Two races, two very different results

Opinion: Editorials

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By Sharon Daly

The Historical Society of Forest Park may need to eke out a bit more space on April 7, which could go down as a most memorable, remarkable and historic day for Forest Park.

The Proviso Together/D209 campaign produced an "only in our imaginations" triumph and all the cliches apply — David v. Goliath, good v. evil, people v. the machine. The battle was so brief, hatched barely five months ago, most of us missed it — including the Proviso Powers That Be. Or is it the Proviso Powers That Used To Be?

Illuminating explanations and a million words are bursting to be written to analyze this historic breakthrough, and don't expect dry reading with this amazing cast of characters and riveting narrative. 

"On Nov. 1, 2014 the Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor in Forest Park, Illinois, a small village of 14,000 residents, hosted a curious meeting of 20 or so suburban parents whose simple notion was that children in their community deserve a proper high school. By April 7, they successfully flipped generations of greed, graft and grift." 

This is one for the books, and if the promise is fulfilled, you can take that literally.

A momentous journey is beginning for our current heroes and so, "May the road rise to meet you and may the wind be always at your back" although we're pretty sure you've got this. Thank you, in advance, for your efforts.

Our village race was memorable, too, but not in a hopeful way. Tony Calderone won his fifth term as mayor in what can only be labeled a pyrrhic victory. Toward the end of the campaign, tactics were employed that crossed all boundaries of civil and civic culture.

Two anonymous mailers were especially heinous. The anti-Calderone piece was a twofer, with a nasty attack on Calderone on one side, and a weird attempt at D209 voter confusion on the other. Quintessential Proviso Way style. Take it up with your Proviso enemies, Mr. Mayor, and use FPPAC money to expose the Citizens for a Better Forest Park creeps.

The anti-Harris mailer had a coordinated Facebook page and appeared five days before Election Day, spouting odious half-truths and aspersions. From the darkness of a local hidey-hole, the attacks launched after the last pre-election Forest Park Review was published; to avoid both attribution and fact-checking. Amazingly, fact checking was quickly done and the dark charges were refuted by fact and legal affidavits. The whole saga was published in this newspaper and on local Internet sites. 

Yes, Calderone denounced and denied responsibility for such tactics. On April 4, he posted to Facebook that "Nobody on my team is responsible for any negative mail pieces. Each of my team members took a pledge to stay above board and that means each and everyone on my team." Quintessential Calderone style since 1999.

Unfortunately, not everyone got that memo and a vocal member of Calderone's team proceeded to carry every piece of bogus "evidence" from the dark Facebook page, Forest Park Facts, over to the established Forest Park Town Hall group. The info dump only stopped late on election night, at which point the five-day-old Forest Park Facts site went dead. Poof.

There is no plausible deniability here for the mayor.

This isn't our first rodeo, folks. Arm's-length evisceration electioneering has been the trademark tactic toward every Calderone challenger since Lorraine Popelka in 1999. The same tactics have been used against any and all serious opponents, including Steinbach, Doolin, Hoskins, Tellalian and now, Harris.

Calderone's "win at any cost" approach has damaged the very fabric of our community and divided our people. While the wish to forget or deny is understandable, it is undeniably unhealthy. "The Mannix Effect" has been the technological nail in our coffin.

But, but, but … both sides do it! No, both sides do not do it.

At this point, the challenge for each of us is to acknowledge, commit to long-term memory and, only then, move on.

Personally, I'm going with that old stand-by: Trust, but verify. 

Perhaps Mayor Calderone will return rightful powers back to the four other officials we've just elected, and the village can get busy governing instead of ruling. Since that possibility is a longshot, our focus needs to be on the three newly elected commissioners — Byrnes, Entler and Novak — who don't need the mayor's blessing to fulfill their responsibilities.

Because three beats two, every time.

Reader Comments

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Pam Fontana  

Posted: April 19th, 2015 1:46 PM

So Mayor Claderone, if it is not okay for a plain old citizen of Forest Park to distribute flyers for an election, how is it okay for our paid Forest Park lobbyist to knock on doors on your behalf for same election? He is paid by the village, I would presume, to represent all the citizens of Forest Park. His doing so, seems to cross an ethical boundary.

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 16th, 2015 7:37 PM

Deputy Mayor: you're an anonymous political operative in a very small town, in which you don't live.

