Steinbach is the better man

Have you ever heard the old saying, “a man among men?”

From the Oxford English Dictionary: a man among men, a person regarded as epitomizing manhood or mankind; (especially as a term of praise) one who is the equal of or an example to all others; an active, well-rounded member of society.

Terry Steinbach is such a person. During her four years of service on the village council, she has consistently demonstrated a commitment to all residents of Forest Park. She has fought for fiscal responsibility. She has demanded accountability. She has practiced openness and honesty.

At her first council meeting as commissioner she fought against a pay raise for herself and fellow officials. She was overruled. She then motioned to have the increase rescinded. No one seconded the motion. To put this wrong right, each year she donated that pay raise to enhance our village. Through those donations the dog park has a water fountain, pre-kindergartners have new books, and grade school kids have gone to band camp.

Based on our village’s past spending patterns Terry foresaw the income from the sales tax increase being squandered. She fought to have that money dedicated to infrastructure improvements. She won this fight, resulting in the success of the VIP program as announced by Village Administrator Mike Sturino in January. Had it not been for Terry’s foresight and unwillingness to give up, this success would not have been possible.

Terry Steinbach was the only official to notify potential victims of eminent domain, giving us the opportunity (as is everyone’s right) to speak up for ourselves at the decisive village council meeting. Four homeowners and a business owner may well have been wrangling with lawyers now. Or worse, our homes and business might already have been flattened, had Terry not been willing to suffer the wrath of fellow council members by doing what she knew was right.

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Terry Steinbach personally in the last few months and count myself among her many admirers. She is honest, intelligent and kind. She wants to be our next mayor for all of the right reasons and is always motivated by the best interests of all of Forest Park. She knows instinctively the difference between right and wrong: what is ethical and what isn’t. Her integrity and strength are unflappable.

Terry Steinbach is a man among men, and Forest Park would be lucky to have her serve as mayor.

Patty McKenna
Forest Park

Flowers calls for change

As a member of the board of education for Proviso Township high schools, I have been part of the minority along with Theresa Kelly and Gary Marine. We have been the minority that has questioned the decisions and actions of the board majority, led by Christopher Welch that has failed our students, teachers, schools and residents.

I endorse the slate that includes Ralph Harris, Kevin McDermott and Theresa Kelly. I appreciate that the Forest Park Review endorsed Harris and McDermott, two of the candidates needed to change the leadership of the school board. However, without electing the full slate, you will be subjecting students and taxpayers to more of the same from Christopher Welch and the board majority–an employment agency for their families and friends and continued failure of our students!

Without changing the leadership of the board of education; I know from first hand experience that it would be foolish to expect that Christopher Welch would change how he has and continues to micromanage District 209!

The Forest Park Review’s criticism of Mrs. Kelly and the board minority is misleading and baseless! The newspaper seems to want Mrs. Kelly and the board minority to take responsibility for district problems that have been created by decisions driven by the board majority! Did it bother you that the current superintendent and the board majority refused to terminate the pay for play contract of $160,000 to Eugene Moore, recorder of deeds? He receives a monthly check of $15,800 as the insurance broker for the district at the expense of needed programs for under performing students and increased medical insurance premiums for employees of the District! Imagine, Mr. Moore is rewarded for services that are and have never been rendered to the district! Please forgive and excuse my outrage for wanting to use our tax dollars for students!

Christopher Welch and the superintendent (or CEO when Welch placed the unqualified and rubber stamp of Robert Libka in charge that led to an additional $9 million in deficit spending and failure to seek approval from the full board of education $10,000 to attend a graduate program to obtain the superintendent’s endorsement at Western Illinois University, during work hours!) sets the agenda for board meetings. How about committee reports that are chaired by the board majority that are and have never been reported on to the full board or public. Recently, until the legal department of the Illinois State Board of Education intervened to uphold district policy that ensures that all board members in District 209 shall enjoy placing items on the agenda, the practice by the superintendent (Stanley Fields) and board president Christopher Welch has been to shut out input from the board minority! This practice supports your assertion that “the last six or seven months we can count on one hand the number of times that the word ‘student’ was used by an incumbent board member.” Shame on the superintendent and Chris Welch for producing a board agenda focused on contracts and employment for friends and family!

