Last week’s Letter to the Editor by Mayor Calderone could hardly be more disturbing. He believes the “underlying mission…and true ambition…of Citizens United in Forest Park and most, if not all, of its members is to undermine HIS office…blacken HIS name…assassinate/blemish HIS character…is opposed to HIM and…everything HE has done for this community.” That’s just crazy talk. If it wasn’t so bizarre and grandiose it would be insulting.
Calderone’s odd proof for his extremist, wide-ranging attack is that the founder of CUinFP, Steve Backman, has posted video clips of council meetings on the internet. He implies the video clips have been altered but that is untrue. Only one clip was ‘doctored,’ Calderone’s classic ‘plethora of innuendo’ council comment. The doctoring was blatant, obvious and hilarious.
To add insult to HIS injury, the videos were posted on ForestParkForums.com, a group of residents he refers to as “the despicable website that has become a trash container for chronic complainers.”
These two Forest Park community-based organizations are not abastions of pro-administration fervor; but, so what? In the US we practice democratic, multi-party governance. Checks and balances, opposing points of view, compromise and oversight are a variety of the staples of every government in America; so why is it a hateful struggle in Forest Park?
Unfortunately, the mayor can accept no less than 100 percent personal and political approval. Differing opinions and discussion find no quarter here and questions are often treated as threats. Folks asking and or critiquing are considered enemies to be excluded and demonized. More alarming, Calderone’s demons seem to be his political trademark since 1999. “The Whispering Campaign,” an article in the 3/24/99 Review illustrates that Tony Calderone has felt victimized by Forest Park citizens for a very long time.
I’m 60 years old and have lived and been active in many towns. I have lived here for 10 years but have never, ever experienced the vitriolic marginalization this town’s leadership promotes. Calderone blames it on a long, ever-evolving list of residents but chronic problems always belong to management. Always.
The suppressive “Us” versus “Them” culture we are steeped in is destructive and at a breaking point. Forest Park has forgotten how to properly discuss, debate and disagree. For Calderone to label citizens who disagree and criticize his policies, vision or governance as despicable trash is beyond the pale.