David Webb  

Posted: April 16th, 2015 6:16 PM

@ Sharon, for the umpteenth time, I'm a private tax paying citizen, who adheres to the rules here and I further wish to have personal information kept private. I'm under no obligation to answer to you or (Simon Jester) personal questions about myself, family or business affairs.

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 9:30 PM

David has many odd views. If the mayor cannot vouch for our anonymous stalker , i'm going w/my gut that he's a serial killer hanging out in the Florida Everglades - for now. I trust the FPPD, esp the hunting group, is on their toes.

Brian Kuhr from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 9:06 PM

Thanks, Bill. I think I'll stick around.

Bill Dwyer from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 8:26 PM

Brian, you already live in "a town where engaged citizens demand a say in how they are governed." We just demonstrated that, with your help.

Brian Kuhr from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 8:22 PM

Interesting. According to David, I guess the reasons people decide not to move here have nothing to do with failing high schools or flooding basements, its people "complaining" in Forest Park Review comments. I guess we should all just shut up for the next four years, huh, David? But personally, I'd rather move to a town where engaged citizens demand a say in how they are governed.

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 7:15 PM

I have a question, Tony. Do you know the individual posting as David Webb? I ask because he obviously has an inside connect to village hall and has been lobbying on your & your majority's behalf for two years now. Webb identifies his interests in FP as an 'investor' and you would know those folks as the Commish of Public Affairs . So, who is David Webb?

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 6:16 PM

@ Tony. It's good to know you are not personally keeping tabs on me, because that would be frightening. As to your 'contact,' why are you publishing the thoughts of idiots? if Vox members cannot engage in the political process, neither can members of the Chamber, Kiwanis, FP Historical Society, Community Garden, etc. Are the members of these orgs allowed to vote in Forest Park? Can they hold public office?

Jerry Webster  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 5:56 PM

Full Definition of NONPARTISAN : not partisan; especially : free from party affiliation, bias, or designation <nonpartisan ballot> <a nonpartisan board> Since Vox is nonnparisan why would ani one have a problem with a board member putting out campaign flyers. We are allowed to vote and support anyone we want too. In the past CUinFP members voted for you. I had hoped maybe you might have changed a little after this election but your attack on Sharon tells me nothing has changed, it's to bad really. But you and your close supporter David just shows me it's business as usual in Forest Park.

Bill Dwyer from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 5:56 PM

And Sharon? Please stop interrupting Forest Park from prospering and being the best it can be. Just stop it.

Bill Dwyer from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 5:05 PM

I did not see the mayor's comment "interrupted that way," or in any way. However it was quite possibly interpreted in more than one way.

Mayor Anthony Calderone from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 4:06 PM

@Sharon, if you go back and read my comment I did not say nor imply that I was keeping tabs on you, thanks for your thought. I said I heard, and indeed I did from a person who simply thought it was odd knowing you are a board member of officer of Vox. They simply felt that a non partisan group should not be actively engaging in politics. Right or wrong it was simply their thought and that person decided to share it with me. No harm or foul intended by me, please excuse me if it was interrupted that way. I certainly want Forest Park to be the best it can be and hope you do too.

David Webb  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 11:21 AM

@ Sharon...I want to see Forest Park prosper...do you??

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 10:03 AM

david, the point of last half of my column was to point out that the wounds are 16 years deep and alarmingly current. 'mending fences' is quaint but useless right now, as painful feelings are leaking out all over the place - on both sides. folks might need to vent a bit and hopefully no serious wounds will be inflicted. fyi, my original frame for the column was the dynamics of an abusive relationship - but then the world would have exploded so it didn't write that.

David Webb  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 10:02 AM

@ Michelle, not sure where you are headed here. I'm done talking about the election and I have other interests. Let's talk and write about what a great community Forest Park is, you know potential families (looking to purchase a home or business investors) often look at the local papers as a way to gauge the pulse of the community. Let's not look sloppy, the time for bickering is over. Peace!

Michelle Woehrle from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 9:40 AM

David, obviously I think that any and all discussions about fashion should take place within the Diversity Committee. Didn't know that suggesting you should write your own opinion piece would be so offensive, but clearly I touched a nerve. Kitty has claws, I guess!