It is indeed unfortunate that the actions of the board majority taints the full board. What’s even more criminal to our students and taxpayers is that the Students First Party (Robin Foreman, Carla Johnson, and Bob Cox) are purporting that they intend to stop the patronage hiring and play for pay politics! These candidates are supported by the current board majority (Christopher Welch, Sue Henry, Dan Adams, and Shirley Madlock) that supports these practices! Yet you warn Bob Cox not to get to close to any of the incumbent board members! Mr. Cox has already associated and joined himself with the primary board member (Christopher Welch) that has led our students to the lowest PSAE test scores in the almost 100 year history of District 209! We can not afford to continue to have individuals make recommendations and decisions in the best interest of our students based on blind faith and personal interests! The reality is that Bob Cox is running with a slate that has a candidate (Robin Foreman) who is the aunt of Nikita Johnson-business manager for District 209 and Carla Johnson, the mother of Eugene Moore’s grandson – get the picture! To add insult to injury, this group in their second glossy brochure mailer to Proviso Township residents is advocating “the board must initiate a district wide reading program in our grammar schools.” Excuse me, but wouldn’t that be an initiative that the feeder school boards of education in cooperation with the superintendent initiate? Have they forgotten that they are candidates for District 209?

Having an individual at the table from a specific community in no way guarantees that they will represent what is best for students. What’s important is that who ever sits at the table regardless of the community that they represent, understands that all decisions that are made for students representing the 10 communities of District 209 are driven by the following question: How does it impact student achievement and learning?

The most essential step is to get the board to function properly by selecting a new president and board members that truly put students first!

The only way to get a new president of the board of education is to elect Ralph Harris, Kevin McDermott and Theresa Kelly. All the other candidates in the race have committed to voting for Christopher Welch to remain as the leader of the board of education … this includes Bob Cox!

The question that rest with all the stakeholders involved in District 209 is can and do the students and taxpayers deserve two more years of Christopher Welch leadership? The answer is absolutely, NO!

That being said, voters would do well to show Bob Cox the door!

Charles A. Flowers, Ed.D
District 209 Board of Education member,
Suburban Cook County Regional Superintendent of Schools – Elect

Power play

As everyone knows, our Proviso high school district is run by Chris Welch and his political friends–Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico and Cook County Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore. Prior to Welch and his friends taking over the school district, Proviso had never been placed on the state academic watch list. The proviso test scores have now hit rock bottom because money is going for political favors instead of education. The Proviso First Party, which includes Robert Cox, is controlled and funded by Welch and his friends. If even one of these candidates is elected, then Chris Welch will remain in control.

Chris Welch does have a backup plan, his name is Jim Boyd. Boyd is an ally of Welch and Eugene Moore. Jim Boyd was put in the race by Chris Welch and his friends for two reasons: to split up the vote in Westchester and perhaps to win, which would give Welch his fourth vote to remain in control of the school board.

In closing, if you want to see Chris Welch remain in control of our high schools then you should vote for Robert Cox and/or Jim Boyd. Personally, I would recommend voting for Welch’s opposition–Harris, McDermott and Kelly.

Michael Brooks

Kelly for D209

While I was not endorsed by the Forest Park Review, I ask for the support of all voters who see the need to reform Proviso Township High Schools, District 209.

I am running with a slate of candidates under the banner “Education Reformers.” The two candidates joining me on the slate are Kevin McDermott of Westchester and Ralph Harris of Bellwood, both excellent candidates and both are endorsed by the Forest Park Review.

I am running for re-election because I want to improve Proviso Township high schools by replacing the machine politics of school board President Chris Welch and his political boss (Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore) with fiscally responsible education strategies focused on students and their families.

Chris Welch has run Proviso Township high schools into the ground. Test scores are 90th of 90 high school districts in the Chicago area. The deficits have become untenable, even after Welch obtained a “back door” referendum to increase property taxes without the permission of the voters. Crony hiring and promotion is rampant and demoralizing to teachers and staff. A number of large contracts have been awarded to the politically connected, many of who gave large contributions to either Welch’s school board race or his campaign for state representative. This is not acceptable.

There are seven seats on the board of education. Three are up for election on Tuesday, April 17.

To keep control of the school board, only one Welch supporter needs to win; to switch control of the school board all three candidates from the “Education Reformers” slate need to be elected. Do you want to wait two more years to begin the process of reforming your public high school district?

