Skip to comments.Dan Patlak and the Quest for a Fair Election
Posted on 03/17/2012 9:28:12 PM PDT by jfd1776
Elections arent always fair, and primaries can make it especially difficult. Thats life.
Redistricting sometimes forces two good incumbents to run against each other; look at the battle between young freshman moderate Adam Kinzinger (ACU rating 72%) and seasoned conservative Don Manzullo (same period ACU 92%, lifetime ACU 95.5%) for a House seat in the 2012 Illinois map. Wed love to re-elect both, but we have to choose. Such primaries are painful; however much you hope to keep an internecine battle cordial, you have to talk issues, and competence, and sometimes personality too.
Primaries can pose an opportunity for a party to weigh electability and experience, to define the party on the major issues and philosophy of the time. The 2012 presidential primary, for example, pits Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul against each other, forcing the rank and file to consider each mans negatives and positives as they calculate both which is most likely to be a good president himself, and which is most likely get the chance at all, since defeating incumbent Barack Obama in November is the hard part. Do we give up more ideological purity in order to win? Or might ideological purity be the very substance that makes a challenger winnable, without which theres no clear choice for the voters? Its a challenge for the party every primary season, a choice that each voter must make before arriving at the voting booth.
The Cook County Board of Review (formerly known, much more helpfully, as the Board of Tax Appeals) poses a very different kind of problem this year. Incumbent Dan Patlak is the first Republican to defeat an incumbent Democrat in Cook County in fifteen years. Thats amazing. Cook County is a tough place for any Republican in any office, because the Democrat machine is so powerful a presence, even if youre running for a state rep seat in the far corners of the county.
But running countywide is a special challenge, requiring a special dedication; this is one expensive place to run in, particularly for an office that isnt well understood by the electorate. A lot of territory to cover, with terrible traffic from beginning to end. Lacking the cachet of a congressional or senatorial race, its hard to raise money and lacking an organized GOP county party organization, the candidate has to do it largely on his or her own, with only the help of those few townships that still have viable local organizations in place. Its an uphill climb.
Dan Patlak has been a real estate broker and grassroots Republican activist ever since the mid-1980s. He spent a couple of years as regional coordinator for Citizens Against Government Waste, organizing rallies and protests (a conservative community organizer, you might say). And then he spent eight years working for former board member Maureen Murphy in the Board of Tax Appeals, the renamed office to which he was elected in his own right in 2010, after serving a term as the Wheeling township assessor.
So Dan Patlak has just been in his current office a little over a year, and is up for reelection already and has been doing a great job by all accounts. He has been endorsed by over 15 regular township GOP organizations, and by several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald. His reelection should therefore be no-contest, right? Well, the guy who ran against him last time for an open seat decided he wanted a rematch, despite the lack of grounds for change.
So far, so good. Theres nothing wrong with challenging an incumbent if you campaign fairly. Unfortunately, thats not what Sean Morrison is doing.
Knowing that he has no real grounds for demanding that the party overthrow the only Republican to beat an incumbent Democrat in Cook County in fifteen years (oh yes, its WORTH repeating), Sean Morrison has taken Patlak quotes out of context and run them in his radio ads, in the most twisted way possible. This isnt completely unknown in politics, but its particularly egregious in this particular race.
For example, Morrison took a line in which Patlak mentioned that his job isnt to lower everyones property taxes and declared how horrible it is that Patlak would say such thing.
But its the fact! A commissioner on the Board of Review doesnt set tax rates.
All he can do is to help people who think theyve been unfairly assessed. Its the most narrowly limited job in government. The township and county assessors offices perform the valuation assessments, and the tax rates themselves are set by village, city, township, county, and state governments. All these many tax rates are applied to your homes value, so if the assessment is too high, you need an opportunity to challenge it. A good conservative taxpayers advocate is needed in the office of the Board of Review to ensure that this challenge gets a fair hearing, so that all those rates all those percentages set by a plethora of other bodies will be applied to the right taxable value.
