Tuesday's Tribune's piece on "Joe Berrios' bad day" was appropriately frank about Berrios' conflicts of interests, and the Cook County Finance Committee's passage of ethics legislation that was pretty well marked to stop what the Democratic candidate for Assessor Berrios has been doing for years ... As the Tribune lists ...
• Bar auditors, bond bankers and lawyers who do business with the county from making campaign contributions to county officials or candidates. Berrios gets contributions from property tax lawyers.
• Prevent county officials from being paid to lobby any arm of county government.
• Require any candidates for county office, or county elected officials, to return contributions of more than $1,500 in an election cycle from lawyers who appeal tax assessments. Hello again, Mr. Berrios.
• Bar public officials from conducting any type of political activity — or using county resources like offices and phones — while on the county clock.
• Raise maximum fines for violating the county ethics ordinance to $5,000 from $500.
There's definitely a move among Democrats away from Berrios -- the Cook County Democratic Chairman -- and towards face-saving ethics reform and accountability. The Cook County Assessor's race could be the most important race in Illinois next to the Governor's race on November 2.