David Webb  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 9:24 AM

When I saw that Sharon had written another opinion piece, I was hoping it was about her beloved Spring butterflies ;) Nope, still swinging like an aging prize fighter over this darn election. If this community wants to mend the fence, then borderline militant activists need to stop the shelling. Enough! Let's get back to building this community! As for Sharon's status as one of the "faces" of the FPR, one can become confused between the difference, in particular of a local citizen and her opinion or the editorial vision of the paper itself, which then gives the appearance of enhanced credibility. I will try and explain this in a way the common folk can understand (pay attention Jerry) It's like the Forums, with the misleading name. I know of several people that for a time, actually thought the Forums were a village operated site, when in fact it was run and paid for by regular flunky's. Anyway, my point is..It's time to move on. @ Michelle, what do you want me to write about? My first thought, would be a take on the abundance of aging faux hipsters and their transition into suburban life. You know the type that dresses like a counter-culture hipster, yet actually embraces mainstream and moderate views. Your thoughts?

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 8:53 AM

2nd Michelle's statement: "would like to see some (opinion) consistently written from "the other side's" POV." boycotting the (only) local newspaper seems self-defeating and weirdly indulgent. bring it.

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 7:38 AM

oh, David. for the umpteenth time, I am not a reporter: I write an opinion column 12 of 52 weeks a year. I was notably inactive in our local campaigns, which Tony should be able to verify as he seems to be keeping close tabs on my comings/goings/house. Please contact Jean Lotus or Dan Haley w/your concerns. my Easter Sunday outing was a spiritual exercise and, as it turned out, a profound experience. please forgive me for not sharing it on the internet. or with you.

Michelle Woehrle from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 6:30 AM

Isn't this an opinion editorial, though? Such opinion pieces come in all kinds of partisan flavors. I for one would like to see some consistently written from "the other side's" POV without having to wait for quarterly(?) Post. Its a call to arms, David. Now get typing.

Jerry Webster  

Posted: April 15th, 2015 3:14 AM

On several occasions Sharon has said she is not a jouralist, she writes an opinion column. You have on several occasions stated you did not think she was a jouralist. I find your comments funny concidering what you do for a living and how often you violate the code you work under. I do believe that the mayors comments put to rest any idea of forgive and forget don't you?

David Webb  

Posted: April 14th, 2015 10:45 PM

@ Sharon - You should have noted in your article that you were actively engaged in the election, specifically, supporting Mayor Calderone's opponent Chris Harris. Your status as a foot soldier for losing candidate Harris is important, because of the platform you are granted at the FPR:, letting us all know that you were passing out flyers in support of your candidate, Harris, who lost is important. This simple act, grants the reader a perspective of the authors intent. I highly recommend & suggest that you brush up on the SPJ Code of Ethics: Act Independently; The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public. Journalists should: ?" Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts. ?" Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility. ?" Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for access to news. Identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not. ?" Deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage. ?" Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Prominently label sponsored content: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 14th, 2015 9:27 PM

Tony, if i wasn't clear, i was calling out the two anon mailers i thought were waaay over-the-line. there were a few others but they, unfortunately, were garden variety anon crap. no, i did not distribute any anon flyers. yes, on the sunday before election i dropped flyers on my block and the 400 block of Elgin. thanks for noticing? uncool.

Bill Dwyer from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 14th, 2015 9:07 PM

I helped write the fifth mailer Tony is erroneously describing as 'anonymous.' If putting Chris Harris's logo on that flyer is anonymous, I guess I don't understand the meaning of the word. The content on one side of the mailer was taken from a Better Government Association report. The content on the second side was documented fact. Fact that Tony could not and would not refute. You got hit the truth, Tony, and it stung. Your supporters ran a truly slimy campaign, even by Forest Park standards. Just acknowledge that, and start being genuinely open to others ideas and even their criticisms for once. Or stop pretending you're interested in changing.

Mayor Anthony Calderone from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 14th, 2015 8:58 PM

Gina, the 5th one I have have was anon, does this mean there were 6?

Gina Garrison  

Posted: April 14th, 2015 7:31 PM

A clarification, Mayor. The 5th one you refer to was not Anon.

Mayor Anthony Calderone from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 14th, 2015 6:47 PM

Sharon, minor correction. There were 4 anonymous mailers against me. Did you see all four? And yet there was a 5th piece that was being delivered door to door in plastic bags and I heard you were one of the persons delivering these. Do you deny this?

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