Stroger now radio host, still critical of media

September 22, 2011 1:36:01 PM PDT
Former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger says racism played a role in his political demise.

Stroger had some harsh criticism for the media and for other politicians.

It is a great irony that Todd Stroger is now a member of the media - the institution that he says destroyed his career in politics.

Todd Stroger's whereabouts are no mystery to the audience of WVON radio. One night a week, the former Cook County Board president hosts a three-hour talk show on politics.

"I'm knowledgeable, I know a lot, I've had a lot of positions and I read a lot, so it works well on the air," said Stroger.

Stroger, who lost his re-election bid after only one term, blames unfair media coverage for his battered image. He says it worsened after he supported a one-cent increase in the county sales tax.

"When I talk about the four years I had, it was all about beating up on Todd Stroger," he said. "The tax was just an instrument to beat the hell out of me."

Stroger asks why the media did not hold Mayor Richard M. Daley as responsible for multiple tax increases.

"There are a lot of things that happened in the city that never seemed to make it to the newspapers for any amount of time," said Stroger.

He also asks why there has not been as much criticism of Governor Pat Quinn, who at one point criticized Stroger on taxes.

"And then he goes and does the biggest income tax in the state's history," said Stroger.

Stroger says that despite having held what is arguably the third most powerful administrative office in Illinois, he was disrespected repeatedly.

"The Democratic party treated me like I was a baldheaded stepchild," said Stroger. "The president, when he came into town, sometimes the dignitaries go - they never let me know that he was coming to town."

Initially, Stroger theorized he was disrespected because of his South Side roots, but later in the interview, he blamed racism for his political undoing.

"For some reason, African Americans are still looked at as a group that is easy to disparage their character and people go along with it - as well as the African Americans," he said.

Todd Stroger also is working in sales for a trucking firm, and says he is forming his own insurance agency. He is 14 months shy of 50th birthday, when he can begin collecting his county government pension.

His benefit will be around $140,000 dollars a year for the rest of his life, based on 80 percent of his final salary in Cook County government.

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