southtownstar
PROPER 
Weather Updates

Shnay: Two elections raise two questions

Starlings are “alpha” birds. When six or seven hover around feeder eating their fill all other birds must wait for

Starlings are “alpha” birds. When six or seven hover around the feeder, eating their fill, all other birds must wait for the leavings. | File Photo

storyidforme: 44163802
tmspicid: 16355040
fileheaderid: 7350986

Updated: March 11, 2013 6:12AM



Two elections draw our interest today, and both raise questions.

Question One: What if there was an election in which half the candidates for office did not bother to learn what it was they were running for?

It seems that may have taken place a couple of weeks ago when Park Forest officials scheduled a briefing session for all 10 candidates running for village trustee. These meetings with department heads and village officials are part of an effort to make local government more understandable to all those seeking office.

The 10 were invited to a 6 p.m. meeting. David Atkins III, Tiffani Graham, Theresa Settles and Jonathan Vanderbilt showed up. Since Bob McCray is a trustee running for re-election, he gets a pass. Darryl Jordan contacted the village to say there was a schedule conflict and could not attend.

So for one reason or another, four people seeking a place on the village board did not find out something about the village they want to govern. It makes one wonder how many will show up at the first candidate forum next Sunday in village hall.

Question Two: Do any of the forums and debates among some of the 16 Democratic candidates running for office in the Second Congressional District have a strong impact on voters?

Late last month we watched a “forum” with state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, former state Rep. Robin Kelly, former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, Chicago Ald. Anthony Beale and a lawyer, Ernest Fenton. On the issues of integrity in office, jobs, the economy, crime and gun control, most of the responses sounded alike.

This ink-stained wretch is of the opinion that these forums are primarily public relations events. The candidate with the best organization and lots of money in the bank will probably win this primary.

We hear Kelly has about $200,000 in her war chest and endorsements from a number of state senators and south suburban officials, including Park Forest Mayor John A. Ostenburg. Hutchinson has $135,000 to spend but has the backing of Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle and the powerful AFSCME union.

We shall see soon enough.

Red means wait, wait and wait

Our friend Bert complained about what he says is the traffic light at the “T” intersection of Main Street and Orchard Drive. Wait time is too long, he says, especially if you are on Orchard Drive and wait for a green light with no traffic either way on Main Street.

When reconstruction work was being done on Orchard Drive last year, the truck staging area used by the contractor was in the southeast corner of Main and Orchard and the timing of the traffic light was altered by the contractor to a default setting, perhaps to allow the slow-moving trucks to have easier access to the work zone.

Perhaps someone heard Bert’s complaint.

We checked the other day, and we timed it to about 25 seconds between red and green.

That’s quick compared to the wait time for a turn signal on Sauk Trail and Shabbona Drive.

Invasion of the seed snatchers

Our backyard bird feeder has attracted the usual assortment of cardinals and woodpeckers alighting for tidbits of seed both early morning and again just before sunset.

But in the last week or so, a flock of starlings moved in. Starlings are “alpha” birds. When six or seven hover around the feeder, eating their fill, all other birds must wait for the leavings.

We are told starlings are intelligent creatures and help rid us of pesky ground insects.

We wish them well, but hope they find easier pickings down the road.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.