We currently have two black presidents. There’s no need to discuss one of them because his term is just beginning and we’ll be better able to judge his presidency in another three years. But for the other black president, his term is coming to an end and everyone wants to take over the job he’s doing.

I won’t rehash too much of what I said awhile back. You know the saying my granny always told me; “No good deed goes unpunished.” As I looked into why so many were gung ho to punish Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, the bottom line as always is about money. And that money is not just in the $3 billion budget he controls, but it also has to do with contracts for those that will make even more money because of that budget. 

Someone (and I apologize that I can’t remember who) told me that if all I had was the contract for selling Snicker Bars at the Cook County Jail, I could make a million dollars or more a day. A million dollars just selling one candy bar?  So, I began to do the math.  First, I wanted to see if I could even get near a million dollars on a monthly basis before even trying to envision that type of earnings on a daily basis. 

The jail at 26th and California holds 10,000 inmates at all times, sometimes more, seldom less. If each inmate buys a $1 candy bar twice a day, that is $620,000 a month ($2 x 10,000 x 31 days).  Now, if all of those inmates have one attorney and they buy a candy bar every day, that’s an additional $310,000 a month. If each inmate has two family members show up everyday and they each buy two candy bars, it’s $1,240,000.  Well folks, we’re already over $2 million a month and I haven’t added in those coming to court for trials, jurors coming into the court house every day, juveniles in court at the Juvenile Detention Centers, other people doing business with the court, all the county employees going into court like DCFS workers, sheriff’s officers, bailiffs, witnesses and on and on. So, it becomes very easy to see the potential of $1 million a day when you include not only 26th and California, but the Markham, Maybrook, Daley Center and Skokie courthouses, too – lots of people going in and out of the court syste
m every single day.  And while waiting around, they are spending money. And although the millions isn’t pure profit, even a third grader knows if you buy in bulk the price gets cheaper while the profits get deeper.   

Of course the person who gets the Snickers contract is authorized by the county board.  And yes President Stroger has some say so in how contracts are awarded. I was impressed to hear him state the other day that the lowest bidder doesn’t always win the contract. Why? Because the city has proven time and time again that the lowest bidder if unable to complete the contract at the stated cost, then turns around and demands double the money in order to honor their contract. The county board isn’t being foolish like the city. It is making sure that a contract can be completed for its stated cost.

My understanding also is that minorities have 35 percent of the county’s contracts and that a large percentage of that 35 percent is African American.  Now, compare that to the City of Chicago where we who are almost 50 percent of this city only manage to get around nine percent of the contracts. No one wants to talk about that though.

I’ve had some people wonder why I have become such an advocate for Stroger. Some have even made snide remarks that I must be on the payroll. Well, I’m not. No matter what, I am an advocate for fairness when I see my people being unfairly attacked. When the Daley Administration puts a nickel tax on every bottle of water, not a deposit, but a tax and no one complains and Stroger needed half a penny to pay for the hospitals, at least I know where that money went.  

And to sum it up like a Cook County worker did to me the other day, they don’t know anything about having to take a furlough day, something state, and city workers know full well.