All School Picnic ‘a huge success’
On behalf of the Picnic Committee, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chamber of Commerce, Village, Park District and all Forest Park Schools for their continued support in providing a fun-filled day of activities for this year’s 33rd annual Bob Haeger All School Picnic.

The committee would like to thank the PTO’s and PTA’s of the public and private schools for their annual donations that helped offset the costs associated with the picnic. We would also like to express our appreciation to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Post 7181 for their financial contribution. We are grateful to the Brown Cow for donating ice cream and vouchers for prizes for the bingo games. All of these donations, along with the Chamber’s annual financial support and cooperation from Mother Nature in the weather department, helped make this year’s event a huge success. There were a few sprinkles of rain around noon and during the clean-up process, but even those didn’t put a damper on the day.

A very special thank you to Ferrara Pan Candy Company, the Forest Park Community Education Council and Forest Park Main Street Redevelopment Association for their generous donations which helped offset the cost of this year’s entertainment. All of the children who enjoyed the free pony rides can be thankful to these three special friends of the All School Picnic.

In addition, we are grateful to Nadeau’s Ice Sculptures for their annual donation of two 300 pound blocks of ice used to ice down the 3,000 cans of soda, and Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) for their generous donation of the 20-yard-rolloff dumpster that is used for cleanup.

We would also like to thank the Police and Fire Departments for their continued cooperation and assistance, and also, all of the volunteers that helped in the food distribution, ticket sales, supervision, recreational activities and entertainment. They, along with the school teachers, are the backbone of this operation. Without that group of dedicated workers, an event of this size could not be accomplished.

Due to the rain on the day before the picnic, a big thank you goes out to the Park District’s maintenance staff for getting the ball fields in playing shape for the softball games that are a tradition at the picnic.

Finally, our hats off to the Village employees of the Public Works and Public Property Departments. They along with the crews from the Park District and School District maintenance staff, performed that often thankless job of picking up after the others. Within an hour, everything was put away and the park grounds were back in shape. The Committee would like to thank everyone involved in any way for their continued support and cooperation.

Dave Novak and Beth Kovacic
Co-Chairs, All School Picnic Committee

The ‘little extras’ make Forest Park great
The Forest Park Review contends that Forest Park can’t always be a “bargain ‘burb.” Of course, those of us who actually live here might object to that characterization. The fiscal restraint of the current administration helped position Forest Park to become the truly great community that it is today.

Since my election as Commissioner, I’ve had measured success in restoring that all important fiscal integrity. This restored responsibility has also resulted in a number of measures that will ensure Forest Park’s position well into the future. Some of these include creation of a special fund to finance additional parking to support our business districts; setting aside a portion of the sales tax for infrastructure improvements; and greater accountability in the Village’s budget process.

This stability in government spending (or as the Forest Park Review prefers to call it “bargain”) has promoted tremendous investment in Forest Park in the last few years. This investment by homeowners and businesses alike has put Forest Park on the map. As a Commissioner, I see it as my responsibility to continue promoting such responsible spending habits to sustain this positive growth well into the future.

As a native Forest Parker, I have always appreciated the little extras that Forest Park offers its residents, like the sidewalk plowing service. Sure this service costs money, but by being fiscally responsible, we have been able to maintain this service for our residents. After all, it is just one more thing that distinguishes Forest Park from its neighbors and makes Forest Park great.

As for the operation of the dog park, first, it is important to understand that the Village of Forest Park is not a profit making venture. And in fact courts have said that the fees assessed by a municipality for a specific service must bear a “reasonable relationship” to the cost of regulation and administration of the service. We are not in this to make a profit or to use fees from the dog park to fund some other part of our government operation that is not able to fund itself.

Based on the information I received from Mr. Kutak on the morning of the Village Council meeting, I supported the Recreation Board’s dog park fee recommendation. These fees coupled with the fundraising dollars realized from doggypalooza were sufficient to cover the costs he’d outlined. If Mr. Kutak offered additional information after I provided my written report to the Village Council, I did not receive it and that is unfortunate.

