Michael Curry

As an attorney, I represent multi-national corporations, small businesses and individuals.  My legal career focuses on transactional matters including commercial real estate, zoning and land use, financing, business entity formation, sophisticated corporate transactions, joint ventures, employment agreements, information technology agreements and other transactional and tax matters.  I also focus on construction litigation matters including mechanic’s lien filings and disputes in multiple jurisdictions throughout the United States.
I also conduct lectures and presentations concerning mechanic’s lien law, business law and real estate law for various clients and organizations.
Publications and Articles:
“A Young Lawyer’s Guide to Real Estate Practice” Co-Author, Chicago Bar Assn., 2008
“A Guide to Short Sales” Author, 2009

Education:
B.A., Finance, Marshall University, 1996
J.D., Chicago Kent College of Law, 1999
LL.M., Real Estate Law, The John Marshall School of Law, 2008

Community:
Village of Forest Park, Illinois, Commissioner, 2007 – Present
Village of Forest Park, Illinois, Zoning Board of Appeals, Chairman 2004 -2007
Triton College, Melrose Park, Illinois, Adjunct Professor 2009 – Present
Kiwanis International Club of Forest Park, President
Advisory Board to the Forest Park School District 91 Board, Member
The John Marshall Law School, Guest Lecturer
Chicago Bar Association, Member

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them:
Cooperation:  Village officials need to listen to each other, work together and do what is best for Forest Park. 
Fiscal responsibility:  Continue to eliminate unnecessary spending and continue to balance the budget.  Determine ways to increase revenues and consolidate/decrease spending. 
Prevent future flooding:  Develop the best system/plan to prevent future flooding in the village.  Determine the cost of implementing the plan/resolution.  Formulate a method of paying for it (bonds, grants, joint venture with private businesses/citizens).  Implement the plan.  This would require long term planning to implement.
Promote Forest Park: Attract new businesses with the cooperation of the Chamber of Commerce through an advertisement program and business development professional.     
Health and safety:  Continue to support the Police and Fire Departments; Revise the Zoning Code; Implement a new parking ordinance; Implement a new sign ordinance
Offer town hall telephone conferences allowing residents to voice their concerns. 
Hire a business development professional and grant writer. 
For more information please visit www.VoteCurry.com

Over the past 4 years I have worked to (1) create a more open and transparent government (2) maintain fiscal responsibility and (3) improve health and safety.    
I believe that government is about helping people and making better communities through integrity, safety, fiscal responsibility and smart decisions.  I am committed to making the “right” decisions for all Forest Park residents. 

As a supporter and champion of open and transparent government, I have supported, implemented or assisted with making the following available on-line; Village meeting minutes, agenda and documents, Building Permit applications, Contractor applications and property transfer declarations.  I have also supported one of the toughest ethics ordinance in the nation, Forest Park’s first Ethics Commission and the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

I am a believer in a balanced budget and conservative spending and I am responsible for reducing my Department’s budget by over 25% and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.  I also support the elimination of wasteful spending and reducing our debt.  
I believe the backbone of any great community is the Police and Fire Department.  We are very blessed in Forest Park to have a great departments and I will continue to support our Police and Fire Departments.
 
As Commissioner of the Public Health and Safety Department, I am responsible for implementing the following: Notice Ordinance, Adult Use Ordinance, new Building Codes (residential building code, commercial property code, industrial property code, HVAC code,  mechanical code, plumbing code, electrical code), revised Curb Cut and Driveway Code, Vacant Building Registration Program,  Maintenance of Foreclosure Properties Program and revised the Zoning Code to (1) reduce the burden on property owners who need a variance but are not expanding their structure (2) allow 2 flats to be rebuilt in R1 Zoning Districts.  Also, revised the Downtown Business District Zoning Code with the support and cooperation of all businesses in the Downtown Business District.  Under my direction we have, investigated, researched and cataloged the actual properties in the Village including creating a housing map containing each and every type of property in Forest Park such as single family home, 2-flat, 3-flat, condominium.

In addition to the above, I have also supported numerous other programs and activities in Forest Park.  I am responsible for the new CTA Blue Line entrance at Circle Avenue which is used by hundreds of citizens each day.
I am a supporter of numerous senior programs and youth programs.  I have supported the over $15,000,000 in construction and infrastructure improvements in Forest Park, including the first ever “green” ally in Cook County. 

I believe that Forest Park must maintain our “business friendly” approach and work with all business and property owners.  I support economic development through the continued improvement of Madison Street and the revitalization of Roosevelt Road. 

