Lipinski offers anonymous leadership

As election season approaches, I’m sure you are asking many questions about how you should vote for someone whose duty it is to represent you in Congress.

It seems to me that the simplest way to answer this question would be to find out if your congressman voted to support the issues that you as a citizen cared about. Other questions you might ask when making a decision on how to vote for a public official are these. Is he responsive to the constituents in his district? Does he appear to be hard working? Is he visible? Is he accessible?

With these questions in mind, I wish to reiterate experiences that I, along with two of my colleagues from the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois have experienced when attempting to work with 3rd District Congressman Dan Lipinski.

Each year, we attempt to persuade our elected officials that our political agenda is the one they should support when it comes to determining policies and programs which will enable those who are blind to live independently. We conduct visits on Capital Hill as well as to local offices of our elected officials. We also articulate our position on issues through phone calls and e-mails.

Over the past two years I, along with at least one other constituent from Congressman Lipinski’s district, and our legislative chairperson, have attempted to reach him to discuss the issues we consider to be most important. As a constituent in Lipinski’s district, I have called his office about six times asking for his support on various issues. I have also e-mailed him on two other occasions, requesting a response each time I have done so. To date, I’ve heard nothing.

In the case of my colleague, whom Congressman Lipinski represents, she has tried to visit him on Capital Hill. She has called him and e-mailed him at both his Washington and Chicago offices, asking for his support on each of six or seven issues during this period of time. She has yet to hear from him directly.

In the case of our legislative chairperson, he has spoken to his staff members on six separate occasions attempting to make appointments for my colleague and me to see Congressman Lipinski personally. In spite of these efforts, we have yet to communicate with him.

It is interesting to note that Congressman Lipinski is the only congressman we, in the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois have yet to make an appointment with in the Chicago area as an organization. What does this lack of interaction suggest? To me it suggests that Lipinski cares so much about his constituents that he would rather ignore us than deal with us.

During the primary season, it was revealed in the Forest Park Review on one occasion that Lipinski has the lowest power ranking of any congressman that has served as long as he has. If others out there have experienced the same lack of accessibility that we in the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois have experienced, it is easy to understand how one would come to this conclusion.

As I see it, a vote for Dan Lipinski is a vote for anonymity.

In closing, I ask you, with this kind of performance does Dan Lipinski deserve your vote?

David Meyer
Forest Park

No improvement

Having attended the “public meeting” one Wednesday a few weeks back to examine the planned improvements for Harvard Street and Jackson Boulevard, I was disappointed that more residents had not attended. After all, this project will affect many residents in the village. Even more disappointing, however, were several aspects of the planned “improvements” themselves. I was able to consult with Michael Matkovic, of Christopher Burke Engineering, at the meeting. He was present to answer questions. We discussed some details pertaining to the plan for Harvard Street because I live along that stretch and, so, was curious.

I learned that the planters located in the median at the west and east ends of Harvard will eliminate 6 feet on each side of the usable road at those points of entrance/exit. In addition, as the plan currently sits, water will need to be piped in to the planters underground.

First of all, I can’t see how eliminating 12 feet of road overall is a benefit anywhere or anyhow, especially during winter with snow and ice conditions taken into consideration. Secondly, at a time when more focus should be placed on conservation of natural resources, I can’t understand how those involved in drafting these plans have been so inconsiderate of the fact that this water will be wasted. Isn’t anyone involved aware that water is one of our most precious resources? Another consideration is the fact that these planters will have to be maintained by the village on a regular basis, which will mean more payroll expenses and subsequently more taxes.

When I brought up the maintenance issue to Mr. Matkovic he didn’t seem concerned. He explained to me that the planters will have a “calming effect” and thus slow traffic to the proper speed limit. I’m not sure how that works, but in my opinion, the realization that I could get a ticket if I don’t adhere to the posted speed limit is calming enough! I don’t need a road obstruction to remind me.

Another aspect of the so called improvement that I think will be a waste of money is the installation of benches at several intersections along Harvard. I didn’t know that watching cars go by was such an amusing pastime and that outdoor permanent seating is required.

Let’s stop wasting tax dollars, federal or otherwise. There are several roads throughout the village that are really in bad shape and need repair. Why not use the funds more responsibly and fix what needs fixing and forget the fudge.

Finally, I recall village meetings of the past where the community as a whole had an opportunity to voice their concerns, raise questions and give consent to ideas in an open forum for all to hear. I don’t know whether or not an additional meeting of that type is yet planned and perhaps this first meeting was a “test” to gauge the public’s level of interest or involvement.

Please take note my fellow residents. This is your village. Any and all plans affect you! I am grateful to the Forest Park Review for being what well may be the last open forum for commentary in our community.

Joseph Polak
Forest Park

Carrots, not sticks

As per the article in the Review on June 11, “Mayor wants new cop for landlords,” do the mayor and Chief Jim Ryan really think hiring an officer will curb drugs in our town?

First of all, landlords aren’t going to stick their necks out, giving information out which may cause harm to come to them. Gangs are tough out there and most will stop at nothing to keep their turf and stay out of jail. Chicago hasn’t been able to stop drugs in the city, why does Forest Park think they can?

What Forest Park should do is instead of hiring a new cop, is take that money and offer rewards for information. It works for other law agencies. Most people won’t get involved unless there is something in it for them, and money talks.

Most landlords just want to be left alone and collect their rent. They don’t want a cop hanging around their property.

Jim Golden
Forest Park

The wrong direction

With all the issues facing our police department, you would think Mayor Anthony Calderone had enough to do besides tell Commissioner Marty Tellalian who was going to run public works? Clearly the newly appointed director is Tony’s guy.

While commissioners Rory Hoskins, Tellalian and Mike Curry impersonate the three blind mice, the residents of Forest Park can look forward to more of the same. Does that mean we can save the streets just paved as part of the VIP (Very Incompetent Paving) program? No, but we will continue to be the laughing stock of the local public works community!

We will suffer with bad decisions such as Tim Gillian’s choice for the Madison Street lighting, Hosty’s “Operation Stop Sign,” false safety promises of “Street Print” crosswalks, worthless parking studies, exploitive consultants, unlawful sewer connections, excessive project management costs, wasteful water system improvements and pathetic political paving.

Without competent direction and long term maintenance planning, Village Administrator Mike Sturino will be able to loot infrastructure funds whenever cash is short. Money will not be there when opportunity knocks and Forest Park will only witness improvements by neighboring communities. As Oak Park, Berwyn and Cicero revitalize Roosevelt Road, “Rosy” Rory Hoskins’ campaign rhetoric appears to be nothing more than false hope.

I am no longer interested in the new director’s ideas to save the failing VIP pavements. Sturino would only trot out consultants with excuses. Our village neglects our pavements and the elected officials allowed Calderone and Sturino to “keep it going!”

Tony Sarley
Forest Park