The meet-and-greet held recently for some of the village’s likely council candidates didn’t bring about any stunning revelations as to who these folks are or why they’re running.
Business development, bureaucratic inefficiencies and “the children” are standard talking points in any political contest. Nonetheless, it’s always encouraging to see such a large number of residents willing to take an active role.
There’s no doubt the sitting village commissioners have met with their share of successes and failures. The bonded improvements for the streets and alleys were sorely needed. And to the extent they helped rebuild Forest Park’s downtown, they should be commended. For a community in which the dead outnumber the living, it’s a welcome change to see revamped storefronts, new neighbors and new growth.
Of course, no one person can take credit for this economic revitalization. The community has dozens of volunteers divided between three pro-business organizations working not only for their community but for their livelihood.
To some extent, this economic rebirth has a hand in attracting people to run for office. But the very first issue these likely candidates were asked to address at an informal gathering was that current atmosphere of political infighting. Perhaps this sentiment speaks to a building level of civic unrest over petty squabbles on the village council that will boil over on April 17 (the squabbles as well as the unrest).
One need only flip through the pages of this week’s Review to see some of the controversies dogging this community. For months now we’ve reported on a number of lawsuits filed against the village by employees and elected officials.
Zoning issues that routinely emerge will only worsen until the codes reflect the type of growth residents want to see. There’s also an undercurrent of speculation that well-connected commissioners and those with business interests have been playing favorites. And now the question of how to resolve the parking shortage stands to be another watershed moment for this group.
April has the potential to bring an entirely new council to Forest Park, and with it, an entirely new agenda. If voters expect to see their values reflected by their government, it’s imperative that they take a hard look at each council seat. And if the fresh faces running for office truly expect to bring about the changes they think will benefit everyone, it must be the public’s agenda that gets the more attention than personal bickering.