Over the next four years, I will:
Philosophy:
Continue to make the “right” decisions for all Forest Park residents
Continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of Forest Park and its future

Budget/Spending
Continue to maintain fiscal responsibility
Continue to balance the budget
Continue to build a surplus of general reserves

Business Development
Continue the redevelopment of Roosevelt Road business corridor
Continue to work with all businesses and keep Forest Park a “business friendly” community
Hire a Community Development Professional and grant writer

Public Safety
Continue to advocate increased public safety
Continue to support our Police and Fire Departments
Continue to revise the Zoning Code
Implement a new sign ordinance and parking ordinance

Infrastructure:
Continue street and alley improvements village wide
Determine an economical solution to the flooding and actually implement the plan
Continue to plow sidewalks

Health and Wellness:
Continue to offer senior programs, youth programs and community entertainment programs
Continue to provide Village employees with the resources and support necessary to continue providing the services and assistance that all residents need and want.
Conduct Town Hall telephone conferences thereby giving residents more access to voice their concerns
Create a dog and cat pantry for animal food and supplies
Work with District 91, District 209 the Library, Park District and other governmental entities and organizations

Openness and Transparency
“As a supporter and champion of open and transparent government, Mike has supported, implemented or assisted with the following:
Village code available online
Public budget hearings
Meeting minutes, agenda and documents available online
Building permit application, Contractor application and property transfer declaration available online
Supporter of one of the toughest ethics ordinance in the nation
Supporter of Forest Park’s first Ethics Commission
Supporter of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act

Fiscal Responsibility
“Mike is a believer in a balanced budget and conservative spending. Mike has support or implemented the following:
Balanced Village Budget
Eliminated wasteful spending
Reduced Village spending
Reduced 30% reduction in the expenses Department of Public Health & Safety Department
Proper allocation of income and expenses on all financial statements

Health and Safety
“As Director of Public Health and Safety Department, Mike is responsible for implementing the following:

Notice Ordinance – implemented new ordinance requiring a large sign on properties that are the subject of ZBA or ZHA hearing. Thereby giving notice to all persons of a zoning hearing
Adult Use Ordinance – restricts Adult businesses in Forest Park
Building Codes – implement a new residential building code, commercial property code, industrial property code, HVAC code, mechanical code, plumbing code, electrical code
Curb Cut and Driveway Code – Revise the Village code relating to curb and driveways establishing a plan and procedures for requesting curb cuts.
Vacant Building Registration Program – new program requiring the registration of all vacant buildings
Maintenance of Foreclosure Properties Program – Developed a plan and procedures for maintaining foreclosure properties, including penalties for those lenders/owners who fail to maintain foreclosed properties.
Zoning Hearing Administrator process – Created the Zoning Hearing Administrator and hearing process thereby reducing the burden on property owners from appearing before the ZBA.
Zoning Code – revised the Zoning Code to (1) reduce the burden on property owners who need a variance but are not expanding their structure (2) allow 2 flats to be rebuilt in R1 Zoning Districts.

Zoning Code – revised the Downtown Business District Zoning Code with the support and cooperation of all businesses in the Downtown Business District.
Investigated, researched and cataloged the actual properties in the Village including creating a housing map containing each and every type of property in Forest Park such as single family home, 2-flat, 3-flat, condominium.

Other
“Mike has also supported numerous other programs and activities in Forest Park, including: Responsible for the new CTA Blue Line entrance at Circle Avenue
Support Senior programs and trips
Support youth programs
Support the over $15,000,000 in construction and infrastructure improvements
Support Forest Park businesses
Support continued improvement of Madison Street
Support the revitalization of Roosevelt Road
Support property owners
Support our Police and Fire Departments
Support our Clerk’s Office, Public Work and Building Department
Support Community Policing Program
Support the a multi-jurisdictional Gang Task Force
Support the Health Fair
Support Citizen’s Police Academy
Support Park District

Future Goals

“The decisions we make today will build the foundation of a successful future”

Philosophy
Continue to make the “right” decisions for all Forest Park residents
Continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of Forest Park and its future

Budget/Spending
Continue to maintain fiscal responsibility
Continue to balance the budget
Continue to build a surplus of general reserves

Development/Business
Continue the redevelopment of Roosevelt Road business corridor
Continue to work with all businesses and keep Forest Park a “business friendly” community
Hire a Community Development Professional and grant writer
Public Safety
Continue to advocate increased public safety
Continue to support our Police and Fire Departments
Continue to revise the Zoning Code
Implement a new sign ordinance and parking ordinance

Infrastructure
Continue street and alley improvements village wide
Determine an economical solution to the flooding and actually implement the plan
Continue to plow sidewalks

Health and Wellness
Continue to offer senior programs, youth programs and community entertainment programs
Continue to provide Village employees with the resources and support necessary to continue providing the services and assistance that all residents need and want.
Conduct Town Hall telephone conferences thereby giving residents more access to voice their concerns
Create a dog and cat pantry for animal food and supplies
Work with District 91, District 209 the Library Park District and other governmental entities and organizations
 

Matthew Walsh

Profession
I work as a Caddie in the summer and a soccer referee sometimes during the year.

Community / Political experience
I have lived in the town for my whole life attending Betsy Ross elementary and Forest Park Middle School. I have volunteered as a soccer coach for Forest Park Youth Soccer Association and the Middle School for the past four years.

Other / Professional experience
N/A

Education
I will be receiving my Honors High School diploma from St. Ignatius College Prep in May.

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them
“The current council seems to not cooperate with each other. For those who have been at council meetings, it is clear that the council is not working to its potential. There is bickering between members and accusing of ‘grandstanding’. Some members mention that they are not included in discussions or meetings, which is unacceptable. The next council needs to restore a balance of power between the mayor and commissioners and advocate for open communication between the commissioners, mayor, and administrator.

