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Dan Patlak and the Quest for a Fair Election
Illinois Review ^ | March 17, 2012 A.D. | John F. Di Leo

Posted on 03/17/2012 9:28:12 PM PDT by jfd1776

Elections aren’t always fair, and primaries can make it especially difficult. That’s 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. We’d 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 man’s 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 there’s no clear choice for the voters? It’s 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. That’s amazing. Cook County is a tough place for any Republican in any office, because the Democrat machine is so powerful a presence, even if you’re 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 isn’t 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, it’s 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. It’s 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. There’s nothing wrong with challenging an incumbent if you campaign fairly. Unfortunately, that’s 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, it’s 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 isn’t completely unknown in politics, but it’s particularly egregious in this particular race.

For example, Morrison took a line in which Patlak mentioned that his job isn’t to “lower everyone’s property taxes” and declared how horrible it is that Patlak would say such thing.

But it’s the fact! A commissioner on the Board of Review doesn’t set tax rates.

All he can do is to help people who think they’ve been unfairly assessed. It’s 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 home’s value, so if the assessment is too high, you need an opportunity to challenge it. A good conservative taxpayer’s 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 it’s deserved, and by all accounts, he’s doing so. He’s 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 doesn’t… and that if Morrison is elected, he’ll “lower everyone’s taxes,” which he simply cannot. This isn’t even a matter of will, or political commitment, or talent and ability. It’s a matter of fact.

The office holds no power to do the things that Morrison claims it does, and he could no more “lower everyone’s taxes” if he held that office than anyone could. If he really wanted to “lower everyone’s 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 don’t 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 aren’t 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 it’s 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 Morrison’s 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. He’s proven to be the wrong kind of candidate, the wrong kind of politician.

Or… perhaps Sean Morrison is just in the wrong party. He’s 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, he’s happy to have at least one Republican in county government at last, and happy that if he can only have one, it’s 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!

Permission is hereby granted to forward freely, provided it is uncut and the IR URL and byline are included. Follow me on LinkedIn and Facebook!

TOPICS: Government; Local News; Miscellaneous; Politics
KEYWORDS: cookcounty; illinois; patlak
We have a very odd election going on in Cook County, Illinois... tell anyone you know in Chicagoland about this important issue. A very deceptive technique being wielded by the challenger...
1 posted on 03/17/2012 9:28:17 PM PDT by jfd1776
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To: jfd1776

The radio ads for this one have been interesting.

2 posted on 03/17/2012 10:07:53 PM PDT by Southside_Chicago_Republican
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To: jfd1776; Southside_Chicago_Republican

Pre-voted for Dan Patlak, but does anyone know who is Sean Morrison, anyway?

3 posted on 03/17/2012 10:45:38 PM PDT by OneLoyalAmerican (In God I trust, all others provide citations.)
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To: OneLoyalAmerican

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.

4 posted on 03/18/2012 5:30:46 AM PDT by jfd1776
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To: jfd1776

From the way it sounds, Sean Morrison is just another Chicago Machine RINO.

5 posted on 03/18/2012 8:50:24 PM PDT by OneLoyalAmerican (In God I trust, all others provide citations.)
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To: jfd1776; Jim Robinson; onyx; DJ MacWoW; BillyBoy; Impy; fieldmarshaldj
Well this is something I need you all to know.

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!!!

6 posted on 03/20/2012 9:06:32 PM PDT by Dengar01 (Go Bulls!!! Go Blackhawks!!!)
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