By Nona Tepper
A signature review by the Cook County Clerk's office has found the names on Let Forest Park Vote on Video Gaming's petitions for a binding referendum valid, shifting the debate to the local electoral board over whether the political action committee's question will be including on the March primary ballot.
The Forest Park electoral board consists of Mayor Anthony Calderone, Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz and Village Commissioner Tom Mannix. The three will decide whether to include Let Forest Park Vote's question, "Shall video gaming be prohibited in the village of Forest Park?" on the next ballot.
It is a binding referendum, which means that if residents vote against the practice, electronic gambling will be prohibited in Forest Park.
A spokesman for the clerk's office said Let Forest Park Vote's petitions exceeded the number of signatures required. Jordan Kuehn, president of the political action committee, said the group collected 3,500 signatures from residents who desire to vote on the practice.
Now lawyers from both pro- and anti-gaming forces will debate whether there's room on the March ballot for Let Forest Park Vote's question.
Only three questions are allowed on any ballot, and three advisory referendum questions were submitted prior to Let Forest Park Vote's submission.
But, Let Forest Park Vote is questioning the timeliness of the advisory questions submitted by Mark Hosty, a River Forest resident, former Forest Park commissioner and general manager of Healy's Westside on Madison Street in Forest Park.
Hosty submitted the questions for the 2018 ballot in November 2016.
The next hearing on the matter is scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 10 a.m. at Forest Park Village Hall, 517 Desplaines Ave.