In defense of video gaming

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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I would like to take a moment to address a few items that were brought up in the recent article regarding video gaming and the recent filing of a petition to ban video gaming throughout Forest Park. The people who are supporting the petition are trying to frame the conversation about this topic as being pro-democracy and not anti-gaming or anti-business. This could not be further from the truth. The petition only has one stated goal, to ban video gaming. This is not a pro-democracy movement. This is a small group of people who are in to win at all costs, no matter what it does to the community. This topic pitted neighbor against neighbor before gaming was legalized. Now that we have about 6 months of real data, it has proven not to be the horrible destroyer of our community fabric that it was being sold as when 75% of the petitions were signed over 15 months ago. The Village has very wisely put into place strict regulations to make sure our town does not look like a mini Las Vegas. The sky has not fallen and revenues are starting to flow into the Village coffers. We may not be able to cure the larger Village debt, but we are certainly helping the funding, not hurting it.

So why are we challenging the petition? In a democracy, there are checks and balances. As the anti-gaming people certainly have the right to file a petition, the pro-video gaming people have the same right to challenge the petition. They claim to have 3,493 signatures. Here are some facts: 475 people signed more than once, several up to 4 times. On a signature review over 975 signatures were found to be not registered, not at the address listed, not alive, or not even listed in Forest Park. The language used in the petition stated that you were signing for the next scheduled election. That is not true. The anti-group held 75% of the petitions past the next election and presented them well over a year later. This has nothing to do with a glut of petitions on the ballot, but a lack of knowledge of how the system works.

I will continue to fight within the laws we have to protect the financial viability of Forest Park. With the constant attacks on the business community, how much outside investment do you think people will make in this town? Not only will we not attract new investment, but it also devalues the investments made by businesses that are already here. I am often asked why this business or that business is investing in another community instead of Forest Park. The answer is simple, people who invest do not like uncertainty.

I will continue to lead a charge against those who play on emotions to serve their purpose instead of presenting facts. It is not about a vote, it is about hurting businesses and the local government for future political purpose. Do not believe the whisper campaign, look at the facts.

Mark Hosty

River Forest

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Michael Clark  

Posted: January 16th, 2018 8:49 AM

Wow, this Hosty guy seems like a total sleaze. I've committed the name "Healy Westside" to memory and I'll be sure not to patronize that establishment, ever. I don't need my dollars lining his pockets when there are many other reputable establishments in Forest Park that actually care about this town! I strongly recommend other residents do the same - maybe then Hosty will reconsider his slimeball attempts at derailing our democracy.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: January 14th, 2018 2:55 PM

As someone who isn't particularly bothered by legal video gambling in Forest Park, I have to say that people like former FoPa commissioner Mark Hosty and his buddy and business partner, current commissioner and documented dumpster diving sleaze meister Tom Mannix, have yet to have anything approaching an honest dialogue on the gambling issue. They prefer instead to undercut people's ability to simply take the issue to a vote, and in Hosty's case, demonize anyone who disagrees with him. If Hosty and Mannix are the face of pro-video gambling in the village, its integrity is immediately called into question. Do not trust these two.

John Gorny  

Posted: January 13th, 2018 6:27 PM

I would to see a proposition asking if voters would support legal gambling instead of supporting a ban on it.

Andrew Cooper  

Posted: January 11th, 2018 12:30 PM

I don't see the call for a vote as an attack on local businesses. These residents love their town and support local business. They just want the vote that state law was written to allow. In my opinion, we shouldn't go out of our way to thwart them. Also, I think if you stop focusing on die-hard anti-gambling people, you'll find that many of the people who want a vote could be swayed to vote for video gaming.

Mary Richie from Forest Park  

Posted: January 11th, 2018 11:51 AM

Mark Hosty makes some points worth considering, however I am tired of the elected heads of Forest Park having such a paternelistic regard of the rest of we tax-paying citizens. Mr Hosty and his ilk treat us as if "they know what's best for us". After all sides have made their points, then let the citizens decide. We are still a democracy, aren't we?

Kate Nolan  

Posted: January 10th, 2018 11:17 PM

Hurting businesses? I think you will find that each and every one of us seeking to get a vote on gambling in the village is also a stalwart proponent of businesses in the village. A quick review of who is promoting spending dollars locally, from gas stations to grocery stores to salons and boutiques and more will surface the names of we who seek to let residents have a voice as to whether we want the regressive taxation on gambling in our village. Bar owners and managers promised hundreds of thousands in tax benefits and no empty storefronts. The pension issues were to be solved by gambling revenues. None of that has cone to pass. Time for a vote. They should drop their craven opposition to the democratic process. d

Michelle Andres Fitz-Henry  

Posted: January 10th, 2018 10:48 PM

You are correct that gambling was "legalized" in Forest Park. That came from the mayor and the commissioners - not the residents. The resident, having been asked twice but the mayor in a water bill survey and then on the ballot, voted overwhelmingly against it. As far as revenues "starting to flow into the Village coffers" - please please please give us your data because what we have seen and what the FPR has been reporting on is the 1.2 million dollar shortfall the village intends to fix with increased fees, rate hikes, parking meters and sewer tax, etc. They are trying to bridge the gap that the pro gambling folks said would be done by gambling but has not. The only money flowing in to coffers is the money in the machines going in to the pockets of the bar owners. Regarding the village's "strict regulations" regarding signage, everyone pretty much knows (because the village's own attorney stated so - that the sign ordinance, if fought would be in violation of the bar owners first amendment rights. So, it's just a matter of time there (and money). Regarding outside investment - read the FPR today and see who is coming here. I can promise you it isn't because of gambling.

Kate Nolan  

Posted: January 10th, 2018 10:34 PM

Or not, let thhe people vote.

Kate Nolan from Or not, let the people vote.  

Posted: January 10th, 2018 10:33 PM

Challenged signatures are not invalidated signatures. As so many people have already noted in various venues, when in the past their signatures were challenged, they were ready to sign affadavits that their signatures were valid. That will once again be the case. A larger question is why the bar owners and managers, most of whom are not Forest Park residents, oppose having residents vote on this issue. They are using every trick in the book to shut down a vote. If gambling is such a boon to the village, let them make that case. As for me, allowing this regressive taxation to take advantage of both citizens and visitors is a travesty. Whether you agree withthat

Geoff Binns-Calvey  

Posted: January 10th, 2018 10:13 PM

Mr. Hosty, you make some very good points. Thanks for the information. And now that the citizens have had a year to think on it, let's put this important issue to a vote, like a democracy does, so we can all have our voices heard, rather than having five or six businessmen hire a crew from out of town to block a local petition, solely to prevent us from voting. Thank you.

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