The village is waking up and tides are shifting

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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I write today as the Chairman of Let Forest Park Vote on Video Gaming (LFPV), and I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish, securing for all Forest Parkers the ability to exercise a binding vote on video gambling despite the well-funded and often unprincipled efforts of the gambling lobby to prevent one.

When I moved to Forest Park, I did not expect to become involved in local issues. The first thing that caught my attention was when Mayor Calderone suggested the quickly tabled saggy pants ban. I was then appalled at how the VG debate played out, culminating with the council voting it in unanimously, against the stated will of the people. The Mayor, who campaigned against video gambling meekly abstained, citing his position as liquor commissioner, despite having never abstained on a liquor related vote in at least 13 years.

LFPV has been 100% focused on giving the average Forest Parker a voice, since our representatives have not been responsive to the will of their constituents. The gambling lobby set an incredibly high threshold to bring this to a vote thinking nobody would do it. Well we did, and we are exercising the outlet that is literally written directly in the law. The cards were stacked against us, but we did the work and got the signatures. We had to raise legal funds to fight for your right to be heard, challenging the arrogantly anti-democratic decisions rendered by an inherently biased Forest Park Electoral Board, as described by the Appellate Court verdict. 

You've witnessed the too shameful attempts to intimidate LFPV group members; a sitting Council member saw fit to attack the wives of LFPV members, even though they have been entirely apolitical, well-respected in the community, and not involved in the pro-vote movement. To date, a public apology has not been issued, and the Council has not seen fit to censure Mr. Mannix in any way.

Now you are witnessing the attempt by out-of-town lobbyists to flood your mailbox with ugly and manipulative flyers - they spent around $60,000 in the space of two weeks in an attempt to sway the vote they did not want you to have. Only $1500 of that money comes from local establishments.

Perhaps in the past people have been accustomed to top-down control, but LFPV believes that our representatives are here to serve us. Not the gaming lobby or other monied interests. The village is waking up and tides are shifting. 

I want to encourage everyone to exercise the vote that we fought so hard to obtain. I also urge you to take a look at everything that has been presented and make an educated vote. Consider the long-term impact on the community, the minimal return to the village, the risk of potential lawsuits the village will need to defend, the lack of a written ban against gaming parlors, the likelihood that ugly gambling signs cannot be prevented, and the nature of video gambling as a regressive tax. Consider too the ugly tactics of intimidation employed by the bar owners and a council member to discourage people from speaking out, and to prevent you from having a vote in the first place.

In my opinion I don't see how you can vote any way other than YES to prohibit video gaming in Forest Park.

Vote YES.

Jordan Kuehn

Chairman of Let Forest Park Vote on Video Gaming 

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Reader Comments

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Jerry Webster  

Posted: October 31st, 2018 10:40 PM

Pam, you need to get your lies straight, the pro VG people have never been straight with the voters in Forest Park, lies about taxes, home prices and village costs to the residents

Kate Nolan  

Posted: October 31st, 2018 3:45 PM

Exactly how ia referendum that gives all registered voters the chance to vote yes or no on gambling reduced to a vote to ban gambling? It is a simple up or down vote on the policy. Nothing could be fairer. Those of us arguing for a YES vote have made our case, as have the no voters. No lies here. But, as Nilsson sang about, you see what you want to see. Let's vote!

Pam Fontana  

Posted: October 31st, 2018 2:53 PM

The anti group has lied more than once. First off, there were never two votes against gaming. There was an informal water bill poll mailed to one per water bill (not every person in the village that can vote gets a water bill....apartment dwellers, many condo dwellers, many homes have way more than one voter in the home). Also, when you guys were soliciting signatures to just vote, you all kept saying it wasn't against gaming. I had someone tell me that right outside Ed's Way. I told her she was a liar and went in to do shopping. Kate, Jerry and Julieta, you are all part of a group that is spreading mis-truths and scare tactics to people to get them to vote your way. No twisted talking points.

Julieta Cristina Aguilera Rodr%uFFFDguez  

Posted: October 31st, 2018 10:50 AM

Pam, as I have mentioned again and again, why would a vote be necessary if a majority had said that gambling was ok? I think it is disingenuous to attack the people who fought for a vote as not truthful. You and Martin knew that it is problematic to have passed gambling without public support so please think beyond this twisted talking point. You know it is not justifiable.

Jerry Webster  

Posted: October 30th, 2018 10:28 PM

Pam, since you opened this can of worms, the only people lying are the supports of VG. It has been that way for years and the only it will chance is if VG goes away

Kate Nolan  

Posted: October 30th, 2018 6:36 PM

Pam, you've unsuccessfully pushed this line for three years. I am on the record opposing video gambling at Village Council three years ago, long before the notion that we'd need a referendum was even on the horizon. Once the mayor and council overrode two earlier votes, I helped form the groups that secured a vote, knowing full well it could go either way. Securing that vote was essential to everyone having the chance (for a third time, though this time in a binding referendum). There is no dissembling here. We oppose video gambling, for a whole host of reasons. It became clear that a binding referendum was necessary to get the Mayor and VC to listen to residents. So we fought for a binding referendum. That referendum could go either way. Now, let's vote.

Pam Fontana  

Posted: October 30th, 2018 4:36 PM

Keep in mind that while the LFPV group was originally petitioning for a vote, they lied to people saying they just wanted a vote. It shifted to we just want a vote to stop it. VOTE NO on NOvember 6.

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