I have not changed who I am

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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Thank you to the Forest Park Review for allowing candidates one last opportunity to talk to residents. I'd like to start with a quote from the Forest Park Review from a few years ago.

 "He (Chris Harris) understands the fundamental nature of management and governance today: Sharing. Sharing information. Sharing planning. Sharing decision-making. Bringing more people into the tent by both direct invitation and by creating a culture that says all are welcome, all are needed." Forest Park Review 3/24/15. I thank the Review for the kind words then, and the sentiment still rings true today. To thrive, our next council needs the input of all commissioners, consulting from staff, and most importantly—input from residents. As your mayor, I can assure you that your village hall will have an open door where are all are welcome and all voices will be heard. 

I think independence is an important aspect in governance, and I have always thought Forest Park has had a rebellious streak in it to buck the tired trends of Proviso politics: the back door dealing, the patronage, the one hand washing the other. From helping to take back our high school district via the energy cultivated here with Proviso Together, to the strong independent voting record that usually shows the rest of Proviso "we're not falling for that!," I have shown I have no ties to the dirty gears that turn the Proviso machine, no favors owed across that landscape—and my focus is 100% Forest Park, working with our neighboring towns when needed, but not selling us out at the expense of our residents.

Way back in 2011 when I first ran for the council, the Review stated "Harris talks winningly about increasing citizen involvement while remaining indepen­dent himself. We're eager to see (an) en­thusiastic and bright candidate like Harris on the board." And then cap it off just recently the Review wrote, "We admire his (Harris') past efforts to engage residents in important town hall discussions. That urge toward transparency and dialogue is essential in this divided town." Forest Park Review 3/20/19 

Again, I thank the Review for the kind words, and I would like to think whether on or off the council I made every effort to increase citizen involvement and engage residents (holding town halls, participatory budget sessions, online meetings) but I wanted to point out the echoing of independence. We're at a crossroads here in Forest Park. We are replacing a mayor of 20 years, and we are choosing the direction our town is going to go. 

I want to be your mayor and, as you can see documented by the Review, I have not changed who I am when it comes to my beliefs, convictions in governance, and my passion for Forest Park. I humbly ask for your vote April 2.

Chris Harris

Mayoral candidate / former village commissioner

Reader Comments

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Ramon Gonzalo  

Posted: March 30th, 2019 8:45 PM

@Kathy Driscoll, You didn't have a problem with my name when YOU sent ME the FB friend request 2-3 years ago. You similarly didn't have a problem with my name when you sat across from me several times in restaurants and in the homes of my friends. So, please spare me. Not only is your husband, Neil Driscoll, lying that I attacked anyone-you are lying, too! I didn't attack anyone and it's pathetic that you're joining in the lie.

Kathy Driscoll from Forest Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2019 5:51 PM

Ramon, you were banned from the Forest Park Town Hall Facebook group for attacking a woman a few days prior to being banned. Neil was out of town on business when it happened. You can believe whatever you want but that is the truth. Your comments may be Facebook verified but I know for a fact that Gonzalo is not your last name. Who's lying now?

Ramon Gonzalo  

Posted: March 30th, 2019 1:15 PM

Recently, on your Facebook forum, Forest Park Town Hall, a friend of yours started a thread asking you about your donation from "A&P Com." It got me curious so I looked at public records, and noticed the address was the same as a James Parrilli. The FPR's article outlines the same info, but I posted it publicly first on your forum. You didn't answer, instead you responded in private to the OP. A few days later your friend and campaign volunteer, Neil Driscoll, banned me from the forum and accused me of me attacking a female member. I did no such thing. It was/is a lie. A lie deeply rooted in America's racist history of accusing innocent men of color of attacking women. Considering the fact that an article in this very paper has previously reported on your arrests, for allegedly hitting a woman among other things, I find your surrogates choice of smear particularly stupid. Not content with smearing me, an average citizen, for validly questioning campaign contributions, your supporters then gamed Facebook's reporting feature after the moderator of Forest Park-You Live Here would not do their dirty work. At the circus of a debate forum this week, you perpetuated a lie against Hoskins and Forest Park Forward for giving credence to the "manifesto" rumor from fringe elements. The same elements who four years ago published your arrest record. Is there anything you won't say or do to get elected? As someone who has had to harangue you to support women and minorities being attacked on your forum, I can only say that Forest Park deserves better than you.

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