It is no surprise that Rory Hoskins is running for re-election as Forest Park’s mayor. And good for him to make this announcement a full 11 months ahead of the April 2023 municipal election.
In his announcement over the weekend, the mayor touts as accomplishments the strength of business along Madison Street, progress on remaking village property at the Altenheim, economic development overall, tighter connections with leaders of neighboring towns and fostering support for local schools.
We’d point out, despite some criticism, that everything Hoskins has accomplished has been done with a thick overlay of COVID-19, making every step more difficult.
Madison Street has been a mixed bag. Yes, it is positive that the street, even through COVID, remains largely filled and fairly vital. Not mentioned, unsurprisingly, are the ongoing issues related to a few bars and the rowdy behavior they engender. Kudos, though, to Hoskins for his determined efforts to squelch a complex problem.
As we’ve noted repeatedly, progress at the Altenheim has been too slow for too long. We’re dubious a newly appointed village commission will move the needle without more transparent leadership from the mayor. We wait.
Hoskins does get credit for working on improved relations with the mayors of neighboring towns, including Maywood, River Forest and Oak Park. We share challenges and opportunities and Hoskins sees that. He has also been good, again not a surprise, in working Democratic allies in Springfield. At a moment when money is finally flowing from state and federal sources, it is a good moment to have a mayor who knows how to work the levers.
We are especially appreciative that Hoskins singles out his support for the District 91 Forest Park elementary schools. These schools are absolutely central to the future of this village. Going back a decade, we’ve listened with horror as elected village officials trash-talked our schools or downplayed their significance. Our schools have virtues and they have a gigantic enrollment/public confidence challenge. Hoskins showing up for the schools is vital to changing the perception of our public education.
Now we watch with interest to see who else joins this race. There are rumors and social media conversations about potential candidates. Forest Park will benefit from a contested election and we look forward to covering it.
Jean Lotus rocks
There are, to our chagrin, a great many former editors of the Forest Park Review loose in the land. We’ve lost track of a good number of them but a person we happily can’t shake is Jean Lotus, a strong and community-focused editor of the paper back in the previous decade.
She has since relocated to Colorado and actively reports on issues related to the hemp industry. But her picture is in this week’s paper as her 1980s girl punk band — Barbie Army — reunited in Chicago recently. They also played a set in Oak Park last weekend.
She is a woman of many talents and passions.