Cook state's attorney: Alvarez
Since Democrat Anita Alvarez took office as Cook County state's attorney four years ago, the office has operated effectively and even has undertaken some important new initiatives, despite the adversity of annual budget cuts. Alvarez, of River Forest, can point with pride to efforts her office has mounted to combat gun violence, human trafficking and public corruption. True, she's found herself at odds occasionally with other local elected officials -- notably Sheriff Tom Dart on occasion and, especially, county board President Toni Preckwinkle over her budget expectations -- but these are not unexpected in an office that seeks to be aggressive in an era of difficult finances. More importantly, Alvarez has managed to resolve the differences without disrupting the important work of the state's attorney's office beyond the understandable hardships imposed by double-digit funding cutbacks. Inasmuch as the hard times facing the county are destined to continue for some years ahead, the state's attorney will need someone at the helm with the determination and creativity to fight the bureaucratic battles while keeping the pressure on in the fight against crime. Alvarez's opponent Nov. 6, Republican Lori Yokoyama of Chicago, certainly is determined and creative, but her predominantly civil background and complete lack of experience with the Cook County state's attorney's office leave her ill-prepared for a role of this magnitude. Alvarez has had a successful first term and should get a chance to continue her work in a second.