Chicago Sun-Times
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Do assessor candidates have each other's numbers?

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Sometimes, public debate does focus on issues that can be reduced to a number.

All these years later, for example, people still remember: "54.40 or fight."

But "10/25 or fight"? So far, it hasn't caught the public's attention.

"10/25" refers to a revised way of calculating the relationship between home market values in Cook County and the assessed values that are used for tax purposes.

Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan, who is not running for re-election, pushed for the new "10/25" system, which means that the assessed value of houses would be considered 10 percent of market value and commercial valuations would be 25 percent. Previously, the assessed valuation was supposed to represent 16 percent of a home's value or 38 percent of a commercial property.

The underlying assessed valuations, which are all that count in calculating taxes, didn't change because of 10/25..

Houlihan argued that the new system only formalized what assessors had been doing anyway for years.

Meanwhile, Cook County Democratic Chairman Joseph Berrios, who is the Democratic nominee to replace Houlihan, sits on the county's Board of Review. A Board of Review staff member linked "10/25" to a "historic increase in home market values."

A Houlihan spokesman retorted: "The Board of Review is engaged in a cynical effort to distract homeowners from the massive assessment reductions they are giving to commercial property."

What might make "10/25" an issue is if retiring Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool gathers enough signatures to run as an independent against Berrios, who otherwise doesn't appear to face significant opposition. Claypool needs 25,000 signatures, and likely will face challenges to his petitions.

But even if he gets on the ballot, Claypool said Monday he doesn't intend to make "10/25" his rallying cry.

Instead, he said, he'll talk about Berrios' record of taking campaign contributions from commercial property owners (or their representatives) who get big tax reductions from Berrios' Board of Review.

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Once again the valid Third Party candidates have been left out of the Sun-Times. For example the Green Party candidate Robert C Grota. Grota has more experience as Assessor than any other running for the office. He has more understanding of the problems facing Cook County and more passion to right them. Please look further into all candidates running for an office before publishing another article without their mention.

A non-partisan interview with Mr. Grota on the issues may be seen at

Neither Claypool or Berrios knows anything about assessments or appraisal. Both have been career politicians all of their lives and are committed to the "Machine". If you want someone who knows assessment and is honest -read as won't cave in to the "Machine"- vote for Robert C Grota. As a Green Party candidate, I am a true Independant and will not and cannot accept "Campaign Contributions" (also known as bribes) from corporations or interested individuals. That means I am free to assess everybody fairly, unlike the corrupt political hacks who run against me.

If you want true fairness and an uncorruptable Assessor, vote Robert C Grota for Cook County Assessor. A TRUE Independant.

Meanwhile, Cook County Democratic Chairman Joseph Berrios,

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Frisbie published on May 3, 2010 4:10 PM.

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