Dan Patlak is both experienced in these issues and committed to doing it right, so he is exactly the advocate we need in the office. All he can do is guarantee a fair hearing and a reduction in your assessment if its deserved, and by all accounts, hes doing so. Hes been an excellent commissioner, and promises to merit a long career of service at the Board of Review.
But Sean Morrison is counting on ignorance and gullibility in the electorate. He tries to give the impression that the Board of Review sets tax rates, which it simply doesnt and that if Morrison is elected, hell lower everyones taxes, which he simply cannot. This isnt even a matter of will, or political commitment, or talent and ability. Its a matter of fact.
The office holds no power to do the things that Morrison claims it does, and he could no more lower everyones taxes if he held that office than anyone could. If he really wanted to lower everyones taxes, he should be running for a different office. Virtually every other office on the ballot has a better claim to that opportunity than does the Board of Review.
The entire Morrison campaign is based on a belief that Republican primary voters dont understand the office of the Board of Review, and a hope that deceptive commercials can sway a naïve electorate on primary day.
Sadly, not much can be done about it the First Amendment protects most political speech, even most outright lies about the office and the officeholder. Slander and libel laws arent completely overridden by the First Amendment, but the bar is set so high as to tolerate almost anything.
The solution is therefore very simple, but if its not in the power of the criminal justice system, it must be in the hands of the media, the party, and the electorate: We need to call him on it. We need to declare that Sean Morrisons abuse of the system, unfair tactics and distortion about the office and its powers, are unacceptable in the Republican Party.
We need to proudly re-elect Dan Patlak, and to shun Sean Morrison in any future political bid. Hes proven to be the wrong kind of candidate, the wrong kind of politician.
Or perhaps Sean Morrison is just in the wrong party. Hes certainly in the right county for such deceptive tactics if only he were running as a Democrat.
Copyright 2012 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based Customs broker and international trade lecturer. A resident of Cook County, hes happy to have at least one Republican in county government at last, and happy that if he can only have one, its Dan Patlak, a good guy doing a good job, for the party and the movement, as well as for the county and each taxpayer who approaches his office seeking relief!
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The radio ads for this one have been interesting.
Pre-voted for Dan Patlak, but does anyone know who is Sean Morrison, anyway?
That’s the problem... all most people know about is what’s discussed in the radio ads. Sean Morrison’s campaign is deceptive, lying about what the job is and what power the job has. And it’s such a relatively minor post, the media isn’t covering it. I wonder if most of the media even understands how limited this role is. Very scary, to put up with such garbage in radio ads. I’m all for free political speech and opinion advocasy, but not for outright lies.
From the way it sounds, Sean Morrison is just another Chicago Machine RINO.
As Billyboy knows I was going from polling place to polling place looking for union thugs who were breaking electioneering law. Well I went to vote today and the "Sean Morrison" election thugs were harassing me as I went to vote.
These "men" were the same "men" (I have a good photographic memory) as the ones who were for Pat Quinn and every other Democrat. Seems RINO Morrison tapped into the Union Thugs who are professional electioneering thugs!!! They belong in the SS!!!
Thankfully, Dan Patlak won today. I told the thugs, "you don't want to deal with me, I'm a right winger and I don't support fake Republicans." Response? "Well, umm, Morrison is a Republican!"
This my friends is how Romney won Illinois, the IL Dems had their thugs shilling for RINOS!!!
Sorry America, at least I can be proud knowing I voted for POTUS - Santorum, IL Congress - Grabowski (only Conservative), and Patlak (not another RINO!!!). And I voted NO for the referendum that cons people on electricity. Sadly that won, because people are so stupid they would buy snake oil from Jimmy Carter.
So 2 out of 3 won, and my vote for Santorum stands, I will always choose the most conservative candidate. I am not going to prostitute my values for anything!!!
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