Will Cicero voters stand up to the bullies?
BY CAROL MARIN firstname.lastname@example.org February 19, 2013 6:18PM
Congressman Luis Gutierrez and Democratic Cicero Town President candidate Juan Ochoa (right) and other local leaders on Monday denounced what they claimed to be attempts on the part of incumbent Larry DominickÕs operatives to harass and intimidate Latino voters ahead of the February 26 election. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: March 21, 2013 6:28AM
There’s nothing funny about the bullies who run the town of Cicero. Especially not with an election less than a week away. Then again, the ham-handedness of town President Larry Dominick’s desperate attempts to hang on to his personal gravy train has provoked a laugh or two.
I refer, specifically, to a recent piece of campaign trash literature that depicts Dominick’s chief adversary, Juan Ochoa, with Chicago Ald. Ricardo Munoz. It attacks them both — in this town that is 85 percent Hispanic — by calling Munoz “Another Criminal Supporter of Ochoa” with “A record of Gangs, Guns and Cocaine.” A symbol of the Latin Kings street gang and a tattooed, unnamed, alleged gang member provide further decoration for this piece of garbage.
As far as I know, the only gang Munoz has belonged to for the longest time is the Chicago City Council. And the only alderman packing heat that I know of is the all-powerful Ed Burke, who used his wily ways to get a special, private-eye gun permit. Not Munoz.
It’s true that in his teen years Munoz had tangles with the law. But his juvenile record is expunged and he’s 48 now. It is also true that I’ve never argued Ochoa, a former head of McPier, is a reformer.
And I have little doubt that both camps are capable of crossing a line between persuasion and intimidation of voters.
Even so, Dominick’s wretched record in office deserves careful review.
As the Sun-Times’ Steve Warmbir has extensively reported over the years, Larry Dominick has found a way to pad Cicero’s payroll with dozens of friends, blood relatives, wife, ex-wife and in-laws. For him, a family reunion requires only walking into Town Hall.
Then there are his sexual harassment lawsuits. In one of them, a woman described how Dominick simultaneously groped her while passing gas. You think that’s gross? What’s grosser still is that Cicero taxpayers, not their lover-boy president, had to ante up half a million dollars to settle the case.
It was in that lawsuit, by the way, that it was revealed that Dominick had been secretly recorded by the FBI and, Warmbir reported, “had taken the Fifth Amendment to exercise his right against self-incrimination.”
I have never, in all my years of reporting on Cicero, known of a time when the FBI wasn’t working undercover in Cicero.
On Monday, Cook County Clerk David Orr charged that town officials were “improperly — and possibly illegally” — using uniformed town officers to deliver not-so-gentle reminders to voters of why they’d better vote for Dominick.
Cicero, through its hired mouthpiece Ray Hanania, wailed its outrage at such an unfair accusation.
Wail away, Ray.
Your boss loves it. And given that he has a 6-to-1 cash advantage over Ochoa and got 63 percent of the vote in 2009, you’ll probably still have a job after next Tuesday.
Unless, of course, Cicero voters have the cojones to finally rise up. And start again.