If video gaming leaves, what will replace it?

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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Dear Editor and fellow Forest Park neighbors, 

I've been a happy and cooperative resident of Forest Park for over 33 years. I am also an IL licensed Certified Public Accountant and am familiar with governmental accounting. I have read and understand the Annual Treasurer's report of the Village of Forest Park for the fiscal year ended 04/30/18 as published in the Forest Park Review on 10/10/18. It appears quite evident to me that we are about to face the loss of a budgeted $170,000 in revenue that has come from video gaming annually during the past couple of years where video gaming has been in place without incident in this village. I'd like to know how opponents of this activity think this revenue can be replaced. 

Our real estate taxes are already maxed by the IL law capping the use of them for general fund purposes. Our sales tax might be an alternative and of course basic math tells us that the 1% the village can procure from sales (village gets 1% out of the 10% sales taxes charged every time we buy a beer, sandwich, appliance or car). To make up this loss of $170,000 in sales tax revenue, there would have to be an additional $17 million dollars in sales put into our retail stores in the next fiscal year. That is equal to one or a combination of the following: a) 567 cars sold at the above average price of $30k each, b)34,000 appliances sold at $500 each , or c) 3 1/2 million sandwiches sold at $5 each, in just one year, not in a McDonalds lifetime! 

I don't play the video games. I've seen them and the patrons are quiet and quite nice. I know many establishments rely on the revenue after investing in structural improvements to comply with the laws and I ask that those of us following law and order must not succumb to our village going further into a deficit that can easily be resolved with this already established revenue that I'd like to see not go away. 

Michael D. Newton

CPA Forest Park, IL

Reader Comments

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Rhonda Bartlett Robinett from Chicago  

Posted: November 8th, 2018 11:23 AM

Yes Jerry Webster you do yell at patrons of the dog park... you also feel you are the keeper to yell when its closing time. I have been there and been sworn at by you and can produce tons of others who will say the same.

Jerry Webster  

Posted: November 6th, 2018 6:57 PM

Of course in all fairness I should work on my writing skills

Jerry Webster  

Posted: November 6th, 2018 6:46 PM

Pam, as usual you can't read, you should work on that. I said seems, maybe I should have been clearer. I was wondering if anyone else received one.

Pam Fontana  

Posted: November 6th, 2018 2:14 PM

Jerry, the fact that you bring up what is supposedly a horrible mailing, and put the blame on pro VGing people is almost as bad as the mailing itself. Totally unnecessary comment from you. But then, that's your norm.

Mary Richie  

Posted: November 5th, 2018 5:49 PM

A robo telephone call from a 616 area supposedly from my Village Mayor telling me how to vote tomorrow was the final straw. I'm still waiting for that open discussion of ideas in an open forum, which used to be the small town way to discuss local issues "Small town charm" is not robo calls.

Jerry Webster  

Posted: November 5th, 2018 1:31 PM

Chuck, a tin hat looks so good on you.

Jerry Webster  

Posted: November 5th, 2018 1:30 PM

For those of us at home during the day, we have received an interesting letter. I am not sure what it is about except Jon Kubricht and I am not sure why it is about him. But it seems to be sponsored by the pro VG people in FP. The thing that is sad about this is there are people out there who will believe it Not sure why I posted this , maybe to forewarn people who get it.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 5th, 2018 8:40 AM

Oh get off it, Chuck. I said your argument, if taken to its logical end, implies acceptance of murder. Not that you do. Try making an honest argument if you can.

Chuck Taddeo  

Posted: November 5th, 2018 7:31 AM

FP has a been a town that provides entertainment and nightlife for neighboring, more affluent towns. Banning VG when other towns that our taverns compete with is a very bad idea. We can still generate revenue for our town providing that entertainment. Wow. I point out that Forest Park has had a long history of gambling EVEN THOUGH it was illegal, and now I condone murder? This is exactly why I usually take an Epicurean approach to politics, its just not worth getting involved. But I have some friends that I have known my whole life that are going to get hurt by this bad idea. Trust me, after this, you will probably never see another comment from me again, local politics get a little too cra cra. Life is too short to be debating the tin foil hat crowd.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 4th, 2018 10:51 AM

Chuck doesn't want any revisionist history, but he's just fine with ignoring actual historical facts. The village outlawed gambling in the early 20, either just before or immediately after the amusement park closed. As for Giancana running illegal gambling operations, he also ordered illegal murders. Is Chuck Taddeo saying that's OK just because a criminal does it? The FACT is, gambling was illegal in FoPa for nearly a century.

