Uncertain future for Stroger as county board president
May 24, 2006 (WLS) -- Doctors say Cook County Board President John Stroger continues to make progress recovering from a stroke he suffered last month, but his future as county board president remains unclear.
"The president is the president, he's the nominee and when he comes back he will make the decision if he wants to continue," said Stroger's son, Alderman Todd Stroger.
Todd Stroger says his father needs more time before thinking about his political future.
We haven't seen or heard from John Stroger Since he suffered a serious stroke in mid-March. We haven't had a medical update since he won the Democratic primary a week later, and his wife hasn't made any public comments about his health or his future even though the family's moved from the South Side to the Gold Coast. Stroger's allies, including Mayor Daley, say leave him alone, and his son Todd will only say that dad's rehabbing slowly but surely.
The president is working on coming back. And when there comes a point where he says I'm not coming back, then you will know," said Ald. Todd Stroger, John Stroger's son.
Chicago Alderman Todd Stroger says he hasn't talked to his father about work, politics, or the future since the county board president suffered a serious stroke a week before the Democratic primary, because he wants his dad to recover at his own pace with as little stress as possible. So, Todd Stroger is not going to speculate about whether his father will go back to work, and stay on the November ballot, or drop out and designate a successor, like him.
He won't talk about why Stroger's now living in a Gold Coast high-rise near the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and trying to sell the family home in Calumet Heights on the South Side, despite the growing pressure from political opponents and civic groups for a medical update, a picture or a tape recorded message so the voters know what's going on.
"The president is working on coming back. And when there comes a point where he says I'm not coming back, then you will know," Todd Stroger said.
"Everybody has illnesses in the family. Let's not dig a grave. I know you want to dig people's graves, but I hope you never do that to your own family," said Mayor Richard Daley.
The mayor says the media is burying Stroger even though he is very much alive, and Stroger's allies claim the mayor's father got much better treatment after he suffered a stroke in 1974.
"There's a double standard when it comes to black folks and white folks. Old man Daley had a stroke and was out for a year. Nobody said one word and they were even afraid to whisper that he was sick around here," said Ald. William Beavers, 7th Ward.
But Stroger's Republican opponent says the voters have a right to know a lot more than they do now, and it has nothing to do with race.
"Even in Cook County, where the Democratic machine still holds power and thinks that they can give information at their pace, at their pleasure, whenever they feel like it, not when the voters should have it, those days are gone," said Commissioner Tony Peraica, (R)-candidate for board president.
Peraica and the Better Government Association are demanding an update on Stroger from a doctor, not a politician or a family member. But there is no indication that is going happen any time soon.
As for Todd Stroger, he says he is qualified to replace his dad, but he is not campaigning, and Alderman Bill Beavers says if John Stroger can't go back to work or run, he will designate a successor, just like a lot of white politicians have done.
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