No reason for lengthy termination hearings

I am not a current resident of Forest Park, but I have spent most of my adult life living in this town. My two children spent the first few years of school at Field Stevenson. I have worked in this village in two different establishments on Madison Street for the past 15 years. Currently, as the manager of Doc Ryan’s I have seen the improvements to Madison Street come alive right before my eyes. I have also had the pleasure to become acquainted with Chief Jim Ryan and most of the men and women on the police department.

I have spent the last two Wednesday’s at the Johnsen hearings. I cannot believe the ridiculous way some people are being required to spend their evenings. It is very obvious why officer Harder’s hearing took so long and cost so much money. I have read the various articles relating to the Harder hearings and am appalled that Harder is still on the force when he put a gun to a woman’s head, while in her nightclothes, on her knees, in her own home, looking her in the face and knowing that she is the wife of a prominent business man. What’s the confusion? Why is he still there? Why is someone still paying Ms. Stevens? Now we can look forward to the months to come regarding the Johnsen hearings! Not necessary! A question came to mind?does Ms. Stevens get paid by the hour or minute? The thought of the Johnsen hearing going on for 13 more months is ludicrous! The ploy to make this run until sometime into 2008 is apparent. I cannot believe that this is allowed to happen.

During the first night of Johnsen’s hearing his attorney asked to have Amy Rita remove herself because of relationships with mayor Calderone and The Post. Amy standing her ground and not removing herself just shows you what a strong person she is. She presents herself as an intelligent person who can make wise choices and will listen to testimony with an open mind.

The second topic discussed was Johnsen being put on unpaid leave during this hearing. Ms. Stevens objected because Lt. Johnsen is married with four children with one in college. He needs to stay on the payroll so he can pay for school, his mortgage, food, etc. This made me furious. What about Jim Shaw’s children, home and food on his table? Let me explain.

As you recall, back n July 2005 my husband had a verbal altercation with Commissioner Doolin after a council meeting had adjourned. Yes, I will admit my husband’s actions were out of line and childish, but certainly no crime was committed. Doolin pulled in the ranks and went to his business partner who happened to be watch commander that night and demanded he be arrested. Unfortunately for officer Harrison he was called to the station and directed by a commanding officer to arrest my husband, even after it was stated that no crime was committed.

What people do not know, but should, is that the next day Doolin and Johnsen tried to have the charge upgraded to a felony at the Maybrook Courthouse. They did this knowing if my husband was convicted of a felony he would lose his liquor license. Now who’s going to lose his paycheck?

The charges against my husband were dropped. After the charges were dropped, my husband filed a complaint with Chief Ryan and the police commission. My husband filing a complaint instigated a private investigation of the matter by Chief Ryan. The result of that investigation was that Lt. Johnsen did not follow proper procedure and it was recommended he be demoted or terminated. That was the last we heard.

Johnsen did not do the right thing and did not tell the truth during the investigation. Should he be fired? That’s not my call, that’s up to the Police and Fire Commission. I do know that if a police officer lies in his report, then he cannot testify in any case as a witness because any defense attorney will question his creditability whereby causing reasonable doubt in any verdict.

I have to say after leaving last night’s debacle of a hearing I thought to myself, this all would have been over long ago if Steve Johnsen would have stood up to Patrick Doolin and held his ground as watch commander and not let his personal relationship with Doolin come into play. Just because someone is a commissioner doesn’t give him the right to have someone arrested.

Patrick Doolin wants to be mayor of Forest Park? He has been a real estate agent for a long time. We all remember Doolin and Johnsen’s office on Madison Street.

He says he would fire police Chief Ryan. Why? Because Chief Ryan has worked hard to keep the village safe from scum and bad cops? What will he do? Hire Harder or Johnsen? Please keep in mind that Doolin is the primary reason behind the Johnsen hearing. Village Attorney Durkin who witnessed the altercation told Doolin there was no crime committed, but Doolin sought out his friend and demanded the arrest and now Johnsen faces months of a hearing and possibly losing his job.

The election is coming soon. I trust that each and every Forest Park resident will be informed before they vote. Please take a few hours of your time and go to the council meetings, go to the Johnsen hearings, be informed! Hopefully, this paper (as biased as it may be) will be fair to all those running for election or re-election. I wish I still lived in this town so I could vote.

Cathy Shaw
River Forest

Parishioner calls for greater attendance

I would like to ask a favor of everyone who has attended St. Bernardine and is concerned about the attendance. During the month of October we take a head count of everyone at a given mass on Saturday and Sunday to be submitted to the archdiocese. You may not be attending church regularly, but please try sometime in October to come to at least one mass so you can be counted.

Please don’t misunderstand my comments. As far as I know there is not a concern that our church will be closed, but one of the priests told a story a few weeks ago that got me to thinking. He was talking about a church he knew of where their numbers had dwindled and they had to close the church. On the last mass that was to be held at the church there were so many people in attendance some people had to stand up. However, it was too late. They had to close the church anyway. I don’t want this to happen to my church. I hope you don’t either. I don’t know when this will appear in the newspaper, but I felt I had to make this comment because like they say, “it is better late than never.” If you can come and help St. Bernardine that would be wonderful and we look forward to seeing you there.

Debbie Espinosa
Forest Park

‘Shortsighted’ move by Main Street

After reading the article regarding the Main Street Redevelopment Association’s decision to cancel the Trick-or-Treat on Madison Street event, I was moved to voice my opinion on this subject.

I believe the retailers mentioned in your article have lost sight of what this event was truly intended for. I have always been under the impression that this event was to provide a fun and safe trick-or-treating experience for the children of our community and the surrounding communities.

It seems very hard for me to believe that closing down Madison Street for a few hours on a Sunday morning would cause these retailers to lose a “disproportionate share of their profits in the fourth quarter” as stated in this article considering that some of these shops are closed for all or part of the time of the event anyway. I also have to agree with Mayor Calderone’s comments regarding the fact that this was suppose to be a way for merchants to say “thank you” to the community for its support in making Madison Street what it is today.

I have heard an overwhelming amount of displeasure from other business owners, merchants and non-merchants alike, who are upset about the cancellation of this charming event. I hope that the shortsightedness of the merchants that disliked this event will remember the big picture. Disappointed parents and other Madison Street business people may not be as quick to spend their dollars at their establishments after reading that they are not the demographic that these merchants are looking for anyway.

Very few of the events planned on Madison Street benefit my real estate business in any way other than exposure. People who come out for these events see my company is here and will, hopefully, remember us when they are ready to buy, sell or rent. The Trick-or-Treat on Madison Street event was one of the rare times that people actually stepped into my office and said hello. In fact, our entire staff looked forward to this event in order to meet members of the community as they bring their children in our door. Many of our clients are the children and grandchildren of former clients who keep returning to Madison Street for this event and comment about all of the wonderful things happening here. It seems to inspire them to return at other times.

My message to the merchants and business owners who were the catalysts to the cancellation of this event is this?I hope your businesses continue to grow and flourish with the kinds of patrons you are looking for. Remember that the trick-or-treaters of today are the spenders of tomorrow.

Richard Gray,
Broker/Owner Reich & Becker Agency, Inc.
Forest Park

Reader’s opinions often reek

As a former resident of Forest Park for 31 plus years, and a non-resident of seven weeks, I would like to respond to Steven Bachman’s letter to the editor in the Oct. 11 issue of the Review. When I read his letters, I want to hold my nose and breathe deep.

Sally Jones
Kiawah Island, S.C.