Programs need funding

If we are serious about reducing the number of public school dropouts, common sense must begin guiding federal education policy.

While President Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program demands public schools lower the number of dropouts, the latest federal budget includes no money for dropout programs. 

Think about that: Under NCLB, failure to reduce dropouts means local schools, school districts, and individual teachers are subject to punishment, yet funding for programs designed to reduce the dropout rate is eliminated.

Teachers are routinely asked to increase achievement while being denied resources and support. If success is the goal, President Bush should give teachers and administrators the tools they need to succeed, instead of developing punishments for schools and teachers who fall short. 

The idea of No Child Left Behind is embraced by all. But until President Bush provides adequate resources, it will remain just a great-sounding slogan. If the President needs some common sense ideas for how to improve public education, the education experts, America’s public school teachers, are always ready to help

Ken Swanson
President Illinois Education Association

Kudos to the winners

I would like to offer my congratulations to Mayor Calderone, Rory Hoskins, Mike Curry, Marty Tellalian, and Mark Hosty for their victory in the 2007 general election. I am very excited for the village of Forest Park. I look forward to the progress that these gentlemen can bring to our village.

I sincerely thank all of you who voted for me. I want to thank the many people that supported my campaign in so many different ways and promise that this is just the beginning. I am truly dedicated to our community and look forward to staying involved in any way that I can. I am humbled by the support that I have received and hope that it will grow with my continued participation in our village.

I thank all of the commissioner candidates that endured public scrutiny while maintaining dignity and respect for each other during this campaign and I especially thank all of the people that opened their homes and businesses to host meet-and-greet events.

Most of all I thank my wife and children for their patience, support and for campaigning for me. My wife Kristine is the voice of my conscience, my critic, my support and my strength and I thank god for that.

Anthony J. Lazzara
Forest Park

No mandate

While I congratulate Mayor Calderone on his win, I hardly think he won “handily,” as indicated in the Review’s headline last week. He won by less than 200 votes-and there were 1,294 voters who believed that Terry Steinbach was the best person for the job.

For that reason, I don’t think the mayor should take this win as a mandate to continue with “business as usual.” Many residents are looking for a village council that is more open and responsive-with greater transparency in its day-to-day dealings and a heightened willingness to provide a forum for residents to air their viewpoints (and to truly be heard). I hope the mayor and the council will keep that in mind. Best wishes to all!

Martha Irvine
Forest Park

Misguided policy

Ouch! You guys are … tough.

As I understand your rationale for 417 Circle (April 17 editorial “Judging the codes”), you believe our zoning code is vague, absurd, was created with little or no forethought, and is possibly illegal. You also feel “it makes little sense to force a property owner to bend to the will of a poorly constructed and haphazard policy.”

But, you recommend abiding by those laws. Unless, of course, the owner can beat the rigged 50 percent of damage formula. Or unless the owner can provide evidence that the zoning laws were implemented illegally. If not, then “no matter how distasteful, the demolition order should be upheld.”

To counter your position, I could use Richard Scafidi’s (ZBA member) comment that this code issue is “draconian.” I could use Mike Curry’s (ZBA president) unanswered question, “can someone prove to me this code was made legally?” Perhaps a more neutral source? St. Augustine told us “an unjust law is no law at all.”

I find it incredible, possibly insulting, that my community newspaper would ask my town and my fellow citizens to support a horribly flawed law that will cause needless pain and destruction. Throughout the ages, people have been held culpable, both legally and ethically, for enforcing unjust and illegal laws. “I was just following the law” doesn’t always cut it.

Can I be hopeful that you would not have offered the same advice if the law in question applied to a person? “Sorry, lady, the execution must go through. But please know that your death might not be in vain. The legislature has promised to look into this matter … right after the election.”

Nor am I pleased with your suggestion that the owner single handedly provide evidence of illegal zoning changes. As you well know, the time and resources needed to sort out this issue are enormous. Personally, I would expect my newspaper to take on an investigation of this type and magnitude. As your company has not found the resources to apply to this on-going issue, I find your suggestion to Ms. Perry disingenuous.

I sincerely hope you will re-think your position on this insidious, years old issue that has caused many casualties along the way. Please support a mechanism that will allow this property to live and be lived in.

And please support a new zoning code that does not require half its property owners to sacrifice themselves to a hostile and misguided policy.

Sharon Daly
Forest Park

A strong run

I would like to thank the people of Forest Park for giving me the opportunity to serve as your commissioner of Public Property these past four years. It has truly been an honor and a privilege. In my four years I worked to open village government in Forest Park and restore fiscal responsibility. I am proud to say that we made great progress on both of these fronts and I encourage the next village council to continue these efforts so that our seniors can afford to stay in Forest Park, our young families can get ahead and our businesses continue to flourish and grow.

On April 17 the voters of Forest Park chose to continue with Anthony Calderone as their mayor. While I was disappointed in the final outcome, I am emboldened by the strong showing of support I received from so many voters in Forest Park. Our campaign attracted hundreds of supporters and a tremendous group of volunteers who believed in the need to maintain fiscal discipline and involve residents and business owners in the decision making process here in Forest Park. Throughout the campaign I met a lot of really terrific people, many of whom I expect will continue to be great friends well into the future. I encourage each of you to remain involved because it’s your village and you deserve the best.

To Mayor Calderone and the newly elected commissioners, Rory Hoskins, Marty Tellalian, Mike Curry and Mark Hosty, I extend my congratulations. We had a lot of common themes in our campaigns, like revitalizing our underutilized commercial areas, protecting peoples homes from eminent domain for parking and putting the people of Forest Park first. As you begin your new terms know that I will continue my involvement on these important issues and offer you my assistance to ensure that these goals are achieved. Forest Park deserves no less.

Terry Steinbach
Forest Park

Continuing presence

First, congratulations to the mayor and commissioners on their election and re-election. I hope they will be able to work together for the betterment of Forest Park.

I would like to thank all of the residents who came out to vote and I would especially like to thank those of you who supported me. I want you to know that I will continue to be a presence at council meetings. Hopefully I will see some of you there also.

Jerry Webster
Forest Park