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Shnay: ‘Be prepared’ for Southland politics

There are 22 people who want Jessie JacksJr.’s recently vacated seSecond Congressional District. | File Photo

There are 22 people who want Jessie Jackson Jr.’s recently vacated seat in the Second Congressional District. | File Photo

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Updated: February 14, 2013 6:18AM



A friend of ours looked at all the people running for office these days and solemnly announced that “democracy has broken out in the south suburbs, and there’s no telling what can happen.”

One wonders if he believes democracy is like a flu epidemic and the best one can hope for is an uncomplicated recovery from an untidy plague of candidates.

There are 22 people who want to be our next 2nd Congressional District congressman (or congressperson, depending) cluttering up the ballot, and another 17 running for office in Park Forest. A math-deficient person like me needs more than fingers and toes to count them all.

Seventeen of those running for Congress are listed as Democrats, five as Republicans. It has been 60 years since a Republican represented the district, and it is generally agreed this trend will hold up in the April 9 special election.

Among the list of those who want to be Jesse Jackson Jr.’s replacement in Congress are a Chicago alderman, a former pro football player who was just elected to the state Senate, a current state senator, a former state rep who is now the chief administrative officer for Cook County, as well as a few who call themselves community activists.

Another in the running is the guy who was once the district’s congressman but who spent five years in prison after being convicted of charges of a sexual nature involving an underage campaign volunteer, and later bank fraud.

Since all voters will be fully informed as to the positions of each of the candidates by the time the primary rolls around on Feb. 26, there will be no need of a written endorsement from this corner.

Democracy has trickled down to Park Forest, where 10 people (including one incumbent) are running for three places on the village board, and seven people, including two incumbents, have filed for the library board. That’s a sea change from the last election two years ago when no trustee or library board member had opposition.

Park Forest’s Committee for Non-Partisan Government will hold the first of four candidate forums on Feb. 17. The plan is to have a 90-minute session for trustee candidates and an hour for the library board, with each candidate getting two minutes for both an opening and closing statement. A moderator will then ask written questions from the audience.

“How many board meetings have you attended in the last year?” might be a good opening question for all trustee candidates.

“Name the last three books you have read, not including ‘Fifty Shades of Grey?’” could be asked of all candidates for the library board.

The answers might be informative. Then again, this is democracy, so be prepared, dear reader.

A record not worth breaking

Everything has a life span. Sooner or later things that always worked stop working. From flashlights to freezers, from tea sets to television sets, the end is always just the other side of the door.

More than 60 years ago, the still-young village of Park Forest buried the hundreds of miles of sewer pipes that carry water to and away from our homes and apartments. Over the decades, the system worked well, but sooner or later, ordinary things will always fail.

In 2011, there were more than 187 breaks in the line — an all-time record.

That was broken last year with the department of public works patching 200 pipe failures.

Nothing lasts forever, except the escalating cost of repairing and replacing those 387 breaks in the line, so be prepared, dear reader.



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