The appointment last week of Deborah Starks to Forest Park’s new Diversity Commission moves this worthy effort forward in an essential way: Ms. Starks becomes the first African American on the commission.
Her life experience and her impetus toward service in her hometown make Starks a positive addition as well as being, as she puts it in a Review story today, “a voice for my community in the community.”
This sense of, and appreciation for, a community within the community is powerful and should be seen as positive. And that is whether we are talking about black residents of Forest Park or the community of old-timers who chart their Forest Park roots back a century. It’s all good.
At the village council meeting last week where Starks was appointed to the seventh and last commission position, Mayor Anthony Calderone said he is now receiving additional inquiries from potential members. His impulse to allow the new commission to gel at seven members with the option of growing the membership down the road feels right to us.
Loving Forest Park
It must be a good time to be in the lawn sign business what with video gaming warnings, high school sports exhortations and local elections just a few months hence.
And now into this mix comes a blooming of I Love Forest Park lawn signs.
We’re all in favor because we love Forest Park, too. That’s why we’ve published the local newspaper for 30 years and why in 2017 we’ll celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Review.
So it is great to see this effort and we’re happy to note in online comments that locals on both sides of the divisive video gaming battle are asking for signs for both lawns and business windows. That unnecessary gaming fight does cause divisions but shouldn’t rend a more fundamental appreciation for the village overall.
A good lawn sign is simple and direct. A few words, maybe an image, in this case a large red heart. The signs declare a simple emotion and connection to the hometown. That’s great all by itself.
But we assume it doesn’t preclude important discussions, legitimate disagreements, fair reporting, healthy arguments, rallying cries, sometimes snarky commenting and all the other elements of a lively public discourse. The challenge is to support that active dialogue while staying on a civil course.
And thanks to former commissioner Mark Hosty for spearheading the lawn sign movement.
Fair pay at Proviso
It is revealing that one of the early efforts by the new administration at Proviso Township High Schools is to craft a pay structure for administrators that is fair and thoughtful. In explaining this effort at a board meeting last week, the top finance officer acknowledged that the perpetual comings and goings, replacement and recycling of administrators at both the central office and in the schools over the past decade has left the district with a pay structure that does not hold together.
This effort supports both fairness and confirms the expectation that new hires will bring both talent and longevity to this wobbly district.