Odds and ends, with some a bit odder than others:
A tale of two licenses: Oak Park dithers. It contemplates. It invites--no, it demands--citizen involvement. Everything slows to a tortured rhythm that fills council chambers and the gaping yaw of the letters to the editor pages.
Across Harlem in River Forest there is no process. There is only Paris. That's Frank Paris, village-president-for-life.
Consider the matter of Dominick's selling booze. In Oak Park, Dominick's is in its second run at a license, having been booed off the stage in 1996 by hacked-off neighbors who no more liked Dominick's service and selection than they liked their expectation of inebriated gangsters from Austin belting back shots on their street corners. Dominick's disappeared for six years before reapplying this summer as part of a $2-plus-million upgrade plan.
While the temperature in the store's Lake Street neighborhood has cooled on the issue, the process continues. Two meetings of the Liquor Control Review Board, a citizens task force, and then, finally, in October the village board may finally make a decision. And, I'm betting, approving a license.
By that time, the River Forest Dominick's, a smallish, obsolete version of the food store chain up on North Avenue, will have its "Halloween, time to get sloshed on Bud" end-of-aisle displays up and running.
That's because in River Forest there is no liquor board. There is a liquor commissioner. And guess what? The liquor commissioner is Frank Paris. And Frank is all in favor of Dominick's selling liquor. I'll just bet the River Forest village board will feel the same way.
This week we are running an angry letter from an Oak Park reader having a conniption over the 18-story Whiteco apartment building/retail space that Oak Park officials are steamrolling through for the village-owned vacant lot at Harlem and Ontario--rightly noting that the village had negotiated the amount of the village's TIF subsidy to the developer, the price of the land and the size of the parking garage, before announcing that it would now open a 30-day window for other developers to hatch full-grown alternative proposals. Of course, it is a done deal, lady. I think Frank Paris is doing consulting work on the east side of Harlem now.
A couple of years ago when a highrise condo building was discovered to be sitting on a piece of Lake Street land Frank Paris thought would make a dandy Linens 'n Things, he engineered a deal to build a brand new condo building down the way and drove the bulldozer himself.
Different burgs, different political traditions.
What flavor was that gum?: It is the question you wanted to ask but thought was too disgusting. Yes, reports our staff writer, Katharine Grayson, on today's business page, when Downtown Oak Park clean-up expert Don Peter zeroes in on a blackened, totally trod-down piece of gum on a sidewalk with the new Gum Buster gizmo, he can smell the gum's original flavor.
No faith: Before exiting my car Sunday afternoon, I checked in on both the Sox (down 6-1 in the 7th) and the Bears (down 23-13 in the 4th quarter) and decided to head to my garden, sans radio. Arghhh.
In the garden: Last weekend we cleared the fairly spacious side yard of the new house on Humphrey. Neighbors in our Stevenson Park re-do obsessed little patch of heaven stopped by to ask what we'd do with the empty space? Skate park or full court basketball was the standard answer.
Free plug: Actually we're planting flowers and shrubs. Discovered Urban Farms on Roosevelt and Humphrey as a result. What a wonderful nursery.