Article damaged church's reputation
Dear Rev. Holmes,
I was very disappointed in your article about the St. John Congregation published in the Forest Park Review. My opinion is that what goes on in a St. John Congregation meeting should remain among the members and not be made public for the townspeople to know. I wonder how you would feel if such a thing were done to members of your church and to you.
You are not a member of St. John so I don't know why you were there. If you were indeed invited that was inappropriate. If you were there as a reporter, I think you could have used more discretion in what you wrote.
A point of information: Pastor Knapp did not get a chance to speak because he did not follow the chairman's directions, namely, come up the side aisle, wait at the front of the4 church and wait a turn to speak. He, Pastor Knapp, chose not to do this, thus forfeiting his chance to speak.
I regret what your article has done to the reputation of the congregation members of St. John.
Young teachers criticized unfairly
As a teacher at Forest Park Middle School, there were many issues in this week's paper which caught my eye. Most are best left for meaningful face to face discussion. However, I felt that I had to address one quote which jumped out at me.
A writer indicated that our new "young" teachers were lax in the discipline department.
As a veteran teacher who has helped hire and mentor some of these young teachers, I can honestly say that they hold the students to high standards academically as well as behaviorally. They are well versed in technology, brimming with creative ideas, and committed to their chosen career.
They understand that they could not be successful in the classroom if they did not demand appropriate behavior and they expect this of all students.
The teachers who were hired in the past few years are a welcome addition to the Forest Park Middle School.
'In your face' politics on both sides
First thing, Mrs. Cole's opinion (expressed in a letter printed in the Review on Jan. 30, 2005) is a part of the "in your face politics," as well as everything she has written since Mr. Chris Welch decided to run for State Representative against her long-time friend Karen Yarbrough. In fact, Mrs. Cole predicted this would be "a bitter race"and apparently she is doing her best to make that prediction a fact. What is very apparent is that Mrs. Cole, and her friends, which include Maywood Trustee Gary Woll are the only people showing bitterness. They send out e-mails and letters to the Herald, West Suburban Journal and the Forest Park Review that weekly trash Mr. Welch, and Eugene Moore.
Specifically, in an earlier opinion, Cole asked, "What does Mr. Welch want?" Shouldn't we, the readers, be asking, "What do Mrs. Cole and her friends want?" Could it be that they don't want any competition for Karen Yarbrough in the two races in which she is running? This is very apparent. Well, this is America and as many people that want to run have a right to run and oppose her. Karen Yarbrough and all other candidates should be required to run on their experience and past accomplishments, and not on having friends trashing and demonizing them. If they can't do that, the voters should not elect them.
Ms. Cole never stated how she knew, but she accuses Mr. Welch of sending the following message, "I'll do whatever I want to do and any school administrator who opposes it is out of here."
Where is the proof of that quote? We all know that boards make decisions concerning superintendents and not the attorneys. Mr. Welch is the attorney for the Dist. 88 Board. So everyone should know that he is not to blame for Board actions. Further, Mrs. Cole does not live in District 88 or have any children in that school District so what's the point?
Mrs. Cole stated that Ms. Phylistine Murphy had additional duties given to her to cover the ousted administrators duties (at Dist. 209), and she wasn't given additional salary. She further left a question suggesting that it could be because Ms. Phylistine Murphy is a female. Anyone could use the same reasoning about Mr. Welch's treatment by her and her friends. There are at least 13 municipalities in Proviso Township, and 8 School Districts, and only one has a black male attorney, District 88. Why is it that Mr. Welch is the only attorney being singled out and blamed for Board actions that these individuals don't like? Could it be because he is a black male?
Mrs. Cole used the following words throughout her opinion: 'apparently; it appears; some who have had previous dealings with him feel that… it would seem.' All of which proves her opinion is without sufficient evidence of proof, and are merely allegations and speculations. Besides, how can she justify all of these actions being taken by one man?
In District 88 he doesn't have a vote, and in District 209 Welch is only one vote out of seven, and has been the President of the board for years. So ask yourself, why is Mrs. Cole placing the blame on Mr. Welch for everything that she doesn't like.
The real answer is Mr. Welch is the only board member running for office against Mrs. Yarborough. We need to stop politicians and their friends from winning elections by demonizing their opponents. This is not to say that a candidate can't be critical of each other when facts can prove wrongdoings, lying and deceit. Actually, our opinions should be formed on facts, especially if we expect others to value our opinions.
About all of these personnel matters brought up. We all know that legally, facts and information concerning personnel records and actions taken against employees are privileged information, and can not be released to the public unless such actions have been proven to be unlawful after investigation and actions taken through the courts. Otherwise, the employee can sue. If Mrs. Cole has any facts on this information, then where is it coming from? We also know that it is common practice to place certain employees on administrative leave with pay while investigating an employee for termination based on the seriousness of the action. That employee is usually replaced with someone else temporarily until the final decision is made.
Mrs. Cole is not serving in a capacity to evaluate any of the administrators' performances. As far as Mr. Flowers is concerned, he is just one member also and was very recently voted on the board. He has been there since May 2005, and it's no secret that he ran against Mr. Welch and they both were elected. Could he be giving out information for political reasons? Who made the decision that he is right, and Mr. Welch is wrong?
She also stated that the handwriting is on the wall for property tax increase and/or another bond issue to be pushed down our throats. Ask Mrs. Cole why she didn't make a fuss when the Village of Maywood's Board (headed by Mrs. Yarbrough's husband) very recently increased Maywood's property taxes by 5 percent, and ask why she didn't notify you that the Village of Maywood would be pushing a $24 million bond to pay Police and Fire Pensions 75 percent of the money owed to them. I can tell you why. The four people that voted for it are her friends.
Now, what really identified whether this was an opinion or a cheap way to put out campaign literature was at the end when she stated "They are both running against Karen Yarbrough who is running on a campaign of "unbossed" and "unbought" politics, and that she hoped that she could garner support to prevail against these two individuals. That made her motive very clear.
I end this with a thought: Isn't it obvious that Mrs. Yarbrough does not want to be bossed, she wants to be the boss, the Mayor's outspoken wife, the State Representative, and the Committeeman. She was recently seen in the West Suburban Journal pictured with (fired superintendent) Willie Mack challenging District 88 to "Bring Mack Back".
Congressman Gus Savage had a favorite reminder (he borrowed from an unknown person) for taxpayers in his day. It was, "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. "