Tuesday, April 03, 2007

my answers to the Forest Park Review candidate questionnaire

Forest Park Review:
Several of [Nyberg's] responses at the candidates' forum sponsored by the Review were on point and worth exploring.

Since the FPR didn't mention what I wrote I figured I'd include it here.
I initially wrote my responses to the Forest Park Review questionnaire when I first received it. I assumed Patrick Doolin would be one of the two candidates advancing. I have since modified my responses.

Doolin was the candidate who clearly advanced a proposal to reform the commissioner form of government. In light of the primary election results it’s hard to argue the message of reforming the commissioner form of government resonated with the voters.

1. Would you support efforts to restrict the administrative authority of elected officials?
Either Anthony Calderone or Theresa Steinbach is going to be elected mayor. As I understand their public statements neither sees a need to reform the commissioner form of government by removing administrative authority.

My sense is that both Calderone and Steinbach are “hands on” managers. The pejorative way of saying it would be to call them “micromanagers”.

I prefer to delegate. In the Navy the best leaders were technically knowledgeable of what their subordinates did. However, these leaders would empower their subordinates by letting them do their jobs.

If elected I anticipate there will be tension between me and the mayor. I will not get involved in day-to-day decisions in my department. I prefer to get the department’s leadership “on the same page” on the big picture and let staff take ownership of this vision. I am concerned that the mayor will try to inject himself or herself into my department. This could be direct interference or, more likely, through the village administrator.

I don't want to be involved in day-to-day issues. However, I anticipate I will have to defend my turf from meddling by the mayor at times.

Given Patrick Doolin’s defeat I don’t see the issue of administrative authority being a priority for voters. I will work with reformers elected to the council. I support removing administrative authority, but I doubt there will be a majority in support of this policy.

I think the most realistic next step is to get some form of the issue on the ballot as a non-binding referendum. This referendum could be to either change the form of government or to remove administrative authority from the commissioners. If elected I will put personal effort toward negotiating two more votes to support getting this non-binding referendum on the ballot. Hopefully, having the issue on the ballot will
raise the consciousness of the issue with Forest Parkers.

2.What are the top two or three issues you will address in your campaign?
I will work to get the Forest Park reserve center closed through the tri-annual Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission. Almost any other use of the land would generate more revenue for the village, and most uses would generate more revenue for the schools.

I'm glad that the interest I showed as a columnist caused the village to be more proactive on this issue.

However, I'm concerned that the village has accepted the answer that the Army Reserves now own the base as the final answer. Whomever, Mike Curry and Mike
Sturino discussed the issue with, this person was not the ultimate decision maker.

While Forest Park should work the reserve bureaucracy our greatest asset in this project is our members of Congress. As far as I know the village has made no
attempt to enlist the help of Reps. Danny Davis and Dan Lipinski or Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama.

Forest Park needs to be working on both tracks. We should nudge the reserve bureaucracy and we should work Congress on the issue too.

Also, I will work to improve good order and discipline in the Forest Park police department.

Too often police hide behind explanations and excuses like “the police department is a paramilitary organization” and civilians don’t understand what police officers do.

As a former Navy officer who both served as a UN peacekeeper and performed numerous investigations of injuries, mishaps and misconduct I have enough experience to better know when the police are raising valid concerns and when they are just manufacturing
excuses that amount to “we don’t want outside oversight”.

While I wouldn’t hold myself out as an expert in policing, I have taken a basic criminal justice class and Broken Windows, by George Kelling and Catherine Coles. What amazes me about the Forest Park police department is how little their policing strategies are connected to “best practices” in modern policing.

My understanding of modern policing theory is that there are two camps that have produced good results. New York City made significant progress using the “Broken Windows” theory of policing. Chicago made progress using a saturation model.

“Broken Windows” policing calls for the police department to be part of a larger strategy to increase the perception of order in the community. Code enforcement needs to be part of the policing strategy. Also, police officers should do more patrols outside their vehicles, either on foot or bicycle. La Grange Park has been a local leader in this kind of patrolling. While on patrol police officers should be
engaging citizens and getting to know a broader cross-section of the community.

