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I feel it necessary to respond to your editorial comment on Endorsement: Hoskins for state rep where you stated that in office of Cook County Recorder of Deeds is inconsequential. I believe this shows the lack of understanding of the crisis facing property owners across the country due to unscrupulous lenders and the role the Recorder can and should play in protecting property owners.

I just finished fending off a poorly thought-out proposal on the part of an ill-informed County Board Commissioner to merge the office of Recorder and Clerk. This initiative ignored the multiple challenges currently faced by property owners, like the thousands of false ‘robo-signed” documents in the system as well as the situation where lenders are not paying millions of dollars in title transfer fees and clouding the public record. Property owners need the Recorder of Deeds to be an advocate that will work to clean up the mess left by the banking industry. I believe that these and other challenges must be addressed before any consideration of a merger.

The Recorderfs Office serves a critical role of ensuring the integrity of the land records system in Cook County. Cook County has the second highest volume of land records in the United States. A well-functioning Recorderfs Office has the potential to bring in significant revenue and, with future reforms that I plan to implement, the Office can significantly boost revenues for the County. This is crucial in this time of fiscal austerity.

I realize that the Recorderfs Office in Cook County is much-maligned as a result of a lack of understanding of what the office does. I do see significant room for improvement in the current Recorderfs Office and plan to upgrade the Recorderfs Office through technology and improved training to better serve the taxpayers and to increase revenues and implement more efficient uses of the revenues generated.

And by the way, there is no ‘double pension” awaiting me when I win my bid for Recorder. My time in the state legislature will be converted to time in the County pension system.

Finally, I hope I have shed light on the current situation facing property owners and the need for a responsible Recorderfs Office. I have accomplished much as a state legislator, including landmark legislation: Smoke-Free Illinois, Abolition of the Death Penalty and various proposals to address foreclosure and lender responsibility related to vacant buildings. When elected, I fully intend to continue to deliver sound and dependable service to the taxpayers of Cook County in my new role as Recorder because I realize the importance of that role and how ready I am to take on that challenge.@

Rep. Karen A. Yarbrough
Candidate for Cook County Recorder of Deeds