Forest Parkers decisively rejected video gaming in the village in a non-binding referendum in 2013. But in 2016, the issue once again dominated public discourse, with forums, town halls, council meetings, letters-to-the-editor, editorials, and signature petition campaigns throughout the year. Signatures were challenged. Experts were consulted. Research was done. Discussions were had. Still, the fight over gaming is not over. Here is a year-end summary of the Review’s coverage of this ongoing debate. You can find the articles online at forestparkreview.com.
February 23 – Mayor Anthony Calderone says there is no “active conversation” to consider gaming again but suggests the issue could come up in the future. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/2-23-2016/Village-:-No-immediate-plans-for-video-gaming/
March 22 – Local Madison Street business owner Noel Eberline authors letter-to-the-editor arguing against allowing gaming. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/3-22-2016/Forest-Park-needs-economic-development,-not-video-gambling/
March 29 – Village council addresses rumors of renewed video gaming discussion at biweekly meeting. Commissioners confirm no immediate plans exist and request more information on gaming. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/3-29-2016/Village-council-to-begin-video-gaming-discussion/
March 29 – Several small business owners put signs in store windows along Madison Street opposing gaming. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/3-29-2016/Madison-Street-retailers-come-out-against-video-gaming/
April 12 – An impromptu video gaming discussion develops at village council meeting. Residents, officials and business owners pack the basement meeting space. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/4-12-2016/Council-chamber-packed–for-video-gaming-comment/
April 12 – Review publishes editorial against gaming, calls for greater discussion on general economic development. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/4-12-2016/Beyond-video-gaming/
April 26 – Local Berwyn politician calls for tighter video gaming regulation. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/4-26-2016/Berwyn-alderman-has-advice-for-village-on-video-gaming/
April 26 – Village council commissioners announce plan to hold May gaming forum.
June 7 – Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor proprietor Connie Brown comes out against video gaming in letter-to-the-editor, and announces anti-gaming November petition effort led by the newly formed Say Yes ballot committee. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/6-7-2016/Say-yes-to-a-vote-on-video-gambling/
June 14 – Former village commissioner and mayoral candidate Chris Harris organizes public forum to be held later in June. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/6-14-2016/Citizens-forum-on-video-gambling-planned/
June 21 – Say Yes committee asks attorney Adam Lasker to pen letter-to-the-editor clarifying some video gaming questions. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/6-21-2016/Clarifying-the-effort-to-put-video-gaming-on-the-ballot/
June 28 – Around 75 residents and business owner gather for video gaming town hall. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/6-28-2016/Two-sides-meet-for-%27mostly-polite%27-forum-on-video-gaming/
July 5 – Village Hall announces plans to host July forum. Mayor Anthony Calderone and village commissioners originally said the forum would be held in May. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/7-5-2016/Village-hosts-video-gaming-forum,-July-12/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS
July 18 – Around 70 Forest Parkers attend forum at village hall. Experts, officials and business owners were also in attendance. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/7-19-2016/Panelists-discuss-video-gaming-at-village-hall/
July 26 – Anti-gaming residents continue signature campaign and announce goal to trigger a binding referendum, which requires more signatures. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/7-26-2016/Video-gambling-referendum:-Binding-or-non_binding%3F/
August 2 – A group of local business owners write letter-to-the-editor in favor of gaming and some speak with the Review to make their case. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/8-2-2016/Bar-owners-speak-out-about-video-gaming/
August 9 – Anti-gaming residents file nearly 3,000 ballot signatures at village hall. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/8-9-2016/Video-gaming-referendum-supporters-file-their-petitions/
August 22 – Forest Parker John Hosty, brother of business owners Mark and Ted Hosty, challenges petition signatures, hearing at Cook County Clerk’s Office planned. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/8-22-2016/Video-gambling-petition-faces-challenge/
September 9 – Forest Park Electoral Board unanimously denies November petition, citing inadequate number of valid signatures. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/9-9-2016/Video-gambling-referendum-is-dead-…-for-now/
September 13 – The Review publishes critical editorial of Electoral Board and village leadership.
October 24 – Video gaming issue suddenly appears on village council agenda; commissioners take vote. Video gaming is unanimously approved. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/10-25-2016/Council-approves-video-gaming/
October 25 – The Review publishes another editorial criticizing process and village leadership.
October 25 – Review publishes written excerpt from a University of Illinois professor and gambling expert calling for different tax model on gambling machines in the state.
November 8 – Resident Kristin McCoy announces second petition effort to put issue to village-wide vote.
November 8 – On Election Day, other petition questions circulate, allegedly to crowd out gaming issue on the April 2017 ballot. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/11-8-2016/New-video-gaming-petition-drive-has-competition/
November 8 – The Review publishes editorial criticizing anonymous petition effort.
November 10 – Former commissioner Mark Hosty and resident involved in an altercation outside polling place. Resident is cited for battery.
November 14 – Mark Hosty files three petitions with village hall, reaching maximum limit allowed by Illinois Board of Elections. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/11-15-2016/Advisory-referenda-could-keep-video-gaming-off-ballot/
November 15 – The Review publishes editorial criticizing “bogus” Hosty petitions.
December 20 – New ballot initiative committee formed by residents seeking April 2017 vote. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/12-20-2016/Let-Forest-Park-Vote-seeks-gaming-referendum/