If Forest Park were to apply Chicago’s saturation model it would identify “hot spots” and maintain an almost continual presence in these areas, disrupting the crime and forcing it to go elsewhere. Madison Street may qualify as a “hot spot” late on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Forest Park calls its policing strategy “community policing” which is supposed to be like the “Broken Windows” policing used in New York City. However, Forest Park’s version of community policing emphasizes connecting the squeaky wheel residents with Mayor Calderone or his political supporters in the police department.

Significant differences exist between true community policing and Forest Park’s version. In true community policing there is significantly more contact between
beat police officers and citizens. And the police affirmatively reach out to many more people.

In Forest Park’s version the police department is more passive waiting for complaints and preferring to deal with a small number of residents, mostly squeaky wheels and the politically connected. In Forest Park the mayor likes to be a significant part of the complaint intake process because it’s good politics. However, this dis-empowers beat police officers (hurting morale) and increases the amount of time between when a resident raises an issue and when it’s addressed. Adding the mayor to routine issues also decreases the number of issues that police can address.

There are also serious issues around police brutality and racism in the Forest Park police department.

There should be independent investigations of police brutality. And the village should make more of an affirmative effort to detect police brutality and misconduct.

I hope that implementing a legitimate policing strategy will help move Forest Park police officers away from the “look for the Blacks who don’t belong here” strategy that has dominated the police department under Mayor Calderone and Chief Jim Ryan.

Also, Forest Park should hire more African-American police officers. We have a community in which 50% of the students in the elementary school system are Black, but less than 10% of the police department is Black. Partially, this reflects a lag in hiring reflecting the community. If the average cop has been on the force twelve years perhaps it’s reasonable for the force to reflect the demographics of twelve years ago. But Forest Park has been at least 30% African-American since the 2000 Census (31.2%). Has police department hiring since 2000 reflected the community’s demographics?

Use website to share useful information, like allowing property owners to post parking spaces for rent. I'd also like to use the website to get citizens involved
without making them come to meetings.

And I want the CTA to change the Blue Line exit at Circle to allow entrance through the turnstile.

3.Is it important that the council share a common vision for the community?
One view of government is that it arbitrates between competing interest groups. Why would it be a problem for different council members to be aligned with different interest groups?

Forest Park is a diverse community. Everyone wants utopia: low taxes, great services, good schools, well maintained homes, smooth traffic patterns and great public transportation.

The village council should be able to work with each other respectfully. Commissioners should be flexible in their thinking. However, different commissioners
will have different visions for Forest Park, like different citizens have different visions.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

please vote on Tuesday for either Doolin or Steinbach

This is a letter to the editor I wrote published in the Forest Park Review.

I want to emphasize that Tuesday's election will be determined by who goes to the polls. All active Forest Parkers should encourage their family, friends and neighbors to vote.
On Tuesday, Feb. 27, I recommend my fellow Forest Parkers vote for change when picking a candidate for mayor.

Some would argue Forest Park has benefited from economic growth that would have happened whether or not Anthony Calderone was mayor. However, I think the fairest interpretation is that Calderone helped bring businesses together for innovation. But Calderone did have some luck in the people around him, including having commissioners Patrick Doolin and Theresa Steinbach on the council to restrain his impulse to spend.

I first met Calderone at Dave King's Christmas party in 2000. Calderone was the only person I didn't know from before who I remember meeting that night.

In 2000 Calderone was more dynamic and probably more willing to reach out to new people. Now Calderone seems more set in his ways. His people are his people.

Calderone tries to marginalize, ignore and freeze-out citizens who question village decisions, especially citizens skeptical of ambitious development.

Under Calderone the village has fumbled on creating new parking for Madison Street businesses and repaving Industrial Drive in south Forest Park. Largely these fumbles have been caused by poor communication.

I doubt Calderone would have made these fumbles in 2000.

Calderone's mistakes and bad decisions have hit the police department especially hard. Under the commissioner form of government the mayor supervises the police department.

Calderone associates himself with the police when good things happen-like routine arrests-and distances himself from problems in his police department. In fact Calderone would like voters to believe the police department problems aren't really problems but controversy manufactured by the Forest Park Review to create drama.