“The youth does not feel a part of the village. This was discovered by a survey done by Loyola University. I have always been proud to live in town and hope to live here for a long time. If the youth does not feel a part of the village, there will not be any incentive to stay in town or work to make the Village better. I believe we can involve the youth more by working with the schools and changing the look of our youth commission. I believe we should include and invite youth to the meetings and maybe even make positions for youth on the board. This will make the connection between the Village more direct and include another perspective.  We should as a council honor the accomplishments of the students and athletes of the village so the youth are proud to represent our town. We can try to offer more events and activities around town especially at school playgrounds and our small village parks, all of which are underused but valuable places of recreation.

“Roosevelt road has been a challenge to the board for years. It is a valuable business corridor and it is often forgotten by citizens of the town. I will strive to take some small steps in improving this district. Instead of trying to bring in hotels or car dealerships, as have been promised in the past, we can take more realistic measures. This includes streetscaping. By streetscaping, I mean building gateway signage, placing planters and benches along the street. Redesigning the parking lot at circle and Roosevelt can also improve the curb appeal of Roosevelt Road. Thousands of commuters drive past our part of Roosevelt Road and are most like unimpressed by the empty storefronts and garbage filled parking lots. As a council we need to enforce garbage clean up at the Plaza and the Armed Forces center. These measures will make commuters take notice of Forest Park and hopefully businesses will be attracted to a newly improved Roosevelt Road.”

 

Eric D. Connor

Profession
-Attorney
-Admitted to Illinois Bar and Federal District of Nothern Illinois 1977
-Past practice concentrating in Workers’ Compensation, Personal Injury, Social Security -Disabilty and Residential Real Estate
-Currently an Assistant Public Defender in Cook County assigned to the 4th Municipal District, Maywood

Community / Political experience
-Forest Park Youth Commission 2004 to present
-Active volunteer with Kiwanis Club of Forest Park since 2005 numerous events
-Friends of the Park Committee referendum  2010
-Board of Directors, Maywood Fine Arts Association 2003 to present”

Other / Professional experience
-Licensed attorney since 1977, State of Illinois and Federal Northern District of Illinois
-Staff attorney Employers Insurance of Wausau 1977 to 1982
-Sole practitioner 1982 to 1991
-General Counsel, Proweh Inc. 1991 to 1995
-Sole practitioner 1995 to 2003
-Assistant Publice Defender Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender 2003 to present. Currently assigned to 4th Municipal District, Maywood, handling misdemeanor and felony cases. Previous assignments at the First Municipal District Daley Center, and Branch 43 Harrison and Kedzie Preliminary Hearings”

Education
Brother Rice High School 1968
Loyola University of Chicago, BA in Economics 1973
John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Juris Doctorate 1977
Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional, Michigan State University 1999″

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them
“The primary responsibility of any municipality is to provide the core services that go to the safety and health of the citizens.  Primary core services are: Fire and Police protection, water and sewer services, roadways and sanitation.  Secondary core services are building and zoning which goes to safety and pest control which goes to both health and safety.  The biggest challenge is to provide these services and other services within the revenues available.  The Village has little control over the revenue stream because the majority of it is tied to property and sales taxes.  Budgeting is the key.  I reviewed audits from the past several years and found that while actual revenues have been decreasing, the budgeted revenues keep increasing.  Accounting adjustments have been made to make the finances appear as if everything is just fine.

“The current structure of the Village government – the commission form – has inherent problems that lead to the type of issues we see in the lack of budget transparency.  As it exists now we have, by ordinance, a modified commission form.  To this we have added the Village Administrator position which has control of almost all of the real information that comes into, and goes out of, Village Hall.  This position is under the authority of the Mayor who needs only 2 members of the council to agree for a majority vote.  For the last 12 years, as well as in prior administrations, we have seen that “3 beats 2” is the rule of thumb in decision making.  Practically speaking, we have a de facto strong mayor form of government even though it is not designed that way.   I am advocating an examination of this form of government which would put the decision in the hands of the people.  Let the residents of Forest Park decide if they want to continue with the current form, or go with a strong mayor with more council members (8) to make the majority 5 instead of 3, or with a council-manager form of government.

“Infrastructure improvement – specifically storm water drainage – should be a top priority.  The 8 inches of rain in 12 hours was an extraordinary event that affected almost every homeowner in Forest Park, but multiple other rain events have caused basement flooding with a little as one inch of rain in an hour.  I know this from the personal experience of my house flooding an average of once a year in the 15 years I have lived here.   Forest Park needs a comprehensive plan to deal with this issue, including short and long-term components.

“Youth issues are of a particular concern.  The Park and the Community Center do a good job of providing programs, but not every family has the resources to pay for these programs.  Many parents are also working more hours due to the economic downturn that has affected all of us, leaving their children without supervision during the critical after-school and weekend hours. The Loyola survey taken 2 years ago proved what I have learned in my 7 years on the Youth Commission, teens will participate in chaperoned activities if they are unstructured.  Ultimately without activities that are chaperoned and guided by adults, we will develop the same problem that some surrounding communities are affected by – gangs and drugs.   Although youth activities are not a core service, I see it as highly desirable for our future quality of life.”

