With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rahm's campaign army of losers, low-lifes and crooks

Rahm Emanuel has enlisted an army of machine cronies, low-lifes, losers and thugs to help run his re-election campaign. This political rogues gallery includes state Democratic machine boss Mike Madigan, County party boss Joe Berrios and Patrick J. Ward, a former Metra employee at the center of the agency’s patronage scandal last year.

The Sun-Times reports that Madigan political workers who gathered signatures for Emanuel include:

◆ Ward, a key figure in the scandal that led to Alex Clifford getting a $718,000 severance package and leaving his post as Metra’s chief executive. Clifford accused Metra board members of forcing him out after he rebuffed Madigan about giving Ward a raise and refused to hire another Madigan loyalist. Ward left Metra and got a state job as a labor administrator after Madigan recommended him to Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration. Ward is paid $69,996 a year. As a retired city of Chicago employee, he also gets a $57,591-a-year city pension.

Hugo Chavez (no, not that one) and William E. Nambo, who were hired as “staff assistants” for the Illinois Department of Transportation under Quinn — a job class the state’s executive inspector general determined was designed to skirt anti-patronage hiring rules. Chavez resigned in May after a reprimand for an “unauthorized” absence from work in 2012 and for “insubordination” for bringing his dog to work last year against his boss’ orders, records show. Nambo gave $600 to Madigan’s ward organization four months after being hired at IDOT in April 2011. He now works in Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s office.

August A. Olivo, who has given $8,100 to the speaker’s ward organization and is the younger brother of former 13th Ward Ald. Frank Olivo. August Olivo, 52, is retired from the Cook County Highway Department and gets a pension of $81,204 a year. Since 2011, he’s been working for the CTA, where he makes $80,194 a year.

But there's a couple of problems with Rahm's crew (aside from whatever STDs the mayor might catch from them). First and foremost, they are losers. Remember, Joe Berrios couldn't even turn out his own precinct to support daughter Toni in her failed run against Will Guzzardi for state rep.  Toni also had the support of Madigan's machine army -- such as it is.

Remember also, that this was the same gaggle of cronies who mostly backed Gery Chico is the 2011 mayor's race. The most powerful ward organizations from the South Side — including Madigan’s — stayed out of the 2011 race or backed Chico.

Finally, taking a cue from major league sports -- you don't want to build a team where most of your members are likely to be in prison or on their way before season's end.

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