During an election forum moderated by the Review, mayoral candidates Chris Harris and Rory Hoskins were asked if they planned to affix their names to the handsome sign boards which greet residents and visitors at gateways around the village.
While they were expecting questions about video gaming and plowing snow, the sign question took them off guard and their responses were to equivocate rather than offer up our hoped for answer of: “No. I don’t need to put my name on signs all over town. Don’t need it to flash on the video board at the Community Center. Don’t need local events to be labeled as being ‘the mayor’s’ this or that. Those signs ought to represent all the people of Forest Park offering welcome. The signs are beautiful, they don’t need to be clogged up with a politician’s name.”
Alas, the sign boards on Roosevelt Road, at the Des Plaines exit from the Ike, all now feature a handsome addition noting “Rory E. Hoskins, Mayor.”
This is not a huge deal. But we find it disappointing that Hoskins, the candidate we endorsed, needs the public reinforcement these highly visible declarations reflect.
In his campaign Hoskins often reflected on being a servant leader, an important and powerful approach to leading a community by raising up others, by sharing power not accumulating it. Servant leadership is the opposite of the outdated top down approach which relies on consciously putting oneself at the top of the pyramid in order to further one’s control.
That’s the Rory Hoskins we know best, the person making strong and diverse appointments to village commissions, who wants all village council members engaged in decision-making, who acknowledges the police department has challenges to address while offering support to its leaders, who has personally led the great Juneteenth event we celebrated last weekend.
And it is why we hope that when he drives past one of his name-emblazoned signs he feels some sense of doubt that this was the decision of a genuine servant leader.
What a Saturday
Forest Park is a town that really knows how to gather up, to celebrate a cause, to just have fun. Last Saturday was the trifecta of gathering up for a cause.
We started the day at the Diversity Commission’s first ever Pride Celebration at Constitution Court. This was a good beginning for Forest Park to raise up and celebrate our gay neighbors and friends. We look for this to be a growing and positive event year after year.
There was the Firefighters 5K where Forest Park’s finest encouraged fitness and had fun doing it. Great role models.
And our day closed at the park at the 11th annual Juneteenth celebration. This is a great event created and built by Rory Hoskins, a Texas native and now mayor. Juneteenth marks June 19, 1865 as the day when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War was over and that slavery had ended.
Hoskins is among those who brought this lesser known holiday to the north and in Forest Park has championed this giant pool party and history lesson ever since.