Setting the record straight
I’d like to set the record straight for the readers of this paper. My name is Brad Zandstra. I am a Police and Fire Commissioner here in the Village of Forest Park and I’m growing a bit weary of certain individuals claiming that the board on which I serve was “hand picked by Mayor Calderone.” This statement is false and I will further state that any individual that perpetuates this falsehood is at best ill informed and at worst a liar.
After the last election, Patrick Doolin was elected to the Village Council. This created a vacancy on the Police and Fire Commission. I approached Mayor Calderone expressing interest in serving on said Commission. He recognized me but didn’t know who I was. I stated my affection for the Village and my desire to give back to the community that I have come to hold dearly. Over the course of the next several weeks I had the occasion to approach him again. We talked and he let me know later that at the next Village Council meeting he would nominate me for the position of Police and Fire Commissioner. I was subsequently appointed by a unanimous vote of the entire Village Council.
As to the Sgt. Harder case, I want to assure all involved that I will be fair and objective. I could not possibly care less about his past as it is none of my business. My only concern is for the current charges. I have not discussed this case with the Mayor to date nor do I intend to going forward. I will say that the ONLY person who tells me what to think is me.
In case you haven’t noticed, we have a new administrator at village Hall, his name is Matt Sturino. Slowly but surely Mr. Sturino has been morphing into our old village manager, Matt O’Shea and soon the towel monograms will have to be changed from “MS” to “MO”.
Many residents hoped last January, when Mike Sturino was brought in for the administrator job, he would not engage in the same skulduggery that his predecessor did and that some sense of openness would settle in at village hall. In fact on the night of his appointment as village manager, I asked Mr. Sturino to please not become another Matt O’Shea. His response was: “How can I be a Matt when my name is Mike?” It sounded positive, so we gave him a chance.
It didn’t take long though before the name change was under way. We were fooled at first because Matt and Mike both start with the letter M but as the operations at village hall began to bottleneck through Mike as they did with Matt, I noticed that our administrator had become “Make Sturino.” Then when Make banned communication between village employees and the newspaper, I saw Make become “Mate”. Pow! It was just that quick.
Last week, out of the blue, Mate became “Matt” Sturino as all hell broke loose.
The Business Improvement District or BID committee, which was established to thoroughly evaluate changes to the Madison St. business district, was scheduled to hold its sixth meeting. The BID committee members include business owners, the Chamber of Commerce and Main St. and on occasion, our elected officials. On very short notice, village hall canceled the meeting. We got our confirmation of the cancellation from the Village Clerk. I was pleased to have a night off for a change and looked forward to BID being rescheduled.
The next day, we found out the meeting was not canceled as we and the newspaper were told, but in fact had proceeded secretly, without the presence of the press and interested citizens. Why? The previous five meetings were held in the public eye. Why are they suddenly hiding from the public view? Isn’t Madison Street our street too?
Let me speculate. The very sensitive issue of downtown parking was eventually going to be addressed by the BID, a subject that my wife Gloria and I, and other neighbors, have sought to improve for several years now.
We, at one point asked Mate Sturino if we could participate in the meetings when parking was to be discussed. We could be representatives of the citizenry living in and around Madison St. Mate told us no.
The parking issue finally came up during the fifth BID meeting and as one might expect, the responses for possible solutions ranged from lukewarm to tepid. The problems confronting citizens living around Madison never came up. After the meeting the newspaper asked Gloria for a comment about the parking. In summary, she pointed out the fact that like the city of Chicago, the neighborhoods around Madison St. will need to be “zoned” parking in order to force patrons into parking lots as they become available. The “Forest Park Review” printed it.
More discussion about the parking situation was to be discussed during the sixth BID meeting. The one that got “canceled” but took place anyway, the meeting that shut out the press and citizens who have as much or more at stake in Madison St. than the BID.
I am beginning to fear that this is only Phase I in the name transformation and soon we will have our old administrator back in full force, since there are fewer letters in O’Shea than Sturino.
This letter is to thank and commend our Mayor of Forest Park, Anthony Calderone. After waiting many weeks for the Cook County Sheriff to respond to an Order for Eviction, I contacted Mayor Calderone, who immediately communicated with the Sheriff’s Office and discovered where the problem originated. I know I am only one of many people in our community who have asked for and received his intervention and assistance. The residents of Forest Park are very fortunate to have a caring, concerned and dedicated Mayor such as Mr. Calderone. Thank you again.
Groov’n in the Grove
On behalf of the Howard Mohr Community Center, I want to thank the following for their generous donations and/or assistance which made our Groov’n in the Grove season successful: Tonik (formerly Kellys), Burke Beverage, Forest Park Liquor Association, Bob Kutak and the Forest Park Public Works Department, Forest Park Police Department, Park District of Forest Park and all volunteers who gave their time.
Beverly Thompson and staff
Road Rally a success
This letter was originally sent to the Review on August 29, but was not printed at that time. We apologize for the error.
On Saturday, August 27, the Forest Park Youth Commission held the Madison Street Road Rally, which was sponsored by the Forest Park Review. It was a huge success with 25 kids ranging in age from 4 to 14 participating. The merchants involved were My Best Friend Grooming, Starship Subs, Girlisious, Schauer’s Ace Hardware, Deko’s, Doc Ryans, Centuries & Sleuths, Quistch Florists, Paulson’s Paint, Jimmy John’s, Healy’s Westside (who agreed to be our decoy location) and Brown Cow Ice Cream who hosted a party afterwards for all the participants.
A big thank you to all the merchants involved, the Forest Park Review for sponsoring the event, the Forest Park Police Department for providing traffic protection and the great kids and parents who work to solve the clues.
Mary Win Connor
Chairman, Forest Park Youth Commission