We like the River Forest of 2013 more than we liked the River Forest of 1990, 1983, 1972 or 1965. And that is why we are endorsing Cathy Adduci for village president. She is running a campaign that is looking forward — positively and enthusiastically forward — while her opponent, Michael Gibbs, is fronting a slate steeped in a false nostalgia for the Mayberry version of what is a really terrific modern village.
Today's River Forest is more vital, more inclusive, more self-sustaining than this village was in years gone by. In significant part that is due to progressive political leadership under past president Frank Paris and current president John Rigas. These men were problem-solvers who cleared land for current-century commerce, who modernized policing, who cut costs and found new revenues.
Imperfect as all leaders are, these were village presidents who weren't afraid they would undercut River Forest's values of family and community by tugging it into a contemporary era. Instead, they understood that standing still was no protection for a way of life they much appreciated.
In this election season, we see Cathy Adduci in the mold of such past leaders. A woman with smarts and business experience, Adduci will take that acumen and apply it to village government. We like her plan to actively involve River Forest's top-notch talent on business development and leadership committees. Open the doors. We agree with her belief that leadership is about a vision for growth and a willingness to listen and build consensus. We trust her understanding of the role of elected officials and the support they can offer a talented village staff.
Michael Gibbs, like Adduci a trustee under current president Rigas, is an able public servant and his heart is deep in River Forest's heritage. We like Mike and value the contributions he has made in River Forest village government, at the high school, and in all facets of the community. But stacked up side by side, we see Adduci as the stronger leader, the person best able to move River Forest forward.
Economic times are slowly improving, but the need to find added efficiency in local government remains essential. Aggressive efforts to collaborate with taxing bodies within River Forest to improve service and cut budgets is critical.Economic development opportunities remain to be mined. The Hines Lumber site is ripe for development, possibly paired with the village's public works building. Adduci sees the possible role of the village in making such a deal. Gibbs' hand-picked trustee candidates seemed timid about the purpose of local government in such discussions. Creating new revenue sources — other than property taxes — is simply critical. We have confidence that she sees that and understands how to make that happen.
That is why we offer Cathy Adduci our enthusiastic endorsement.