Story of the year: Video gaming

Gambling debate dominated the pages of the Review in 2016

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By Thomas Vogel

Staff Reporter

Forest Parkers decisively rejected video gaming in the village in a non-binding referendum in 2013. But in 2016, the issue once again dominated public discourse, with forums, town halls, council meetings, letters-to-the-editor, editorials, and signature petition campaigns throughout the year. Signatures were challenged. Experts were consulted. Research was done. Discussions were had. Still, the fight over gaming is not over. Here is a year-end summary of the Review's coverage of this ongoing debate. You can find the articles online at forestparkreview.com. 

February 23 - Mayor Anthony Calderone says there is no "active conversation" to consider gaming again but suggests the issue could come up in the future. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/2-23-2016/Village-:-No-immediate-plans-for-video-gaming/

March 22 - Local Madison Street business owner Noel Eberline authors letter-to-the-editor arguing against allowing gaming. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/3-22-2016/Forest-Park-needs-economic-development,-not-video-gambling/

March 29 - Village council addresses rumors of renewed video gaming discussion at biweekly meeting. Commissioners confirm no immediate plans exist and request more information on gaming. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/3-29-2016/Village-council-to-begin-video-gaming-discussion/

March 29 - Several small business owners put signs in store windows along Madison Street opposing gaming. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/3-29-2016/Madison-Street-retailers-come-out-against-video-gaming/

April 12 - An impromptu video gaming discussion develops at village council meeting. Residents, officials and business owners pack the basement meeting space. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/4-12-2016/Council-chamber-packed--for-video-gaming-comment/ 

April 12 - Review publishes editorial against gaming, calls for greater discussion on general economic development. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/4-12-2016/Beyond-video-gaming/

April 26 - Local Berwyn politician calls for tighter video gaming regulation. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/4-26-2016/Berwyn-alderman-has-advice-for-village-on-video-gaming/

April 26 - Village council commissioners announce plan to hold May gaming forum. 

June 7 - Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor proprietor Connie Brown comes out against video gaming in letter-to-the-editor, and announces anti-gaming November petition effort led by the newly formed Say Yes ballot committee. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/6-7-2016/Say-yes-to-a-vote-on-video-gambling/

June 14 - Former village commissioner and mayoral candidate Chris Harris organizes public forum to be held later in June. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/6-14-2016/Citizens-forum-on-video-gambling-planned/

June 21 - Say Yes committee asks attorney Adam Lasker to pen letter-to-the-editor clarifying some video gaming questions. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/6-21-2016/Clarifying-the-effort-to-put-video-gaming-on-the-ballot/

June 28 - Around 75 residents and business owner gather for video gaming town hall. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/6-28-2016/Two-sides-meet-for-%27mostly-polite%27-forum-on-video-gaming/

July 5 - Village Hall announces plans to host July forum. Mayor Anthony Calderone and village commissioners originally said the forum would be held in May. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/7-5-2016/Village-hosts-video-gaming-forum,-July-12/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS

July 18 - Around 70 Forest Parkers attend forum at village hall. Experts, officials and business owners were also in attendance. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/7-19-2016/Panelists-discuss-video-gaming-at-village-hall/

July 26 - Anti-gaming residents continue signature campaign and announce goal to trigger a binding referendum, which requires more signatures. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/7-26-2016/Video-gambling-referendum:-Binding-or-non_binding%3F/

August 2 - A group of local business owners write letter-to-the-editor in favor of gaming and some speak with the Review to make their case. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/8-2-2016/Bar-owners-speak-out-about-video-gaming/

August 9 - Anti-gaming residents file nearly 3,000 ballot signatures at village hall. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/8-9-2016/Video-gaming-referendum-supporters-file-their-petitions/

August 22 - Forest Parker John Hosty, brother of business owners Mark and Ted Hosty, challenges petition signatures, hearing at Cook County Clerk's Office planned. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/8-22-2016/Video-gambling-petition-faces-challenge/ 

September 9 - Forest Park Electoral Board unanimously denies November petition, citing inadequate number of valid signatures. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/9-9-2016/Video-gambling-referendum-is-dead-...-for-now/

September 13 - The Review publishes critical editorial of Electoral Board and village leadership.

October 24 - Video gaming issue suddenly appears on village council agenda; commissioners take vote. Video gaming is unanimously approved. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/10-25-2016/Council-approves-video-gaming/

October 25 - The Review publishes another editorial criticizing process and village leadership.  

October 25 - Review publishes written excerpt from a University of Illinois professor and gambling expert calling for different tax model on gambling machines in the state. 

November 8 - Resident Kristin McCoy announces second petition effort to put issue to village-wide vote. 

November 8 - On Election Day, other petition questions circulate, allegedly to crowd out gaming issue on the April 2017 ballot. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/11-8-2016/New-video-gaming-petition-drive-has-competition/

November 8 - The Review publishes editorial criticizing anonymous petition effort. 

November 10 - Former commissioner Mark Hosty and resident involved in an altercation outside polling place. Resident is cited for battery. 

November 14 - Mark Hosty files three petitions with village hall, reaching maximum limit allowed by Illinois Board of Elections. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/11-15-2016/Advisory-referenda-could-keep-video-gaming-off-ballot/

November 15 - The Review publishes editorial criticizing "bogus" Hosty petitions.  

December 20 - New ballot initiative committee formed by residents seeking April 2017 vote. http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/12-20-2016/Let-Forest-Park-Vote-seeks-gaming-referendum/

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Reader Comments

5 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Comment Policy

Greg Grex  

Posted: January 12th, 2017 11:48 PM

It's time to get rid of little Tony and his minions. When the time comes, stand up and vote these useless turds out.

Daniel Jones  

Posted: December 28th, 2016 8:22 PM

Fighting with the residents, passing BS petitions, Mark Hosty is quite the stinker. Maybe along with story of the year FPR should do something like bully of the year?

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: December 28th, 2016 11:47 AM

The last referendum was advisory, Gretchen. The village administration was free to ignore it, which it did after a period of lip service. The referendum in April is "binding," that is, legally decisive. Tony Calderone and his ilk do not respect the will of the electorate if not force to do so.

Gretchen Colavito from Forest Park  

Posted: December 27th, 2016 9:14 PM

I agree, we voted No, when does No not mean NO?

Michelle Andres Fitz-Henry  

Posted: December 27th, 2016 6:37 PM

The first sentence says it all. Everything after that is self serving by the bar owners and the council members seem to be serving them, not their constituents.

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