My position remains that the dog park fees and outside fundraising efforts will be sufficient to sustain our dog park without imposing an undue burden on Forest Park taxpayers. The Village Council could take the position that because Oak Park chooses to be narrow minded and restrictive of others using their dog park that Forest Park should do the same. As Commissioner, I choose to continue pushing for fiscal restraint in village spending so that our homeowners and businesses can keep more money in their pocket and reinvest in their future in Forest Park.

Commissioner Terry Steinbach

Doolin responds to Mayor’s letter
Mayor Calderone,
Thank you for the civics lesson and sharing your unique perspective on some very important issues in last weeks Review. Though your statements were many, I am compelled to respond to just a few.

First and foremost, have you not played the Doolin-Johnsen-Ryan-Johnson-Shaw card long enough? I think it important for the public to know exactly who the players were in this taxpayer-funded fiasco. You seem to constantly feel the need to emphasize, thereby justifying, the hiring of an outside investigator based on both yours and Chief Ryan’s assessment that this was a “sensitive political matter.” However, you then place Chief Ryan in a position to be the investigators contact during the course of the independent investigation. I guess Chief Ryan couldn’t run the investigation but he could certainly supervise it and make sure it got done right.

This is the same Chief Ryan that was recommended for hire as our current Chief of Police by Carl Dobbs, our former interim Chief. Mr. Dobbs, a retired police chief himself and his company Linebackers, were hired by the village and paid a handsome sum of money as our “consultant” to find this new police chief. Luckily for us, Carl Dobbs knew Chief Ryan had just retired with a full pension from the City of Des Plaines and finished on the top of Carl Dobbs’ Linebacker list.

When we needed, in yours and Chief Ryan’s judgment, an independent investigator, you again called on Carl Dobbs. Carl Dobbs then recommends hiring, as you state, “retired career law enforcement professional Lt.Col. Robert Johnson” to investigate Lt. Steve Johnsen at a cost of $100.00 per hour. In the end, it took the retired Lt.Col almost 90 hours to complete his assigned task. The word “retired” seems to be a reoccurring theme with these gentlemen, allowing one to draw the conclusion that this is nothing more than a bunch of “retired” dinosaurs hiring and referring each other as “consultants.” These professional retirees create a steady stream of post-retirement revenue for each other thereby doubling dipping, as all have taxpayer funded pensions on top of taxpayer funded “consultant” fees. I’m sure you’ll dismiss this as just another silly conspiracy theory from one of the “minority” commissioners.

Your assertion that Lt. Johnsen’s actions and testimony in the Dan Harder termination fiasco as nothing more than sour grapes because you didn’t make him police chief is laughable. I would diagnose Lt. Johnsen’s condition to be more along the lines of sour stomach. How could any educated, moral and ethical police professional serve as your Chief without one? You, and more importantly this village, would have been better off if the likes of a Lt. Johnsen or Lt. Weiler were our police chief. After all, your dedication and commitment to hard-working, long-time village employees during the Public Works Director debate are well documented, however, and for some reason, not applicable here.

Why do you continue to justify your retaliatory actions by deeming the Shaw incident “a very sensitive political matter?” Is it because an elected official was involved? Was it because a “prominent” businessman was involved? Or perhaps it was neither.

On September 8, 2004, Commissioner Tim Gillian witnessed an African American male commit the offense of littering on Madison Street while he was having ice cream at a local establishment. Commissioner Gillian confronted the man and physically restrained him until police arrived. That man was arrested for disorderly conduct and battery. Then, on July 12, 2005, a mere 2 weeks before the incident between myself and Jim Shaw took place in council chambers, Mr. Shaw had a patron in his bar arrested for disorderly conduct because the patron “became irate and screamed at Shaw.” The arresting officer was none other than Forest Park Police Chief Jim Ryan.

