Derrick Smith’s name to go down in history books — and stay there

State Rep. Derrick Smith now goes down in history with Ozie Hutchins, Jesse Evans and Joseph Martinez.

All are part of the long list of Illinois elected officials who in Smith’s own immortal words “f’d up.”

And all would have no claim to fame whatsoever if it weren’t for their criminal convictions.

A federal jury made it official for Smith on Tuesday.

Don’t remember the other three?

Hutchins was a West Side state rep convicted of extortion in 1991, Evans a 21st Ward alderman who went down in 1997 for taking payoffs from an undercover FBI agent, and Martinez a former 31st Ward alderman caught in a ghost payrolling scheme in 1997.

It may be the convictions of the likes of Rod Blagojevich, George Ryan, Dan Rostenkowski and Jesse Jackson Jr. that give our state and city their well-deserved reputations as corrupt places of government.

But it’s the rank-and-file types such as Smith who make the case most strongly to those of us here on the ground that the corruption is endemic.

With each new arrest, indictment and conviction, we are prompted again to consider the nature of this corruption.

Was it the nature of these particular men and women to be corrupt, or is it the political system in which they have enlisted that ensnares them in its sticky web?


The Latest
Olympian opens up about her sadness after the 2020 Games and her marriage to the Bears’ Jonathan Owens.
“It’s always good to get a win under your belt and just try to build off that momentum,” Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon said. “Now you got a chance to take that when we come back and build off of it.”
The Bears put the finishing touches on their invigorating offseason Tuesday.
Buzelis has opened some eyes through the first three games of Summer League play for the Bulls, displaying a versatility in both scoring and playing defense. But what really stands out is his confidence bordering on cockiness, as well as his desire to win.