There’s an irony in what passes for governance in River Forest these past few months. Village President Frank Paris still has the votes to accomplish pretty much anything he wants. Four votes still beats three. But Paris is acting like a politician who is losing control and knows it.

After years as the undisputed top dog in River Forest, Frank Paris is used to getting his way with a bare minimum of questioning and no prospect of ever actually having to change his plans. While Paris accomplished a great deal we admire during those years as king, it is a form of one-man governance that we dislike. So the arrival of a vocal, forceful and typically thoughtful minority block-Steve Hoke, Russ Nummer and Stephen Dudek-works for us. There are questions to be asked in River Forest even if Frank Paris is offended by hearing them.

Twice-most recently Monday night-Paris has attempted to marshal his narrow majority to change River Forest ordinances to maintain his power. In another instance, he effectively overruled a vote of the board majority and countermanded its action. These steps are designed to quash the power of newly energized village board committees, to alter required staffing levels in the police department and to, once again, mess with momentum toward settling the looming police discrimination lawsuits facing the village.

In the long view, this may be seen as an inevitable transitional time in River Forest. But with the next election still 18 months away, it has the potential to be a long and bitter battle. There is still room to find a better path. But Frank Paris is going to have to be fair-minded and pragmatic enough to find that path.

At long last lights?

It is our hope and expectation that by the time you read this, Oak Park’s Zoning Board of Appeals will have finally approved lights for the stadium at Oak Park and River Forest High School. This is a three-year decision process which should have taken six months. It reflects all that is worst in Oak Park’s open governance processes.

And it turns out that in another Halloween trick, angry neighbors of the school once again turned to the court system to slow the inevitable decision to allow a few night games each year at the school. This time they allege the village misinterpreted its zoning law and should have required a special use permit to install lights. As a result of this alleged misdeed, they want to sue everyone and their mothers.

Neighbors, stop being pests. Go back home and, if you must, pull the shades.

Shame in government

Has there ever been a period like this when every action taken by state and county government just makes you sick? Here are two examples, both involving politicians familiar to us. Both come from the Sun-Times.

Former state rep. Calvin Giles represented, sort of, south Oak Park until his long overdue defeat last year. He has just been hired on by the Blagojevich administration to an $85,000-a-year state job. A blatant political reward for Giles’ fealty to Blago while in office, is the best spin on this. Get this, though. Giles’ campaign still owes the state $80,000 in fines from past abuses of campaign finance laws.

Henderson Yarbrough is the mayor of beleaguered Maywood. Decent enough guy. Married, not coincidentally, to State Rep. Karen Yarbrough, whom we have regularly endorsed. Now, though, Mr. Yarbrough has gone on the county payroll as a mid-level bureaucrat in Dorothy Brown’s office. More back-scratching.

Join the discussion on social media!