 

Chris Harris

Profession
-Proprietor of CH Media & Marketing
-I work with Fortune 500 companies providing internal marketing & training products.
 
Community / Political experience
-I am the chair and founder of the Wounded Warrior Project tournament fundraiser which is held at the Forest Park Park District in the fall. Last year, we brought roughly 200 people to the area in the name of charity, to spend money around town, all the while raising money for a worthy cause.
-Member of Kiwanis
-I ran for Cook County Commissioner last year. Based a campaign based on ideas and created just initiate dialog about the waste and abuse we see in county government. We spent under 3k to opponents’ 250k plus spending and elite politico connections. We won the debate and by the end the topics we brought to the table were at the forefront of the debate and our platform was adopted by challengers. During this time citizens, and press alike, were beyond kind and asked me to run here locally. I had always thought I would, but being asked personally and having great press from the Sun Times, Pioneer Press and Wednesday Journal/Forest Park Review (responsible for the line “We want Harris in local politics””!) really made it an easy decision. I love Forest Park and it would be an honor to help usher it through the next decade.

Other / Professional experience
Chair/Co-Founder of The By My Side Autism fundraiser in Franklin Park, IL.
Chair of Overnight Invite fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, Bolingbrook, IL.

Education
Northwestern University – Post Baccalaureate, Political Science
Western Illinois University – BA, Communications

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them
“First, to get anything done, the divisiveness has to stop. I am writing this the day after a council meeting where elected officials acted like children with grandstanding and name calling, an obvious stunt in an election season. It was an orchestrated half hour of nonsense and it has no place in politics. Dissension and discourse are an integral part of democracy, seeing both sides is important and there is a right way to do that. As an independent voice, I will bring a thoughtful eye to everything that comes up at, and through, the Village Council.

Topics that need to be addressed are a long-term plan for updating the Village’s sewer system. Spending TIF money on ‘bump outs’ when we have a flooding crisis is irresponsible. Throwing our hands in the air and passing the blame is not a solution.

All current new revenue streams involve raising fees on everything from parking stickers to business licenses.  In these tough economic times, I say we cannot be hitting our residents right in their wallets again. We need a spending freeze. No services will be sacrificed, but we can’t be handing out 10% pay increases at Village Hall when folks on social security are not even getting a cost of living raise, again it’s irresponsible.  Did you get a 10% raise in this economy?

New revenue can be maximized by exploring what we have in front of us. Empty storefronts and an abandoned car dealership along Roosevelt are a prime example – where is the plan? I will work to get businesses in those buildings and contributing to the community.

We also need restructuring of the underfunded pension system, as it relates to the Village’s obligations. Our pension system is a house of cards that is ready to tumble – we need address this archaic system immediately. Also within the Village we need to institute a performance-based work environment where achievement is rewarded, not tenure. 

Lastly, we need to protect our green space.  We don’t have a lot of it and the property we own, such as the land behind the Altenheim, should be realized with the Village’s best interest in mind.

 

Rory Hoskins

Profession
Tax and Economic Development Professional

Community / Political experience
-Commissioner, elected 2007
-Proviso Twp Democratic Organization, President
-West Central Municipal Conference, legislative committee 2007-2008

Other / Professional experience
-Railsplitter Tobacco Settlement Authority, Board Member (Appointed by Governor Quinn in 2010)

Education
-Bachelor in Government, University of Texas at Austin
-Master of Social Work, Loyola University Chicago
-Second year law student, LUC

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them
“Economic Development along Roosevelt Road:  Make application to join the Maywood Enterprise Zone, thereby attractive investment through tax incentives.
Youth Issues: complete the teen center development.”

Since 2007, I have worked hard to maintain my independence and integrity, while getting things done for our community.  Soon after joining the council, and in cooperation with the previous Village Administrator, I instituted professional management reforms.  These reforms included directing department heads under my administrative portfolio to complete mandatory employee performance evaluations, and demanding that our various insurance providers end the practice of identifying Village employees by social security numbers.  Last week, we discussed the meeting where our auditor, Crowe Horwath, noted that employee evaluations were considered “best practices”.  Today, each employee is assigned a unique identifying number that is not their social security number.  I directed staff to communicate our “demand” I order to reduce the risk of identity theft. 

From 2007 to 2009 I served as a member of Legislative Committee for the West Central Municipal Conference.  This involved monthly meetings in addition to regular Village meetings, and helped me to develop relationships, and to strengthen already existing relationships, with decision makers in Springfield.  Since joining the Council, I have travelled to Springfield at least once a year to lobby on behalf of Forest Park.  Also, in 2007 the Mayor, the Village’s former Administrator, and I travelled to Washington DC to request assistance from Senator Durbin, Congressman Davis, and Congressman Lipinski regarding the Army Reserve Center on Roosevelt Road.

