French Market is worth another shot

Opinion

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Forest Park's village council headed in the right direction Monday night when commissioners expressed their desire to see a French Market return to Madison Street next summer.

The market seems a natural fit for a street already known for its collaborative spirit and unselfish small businesses willing to work just as hard to promote one another as to succeed themselves.

Though the process must be watched closely to avoid a repeat of 2004's disappointing season, the project is certainly in good hands, as the Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Association have an impressive record of organizing events on Madison that showcase the village's downtown area and attract business to Forest Park.

With minimal expense to the village, new management from the Bensidoun Group and a highly visible location, we see no reason to not give another chance to what could become a highly lucrative Forest Park summer tradition.



Why reduce checks and balances?

We were somewhat puzzled by the village council's decision Monday to move the authority to hire and fire part-time police officers from the council at large and place it exclusively in the hands of the mayor.

It's not that we necessarily have a problem with Mayor Calderone wielding such authority, but it's unclear why changes were needed with the commissioners already having supported an ordinance requiring a vote of the full council.

Perhaps if, over time, such hires were found to be overly burdensome and time-consuming for the council, an acceleration to the process would have been necessary, but nobody has even been hired for the position yet.

Why not give the original plan a chance to work before changing it?



Proviso continues downward spiral

You know there's something wrong with your school district when you fire administrators more often than you initiate new educational programs. But that's the current reality at District 209, where the recent overhaul of the school's administration continued last week with the suspension of Deputy Superintendent Kelvin Gilchrist.

Robert Libka, the district's chief education officer, says that after six months on the job he has had time to make some assessments, and has decided Gilchrist needed to be shown the door.

Maybe, but if Libka has had time to decide who needs to be suspended and likely fired at Dist. 209, why has he not had time to do anything himself to address any of the issues for which he claims Gilchrist is being disciplined?

In the past six months, we have yet to hear a peep out of Libka's mouth about any educational initiatives except for generic motivational speeches that sound like they came from the back cover of a bad self-help book.

In fact, in recent months, we've only heard one individual even attempt to address the issue of education at Proviso: Gilchrist. We certainly don't agree with all of his ideasâ€"his proposal that students be punished for poor tracking exam scores by not being allowed to advance especially missed the pointâ€"but at least he's trying, which can't be said for the rest of those in charge at Proviso.

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