Evaluator Evaluation – Chicago Reader

The heated race for Cook County Assessor is a case study in Chicago-style politics. Fritz Kaegi, the reform-minded incumbent left a mess to clean up by his predecessor, faces a challenge from Kari Steele, a politically connected commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which manages sewage treatment and flood mitigation. (Steele’s campaign did not respond to repeated interview requests.)

The appraiser’s job is not one most people dream of, unless you like to determine the value of nearly two million parcels of land in Cook County. add to that all repairs needed to fix a broken system left behind by Joe Berrios, who hired family members to work for the board, accepted excessive donations from property tax appeals attorneys, and disproportionately taxed homeowners in poor communities on wealthy and politically connected developers.

That is the system that Kaegi says he inherited in 2018 after Berríos’ removal. He sat with him Reader to talk about the changes he’s made since then and to explain why Cook County voters should give him another chance.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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