Last week’s display of civic participation was inspiring. The number of citizens who crammed into Forest Park Middle School’s “cafetorium” to see the Chamber and Review co-host a village-board candidate’s forum rivaled the lawn signs that are popping up like spring flowers all across town.
Commissioner Mike Curry, an incumbent candidate, made note of this in his opening statement when he told the crowd that in the last election, “we didn’t have two-thirds the people” who showed up last week.
It’s inspiring because, in a county, where only 17 percent of registered voters got off the couch to vote last election, Forest Park might buck that trend this year. That is, if last week’s turnout is any indication of some fervor within registered voters who are ready to cast their ballots on April 5.
By the simple measure of candidate count, Forest Park is already way ahead. Many communities this spring are watching races where there are barely enough candidates to fill out a ballot. In Forest Park the elementary and park races are contested. There is a hotly battled race for mayor. And there are 10, count ’em 10, candidates for four seats as commissioner.
Forest Park’s politics are also very personal and many of its players and devotees tend to be pretty thin-skinned. It was nice therefore to see the town’s entire political spectrum housed under one roof for three hours. There was little quibbling and there were no personal attacks. But, it’s antithetic to what we’ve seen at village council meetings over the last two months.
Monday was also the current board’s last council meeting, and the board conducted the village’s business without the usual blindsiding, grandstanding and political theatrics that have become commonplace as of late. It was quite nice.
Whoever is ushered in after the April 5 election, let’s continue this fledgling-good- respect thing we’ve got going.
What’s more, voters need to do their part by showing up to vote. Election Day is April 5. Check the Review’s website, or visit the Cook County Clerk’s homepage for information on polling places.
The Review’s endorsements
As you head to the polls, here’s a recap of the candidates the Review endorsed last week:
Mayor: Marty Tellalian
Village commissioners: Eric Connor, Chris Harris, Rory Hoskins, Steve Johnsen
Park district board: John Hosty, Cathy McDermott
District 91 schools: Sean Blaylock, Frank Mott, Rafael Rosa
District 209 schools: No endorsements