When Karl Marx’s collaborator Friedrich Engels referred to the Roman statesman/philosopher Cicero as “the most contemptible scoundrel in history” he could have just as easily been describing the politicians and municipal employees of Cicero, Illinois.
Over the last decade or so the reports of corruption and crime emanating from Cicero rival the other tales of dirty politics that Illinois has become so infamous for. Rod Blagojevich and his crew have nothing on the pols in Cicero.
The most recent story involves the town president, Larry Dominick and his wife Elizabeth Dominick. The current paid town spokesman who responded to the allegations is Ray Hanania–who Raoul Felder exposed as an Israel basher in 2002.
Here’s how The Chicago Tribune reported the latest Dominick story:
Elizabeth resigned on April 12 as “as director of Cicero’s health department, saying her salary was too low and her boss wouldn’t give her a raise. Her boss is Larry Dominick, who is her husband and Cicero’s town president. “My husband said it would look bad if he gave me a raise,” said Elizabeth after a board of trustees meeting at which she announced her resignation. Elizabeth was hired in 2007, three months after she and Larry were married, becoming one of several relatives of Larry Dominick’s who have been on the Cicero payroll. At the time, her annual salary was $60,319. She said Tuesday her current salary was $71,000.”
In 2009 The Huffington Post ran a headline that said “Cicero President Larry Dominick Denies Sexual Harassment Claims.” Those allegations from a female municipal employee led to a “federal sexual harassment lawsuit that Dominick groped her and made vulgar comments.”
In 2002 former Cicero president Betty Loren-Maltese was convicted in on racketeering charges in a case involving the theft of millions of dollars in municipal money. She was released in 2010.
With all this bad press, Cicero’s elected officials thought they needed to bring in a top notch public relations expert. They found Ray Hanania. Hanania has worked as an op-ed columnist and a stand-up comedian and is perhaps best known for his anti-Israel activism. There is nothing funny about his Israel bashing. Or the corruption in Cicero.
Here were Hanania’s comments about the latest Cicero scandal to The Chicago Tribune:
Hanania said he was shocked by her resignation. “We always got compliments about the way she ran the health department,” said Hanania. As for Elizabeth’s claim that some employees don’t show up for work, Hanania said that anyone aware of such a worker should contact a supervisor.
One blogger in December 2010 reported that Hanania makes $86,000 from his Cicero municipal job. The post is well worth reading.
Ray Hanania’s March 29, 2011 column in the Jerusalem Post is a prime example of just how radical the man is. The title of the piece was “Palestinian declaration of statehood is ‘least bad’ option.”
Here are some excerpts so you can see for yourself:
“(C)onflict is the only thing that seems to motivate Israel and the Palestinians to act.”
“(I)t might help Palestinians undermine the steady growth of Hamas and the fanatics, fueled largely by the continued occupation.”
“The West Bank and east Jerusalem were occupied in 1967, territories Israel calls “disputed,” even though it has spent years building Jewish-only settlements there. Is that not occupation?”
“Israel has always argued that Palestine was not a country…”
“(O)ver the past 63 years is that the only time change happens is when the level of conflict rises.”
“Palestinians seem to want another intifada – as evidenced by the popularity of Facebook’s Third Intifada page…”
“Maybe the declaration of statehood might be the one way Palestinians can heighten the conflict without violence, making it clear to Israelis that they want their state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”
Hanania’s argument that Arab violence against Israel will somehow lead to peace is a fool’s gambit. It would just lead to more violence. Hamas cannot be undermined in Gaza – and Fatah is no match for them there. Hamas is part of the general revolutionary Islamist phenomena and its popularity with Gazans has much more to do with that than an “occupation” that ceased to exist in 2005. The most groundbreaking development in the history of the conflict was Sadat’s visit to the Knesset, which did not occur in the middle of any particular conflict. Israel does not call any part of Jerusalem disputed. Israeli government law regards all of Jerusalem as a full part of the State of Israel and the nation’s capital. There has never been a sovereign nation in history with the name Palestine.
Hanania views are repugnant and he gets his facts wrong.
Hanania has a history of calling for an Arab war against Israel as a solution to the situation. Raoul Felder wrote in 2002 that Hanania called for violence at that time:
“If the Arabs and Palestinians really want to get Israel’s attention and force them to take the peace process seriously, then the Arabs and the Palestinians must begin serious preparations for a new war against Israel.”
Hanania has no place in the Jerusalem Post. He never should have been granted a byline there in the first place. More alarming is that this radical receives a salary from American taxpayers. The people of Cicero should be demanding that Hanania be let go.