Check out this year’s Forest Park Community Guide!

Online edition –>

I swear these guys could screw up mom’s apple pie, the first warm day in March and Christmas morning.

Here we are, every one of us, on the cusp of a rare and wonderful paid-for opportunity to help create a new Comprehensive Plan for our village. We can bring our gifts, our passions, our concerns, and (yes!) our gripes to the adult table to devise innovative solutions to stubborn problems that will meet the challenges of the next 20 years.

But remarkably, our VIPs can only wank about the “vocal minority.”

At this point, we could be digesting stimulating clues to brainstorm actual solutions to our problems – our unstable proportion of rental housing, our busted housing market, climate change that taxes our antique sewer/drainage system and our trees, development of a business district other than Madison Street, and our albatross of a high school, etc. Instead our “leaders” are fixated on a dangerous entity they’ve conjured and named “the vocal minority,” “squeaky wheels,” and “the usual suspects.”

Initially, I figured the coded and disparaging “usual suspects” was of the Casablanca variety but as we’re now officially asking other villages how they keep their “vocal minority” marginalized, I wonder if the meatheads are hunting for Keyser Soze.

The federal mandate attached to our grant was simple: reach out to all stakeholders, as deeply and widely as possible. But Mayor Calderone’s fatal flaw is his inability to welcome differing points of view, so instead we are witnessing a nonsensical pre-emptive attack on our involved, informed, invested, impassioned resident stakeholders, which a healthy leader would embrace and cultivate.

Hard to say which refs they’re working, or why. What horrible, terrible, no-good ideas could be lurking in the minds of those scary civic agents? Install a nuclear facility at the Altenheim? Raze Madison and convert it to low-income rental housing?

Make plans to fix our sewer system?

Or they’ve got something up their sleeve they want to slip past the “silent majority.” Yes, that’s the ticket! Let’s weight the opinions of the folks who don’t even bother to vote.

Neither villages nor states nor countries thrive without involved citizens. In these here United States, citizenship demands inclusiveness, participation, cooperation, and unity. For now, we’re stuck with players instead of leaders and can only hope they’re just amateurs and not dangerously amateurish.

Don’t let the chumps get you down.

P.S. to Images Inc.:

I know our mayor can be persuasive, but might I suggest your company reject his advice to include “weeding out the vocal minority” as a skill in your marketing materials unless, of course, you’re looking for new clients in Venezuela and Syria. Also, good luck with this exciting project.