Almost all of Riverside and about half of Brookfield will be in a new county board district come 2014.
Last month the Cook County Board approved a new map that puts most of Riverside and the northern half of Brookfield in Liz Gorman’s (R-Orland Park) 17th District. Under the old map all of Riverside and Brookfield were in Jeffrey Tobolski’s (D-McCook) 16th District.
For the record, the new 16th District includes all of North Riverside, the Lyons Township portion of Riverside, Brookfield north of 31st Street and Brookfield south of Southview Avenue. The 16th District also includes Brookfield Zoo and Riverside-Brookfield High School.
The new 17th District will include all of Riverside within Riverside Township, Riverside Lawn, the Hollywood section of Brookfield and the Proviso Township section of Brookfield between 31st Street and Southview Avenue and a small portion of Brookfield in Lyons Township bounded roughly by Maple Avenue, Ogden Avenue, Eberly Avenue and the railroad tracks.
Illinois Comptroller and Riverside Township Republican Committeeman Judy Baar Topinka, a longtime Gorman ally, is pleased that Gorman will have a chance to represent Riverside should she win re-election in 2014.
“She is the most active, constituent-oriented commissioner that is on that board, and the fact that we have gotten her is a real bonus for us, especially in light of how we have been redistricted in other ways” Topinka said. “She’s a delight to work with. We have a long working relationship, which I’m very gratified about, so it will persist on that front.”
Last year, Topinka hired Gorman’s husband, Gerald, as a consultant in her local government office, the Southtown Star reported in August 2011. Bankruptcy cases filed by both Gorman and her husband were settled that June.
Not all Republicans are so enamored with Gorman however.
She has been, many say, close to former Chicago alderman and power broker Ed Vrdolyak who recently served 10 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud for his involvement in a real estate kickback scheme.
Riverside Republican commentator and activist Chris Robling declined to comment for this story but has said elsewhere that Ed Vryolyak “runs” Liz Gorman and publicly called for her expulsion from the Republican Party.
Former 16th District Commissioner Tony Peraica, a Republican whom Tobolski defeated in 2010, often feuded with Gorman when they both served on the county board.
Topinka said that she doesn’t believe that Gorman is a tool of Vrdolyak.
“I’ve never found it so,” Topinka said. “All I can tell you is that from my experience it has been a very good one.”
The new 16th District was drawn to be a majority Hispanic district. Fifty-six percent of the adult voters in the district are Latino, Tobolski said.
“There was an increase in Latinos, so that resulted in the need to put forth a third Latino district,” Tobolski said.
The new district dips into Chicago to pick up the 14th Ward, a heavily Hispanic area represented by longtime powerhouse Ald. Ed Burke.
Despite having to run for re-election in a majority-Latino district, Tobolski is confident that he can win. He said that in the hottest race in the 2012 primary, a battle between Silvana Tabares and Rudy Lozano Jr. in a new majority Hispanic district, drew only a 21 percent turnout.
The new 16th District is more Democratic than the old 16th, having shed about 9,700 Republican voters Tobolski said.
“I’m very pleased,” Tobolski said. “When you look at the map, nothing has realIy changed for me. I kept Berwyn and Cicero, and that’s my base.”