Later, in 2008, I served as the lynch pin for a partnership between then Lt. Gov Pat Quinn and our School District 91.  We put the district on the map through the One Laptop Per Child program.  That same year, we formed the collaborative partnership with Loyola University that I mentioned during the interview.   Loyola’s donated research and analysis expertise has added value by providing data that is being used by staff at our Village, Park District and the School District to better provide services and to address youth issues.  Loyola surveyed every child in our k-8 schools to determine whether children and families felt that our community is or was “inclusive”.  The survey indicated that approximately 40% of students do not feel connected to the community. That is why my committee and I established the Juneteenth Family Pool Party. 

When we began the discussions with Loyola, this was a unifying exercise. Participation was not limited to elected officials.  We had the support of local business leaders, clergy, library staff, police department, and others.  This was because in 2008, there was a concern that teens might begin “hanging out” along Madison St and lessening its commercial appeal to shoppers from nearby affluent communities.   Since that time, entities including the Forest Park Public Library, the Youth Commission, and Park District have created new programs intended to provide recreational options for teenagers. Loyola personnel have also participated in implementation of PBIS.

In 2009, we rebuilt Harvard and Jackson Boulevards as well as the police detectives’ annex by securing financing.  (The discussions that led to Harvard/Jackson financing are documented in Forest Park Review issued dated 6-9-09)  I am proud to have played an role in opening the dialogue with Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).  Prior to our arrival in Springfield in April 2009, I arranged for my commissioner colleagues and I to talk with IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig.  I continued to coordinate communications with legislators working with Mayor Calderone and our consultants.

Earlier in the year, I had recruited bi-lingual staff to work in the Village Clerk’s office and I directed the recruitment of bi-lingual Emergency Medical Services/Fire Fighters to serve our community’s growing Spanish speaking population.  This was a welcomed initiative among members of Forest Park’s Latino community because sometimes within a family unit, older persons may be less proficient in English. 

Also in 2009, I participated in negotiations of union contracts from start to finish with both the Teamsters and the Fraternal Order of Police Dispatchers.  Each union contract required at least four separate meetings.  The Village’s negotiating team included the Village Clerk, the respective department head, Village Attorney, and the Commissioner for Accounts and Finance.  That year, I also led negotiations with Currie Motors for the 2009 Economic Development Business Retention Agreement.  The agreement allows us to “claw back” rebated sales tax should the company leave Forest Park before the 15-year agreement has expired.  Ordinarily, a commissioner would not have participated in union negotiations or in negotiations with a business like Currie Motors.  However, we were without a Village Administrator until August of 2009.  

For the last two summers a multi-cultural committee that I convened has hosted the Juneteenth Family Night at the Aquatic Center that celebrates the diversity of Forest Park (see Face Book).  Last year, the event attracted over 600 children and families at no cost to the Village.  District 91 cooperated in this effort as did Park District and the Village’s Youth Commission leadership.

At one point during the endorsement interview you characterized my participation as essentially “arguing with the Mayor”.   This is not accurate.  I think that an objective review of Council votes would indicate that significant majority of votes are 5-0.  What you have witnessed is a spirited debate concerning the state of the Village’s finances.

I have tried to provide adequate information to support my positions and in some cases to document what would be considered “provocative” allegations.  For example, on one occasion I provide the Review editor with a copy of an email that indicated one party’s attempt to edit the professional finance director’s report in order to “make it less negative”.   While I am not perfect, I work hard to fulfill my responsibilities on the Council.

From 2008 until recently, I served as President of the Proviso Township Democratic Organization.  Although we serve the Village in non-partisan roles, I believe that my ties to officials in Springfield have benefitted the Village and could continue to benefit the Village.  In 2010 I was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Board of the Illinois Railsplitter Tobacco Settlement Authority to oversee a $1.5B bond issue.  This is a three-member panel that includes David Vaught who is the Governor’s Budget Director.  My participation in quasi-governmental activity has yielded results for the Village. On average such activity requires an estimated 8-10 hours per month of my personal time.

Results matter.  I have worked as hard as any serving commissioner over the last four years.   And in conclusion, I believe that my efforts, combined with the efforts of residents, have benefitted Forest Park. 
Sincerely,

Rory Hoskins      

PS:
If elected to a second term, I pledge to
Work towards securing enterprise zone tax incentives and other benefits to assist new and  existing Forest Park businesses

  • Continue to provide independent leadership for our community
  • Leverage my relationships developed through service as President of Proviso Democratic Party to benefit Forest Park
  • Continue to work towards the development of a Teen Center
  • To closely monitor our financial position and to advocate for the utmost prudence in spending
  • To collaborate with other communities in order to build broad regional economic development partnerships
  • Advocate for diversity in hiring within the Village departments

 

Mark S. Hosty

Profession
I currently have a number of professions. I am the general manager for Healy’s Westside and Cocina Lobos restaurants in Forest Park. I also am the managing partner in the realestate development companies know as 7321 Madison llc and REMOJO llc. Both located in Forest Park. Lastly I am The Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements for the village of Forest Park.

Community / Political experience
I have served as the president of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce on three seperate ocassions and for the last fourteen years have been the chairman of the Summerfest hosted by the Chamber. For the last twelve years I have served as a commissioner for the village. I have served in the capacity of Street and Public Improvements Commissioner as well as the Public Health and Safety Commissioner. I served as a director of Mainstreet Redevelopment for ten years until it’s merger with the Chamber which I have served for over fifteen years as a director. I was the Seventh Congressional deligate to the Republican National Convention in 2008. I served on the Traffic and Safety committee for the village for four years. I remain active with property development and mangement thoughout the community.

