School board member offers public apology

I would like to publicly apologize to Mr. Mike Roti of Micro-T for my comment at the June 12 District 91 school board meeting that appeared in the Review. My comment was insensitive and inappropriate. Mike Roti has done a wonderful job of fulfilling the computer and networking needs of Forest Park’s public schools for a number of years. In fact, contrary to my comment, Mike spent a considerable amount of time tending to the frequent outages that plagued the previous slow and unreliable computer network before the school district recently adopted its current fiber optic connectivity.

To help frame my unfortunate comment, it was made in the middle of a five-hour board meeting during an extended dialogue about if and how the district can best determine if the cost of the network administration services it is currently purchasing from Micro-T is appropriate. As anyone who has attended a recent school board meeting can attest, while it takes its duties very seriously, the school board is also a cordial body that works very well together, and the serious discussions are often peppered with moments of levity. My off-hand comment was such an attempt at injecting a little levity in an otherwise quite serious discussion, and I am confident those in attendance, including Josh Adams of the Review, knew I was making a joke, albeit a poor one. I, in no way, meant to offend Mike Roti or his company. It was poor judgment and inappropriate on my part to make such a joke at someone else’s expense and at a public meeting.

My comment was clearly insensitive, inappropriate, and out of character, and I regret making it. Again, I publicly apologize to Mike Roti for my unfortunate comment.

Frank Mott
District 91 school board member

Summerfest kudos

The Howard Mohr Community Center extends its sincere appreciation to Rick Stephanic at Paulson’s Paints and John Doss and the Forest Park Public Works Department for their help with Senior Square at Summerfest. We also thank all the senior citizens who came out to play bingo and enjoy the afternoon. Hope to see you all next year.

Beverly Thompson and staff
Howard Mohr Community Center

Party thanks

Despite the unwelcome rain showers, Forest Park Summerfest was a great success! Eight thousand visitors from as far away as Wisconsin came out to enjoy shopping, food, fun and music.

Summerfest is behind but there are still a lot of people to thank, including all participants, especially our very own merchants and restaurants who dedicated their time and support.

A special award should be given to the few hundred intrepid fest goers who stayed to the end. They were rewarded with two amazing performances by Henry Johnson’s Organ Express on the jazz stage and Doña Oxford on the rock ‘n’ roll stage. Performers from Forest Park, downtown Chicago, St Louis and Los Angeles traveled to entertain at Summerfest. Fest goers were treated to a wide array of entertainers including musician Jeanie B, tap dancer David Alexander, Forest Park’s favorite R-Gang, U2 cover band Elevation, stilt walker Jason Kollum, Anne Burnell and the Blues in the Night Band, and crowd favorite the Jesse White Tumblers sponsored by Mayor Anthony Calderone.

We also want to express our thanks to our financial supporters: title sponsors Consolidated Auto Service Center and Burke Beverage; carousel sponsor Forest Park National Bank and Trust Company; ad sponsors M2 Merchants Association, Oak Park Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Forest Printing; food court sponsor Rush Oak Park Hospital; rock and roll stage sponsor Christopher B. Burke Engineering and Dolphin Promotions; ticket booth sponsors Two Fish Art Glass, Chicago Magazine, Ideal Facility Services and Remedial Environmental Manpower; beer tent sponsors, Forest Park Liquor Association, Healy’s Westside, Cocina Lobos, Ideal Facility Services, Lakewood Builders, Mary K. Minaghan, Mohr Oil, Remedial Environmental Manpower, Spotless Autowash, The Residences at the Grove, Tefco Construction and Trage Bros.; band sponsors Marty Tellalian, Kagan and Gaines, The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor, M. Santana Boutique, Afkara Shoes, Baubo’s Garden, Team Blonde, Todd and Holland Tea Merchants and Macdaddy on Madison; pop and water sponsor Ultra Foods; pony ride sponsor The Altenheim; face painting sponsors Forest Park Fire Fighters Local 2753, Storino, Ramello and Durkin and Chris Guillen Photography; and Summerfest sponsors Schauer’s Hallmark, Military and Police Supply, Byron’s Hot Dogs, Schauer’s Hardware, Derby Lite, Accents by Fred, Louie’s Grill, Shortstop Lounge, O’Sullivan’s Public House, Boulevard Fine Art, Golden Steer, McAdam Landscaping, Keystone Ventures LLC and Jimmy’s Place. Summerfest would not be a reality without your support.

A big thank you to the village for efficient services by public works, the police and fire department.

We especially want to thank the volunteers who willingly donated their time and, last but not least, thanks to the hardest working committee in show business. Liz Axtell, Augie Aleksy, Connie Brown, Tom Krenek, Heidi Vance, Mark Hosty, Bill Hosty, Chris Guillen, Cec Hardacker, and Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development staff Laurie Kokenes and Kathleen Hanrahan.

Watch for photos of the festival on our new Web site,, and for updated information for the 2009 Forest Park Street Fair!

Cecilia Hardacker and Mark Hosty
Summerfest Committee chairpersons

Money and spying

On June 20, U.S. Congressman Dan Lipinski, representing Forest Park south of Interstate 290, voted to expand President Bush’s domestic spying powers and give retroactive immunity to telecom companies who face around 40 lawsuits for cooperating with President Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance.

Lipinski was one of 94 Democrats who switched their March positions opposing Bush. The bill’s language was finalized the day before the vote. Representatives had less than 24 hours to read, and the Democratic leadership allocated one hour for debate of the bill, described by Reuters as “the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. spy laws in decades.” House Speaker Pelosi described the bill as a compromise. However, the New York Times quoted Sen. Christopher Bond, the Missouri Republican whom they said led the negotiations, “I think the White House got a better deal than even they had hoped to get.”

Why would the Democrats, controlling the House and expecting big gains in November, cave in to Bush whose approval rating is at or below Nixonian levels? Paradoxically, hoping to appear strong on national security by weakly capitulating is part of it.

But why telecom immunity? The lawsuits against the telecoms are probably the only way to reveal the extent of, and for a court to rule on, Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance. Telecom immunity is about keeping the White House’s dirty laundry secret, not protecting us.

How come Lipinski and the others switched their votes? Campaign contributions may play a part. A study by found between January 2005 and March 2008, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint gave on average $8,359 to the representatives who switched – $3,372 more than to those who consistently voted against immunity. Dan Lipinski was 40th on the list with $7,000, roughly $2,000 more than average for the non-switchers.

Although it’s too late to influence Lipinski’s vote, thanks to senators Feingold and Dodd, the senate postponed voting on telecom immunity until after the July 4th recess. This gives constituents time to speak out while their senators are back home. Consider calling senators Obama and Durbin during the recess, or letting them know personally if you see them at a town hall meeting. Urge them to strip out telecom immunity from the FISA reform bill.

Frank Hansen
Forest Park