I’d like to respond to the Forest Park Review’s criticisms of my service on the board of education. However, the criticisms were extremely vague and not based on factual information. I am frustrated the Forest Park Review failed to specify its reservations about my service.

The Forest Park Review has been a valuable partner in the process of improving Proviso Township High Schools. The coverage, analysis and columns in the Forest Park Review have been essential to explaining the issues facing the district. People read the Forest Park Review across Proviso Township for the coverage of District 209.

I ask all voters to support Ralph Harris, Kevin McDermott and me (Theresa Kelly), so we can join board member Charles Flowers. Give us a chance to show that Proviso Township High Schools can be better.

Theresa L. Kelly,
District 209 Board of Education member

Ramp revisions

The time to assess the need for a better, safer Desplaines Avenue entrance ramp for West bound 290 traffic is now. While housing development in Forest Park continues unabated (a good thing), the recent construction of new town home and condominium units near the Forest Park Blue Line stop off of Desplaines Avenue will contribute to the continuing traffic issues.

As a Forest Park resident who unfortunately requires the Desplaines Avenue entrance ramp to take 290 west to a job in the northwest suburbs, I engage in near-miss accidents attempting to access the ramp on a daily basis. I repeat, near-miss accidents on a daily basis.

I’ll quantify my complaint by stating that in my experience, the insanity of three flows of traffic being merged into one lane occurs during the morning’s rush hours between 7 and 9. In accessing the Desplaines Avenue entrance ramp one must contend with traffic coming from the south, attempting to make a quick left onto the entrance ramp, and often dangerously close to traffic coming from the north that is attempting to make a right turn onto the entrance ramp. In addition, there are those people who don’t have the patience to wait in the ever growing line of cars in the right lane on Desplaines Avenue waiting to take a right turn onto the entrance ramp. Instead, they drive in the left lane heading south, and then shoot into the right lane at the intersection for the Forest Park Blue Line CTA, cutting-off anyone who has left an opening for those turning into the Forest Park CTA parking lot and drop-off.

Potential and actual road rage incidents occur on a near daily basis as well, as cars jockey for position to be the first car at the traffic ramp light. This is compounded by two lanes of traffic coming from Desplaines Avenue, and a third coming from the CTA.

Add to the mix pedestrians who often take their lives in their hands every time they attempt to use the crosswalk (which I assume is there, as there doesn’t appear to be a brightly painted crosswalk in the pavement) to cross the entrance ramp to get to the Forest Park Blue Line CTA. I have witnessed a number of pedestrians crossing the entranceway to 290 in a lackadaisical way that is likely to lead to a tragic accident.

I implore the government of Forest Park to give serious study to the Desplaines entrance ramp to 290 west. I am not a traffic engineer, but the time to assess and propose a safer 290 west ramp is now.

Daniel Messick
Forest Park

Steinbach deserving

I am disappointed that the Forest Park Review did not endorse Terry Steinbach.

After eight years in office, I can’t point to anything that makes Mayor Anthony Calderone’s service stand out. Madison Street is wonderful, but it’s one street in a town where many others are dilapidated and not growing. Plus, the business community and the market had more to do with it than the mayor. If he wants to take credit for Madison Street, then take blame for doing nothing on Roosevelt Road and other parts of town.

Also, I heard him say he’s against eminent domain but it was his plan to take homes so bars in this town could have more parking. Those bars are campaign contributors. I’m glad the Review did point out his mentality to take campaign money from people who he helps or people he wants to help.

One thing Terry Steinbach did do was stand up for those homeowners.

We have a chance for a new perspective. A chance for a new vision and cleaning up this town we live in. The status quo gives us more heartaches and we need to give Terry Steinbach a chance.

Tim Curren
Forest Park

Rushing the Roos

I was at the planning commission meeting this week and heard the chairman continuously pooh-poohing the legitimate concerns of one of the commissioners regarding insufficient parking at the Roos building development. The chairman continuously used as his argument the fact that the development is near the CTA rapid transit station and he concluded that people living there will have less cars. One thing has nothing to do with the other! For my entire working career I rode downtown on the el from Forest Park; yet I have always had a car for other needs. What makes the chairman think that people don’t go anywhere else but into the city on the el?