One of the ways Calderone uses the police department to his political advantage is community policing meetings. Calderone milks these meetings for the maximum interaction with voters. How many community policing meetings happened in the first three and a half years of Calderone's term compared with the six months leading up to the election?

I have asked Calderone, "What is the mayor's role in the police department in the commissioner form of government?" Calderone refused to answer.

Calderone probably doesn't want to answer because he wants to have it both ways. In private Calderone-a former auxiliary police officer-likes to micromanage. But when his decisions and policies produce bad results, Calderone hides behind his flunky chief of police who is happy to be the mayor's fall guy for $100,000 per year.

Calderone will get some votes because he throws great community parties. And if we were electing the president of a fraternity I would be campaigning for Calderone. I like his parties too. But the village has serious issues and the 2007 version of Anthony Calderone is controlling and secretive. The guy who shepherded Madison Street's blossoming has left the village.

Please take the time to vote next Tuesday-at your usual polling place-and please vote for a new mayor.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

justaparker spreads lies on forestparkforums.com

On ForestParkForums.com justaparker is fanning the rumor started by Proviso Insider.

For some reason this rumor started three days after I called out the Forest Park Police
Department for mistreating Clarence Davis of Proviso Probe

As I have written before I was out of the country on the date Proviso Insider claims I pleaded guilty. I had been out of the country since December, 1989.

The people fanning this rumor are either maliciously irresponsible or simply liars.

How am I suppose to prove a negative? An anonymous person (Proviso Insider) posts information on a blog. Proviso Insider is a known liar. In September, 2006 Proviso Insider claimed I was about to receive a subpoena.

I didn't receive a subpoena because I didn't do anything illegal. And board members Charles Flowers and Theresa Kelly didn't do anything illegal. Nothing in the law makes it criminal for board members to discuss information from closed session.

There are numerous other examples of Proviso Insider lying. But hey, who cares about the truth when a lie with help keep the wrong people from participating in government.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

the downside of pledging

The Capitol Fax Blog has a discussion about the cons of Sen. Barack Obama's volunteer campaign finance limits. Most of the arguments could be used against the CUFP pledge I signed. See Forest Park Review (Bob Skolnik) and CUFP.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Bears are in the Superbowl

hat tip to Rich Miller of The Capitol Fax Blog

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CUFP candidate questionnaire, biography

CUFP has sent me a candidate questionnaire.

Name: Carl Nyberg

Address: 139 Brown #1, Forest Park

Phone: (773) 430-3538 (mobile)

How long resided in FP? I moved to Forest Park approximately September, 2003.

Employment: Self-employed, publisher and media consultant specializing in blogs.

Educational background:
Organizational membership:

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CUFP candidate questionnaire

Citizens United in Forest Park will hold a forum for commissioner candidates Thursday, March 15, 2007 at 7:00 PM at St. Peter’s church, 500 Hannah.

Included in the invitation was a candidate questionnaire. I used to write candidate questionnaires for Campaign for UN Reform (now Citizens for Global Solutions) and I think they are a great way to enhance democracy by getting candidates to express themselves in detail.

Citizens United in Forest Park (CUinFP)

Candidates Questionnaire for the 2007 Municipal Elections
Village of Forest Park

Feel free to use the back of the questionnaire to complete your answers.


Home address__________________________________________________________

Home phone___________________________________________________________

How long have you been a resident of Forest Park?____________________________

Place of employment_____________________________________________________

Current job ____________________________________________________________


Educational Background/Degrees/Military Service



Organizations in which you are a member ___________________________________


1. What motivates you to want to serve the Village of Forest Park? Why are you running for this office?

2. List what you feel to be the qualifications you possess that will make you an effective elected official.

3. What do you believe are the greatest strengths and weaknesses of the Village?

4. What changes would you like to make to the Village? What specific things do you pledge to accomplish during your term?

5. What do you perceive is the financial situation of the Village? Please comment on your perception of future needs and how those needs might be addressed.

6. What spending would you cut? What new revenue sources would you add?

7. How does Village income currently relate to justifiable expenses?

8. Do you think the current cash reserve is adequate? Explain.

9. How do you plan to achieve a balance between residential and commercial needs in the Village?

10. How do you feel about high-density development in Forest Park? Do you think it should be more carefully regulated?

11. Under what conditions would you advocate exceptions to the zoning density restrictions regarding development? Do you think we grant too many zoning variances?