Kate Nolan  

Posted: November 4th, 2018 9:45 AM

Well, Chuck, the law was on the books for decades. It took a vote of Village Council to overturn it. The fact that it was violated does not revise that documented history! Let's vote to honor the intentions of our founders! And, go ahead with pitching quarters. A friendly game never hurt anyone.

Chuck Taddeo  

Posted: November 4th, 2018 8:34 AM

"Prohibit VG to honor our heritage and history"? Lol. Forest Park has a long history with gambling. The Forest Park Amusement Park had a CASINO going back to the early 1900's, there were "book joints" in FP in the 1950's, Sam Giancana ran one of the worlds biggest gambling rackets from the back of a tavern on Roosevelt Rd.. People never had a problem placing a wager in this town. I remember pitching quarters on the sidewalk as a kid. The temperance movement in OP and RF is what made FP a wet town. But enough of the past, lets talk about the present. VG is legal in IL. Who came up with this bad idea that FP should be the town that prohibits VG? Neighboring towns that our taverns compete with have VG, so lets support them and not put them at a disadvantage. And, lets not use revisionist history.

Kate Nolan  

Posted: November 3rd, 2018 1:29 PM

Robert C. Cox makes an excellent point. The anti-gambling ordinance was as old as the village of Forest Park, or close to it. A YES to prohibit video gambling actually honors our heritage and history!

Robert C. Cox  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 6:58 PM

Just for record the anti folks can also be called the originals. It's not a small group and it composed of resident volunteers with no financial gain to be made. This is a quality of Life social issue that other communities have used when challenged by special interest groups, lobbyists and pay to play politicos. The voters will have a voice this coming Tuesday.

Amy Binns-Calvey  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 5:36 PM

Dear Chuck, there is nothing to "admit" as that is a false statement.

Jerry Webster  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 2:28 PM

Gee sPam, it took you a long time to get to the dog park didn't and have you ever heard me yell at them, if you say yes you would be untruthful. And spam, my responses are no more silly than yours. I see we are back to 170,000 again, why should pay for it as I already am in higher village fees and lower services. The simple fact is the revenues the village get has not done anything yet you pro people has it saving everything including our first born children.

Pam Fontana  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 2:15 PM

I am a VOTE NO person! Make no mistake. I moved here in the mid-70's and never left!

Chuck Taddeo  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 2:11 PM

Pam, the anti VG want to reduce the number of bars on Madison and steer it into a more family friendly street even though they wont admit that. So, thats what i mean about rebranding FP. FP has always been a bar town or entertainment district for OP, RF and Riverside. As a native FPer i think we should support our taverns not fight them. So voting no will prevent this from happening. Reread what i said.

Amy Binns-Calvey  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 1:28 PM

Chuck, it's interesting that you believe the Vote Yes folks want to rebrand the town, when instead many of the Vote Yes folks are worried that video gambling will be doing the "rebranding." I believe that video gambling will negatively impact and change Forest Park, that's why I'll be voting Yes.

Pam Fontana  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 1:22 PM

Not sure how gaming stay will change the way FP could be rebranded. I believe they can work together. I have gone to so many places that didn't have games (they weren't legal) but that do now and no one is bothered by them. In fact, unless you are in the area where the games are played,

Chuck Taddeo  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 12:32 PM

John, I scratch my head and wonder why this small group of people that comment on a weekly basis are so passionately against VG when there are more imortant issues facing our town. I just finished a great book, "Skin in the Game, Assymetries in the Daily Life" by Nassim Taleb that might shed some light on who they are. The basic concept is that skin in the game or risk is necessary for fairness and social justice. He describes 2 groups of people, the stubborn minority and the IYI's. The stubborn minority wants to impose its wil on the relatively disinterested majority. And, the IYI's, intellectual yet idiots, are a semi-intellectual well-pedigreed group who tells us who to vote for to affect govt policy so they can tell us what to do. So ask yourself who has more skin in the game, if VG stays the anti VG crowd looses their ability to rebrand FP into something it is not, OP. If it is prohibited, bar owners lose revenue, their investment in VG, and value in their business.

Pam Fontana  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 12:18 PM

Jerry, you are the one that doesn't get it. What difference does it make to you anyways how much time I spend in Wisconsin? So are you the one that will write that $170,000 check to replace lost revenue? It's so marginal after all. No need to respond Jerry as your responses make no sense. Have a good weekend. Isn't it time for you to go yell at the dogs in the dog park for barking.

Robert C. Cox  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 11:14 AM

John,Your question is a good one . The point that any random Ad Hoc decision making on one on one cases in Forest Park is really the problem. What is the overall economic development plan, how is it executed and how is it managed is key. I'd be scratching my head to if i was a developer or incoming business prospect the way that things are now. The confusion out there is not new but it could have been handled differently . Besides market saturation there might be a case to change the tavern/ rest model or be open to alternatives. Millennials will have a different view because they are the new entrepreneurs and most likely be the new engaged participants in both civic and political life. No one says change or democracy is easy.

