Sharon Daly's Opinion column in the 2/18/15 issue of the Forest Park Review has almost made up my mind on the upcoming mayoral election.
This large-type synopsis summed it up:
"Calderone is a thin-skinned authoritarian with no new ideas"
Which is probably true. But you might notice that incompetency, corruption, stupidity, or laziness are not alleged. Apparently the worst that he's done during his current term is fail to create an acceptable "comprehensive plan" -- though no specifics characterize that failure.
If this is the worst that he has done in the past four years, perhaps he has learned from mistakes made in earlier terms of office. So maybe I'll vote for him this time.
But then, I got the Team Calderone mailer:
It looks like it's targeted at our village's largest demographic: the subterranean residents of our major cemeteries. And where does the money for all these mailers come from?
This, and Bill Dwyer's rants are almost enough to get me voting for his opponent, Chris Harris.
But what has Chris Harris ever done for the village? His discussion of village issues is weak on observations and new ideas. And the Calderone-haters have not presented him as anything more than not-Calderone.
He appears inexperienced and not especially sharp. I don't want to be responsible for his mistakes.
So this time I'm voting for the incumbent.
Commissioner, Village of Forest Park
4 Year Term, Vote For 4
Daniel J. Novak
Rachell A. Entler
Mark S. Hosty
This is sad -- five openings and only four candidates. The only one I'll vote for is Daniel Novak - in the hopes that he will be an independent mind and voice on a council dominated by supporters of the mayor. Though he hasn't yet offered much to substantiate such a hope. Doesn't even have a website.
Board Member, Proviso Township High School District 209
Nathan 'Ned' Wagner
Theresa L. Kelly
ShawnTe M. Raines-Welch
Francine E. Harrell
Former Board president, Chris Welch, has made it easy for the voters this time around. He's running his wife, ShawnTe, on a slate with two other, possibly naïve, supporters, Matthews and Harrell. That leaves us with four serious candidates. Three of them are running as a reform movement -- while the fourth, Cheryl Anderson, has nothing to say for herself. No website. No facebook page. No Mailer. Nothing.
Looks like I'll be voting for Wagner, Kelly, and Medina -- though in a large metropolitan area, there is something to be said for a corrupt local school district so bad that only childless couples like us want to live here -- and pay lower taxes for underfunded schools.
BTW - This is the first local election where I've followed Bill Dwyer's blog to learn more about local candidates. For example, I learned of the connection between State Representative Chris Welch and an $800,000 contract that Tony Calderone's alarm company received from a nearby school district.
Dwyer rises above Forest Park Forums because he does not hide invective and rumor-mongering behind the mask of anonymity. But still, most every post is dripping with tough-guy mockery and bitterness.
Perhaps such a pose is appropriate in the rough and tumble world of big city politics. But does it really uplift the public life of a tiny village like Forest Park ?
One of the benefits of voting in District 209 elections is the entertainment provided by the former school board President, Chris Welch.
As with his internet slander (for which he has been successfully sued), he likes to act anonymously. Above he has created a fictitious organization that he calls "Citizens for a better Forest Park".
Then he lumps together his slate for the school board (including his wife) along with the independents running for offices in Forest Park.
Here, he again attacks his old nemesis on the school board, Theresa Kelly.
It's the same accusations he has raised in every past election . We've never been told exactly when Ms. Kelly supposedly took these trips. She has been on the board for at least a decade. Perhaps she has taken one trip per year.
And as in previous elections, Welch accuses his opponents of ruining the lives of Proviso students -- while he himself controlled the majority voting block on the school board for nearly a decade.
There's a certain cynicism here which, unfortunately, the voters of District 209 well deserve -- for having continued to vote him into office.