12. Do you believe that the current zoning laws, the Comprehensive Plan and the existing property uses are completely out of alignment? If so, how do you propose to resolve these issues? And, how important is resolving these inconsistencies?

13. Should we regulate teardowns? How?

14. Do you believe the Village should support and protect historic neighborhoods?

15. Do you think the Village should adopt design guidelines for commercial and residential buildings in Forest Park?

16. What type of development would you support for the Roos property?

17. Do you know how many Forest Parkers are members of the West Cook YMCA and do you know how much a family membership at the Y costs?

18. On most Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings there is garbage all along Madison Street and on many occasions, there are plants that have been uprooted from the planters. 99% of this is attributed to unruly bar patrons. What will you do to clean up/prevent this unsightliness?

19. There has been much attention to the need for parking in and around Madison Street. If surface lots or a parking structure is built, how and/or by whom will it be financed? What should be done about parking for the Madison Street business area?

Parking garage?

Eminent Domain?

Expand present lots?

Distance lots?

Cutting into neighborhoods?

20. What laws or rules are in place governing parking by Madison Street employees? If none, why not?

21. There are many existing parking laws in place that are not enforced (i.e. 2 Hour Parking and No Street Parking between 2am and 5am). What will you do to enforce the laws?

22. How would you address the complaints of a shortage of police presence on the south side of town? Do you feel Forest Park needs to hire additional officers or simply redistribute the existing officers?

23. What would you like to see happen on Roosevelt Road? What would you propose for that area?

24. How do you define “transparency in government?” If elected, will you work to increase transparency? How?

25. How will you encourage citizen input and increase citizen involvement in the Village?

26. Under what circumstances, as an elected official, would you recuse yourself from a vote?

27. How would you define “conflict of interest?”

28. What qualifications would you seek for appointees to the various boards and commissions?

29. Do you favor changing the form of government? If elected, what specifically would you do about this?

30. Would you be in favor of a referendum to support Home Rule?

31. During the last five years or so, the Village seems to have spent a great deal of money on consultants and outside services, with very little in the way of actionable plans coming out of these expenses. Please discuss your views on this subject.

32. The Village has spent extraordinary amounts of money to defend itself in lawsuits. What do you think caused this problem and how would you resolve it?

33. What is your opinion of Forest Park high schools? Would you express your opinion often to encourage change and improvement? How?

34. We are all too aware of the in fighting that has plagued the recent Village Council. Please discuss your views on working with council members who do not necessarily share your beliefs. How will you build consensus on the council?

35. Would you support an indoor smoking ban for public places in Forest Park?

36. Flooding still seems to be a major problem for both residents and businesses. What steps have you taken (or do you plan to take) to address this problem? Does this include the installation of larger storm sewers? If so, when will this be done and how will it be paid for?

37. If an issue or vote is legal, at what point, in your opinion, might it considered unethical?

38. As a Village Commissioner or Mayor, do you think it is appropriate to accept campaign contributions from companies that work for the Village, Village employees and developers? Do you think it is appropriate to accept campaign contributions from people not connected to the Village? What, if any limits do you think are appropriate?

39. How can citizens hold you accountable? How will you demonstrate accountability?

40. What would you say have been your top accomplishments as a Forest Parker?

Please add anything more you would like the voters of Forest Park to know.

This is a long questionnaire. I will respond to it in pieces over the coming days and weeks.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

allegations and threats against candidate

This discussion began on Proviso Probe.

I've created a thread here because the individual(s) threatened to do a mailing calling me antisemitic in the commissioner race.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

overnight parking

Yesterday I met a Forest Parker who was having trouble finding a reasonably close place to park her car overnight.

When dealing with overnight parking I think we should remember that the village has created an artificial shortage of parking by enacting an overnight parking ban. There are reasons to have an overnight parking ban, but there are reasons to be flexible too.

I would like the village website to include a page for listing parking availability. This would make it easier for landlords to list their parking places and easier for tenants to find convenient parking.