Jerry Webster  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 11:11 AM

Well, sPam as usual you just don't get it do you, but considering how much time you spend in Wisconsin it doesn't surprise me that you know where all the VG machines are.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 11:09 AM

How EVER did the village manage to pay its bills in the dark years before video gambling revenues covered 1.5 percent of their budget. LOL.

Pam Fontana  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 10:56 AM

Jerry, I have news for you. They have video gaming in just about every single restaurant/bar in Wisconsin and no barriers between the children's games and the adults! NONE. And they also sell pull tabs at most every place as well. And numbers are not silly and if you think $170,000 is chump change, how is the village going to replace that? Are you chipping in?

Jerry Webster  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 10:05 AM

What, Amazon is not coming to Forest Park because VG might get voted out, really John John, WOW, who would have figured, now I have to sell my house and move to Wisconsin.

John R. Hosty Jr.  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 9:12 AM

Bob- why would any business decide to come to Forest Park if they fear that a petition could handicap their ability to be competitive with other like businesses in surrounding towns. Companies like Amazon will find it easier to go elsewhere in a open business climate.

Robert C. Cox from Forest Park  

Posted: November 2nd, 2018 8:18 AM

Economic development alternatives for a new generation of Forest ParkersWhich group of the Forest Park body politic will prevail? We will find out  on election day. Forest Park Millennials are you listening? Welcome to the midterms. You can weigh in and have voice in a community matter that frankly has gone sideways. Is VG good policy? Is it the best economic development alternative in producing  local FP government revenue? Is it another example of business interest competing with residents? Is that battle on an even playing field? Here are questions to the problem that YOU as Millennials can solve and answer. VG or Amazon Go? VG or an incubating artisan business cluster? VG or even a UPS Store?  Boomers like me( 10,000 retiring every day) still have not crossed the digital divide and remember brick and mortar retail while we have  generational shortsightedness when it comes to Technology and green businesses and  21st Century businesses not yet conceived? I would rather have that conversation... thats why I'm voting YES. Will Forest Park suffer economically and culturally if the commercial landscape turns to a Tavern/ Bar desert?  I believe Millennials don't live in the past. Perhaps they want to live in a progressive community with equal opportunity and sustainable quality of life policies versus  the entitlement of economic profit at the cost to residents. There are costs to VG see my last blog. What say you as residents? Are you ok with having a small group of people ( In this case the  large group of Gambling special interests backed local business men) make decisions for you? I think not , educate yourselves on the VG issue (see letfpvote.com) and come out vote and be part of the solution. Blogger Bob Cox 63+ year resident, FP public school grad, Proviso East grad 1972 , UIC  College of Urban Planning grad Class of 2010 and historical homeowner.

Jerry Webster  

Posted: October 25th, 2018 3:31 PM

Pam, as I have said before people are only reasonable if they agree with you. Michael, if 170,000 loss is going to break the bank we are in worse trouble than I thought.. I also think your numbers are silly

Chuck Taddeo  

Posted: October 24th, 2018 1:53 PM

My thoughts exactly. This is a useless regulation against every bar in town. This is why businesses left progressive Oak Park. If it passes, I have a new slogan for our town. Forest Park, the village of narrow yards and narrow minds. And before some Oak Park transplant replies and says that Hemingway never said that. I know, but, you have to admit, sometimes it really does fit.

Pam Fontana  

Posted: October 23rd, 2018 5:03 PM

Excellent comments Michael. I wish the people of Forest Park would all be this reasonable and clear. Let video gaming remain and help the village and businesses.

Robert C. Cox  

Posted: October 23rd, 2018 4:13 PM

A deliberate and serious conversation needs to happen regarding home rule. More attention to the Forest Park Comprehensive Plan on their guidelines can be used as a tool. Not all public policy dictates what the private sector does, especially in social matters. Job opportunities including job creation is on he table at PTHS . D209 is the largest public employer in FP.There are an abundant amount of new business models that might consider FP if the tone of the way of how business in done turns from convention and the short term to inovation and the long term. Bob Cox American Planners Association. Former Illinois/FP MainStreet Member Daniel's Bakery CEO 1979-1989

Mary Win Connor  

Posted: October 23rd, 2018 3:49 PM

I think there could also be a further drop in sales tax revenue if people go to other towns for drinks or meals because they can stick a couple bucks in a machine while waiting on a burger. Because each of those burgers eaten in Berwyn or North Riverside could be a burger eaten here.

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