Other / Professional experience
I have work as a restaurant manager in Forest Park for over twenty one years and have resided in town for the same time period. I bring both a deep knowledge of the village as well as a strong business backround to the position of Commissioner for the village of Forest Park.

Education
I attended St. Giles in Oak Park for grade school and Oak Park and River Forest High School. I graduated from Kishwaukee College in Malta Illinois in 1990.

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them
“I feel that number one has to be continuing to keep the fiscal restraint in place while managing to continue to offer the best basic public services.

“I feel that the village must continue to seek alternative funding, such as grants so that public improvements can continue. I have managed over twelve million dollars worth of reconstruction projects in the last four years and managed to get the majority of the costs covered though grant monies. I think future development is the key to covering ever expanding operating cost. I would continue to push for expansion of patrol officers again through outside sources like grants. I have many ideas and I look forwrd to share them with you during the canidates interviews.”

 

Steve Johnsen

Profession:
I own Chicago-Suburban Roof & Gutter Corp. where I work as the company president and project manager.  Chicago-Suburban is an internet based roof and gutter contracting business.  We repair and install new pitched or flat roofs and residential gutters on the north side of Chicago and the western suburbs.  We specialize in the installation and heating of box gutters and downspouts normally found on large apartment buildings.

Education:
-Lewis University, Romeoville, IL
• Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Administration, 1997
• Bachelor Degree in Criminal/Social Justice, 1993
-Triton College, River Grove, IL
• Associate Degree in Police Science, 1979
• Student Senate
-Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
• School of Police Staff & Command, 2000
• Class President
-Illinois State Police Academy, Springfield, IL
• Drug Abuse Resistance Education certificate, 1991
• Class President
• Outstanding DARE Officer award
-Cook County Sheriff’s Police Training Academy, Maywood, IL
• Recruit Training, 1981
-Illinois Real Estate Broker
-Illinois Roofing Contractor
-Illinois High School Association Sports Official
• Basketball
• Football

Community / Political experience:
-Forest Park School Board 1993-2007
• Board President 2000-2004
• Board Vice-President 1998-1999
• Superintendant Search Committee 2000, 2007
• Finance Committee 2000-2007
• Buildings & Grounds Committee 1993-1999
-Forest Park Main Street Redevelopment Association 1993-2007
• Organizing Committee 1993-1999
• Police Liaison to Board 1999-2003
-Forest Park Chamber of Commerce 1981-2007
• Police Liaison to Board 1999-2003
-Forest Park Police Pension Board 1987-1997
-Forest Park Fraternal Order of Police 1981-2007
• Negotiating Committee 1987-1997
• Grievance Committee 1989-1997
• Chamber of Commerce Banquet Presenter 1987-1992

Other / Professional experience:
-Suburban Home Repair Corp. (owner) 2004 to 2009
• Insurance inspections
• Foreclosure inspections
• Property preservation
-Doolin & Johnsen Real Estate Corp. (owner) 1999 to 2007
• Residential real estate sales
• Property renovations
• Condominium conversion projects
-Forest Park Police Department 1981 to 2007
• Acting Chief of Police, 2002
• Deputy Chief of Police, 2001-2003
• Police Lieutenant, 1999-2007
• Police Sergeant, 1995-1999
• Administrative Operations Commander
• Patrol Commander
• Communications Commander
• Internal Affairs
• Pioneered the D.A.R.E. program in the Forest Park schools, 1991

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them:

“The key to economic development to our commercial corridors is infrastructure.  That means we need to create a long term plan for sewers, lighting, streetscape and parking along Randolph Street, Madison Street and Roosevelt Road.  In 2000, we developed a new village comprehensive plan for this purpose but we seem to ignore it as much as abide by it.  We need to be more disciplined.   

“As the economic picture tightens for both the state and fed, so to must we tighten our belts.  The likelihood that any type of grant money will be available to us is very slim and we must learn to make do with what we have.  In 2004, the voters of Forest Park passed a referendum for a ½ of 1 percent sales tax hike on retail sales in Forest Park.  This money was earmarked specifically for infrastructure development.  This is the money we must rely upon to rebuild our village.  Attractive retail corridors will draw attractive retailers.

“I believe that our fire, police and public works departments are as good as any in the Chicago area.  We must, however, continually challenge ourselves to seek improvement of these core services and insure we are getting the biggest bang for our buck.

“The Commission form of government was originally devised in the wake of a devastating hurricane in Galveston, Texas more than 100 years ago.  It was meant to concentrate a lot of authority to a few elected officials so that Galveston could be quickly rebuilt with little interference to encumber those officials.  It soon became a popular form of government for new communities that were being established at the time, including Forest Park. 

“As these communities began to realize that the lack of oversight and professional expertise of their elected officials was actually detrimental to their villages, most changed to the Manager form of government.  Forest Park is one of only a handful of local governments in the county that still uses the antiquated Commission form of government.

