We’ve all done it. We’ve all criticized elected officials, be they mayors, commissioners, governors, or presidents. Sitting at home, it’s pretty easy to say what should be done and what we would do if the position were ours. We don’t have to deal with political opposition, budget constraints, or cranky newspaper columnists. All we do is wave our magic wand and the world is a better place. If only it were that easy.

I’m not letting these officials off the hook. They ran for office, were elected by the people and are subject to criticism-fair or unfair. However, I’m sure they all have had dreams about how nice it would be if things would be as they want them to be.

I’ve put myself in that spot. If I were president of the United States, I could bring economic prosperity for all and world peace in just about one week. Fixing Forest Park might take a little longer, and I would need a more significant title than mayor. I would need to be the King of Forest Park. I would be a benevolent king, of course, helping all my subjects enjoy the kingdom a little more. Here are some of the edicts I would issue:

  • Require all banks in the kingdom to accurately and prominently display the time. I miss the time and temperature on the Charter One Bank. While Forest Park National has had a clock for years, it would be nice if it worked for more than a couple of months at a time.
  • Get rid of the French Market. I was under the impression that this was going to be a spot for the kingdom’s merchants to display their wares. If I want to pay twice the market price for tomatoes, I’ll shop at Whole Foods.
  • Implement Home Rule. While frightening to some, Home Rule can help with out-of-kingdomers using our public schools as well as controlling development. Those who are still apprehensive should buy a tape of the recent CUinFP meeting on development and listen to the village manager of Lake Forest speak about Home Rule.
  • Limit the amount of cash kept at home by kingdom employees to $50K. How much cash do you need to pay the pizza guy anyways? Employees who keep more than $50K on hand would be designated as a bank and required to prominently display the time and temperature in their living room window.
  • Enact “The world isn’t your ash tray” tax on all purchases of tobacco products in the kingdom. All purchasers would have to provide proof they have spent at least 30 minutes in the past month picking up cigarette butts from the kingdom’s sidewalks and streets.
  • Change all “No Turn on Red” signs to “No Turn on Red When Pedestrians are Present.” I’m tired of waiting at Jackson and Desplaines for the light to change. My chariot is a gas hog, and I’ve things to do, places to go, people to see.
  • Reduce the liquor licenses in the kingdom. On certain nights, Madison Street resembles Bourbon Street. The next time a purveyor of spirits leaves, we will turn the facility into a retail shop. Less strain on the police, more neighbor-friendly, and just as good tax-wise.
  • Require the post office to construct a drive-up mail box on the driver’s side. The kingdom is not in England. The king doesn’t always have passengers and can no longer afford the back strain involved when dropping off a letter at the current facility.
  • Mandate a “promote from within” policy in the kingdom. The king has watched with dismay as his police department has stumbled from scandal to scandal the last seven years under the direction primarily of outsiders. At the same time, the fire department rolls smoothly along under the leadership of three men who rose through the ranks. Coincidence? The king thinks not.
  • Make the Ethics Commission do something. They need to justify their existence and their invites to the village Xmas party. How about jumping into this e-mail controversy and maybe saving the village a couple of bucks on legal fees?
  • The world wasn’t created in a day, and I can’t change everything that needs to be changed in a day either. The King has spoken. Long live the King.