Lipinski’s hold on 3rd District is slipping

In the Feb. 12 Forest Park Review, reporter Bob Skolnik recapped Rep. Dan Lipinski’s win in the Democratic primary race for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. He mentioned that Lipinski won about 50 percent in the suburbs, and 57 percent in the city.

According to the Cook County Clerk’s website, Lipinski didn’t do nearly as well in Forest Park, winning only 41.5 percent of the vote, compared to challenger Mark Pera’s 37.7 percent, in Proviso Township precincts 72, 73, 74 and 77, which are the Forest Park precincts within the 3rd Congressional District. Lipinski dropped about 6 percent from his 47.4 percent in Forest Park in 2006, when about half as many people voted in the race. In the 2006 primary, Lipinski’s rivals each won only 26.3 percent in Forest Park.

Pera did beat Lipinski in the 77th precinct 96 to 70 where Pera had a volunteer at the polling station.

Although anecdotal, this suggests Lipinski’s incumbent advantage can be countered when voters are reminded how he was installed by his father in 2004, or how he has voted to give President Bush a blank check for Iraq.

Frank Hansen
Forest Park

Make zoning a priority

In your recent Our View column you noted that in the 10 months since the current village council was elected they have not addressed many of the key campaign issues such as zoning and parking. These issues are key to the quality of life in Forest Park. Once again the residents of the 500 block of Elgin Avenue are faced with fighting for this very quality of life. Based on a ZBA notice mailed last week it appears that developer Barney O’Reilly, of Cherryfield Construction, plans to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals on March 18 with the exact same proposal for developing 504 and 508 Elgin Ave. he put forth in the past. This prior proposal was denied by both the ZBA and the village council.

It appears that he heard none of the residents’ concerns about density or appearance in spite of the numerous meetings we had with Mr. O’Reilly.

Mr. O’Reilly’s proposal is to develop five town home units on each lot, for a total of 10 new homes on two lots. His prior proposal was similar to a property across the street on Harlem Avenue, where the sides of the buildings face the street and there will be a long tunnel lined with garage doors between the buildings. Such a design does not fit into the aesthetic of older frame buildings with gabled roofs and front porches. This design was unacceptable to the neighbors and if proposed again, will be unacceptable again.

In addition to a variance in the number of units allowed per lot, Mr. O’Reilly is asking for an additional floor, resulting in three and one-half stories where two and one-half stories are permitted, along with variances for lot coverage and other zoning issues.

Commissioners Mike Curry and Marty Tellalian campaigned on platforms heavily dependent on zoning reforms. Yet, in the 10 months the current council has been in session there has been no mention of tackling this increasingly important issue. Commissioner Curry, who is the former chairman of the ZBA, knows all too well the current system is broken. He is currently head of public health and safety, the department charged with overseeing zoning issues. It appears that if anyone could get the ball rolling on revamping our zoning laws, it would be Commissioner Curry. What are you waiting for?

The neighbors in the 400 and 500 blocks of Elgin Avenue worked long and hard to rezone the east side of these two blocks so high density, non-complying properties such as the ones currently proposed could not be developed. It is an insult that Mr. O’Reilly would propose the same or a similar development for these properties. Will our elected officials stand behind our wishes now that it is not an election year, or will they too insult us by allowing these variances and decreasing our quality of life?

Julie Herwitt
Forest Park

Indignant and tardy

It’s been about a year since parking on Madison Street has been a topic of discussion at village council meetings. The last time was when the mayor’s attempt to take homes for parking was soundly rejected. Since then, to avoid the threat of eminent domain, a group of residents and business owners proposed a logical alternative to move employee parking to Adams and Jackson streets. Had this alternative been embraced by the businesses on Madison Street, there may not have been a need to revisit this issue so soon.

During the discussion at Monday’s village council meeting, Commissioner Mark Hosty indicated that businesses already pay more taxes than residents. What he failed to mention is that at least one business owner failed to pay their property taxes on the due date of Dec. 3, 2007. Perhaps it was because that business owner was Commissioner Hosty himself.

According to the Cook County Treasurer the property taxes in the amount of $27,083.99 that were due on Dec. 3, 2007, were reported as paid on Jan. 31, 2008. These taxes were for property located at 7321 Madison St. According to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, this property is owned by 7321 Madison Circle, Inc. The Illinois Secretary of State lists Mark S. Hosty as the President of 7321 Madison Street Inc. These taxes were for property located at 7321 Madison Street and identified with property tax identification number 15-12-434-053-1005.

At this writing, the property taxes for this same property, totaling $13,542 and due on March 4, remain unpaid.

The taxes I pay in Forest Park may not equal those paid by Commissioner Hosty, but at least my taxes are paid in a timely manner. So before Commissioner Hosty gets all indignant about the property taxes businesses pay, I for one would hope that he will pay his taxes on time.

Mary Kay Minaghan
Forest Park

Parade of thanks

Although sunshine would have warmed things up a bit, Mother Nature gave us a much-deserved break on the weather for the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development’s 13th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Parade regulars such as Glen Gael Pipe Band, Proviso Marching Band and the Medinah Mini Choppers, as well as newcomers like the World Famous Lawn Rangers, Medinah Roaring 57’s and the giant Jewel Cart entertained record-breaking crowds all along Madison Street. Team Blonde Jewelry, Todd and Holland Tea Merchants and The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor were just some of the creative local business entries showing parade-watchers that Forest Park’s St. Pat’s parade rocks!

A big thank you to the following sponsors whose generosity and support make an event like the parade possible: Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Currie Motors Chevrolet, Mohr Oil, Oak Park Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ultra Foods (advertising sponsors); Burke Beverage and Doc Ryan’s (Glen Gale Pipe Band); Healy’s Westside (The Lawn Rangers); O’Sullivan’s Public House (Medinah Mini Choppers); Thiesse Plumbing (Medinah Roaring 57’s).

Shamrock Sponsors: B.C. Bodycraft, Shanahan’s, Duffy’s Tavern, Byron’s Hot Dogs, caffe De Luca, Gallery Etcetera, McAdam Landscaping, Todd and Holland Tea Merchants, Trage Bros. Electronics and Appliances, Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore, Chris Guillen Photography, Forest Park Firefighters Local 2753, Louie’s Grill, The Furniture Recycler, Military Police and Supply, Forest Park Foreign Car Repair and Fantastic Sam’s.

Your generosity and support are greatly appreciated.

We would also like to thank the village of Forest Park, the Forest Park Police Department and Department of Public Works for excellent service and continued support.

A parade wouldn’t be a parade without participants and the audience, and we couldn’t pull it off without volunteers. We appreciate your support and endurance.

Laurie Kokenes, Kathleen A. Hanrahan
Sheri Ladd, Bill Hosty, Judy Trage
Wayne Schauer, Liz Axtell
Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development Parade Committee