By Dan Haley
Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others:
Paging Sen. Harmon: Friday morning, Oak Park's own state Sen. Don Harmon will offer up his "Springfield Report" at a meeting of the Business and Civic Council. If he doesn't open with something along the lines of "Well aren't we the lamest bunch of legislators ever sent to the state capital?" I'll be disappointed. I'm beyond looking for self-deprecation. I'm looking for people to start falling on swords.
I like Don Harmon. He's smart, progressive, politically sharp, and entirely decent. But he also chose the ambitious route of seeking a key leadership post in the State Senate, and therefore the legislature's abject failure to solve this state's cascading problems falls on his red head. Comes with leadership. He knows that.
Three times this spring I ran into Harmon at local events — the signing of the bill he sponsored that allowed Anan Abu-Taleb to sidestep the liquor issue in becoming village president, at the Memorial Day Parade in River Forest, at Day in Our Village in Oak Park. The fellow looked contrite and/or depressed during the first two brief encounters. The last time we met, and I'm not grilling the guy at a parade, he seemed more determined and assured that a pension fix was imminent. His logic was simple. "We have to do something."
Apparently not. No pension reform. The state's credit rating toppling. No vote on gay marriage. A bad conceal/carry law. Sen. Harmon has a piece of this and it will be fascinating to hear his take and the tenor of the questions he is asked on Friday morning.
The event is free, open to the public and comes complete with coffee and rolls. 7:30 a.m. at the Carleton Hotel. RSVP to Patty Holtry at PattyH@cboprf.com.
Assault weapons on the agenda: We have reached a disturbing place when a burg like River Forest has to actively consider passing an assault weapons ban because the state's new overreaching conceal/carry bill requires such a specific affirmation since such a ban will not be allowed statewide.
Been down so long: A cool map on the Crain's site reports, zip-by-zip, that home prices are finally rising. Now before we get giddy that single family homes are up by 6.2 percent, 6.9 percent and 8.8 percent respectively in 60302, 60304 and 60305 over one year ago, Crain's helpfully points out that we are still down 25 to 31 percent from the peak of the mania.
The new New Rebozo: We're fans — family, he'd say — of Chef Paco Lopez and his New Rebozo crew over on Madison Street. On Sunday we made it downtown where Paco has opened the Chicago version of his restaurant at 46 E. Superior. The opportunity to take over this small space in the lower level of a graystone came unexpectedly and he grabbed it. Paco says he is still being supported by Oak Park friends who work downtown or are out on the town. But don't worry, Paco will still be handing out hugs and "Oh, my Gods" Tuesday through Saturday at the usual place.
First reading: Because I want two shots at making you think well of us, wanted to mention that the Journal is a sponsor of the 4th of July Parade in Oak Park on Independence Day morning and when dusk arrives, we'll again be sponsoring the Grand Finale of the fireworks. Two minutes of pure pyrotechnic bliss brought to you by your award-winning local newspaper and digital hub. Yes, I'm shameless.
In fairness and gratitude, I will give a big shout out to Community Bank, which again sponsors all the fireworks leading up to the Wednesday Journal Grand Finale ™.
Answer Book 2016
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