If our police chief came out to personally handle this, it must have been “sensitive” in some manner. It appears as though Chief Ryan once believed that screaming at a person constituted the offense of disorderly conduct, so long as the person being screamed at was Jim Shaw. Why the above two situations were not deemed politically sensitive and, on your orders, an outside investigator hired at taxpayer expense escapes me. Why? I’ll tell you why, because neither involved me. I will be curious to see if supervising States Attorney Colin Simpson personally handled these cases like he did mine and whether he dismissed the charges against these individuals as he did with Jim Shaw.

Alas, we can agree on one issue raised in your letter. I have indeed chosen not to attend “politician” school at the University of Illinois. You see Mr. Mayor, I graduated from the real University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign with a real bachelors degree. You may be entering the second phase of your comprehensive politician school, but that will never make up for the fact that you couldn’t even be bothered to finish high school. The politician school you attend, run by politicians, for politicians, to teach politicians how to be politicians, all paid for with taxpayer money, is of no interest to me Mayor. I approach leadership from the heart, mind and soul. I may not be the most popular guy sitting on the council, but you know where I stand. The same cannot be said about you. And it wasn’t taught to me on taxpayer funded weekend junkets down to Champaign.

Lastly, you still seem to be fixated on the 2003 election. You obviously read the Review every week, so you should be fully aware of the fact that you and your coalition won in April of 2003. Yet still, to this day, you act as though your agenda and vision for this village cannot come to fruition because our side of the dais is preventing you from fulfilling some non-existent plan you have yet to unveil.

As children, we all learned the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”. There also exists a 2nd, more pessimistic variation on the Golden Rule that goes something like this; “He who has the Gold, Rules.” Mr. Mayor, you have the Gold so you Rule. Your Gold is the 3 votes you control on the village council.

At about the same age most learned the 1st Golden Rule, we also learned the 2nd, that 3 is bigger than 2. We see this rule applied in many simple ways. For example, in the game of cards, a 3 always beats a 2. In the financial world, three dollars is more than two dollars. In politics, majority rules and with our five-member council, three, no different than the preceding examples, will always beat two. What have myself and Commissioner Steinbach done since being elected in 2003 you ask? We can only accomplish that which you, the ruler of the majority, allow us to accomplish. I have come to accept this as the rule. You do not need our permission for anything. We need your permission for everything Mr. Mayor, and everyone knows it. In the 3 plus years that I have served with you on this council, you have refused to set politics aside and, as a true leader would, build consensus. You have your 3 votes and that has been good enough for you. This, Anthony T. Calderone, has been your greatest failure as our Mayor. In spite of the numerous roadblocks you have laid for the “minority”, we have still accomplished significant and worthwhile tasks for the residents of this village. I look forward to the day when you and me will debate these issues, one on one and face to face.

Patrick J. Doolin
Commissioner

Criticism of commissioners is short-sighted
After reading Mayor Calderone’s response to Mr. Dwyer’s column last week, I thought I would put in my two cents too. I wonder if Mr. Dwyer lives in the same town I do? A few columns back, I remember reading he is a recent transplant from Oak Park. Maybe he got his sense of distrust and his negative energy there and brought it with him?

It is easy to criticize all of our current commissioners and mayor if you look only at the last two controversial and difficult years. But, if you have lived here at least 10 years or more, you cannot help but be amazed at the distance this village has come in so many ways.

And it hasn’t been just a coincidence. It has happened through the efforts of the mayor and the commissioners, who work very hard and give many hours of their own time for very little reward. Your paper has a history of giving a lot of ink to people with so little to say, such as Mr. Dwyer. What an ugly way to sell newspapers.