“In modern governments, the board of elected officials sets policy and the manager implements it.

“Our government consists of a mayor and four commissioners.  Each has an equal vote on the council.  It is apparent from recent meetings that not all voting board members are getting the information they need to make responsible decisions.  To remedy this, I propose that the village administrator become the original point of contact within the village.  He will implement the policy set by the board and all day to day decisions will be made by him.  All professional consultants, vendors or contractors will be directed to the village administrator’s office or the appropriate department head.  Significant information will then be simultaneously distributed to all members of the village council.  No part-time politician should be the original point of contact for the village or make day to day operations decisions.”    

 

Sam Tarara

Profession
Managing Broker, The Tarara Group / Koenig & Strey Real Living
Real Estate Developer, Tara Group Inc.

Community / Political experience
I believe I’m the ideal candidate as far as community experience is concerned. Having raised two amazing boys in Forest Park the last 5 years, with my first in kindergarten at Garfield, my wife and I are actively involved socially, educationally, economically and now, hopefully, politically. An elected official has a responsibility to stay current, be involved in all aspects of the community. Whether that is participating in the festivals, fundraisers or other events within the town, you want that enthusiasm and “in it for the long haul” commitment.

My time and friendship with Secretary of State, Jesse White, has been an enormous influence on getting involved in politics and having a platform and position to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives. In a state with its share of questionable politicians, Secretary White exemplifies all that is good about public service. His commitment to his constituents, employees throughout the state, and those in need are rare to say the least. It is those ideals, and his spirit to serve, that I hope to emulate if elected.

Other / Professional experience
I have spent almost 10 years helping families buy and sell homes. From Naperville to Chicago, I have first hand experience as to why people choose to live and grow in a community – that experience is crucial in continuing the improvements and growth of our town. With residential sales in excess of $500 million and a long list of corporate clients and employees, I am constantly building my network. As an exclusive broker representing Wells Fargo & Lakeside Bank with their portfolios, my experience and knowledge is far reaching, beyond just selling a home. It is this entrepreneurial and dedicated spirit, along with great role models, that makes me the ideal candidate for village commissioner.

However, I’m far from just a realtor. Over the last 10 years, I’ve built a team of professionals: from our REO division to a corporate relocation department, representing Boeing, Sara Lee, and Motorola, we have developed very powerful relationships within these and various other organizations. I’m also a landlord/manager of over 18 units and take a lot of pride and satisfaction in providing housing for individuals and families. I know the landlord/tenant laws very well and have enormous experience in managing and working with city and state housing agencies.

Lastly, I’m a developer and builder – I love creating something from nothing, and bringing people and various trades together for a common goal. Isn’t that what a commissioner is supposed to do – bring people together, create new opportunities and serve the public? I think so, and that’s what I will do if elected.

Education
Major: Finance; Minor: Political Science; DePaul University College of Commerce, 1994
IL Licensed Real Estate Broker
Residential Property Management Certified
Short Sale & Foreclosure Certified
Member, National Association of Realtors
Member, Chicago Association of Realtors

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them

Marketing Our Town – Small towns have many unique assets, but marketing and promotion expertise is not one of them. We live next door to a huge market of residents and businesses who are frustrated with Chicago taxes, both property and sales, as well cuts in transportation, astronomical parking fees and crime rates that are sadly dismal. Community leaders must recognize that they, too, are engaged in a marketing enterprise – that of marketing their towns to prospective “customers” who could make use of what the town, its people and its businesses have to offer.

We have done an amazing job putting on events in the village from Groovin’ in the Grove to Summerfest. These are the things that help make our town special and unique. An elected official’s responsibility is to constantly look for opportunities and relationships that will benefit and promote their town. I would like to further develop our own unique “differential advantage”. We have a great slogan “Big City Access – Small Town Charm”; I think we can go further with this in terms of marketing specific areas of Chicago. Specific buildings where renters or owners frequently turnover and move. Let’s be first in their minds. The reality is you are electing a very public and visible “sales-representative,” because every time you engage the public outside of village matters, you’re representing so much more than yourself!

Transparency of Government/Getting Residents More Involved – While people are busy trying to pay their bills and just get by, local government initiatives and discussions sometimes take a back seat. Though citizen involvement won’t change over night – tough village decisions will need to be made in 2011 and beyond. Therefore, residents need to have access to the village’s discussions and decisions both for and against an issue.

Now, our village website with access to council meetings and agendas is a great community resource – and the newly implemented “Community Notification System” is an excellent medium for the city to communicate and inform its residents. But there’s always room for new ways to improve communication and stay accountable to those you serve.

I’d like to create a website where residents can not only post their concerns and/or needs but vote on those issues and voice their opinions. It should be a forum where residents actually give their name, take ownership of their ideas and opinions, thus enabling the truest sense of fairness and participation in their government. The public needs officials willing and able to force a discussion about issues, before the votes are counted, while balancing the need to keep things “moving” and not being bogged down in endless and unproductive debate.