As a long-time resident of Forest Park, I know that we have few streets to get across town from south of Eisenhower up to Madison, and that Circle and Harrison is a well-used corner. It is also true that even before this development is built the traffic at that corner is already heavy. By 2:30 or 3 in the afternoon, Circle Avenue is backed up well over the top of the bridge. Harrison is also well used. I didn’t hear anything that addressed the real traffic concerns raised in the past several years, nor of the basement flooding problems, which the local residents have said many times they already experience.

I suppose we now just have to correct the problems that no doubt will occur.

Evelyn Krueger
Forest Park

Vote Steinbach

As a resident since 1971 I’m becoming extremely irritated at how our current mayor has allowed the pay-to-play politics that dominates Cook County to seep into Forest Park. Talk about big city access. I think the Forest Park Review got it right in the primary when they said eight years is enough. Now are they running scared?

I’m voting for Terry Steinbach because she hasn’t taken campaign contributions from the village’s vendors and goes beyond the law when it comes to her policy on campaign contributions. And it shows. She’s not running a slick campaign financed by outside interests that get paid with more contracts down the road. We need a mayor who has the ethics that will enhance our small town charm. We need a mayor who will serve the residents of the community instead of lining the pockets of friends.

We have county officials appointing their family to six figure salaries and a mayor who awards his donors with contracts. It is up to us the voters to make the change. I’m voting Terry Steinbach for mayor on April 17.

Mary Richie
Forest Park

Fiscal restraint

Terry Steinbach has been a watchdog as commissioner, making sure our taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. Unfortunately, the mayor and his allies in the village believe it’s their money to spend and we’re just a piggy bank so they can work on their pet projects or hire more consultants to do what village staff should be doing.

We need an advocate as mayor who understands that families and businesses have to balance budgets and make tough decisions and so should village hall. Terry Steinbach time and again has been the person who has stepped up and criticized wasteful and unnecessary spending.

It’s time we have someone representing us, our families, and our taxpayer dollars. I’m voting Steinbach for mayor because after eight years if the mayor can’t get it right now, then when? 

Paul Bloyd

Vote Plepel

I am writing to voice my support for John Plepel in the race for commissioner. Having lived in the area the first 28 years of my life, I believe John epitomizes the character of Forest Park and its citizens–smart, hard working, dedicated and passionate. His continued leadership in the Cherryfield development project on the 500 block of Elgin Avenue underscores his commitment to serve the best interests of not just business owners or residents, but the village as a whole.

While his professional background, education and active community involvement more than qualify him for this important position, it is the quality of the man that makes him an ideal choice. He is an outstanding individual whose creativity, accessibility, innovative ideas and strong common sense approach will provide Forest Park with a fair, balanced and objective leader who will work tirelessly to make the village a better place to live.

On April 17, vote for John Plepel for Forest Park commissioner.

Chris Jasculca
Westchester, Ill.

Setting priorities

I respectfully submit that Mr. Glenn Carlisch (Letters April 3, 2007) might not have his priorities straight if he is more concerned about which candidates attended a few block parties or stood watch as the fire department did its job than he is about credible allegations of conflicts of interest or questionable behavior. We have an important decision to make on April 17, and while I have not made a final decision as to the candidates I will be voting for, I will be giving Bill Dwyer’s concerns their due attention.

Alan Kuska
Forest Park

Yarbrough lends support

It is without reservation I endorse the full “Education Reformers” slate for Proviso Township High Schools board of education: Ralph Harris, Kevin McDermott and Theresa Kelly.

Thirteen months ago I ran for re-election as state representative and also ran to replace Eugene Moore as Democratic Committeeman. The voters responded with a clear mandate and I won both races with significant votes from Forest Park voters.

The coalition of people who supported me was angry about how my opponents, school board President Chris Welch and Eugene Moore, had mismanaged our schools. It was at that time I pledged to help rid our schools of machine politics that provides inferior education while sticking taxpayers with exorbitant bills.

There are seven seats on the school board. Only three are up for election on April 17. The “Education Reformers” need to win all three positions to form a majority and replace Welch as president of the school board.

All of those running are clearly being supported by Welch/Moore to gain just one seat to secure a majority board.

Forest Park provided my largest margin of victory in the committeeman race and the largest margin of victory in the suburbs in the state representative race. I am asking Forest Park voters to continue supporting reform by voting for Harris, McDermott and Kelly on April 17.

Karen Yarbrough
7th Dis. State Representative
Forest Park