Michael Thorp


Mayor proved Dwyer’s points

I read Mayor Calderone’s response to Bill Dwyer’s opinion piece from a few weeks ago, and read and read more, as it spilled across three pages of the paper. As a former longtime resident and Op-Ed columnist (who received his share of hate mail) for this paper, I was struck by the fact that the mayor missed much of the point.

First, Mr. Dwyer’s column sits under the bold header of “opinion.” It’s his alone, and not that of the publisher, Mr. Haley. I’m sure Old Mayor Daley sent similar missives to the Sun-Times in reaction to Mike Royko. And, for the record, it was a scathing piece that Dwyer wrote, but a good one, one that was also thought-provoking. The mayor would’ve been better served to use the ink to explain why the village seems mired in petty issues, [or to] detail how he’s prepared to address the real challenges the town currently faces.

Essentially, he proved some of Mr. Dwyer’s points. I was also puzzled that he did not respond to Mr. Haley’s own Op-Ed piece that rhetorically asked where, in Art Jones’ absence, all the grown-ups have gone in town leadership. The mayor has in fact made good decisions for the benefit of Forest Park during his tenure. He also championed”and lost”the proposition of moving the town to “home rule.” It’s important now though that he focus on overcoming current obstructionists in local government and get back to tending to what’s important. Focus on the vital few issues, Tony, not the trivial many. And don’t worry about the opinions of writers out there. You didn’t used to. You shouldn’t now.

Mike Deering

Post office disrespected veterans
I was appalled that my 85-year-old mother May Bill, widow of Robert Bill, a World War II Veteran and native Forest Parker, was asked to leave the premises of the Forest Park Post Office for Poppy Day solicitation. This collection post was assigned to her for years in her volunteerism for Poppy Day.

She was on the public side walk and did not block the entrance for the patrons of the post office. She conducted herself in a respectful manner and was not confrontational to anyone using the facility. After she was there for two hours she was asked to leave by a postal employee for what they said was a district policy restricting solicitation.

Since veterans are a part of the government as well as the post office I find this an oxymoron. I think this was a slap in the face for all veterans as well as my mother who is a life member of VFW Auxiliary 7181 located in Forest Park Illinois. I am embarrassed for the public servants of the post office total disregard for the veterans in our country.

Janet Fink


Analysis of Nixon’s handwriting was biased
I read Dr. Murray’s column on Nixon with amusement. Let’s get some facts straight.

Martin Luther King was assassinated in April, 1968. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in July, 1968. Nixon was nominated in August, 1968. Unless Nixon forgot to read the papers for a year, it is unlikely his signature was decomposing in 1969, for the reasons stated. It must also be noted that, Nixon was so confident of victory in 1972, he barely campaigned. Between 1969 and 1972 he managed to create the EPA, OSHA, end the draft, withdraw all combat troops from Vietnam, desegregate schools in the south, plus that China and Soviet stuff. The anti-war demonstrators saw their anti-war candidate lost 49 states and Nixon get over 60 percent of the vote. Not bad for a decomposing guy.

There is no point reviewing the third and fourth signatures because the analysis, such that it is, has no merit as the circumstances of the signing are not given. Perhaps I can help here.

Unlike Dr. Murray, I actually saw Richard Nixon, in the early 1990s, sign his name, in person, on four different occasions. At one event, he must have signed his name over 200 times in about 25 minutes. People came back to the tables showing off their small piece of history. The signing took place so fast, on the front of a program, while he was standing (he was given a chair about 15 minutes into this) many of the signatures were less than stellar. To be blunt, he was treated like a rock star, and for someone who was a “crushed shell” seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself. I was surprised how casual and easygoing he could be. In his “crushed shell” years, Nixon managed to write best sellers, travel, and advise his successors.

Dr. Murray clearly wrote the last lines of his piece first and then through omission, error, supposition and lack of context attempts to justify his conclusions. This should not be a surprise. This is what happens when facts and context are irrelevant to columnists who have already made up their minds and will say anything to justify their prejudices.

Paul W. Barbahen