All things considered, it was a good night for Mayor Anthony Calderone: Around 190 people crammed into a neighborhood bar last week in support of his candidacy for re-election.
After the guests paid the $40 entry fee for the mayor’s fundraiser, they had a chance to meet the 12-year incumbent, shake his hand and socialize with other supporters.
A squad car was parked near R Place, 1527 Harlem Ave., where the fundraiser took place. It is unclear if the officer was working traffic or security, or if he was there in support of the mayor.
“Continued sound leadership,” said Calderone, when asked what he was focused on as the election approaches.
“Fiscal responsibility,” he said, adding that the village would “keep the belt tightened.” He also said he is a “results-oriented guy,” and that the “proof is in the pudding.”
Though the last financial report the Forest Park Review saw (which accounted for revenues and expenditures through Jan. 31) put the deficit at $2.1 million and a Moody’s analyst described the village’s finances over the past four years as “deteriorating,” Calderone said he is confident about the village’s fiscal year 2011 finances and next year’s budget, which will be drafted after the election. The village’s next financial report should be released prior to the council meeting next Monday.
The fundraiser was packed with citizens, politicos and candidates running for various offices who appear to be supporting his fourth mayoral bid.
Chris Welch, president of the Proviso High School District 209 board, was in attendance, as was part of a Welch-backed, three-candidate school board ticket, Eddie Anguiano and Redith Esther. The other hopeful, Francine Harrell, was not in sight.
Other attendees included park district candidates Roy Sansone and John Hosty; District 91 school board hopeful John Tricoci; and a candidate for village commissioner, Tom Mannix.
Former Northbrook Mayor Gene Marks, who reportedly knows Calderone “from 20 years ago” in the alarm business (Calderone owns Illinois Alarm Service) talked up Forest Park’s mayor.
Marks touted his and Calderone’s relationship with outgoing Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. “Tony and I are probably the only mayors who can go and see Mayor Daley without an appointment,” he said.
Incumbent commissioners Mark Hosty and Mike Curry also made it to the fundraiser.
“This is a great occasion for a great man … the best mayor in Forest Park history,” said Hosty, speaking in a microphone and revving up the crowd prior to introducing Calderone. “My mentor, Anthony Calderone,” he said, passing the mic to the mayor before they embraced.
Calderone then climbed onto a chair so he could address the crowd. Amid hooting and hollering, he told supporters he would continue to work for the village.
“It’s never been about what’s good for Tony Calderone, but what’s good for Forest Park!” Calderone exclaimed.
The crowd cheered.
He also commented on his relationship with fellow board members.
“I have never, ever looked for a rubber stamp. It’s about good compromise and good debate,” he said.
Before finishing his address, he also gave himself a pat on the back.
“I take [the large crowd] as a sign that you believe I’ve done a good job for Forest Park,” he concluded.
“Get ’em, Ton!” somebody shouted.