Remember to stand with our small businesses

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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As we close in the end of the debate about video gaming, it is very interesting to me how the various groups and stakeholders in Forest Park are coming down on the decision to prohibit. 

On the "Vote No" side, the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce has urged a No vote because video gaming helps small businesses. The Fraternal Order of Police is endorsing a No vote because they know crime has not gone up because of gaming. Forest Park firefighters are saying vote No because the approximately $300,000 in revenues it has already generated to the Village. Public works employees are calling for a No vote because that revenue supports working families in Forest Park. 

On the "Yes" side, the only endorsement is from an Oak Park-based newspaper that sounded more interested in arguing over an old court case and a future mayoral election than on what the impact it will have on taxpayers. 

As voters weigh their options on the question of voting on prohibition of gaming, I hope they remember to stand with our small businesses, firefighters, police officers, public works employees and the future of Forest Park by voting NO on Prohibition of gaming. 

Frank Rossi 

Forest Park resident 

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Robert C. Cox from Forest Park  

Posted: October 31st, 2018 11:16 AM

( Con't) Extracting holding the gambling issue to be put on the ballot after an earlier referenda gave a public no to the issue. %uFFFDThey chose to take a special interest legal path. By taking sides, there was no real collaborative vetting done by all parties in order to mitigate and solve the %uFFFDanticipated problems of VG that include, seeking alternative businesses or %uFFFDfollowing economic development plans set forth in the FP Comprehensive Plan . The Village Council does not necessarily do things intended to be bad , but they certainly avoided doing some things that have led the whole community for a win win. Protecting the political economic status quo doesn't cut it. What is the political economic status quo? We are under a parallel system and process. On the organizational side FP is not a Home Rule government. Forest Park does not have an Economic Development Corporation,%uFFFDand FP uses an archaic and obsolete zoning system. %uFFFDWhat is the role of the Village Administrator? ( FP has had four VAs since the Village Council approved the hiring of one)The question that developers continue %uFFFDscratch their heads about is why does it take so long and why is every project processed in an ad hoc manner? Do we as a community want to participate in a race to the bottom or a race to the top? Your voice is%uFFFDyour vote.

Robert C. Cox from Forest Park  

Posted: October 31st, 2018 11:12 AM

Consider thisPublic policy countering video gambling /Nuisance ordinances "Yes voters in Forest Park on prohibiting VG are on to something" I attended this talk at UIC last week, "Does the Environment Need Washington? Environmental Federalism in a Polarized Era", will be given by Dr.%uFFFD%uFFFDDaniel J. Fiorino,%uFFFDDirector of the Center for Environmental Policy and Distinguished Executive in Residence in the School of Public Affairs at American University. Dr. Fiorino addresses the future of environmental federalism in the US, given present challenges of political polarization and diminishing federal funding. The broad discussion included what actions can be done on the local level in policy making. The connection to FP on this divisive VG issue can also be how the economic development component is perceived. Dr Fiorino described a condition that I see existing in FP governance and policy making, it is called " the race to the bottom". %uFFFDBecause a local municipality competes with other communities in a compact and condensed landscape. It becomes a notion and reactionary strategy that %uFFFDall %uFFFDgovernmental regulation needs be minimized or erased. This would lead to an open and fertile environment to for business recruitment and all businesses to thrive un encumbered by taxes, fees, laborious preconditions. This deregulation's interpreted by most professional planners and public administrators is seen as "giving away the store and perpetuating unanticipated%uFFFDnuisance%uFFFDordinances."%uFFFD When I wear my planning hat I agree that although this strategy is tempting it is at the same time a huge gamble for a sustainable payoff for the insecure village or town.%uFFFDForest Park's issue is more complicated because there is a growing number of resident / stakeholders that want to be at the table before any small group makes a decision for them. The Village Council also was in err in spiting the democratic process by not focusing to the common good. %uFFFD Extracting holding the gambling issue to

Geoff Binns-Calvey  

Posted: October 31st, 2018 10:01 AM

I support our local businesses. I go to the Schauer's Hardware for anything I can get there, over the big box store. I shop Ed's Way. My wife and I seldom eat outside of Forest Park restaurants. I'm a big advocate of local business. That's why it concerns me that virtually all the recent flood of money, backing video gambling, has come from out of town/out of state gambling corporations, who took about a million dollars out of our local economy since the last year, leaving Village Hall with a fraction of that (remember the nickel on a dollar the Village Hall gets?). Since local bars only contributed about 2% of the money to push VG, what does that say? Who is this really benefiting?

Michelle Andres Fitz-Henry  

Posted: October 31st, 2018 9:15 AM

There are a lot of small businesses in Forest Park. Sadly VG seems only to help the bar owners and only a handful at that. Several bars have gotten rid of gambling or have closed their doors for good. Although I have asked I have seen no evidence that gambling has helped our other small businesses, boutique shops, and businesses that offer services, etc. The promise was that it would help increase foot traffic on Madison. That the people who came to gamble would then walk down the street and buy some clothing or a piece of decor from one of our many Madison St. stores. There has been no evidence that has happened that I am aware of. Just like there is no evidence it has kept property taxes down and reduce or limit municipal fees. It is my impression that most of our small boutique stores don't want gambling on the street that has the "small town charm" that brought them here in the first place. I do stand with many of our small businesses. That is why I am voting "YES" to prohibit gambling.

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