Incumbent Republican Dan Patlak survived an opponent's smear campaign in his primary race for the so-called suburban seat — District 1 — on this three-member board of property tax appeals. The board is obscure but important: Clouted lawyers long have won big assessment reductions for their commercial clients — board decisions that shifted tax burdens to homeowners. Many officials, Democrats included, tell us Patlak is diligent, professional and smart. He helped initiate an online appeal system that helps taxpayers and contains paper-handling costs to the county. A new annual report from the board offers detailed statistics in what historically has been an opaque office. (Cynics would say an intentionally opaque office that didn't want the public disturbing the practice of politics.) We endorse Patlak over Casey Thomas Griffin.