Increasing Property Values – Isn’t this one of the biggest concerns we as homeowners or renters have in our community? I honestly cannot think of too many other issues outside of my family’s health and happiness that I care more about, okay, except for maybe property taxes; Seriously though, we all have an “investment” in this village we call home. We’ve done an excellent job in maintaining and beautifying Madison Ave – it was after a lunch at Cafe de Luca and a walk past Constitution Court that my wife and I knew this was home.

However, we need to remember the residents and businesses along Roosevelt, Des Plaines and even Circle Ave. These streets see huge amounts of traffic and in most cases, they’re the only experience non-residents have with out town. More money and resources need to be allocated to maintain and enhance these streets.

I also believe we need to respond faster to properties or lands that are neglected, overgrown, and not maintained. It’s amazing the reaction that potential buyers have towards what’s around the homes they are considering purchasing. Another problem is the Roos and Circle Avenue Bridge. Talk about a giant eyesore. I’m not sure a giant park district facility is the highest and best use for this land. There is a huge potential for tax income if we properly marketed this opportunity or gave incentives to outside businesses and developers.

The CTA properties around the Lake/Harlem and Des Plaines/Eisenhower intersections are great assets to us, but they should be better maintained. Pressure should be put on state and CTA officials to keep these properties up and add additional trees and landscaping. I’d like to create a voluntary organization with our residents using their skills and time to plant and beautify these areas in town. We did this in my neighborhood in Chicago and were recognized by Mayor Daley for our landscaping and neighborhood pride.

Reducing the Cost of Government – Just as any business or household needs to remain lean and budget as much as possible, our village should do the same. Without reducing our basic and essential services, as well as continued capital improvements, I believe we need to explore more public-private partnerships (PPP’s). Whether this involves contracts and concessions, public-private joint ventures or a build-operate-transfer arrangement; involving the private sector often brings stronger managerial capacity, access to new technology and specialized skills that our village cannot afford to develop on our own. There has been a lot of negative press with these PPP’s lately, starting with the Chicago Skyway lease and more recently with the parking meter mess. However, carefully planned PPP’s can help us improve the quality, reduce the price and extend the coverage of services to residents. They can also accelerate the construction of infrastructure and facilities that are crucial to our village’s continued economic development and social progress.

 

Elsie L. Norberg

Profession
Co-founder and Director of Administration for the Institute for Positive Mental Health (non-profit) at 820 Ontario, 3rd floor, Oak Park, IL 60302.

Community / Political experience
-Served as co-chair (2 years) and member of the Chicago Community Block Grant Committee
-Member of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development
-Co-chaired the Chicago Architecture Foundation Annual Ball-1990
-Co-chaired the annual ball for the Swedish American Museum-1991
-Served on the Advisory Committee for the Chicago Communications at Columbia College.

Other / Professional experience
Conference Advisory Comm. for the Society for Technical Communications and presented at International and regional conferences for the Society from 1989-1995.

Education
Some College Courses

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them
Work with local business owners to improve our commercial corridors [sic]. Keep our senior centers the best in the area. Help improve our schools so families will stay in our community.

 

Tom Mannix

Profession
Self-employed small business owner

Community / Political experience
Forest Park Summerfest Volunteer
Forest Park Chamber of Commerce
Active in State and Federal Politics for the past 15 years
Worked in the Illinois State Senate, where I staffed the Local Government Committee, dealing with cities, towns and villages from across the state
Have managed political campaigns from local school board races up to Statewide Federal races, and most everything in between

Other / Professional experience
Municipal and Local government experience for 10 years

Education
Nazareth Academy High School – Graduated 1998
Illinois Wesleyan University BA – Political Science – Graduated 2002
Keller Graduate School of Management, Masters of Business Administration, With Distinction – Graduated 2008

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them
I have three core issues:

Economic development – I believe that our commercial quarters are at a crossroads.  While many of our businesses have weathered the economic downturn, we cannot simply rest on our laurels and hope Madison Street thrives.  We can and should work to educate the residents of Forest Park about the value of buying local.  If each individual resident in Forest Park spent an extra $150 per month locally that they would’ve spent in another community, we could increase the Forest Park GDP by almost $20 million per year.  This is a small change that if we educate each resident in Forest Park about, we have an opportunity to help our businesses thrive creating good paying, local jobs on Madison Street and on Roosevelt Road.

Providing opportunities for our teens – I live on Circle Avenue and I see far too many teens roaming up and down Circle Avenue with nothing to do.  Our young adults need a safe environment that allows them to express their individuality, build job skills, and provide a solid character foundation as they head into adulthood.  If we can do such a phenomenal job with our Senior Center, why can’t we do the same for our young adults?

Forest Park High School – Forest Park must be a Village where families can stay from the birth of their children long into retirement without having to worry about where our children go to high school.  Families who currently do not have the ability to pay to send their children to a parochial school tend to move out of Forest Park at an alarmingly high rate when their eldest child approaches high school age.  Forest Park needs to have its own high school.  The high school district board 209 will fight us tooth and nail on this issue.  However, with the backing of every resident in Forest Park spearheaded by our Village of Forest Park, we can get our own high school.

The responses have been structurally edited. Any grammatical or spelling errors were left intact.

Candidates

Names in bold denote candidates who have provided a profile.