You may notice, elsewhere in the Review this week, the results of several endorsement interviews the editorial staff completed. It had me wondering, how good is the Review at actually picking who the citizens of Forest Park feel are the best to serve their beloved community?

In the last seven mayoral elections, only four were contested. Of those, only twice has the Review-endorsed mayoral candidate been elected mayor. As predictable as a coin flip. Since 1991, every commissioner race has been contested (ranging from as many as 12 candidates to as few as five). Only once in the commissioner race, did the Review make a perfect match between endorsements and the will of the voters (2007). In 2011 the Review’s endorsement match percentage was weakest — of the 11 commissioner candidates running, they picked two of the four who were elected. As for D91, you can go all the way back to 2003 to find endorsements, and that year, two of the three endorsements matched the choice of the voters in town.

As voters pick candidates to represent our small, charming town, we weigh message, evaluate overall intelligence, ability to work with others, compromise skills, being in touch with Forest Park sensibilities, and how well they resonate with our sense of honesty, style, articulation, delivery and courage in the face of adversity. 

This year there are several excellent candidates running for office to serve our community. And there is a great resource on the Forest Park Review website with candidates’ submitted answers to questions, which is outstanding. This resource, straight from the candidates themselves, will be printed and made available at the last forum, held this Thursday, March 21 at the Middle School at 6:30 p.m. 

I am grateful to the candidates and community for keeping the negative campaigning game and bullying to a minimum; it reflects that we are becoming a much healthier community. There might be a red herring tossed into the mix still, but overall the sign-stealing, whispering, and fear mongering has been at its lowest in memory. Maybe we have matured a bit? Plus, this has been the best field of candidates I have ever seen in town, and that alone gives me great pride in Forest Park.

 In 1991, Dr. James Murray, the weekly columnist and handwriting analysist explored candidate leadership styles through their handwriting. While picking a candidate is serious, a little levity can go a long way. So think of a personality question to ask at the last forum this Thursday. Here are a few I might submit:

  •  If you had a superhero power, what would it be and why?
  •  Choose between the ’85 Bears and ’95-’96 Bulls
  •  What breakfast defines you?
  •  What makes a person a “good citizen” of Forest Park?
  •  If your child felt bullied by another child or group of children, what advice would you give him/her? 
  •  What is your favorite cartoon character?
  •  Do you have any weaknesses?

We are in the last weeks of this election campaign, and I feel really confident about Forest Park in the next four years, even though I am not exactly clear what it will look like. See you on Thursday; the event will be streamed on the Forest Park Review Facebook page. Say “hello” if you are with us from home.