Capital Fax – Thursday, Aug 10, 2017

Berrios Challenger Asks For Slating – by Rich Miller

* Considering that the chairman of the county party is also the county assessor, I’m betting this guy ain’t getting onto the slate..

Today Fritz Kaegi, progressive candidate for assessor in the March 2018 Democratic primary election, presented his credentials to the Cook County Democratic Committeemen and asked for their support, along with the support of Democratic voters of Cook County. The session was held at the Erie Cafe in Chicago.

Kaegi told the Committeemen, “the assessment system we have right now in Cook County is making things worse. We’ve seen the local coverage. We know the outcomes are unjust. Every time we tell people they should appeal– it is an admission of failure. We can immediately reduce regressivity by getting the assessments right in the first place.”

Kaegi continued “Massive benefits go to downtown corporate, high-rise property owners whose lawyers fund the campaigns of those overseeing the process. Voters in Cook County know this system not working and we owe it to them to do better.”

Finally, Kaegi laid out his vision for the office, “There’s a better way. Eliminate pay to play. Use a less regressive model. Pay attention to the effect of foreclosures, underwater mortgages, and vacancies on neighborhoods. Tell people how you arrived at their assessment. Focus your resources on getting it right the first time. Because the true measure of the office is how it’s doing for the person who doesn’t appeal.”

* Assessor Joe Berrios has taken so much heat and the property tax issue is so white hot that he is undoubtedly vulnerable to a challenge. His daughter, former Rep. Toni Berrios, was soundly defeated in 2014 partly because of her last name.

Kaegi reported raising about a hundred grand last quarter and loaned himself another $30K. He spent about $47K, mainly for a consultant, a couple of staffers and VAN access.

Now, while Berrios does appear to be quite vulnerable, that doesn’t mean Kaegi is the one to defeat him. We’ll just have to see how this unfolds.