Forest Park will be OK

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Just as the polls open on Tuesday morning, here are our thoughts as this long and unnecessary referendum on video gaming comes to its end.

How fitting that the final 24 hours of this way-too-hostile battle included allegations of lawn signs being stolen or defaced with some type of feces. Forest Park, we have got to do better than this.

The election is over. Voters, yes, finally voters, decided either that video gaming is OK and can continue or chose to ban it from Forest Park. This must be seen as the legitimate and final decision on this contentious issue. Doesn't matter which side you've been on, how many petition signatures you gathered or how many Facebook messages you posted. This has to be over.

We were gratified a few weeks back when the Review convened representatives of the pro- and anti-gaming sides for a very good conversation and the anti-gaming duo offered up their promise that they will abide by the voters' decision, that there will be no further electoral action on gaming. We expect the bar and restaurant owners who have supported gaming to take the same position.

It is a tough time in America to be talking about healing. Not our strong suit these days. But in Forest Park it is critical that conscious efforts be made to find common ground, shared values. It is incumbent upon the principal actors on both sides of this fight to look for opportunities to connect. We've seen some crossover tied to support for the reform agenda at District 209. Maybe that is an opportunity to share a goal.

We're no Pollyannas. This has been a bitter fight. And as this Election Day passes, the April municipal election comes rounding into view. Today the Review reports on a slate of candidates forming around the mayoral bid of Rory Hoskins. Within several weeks we'll know all of the candidates running in the spring.

There will be fundamental issues to debate. But let's agree not to re-litigate gaming. As we've noted, ultimately this week's election was in many ways more about how governing has come to work in Forest Park than about gaming. It was about the divide exacerbated these past three years rather than consciously narrowed.

We're persuaded by those who see the current chasm as a scrum between Forest Park's proud and wonderful blue collar DNA and a new and more progressive, more urban-aligned group of residents. But while we see the divide, we don't see any good reason to pick sides. There is no reason these two groups of devoted Forest Parkers can't work together. Whether your family moved to Forest Park 100 years ago or you've arrived in the past few years, every resident chose Forest Park because there is something great about this town. Let's celebrate it.

This election is over. Congratulations to the winners. Congratulations to all of us for having survived it.

Reader Comments

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Leah Ann Shapiro from Forest Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2018 11:31 AM

I would also like to suggest that the Hallmark on Madison stay open later. I have spoken to other merchants and they do not understand why it closes so early. I would come home from work at 6:00 p.m and it was closed already. At least stay open until 7:00 p.m on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I think that you will do well. It should not just be an addendum to the hardware store. Expanding hours means expanding business.

Chuck Taddeo  

Posted: November 9th, 2018 7:13 AM

Great idea Leah. Especially with Hobo leaving. What I like most about your idea is that it is positive and not negative. We need to attract business not regulate and drive them away. This glass half full type of thinking is what will bring us together.

Leah Ann Shapiro  

Posted: November 8th, 2018 8:41 PM

I would like to make a suggestion that might generate revenue. Jason's Deli. A great place in different suburbs and downtown. It is always packed. Soups, sandwiches and a fantastic fresh salad bar. It is large and offers catering, pick-up and in some places a drive through. Look at the packed Panera in River Forest.. In addition, there are new townhouses going for about $450,000 next to my condo building. I am assuming that these will also bring in revenue. There are many ways to invigorate this village. Many of my acquaintances and friends come to Forest Park for the great restaurants on and off Madison Street. Maybe Jason's could work in the Forest Park Mall. Would someone in the Chamber be willing to explore it. I have no interest in Jason's. I just think it would be a great addition. Also, a grocery store like Ed's Way on the West Side of town. Small friendly and walking distance.

Chuck Taddeo  

Posted: November 8th, 2018 2:09 PM

In chaos theory there is the concept known as the butterfly effect. Basically, a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world causes a tornado miles away. This referendum will have a big impact on many of the bars in our town. Although I dont agree with it, the people have decided and we need to move forward. We need to work together and figure out how to attract creative businesses to our town. In the lead up to this election I commented to some people on this site in an insulting manner that I now regret. So i would like to apologize if I offended anyone. Sometimes my Sicilian passionate side gets the best of me, but I do believe that civil discourse and comity within our village is something we should all strive towards. But make no mistake about it, the butterfly has flapped its wings and The Times They Are A Changn. So lets come up with ideas that brings us together rarther than divides us.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 7th, 2018 2:20 PM

Well put, Brian.

Brian Kuhr from Forest Park  

Posted: November 7th, 2018 1:57 PM

Yes, I 'm sure we will all soon recognize that the sky hasn't fallen, despite the removal of poker machines. I think Forest Park can be divided into two groups: people who think Forest Park can be divided into two groups and those who think it can't. If you knocked on as many doors as I have, you'd realize that Forest Park is a diverse community, that the pro-vote movement was a diverse coalition, with many senior citizens and long-time residents in its ranks. Forest Park has been a progressive community since I can remember; this has just not always been reflected in our own Village government. So I wish people would stop with the arm-chair sociology. and start with talking to their neighbors more. Reality is so much more interesting than myth.

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