Fewer than 2,000 of us voted in the mayoral primary. If the other 6,000 registered voters remain home for the election, Mayor Anthony Calderone will win. But fans of participatory democracy can take heart: at least Calderone is not running unopposed this time.
Speaking of mayoral primaries, I was certain that last week’s election in Chicago was only a primary. I thought Mayor Daley would have to face a long shot Republican who would criticize him about civic corruption. Then I learned that Chicago has had non-partisan campaigns since 1999. So, in effect, the Republicans have given up even running a candidate for mayor.
It’s one thing for the Daley dynasty to run the city for a half-century. It’s even stranger that the Stroger family can hand down the Cook County presidency from father to son.
Chicago politics aside, we’re seeing some real progress in Forest Park. The wallboard window dressings at 1000 Beloit Ave. have been removed. The junk that was taken out of the village-owned building quickly filled a dumpster. Can the installation of a police substation be far behind?
It was equally encouraging to see the gas pumps and storage tanks removed from the defunct Mobil station at Desplaines and Madison streets. I don’t know what’s going in there but it looks like a key property is about to be reborn.
Forest Park has had such a rebirth that young people in town have told me their “coolness” factor immediately increases when they tell their friends they’re from Forest Park.
The dynamic growth of Forest Park stands in stark contrast to what Oak Park is about to do, namely the destruction of the Marion Street pedestrian mall. My office is there and it’s just about perfect. There are no trains, no traffic and the atmosphere is tranquil. For some perverse reason, the village is going to jackhammer the mall and restore vehicle traffic. The Marion Street businesses are so thrilled that many of them decided to close their doors, or relocate.
I’ve considered relocating to Madison Street in Forest Park but the rents are more than can I afford. Besides, I’m worried that if I had a business on Madison, I’d never get any work done. I would know so many people on the street and there’d be so many diversions. During business calls, I’d be afraid my clients would hear the jukebox in the background.
Speaking of fun on Madison, my family and I missed the parade and everything this Saturday, due to family obligations. Although I’m a bit of a purist about St. Patrick’s Day and only like to celebrate on the day itself, parade-day is turning into a marathon party.
It’s also become a giant reunion. I spoke to a young man who ran into a lot of his old friends during his brief 10-hour visit to the street. My advice to him and others who embrace the Irish holiday: Pace yourself, it’s only March 7.