties remain, most notably the Jacksons’ (Jackson Jr.’s wife, Sandi, is an alderman). And state campaign finance laws are still relatively lenient, Simpson said. And then there's the continued popularity of politicians facing corruption charges. On the same day that Jackson Jr. won re-election, so did Derrick Smith, who won back his seat in the state House of Representatives despite having been charged with taking a bribe, and expelled from the House. . . In the end, it’s up to the people of the city to make things better. “The problem with corrupt politicians is when people are willing to put up with it,” he said.


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