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Suppressing a vote

Our View

Opinion: Columns

May 22nd, 2018 2:58 PM

By Editorial

The seemingly endless effort to prevent Forest Park residents from casting a binding up or down vote on video gaming continues with our reporting last week that the owners of O'Sullivan's Public House have turned to the Illinois Supreme Court for relief from an Illinois Court of Appeals ruling in April.

Whether the high court will even take up the case remains to be seen. If it does, the argument made by James Watts of O'Sullivan's seemingly will hinge on definitions of "strict" vs. "substantial" compliance with election law. That goes back to the initial debate before the local electoral board over an alleged mismatch of dates on six of the nearly 300 pages of petition signatures gathered by residents seeking a binding vote.

The local electoral board, consisting of three Forest Park officials, made the dubious decision to toss out all the signatures. It was the appeals court that overturned that decision and rightly impugned the impartiality of the local board. That's a point we made in our reporting as Commissioner Tom Mannix, a member of the electoral board, is in a business partnership with a local bar owner. 

We agree, though, with the assessment of Jordon Kuehn, president of the grassroots Let Forest Park Vote on Video Gaming, that this legal action is based on the queasiness the bar owners feel about their chances of winning a binding referendum in November. 

Residents are more likely to defeat video gaming based on the concerted efforts of bar owners to suppress a vote than on whether the gaming machines are good or bad for the village, so they'll have only themselves to blame.

 The Entler family 

The future of Eric Entler as an elected member of the park district board is also up in the air. This week the Review reports on Entler's guilty pleas on two DUI charges from last fall and a pending DUI charge from later last fall. In June Entler will serve 10 days in a county jail in northwest Illinois, where two of the incidents took place. 

Last week Entler, along with his wife, Rachell Entler, a village commissioner, sat for a difficult and plain-spoken interview with the Review. In that hour-long conversation, Eric Entler talked about his actions, his responsibility for those actions and his accepting of the immediate consequences — fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges — and the wider impact of putting his place in the community at risk.

They also talked about their shared decision after the first two DUIs that Eric Entler needed to seek diagnosis and treatment for his condition. The outcome is that he has now been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and with alcoholism. He is on medication for the mental health condition, continues outpatient therapy, and has joined a 12-step program.

The Entler name goes deep in Forest Park. It is no excuse for his actions or the peril he put others in by repeatedly driving drunk. The consequences are deservedly steep. But it is a courageous choice by this family to be public about the mental health issues he faces today and will throughout his life. 

More important for this village is its willingness to understand the mental health challenges at play here, the rippling impact it has on families, the fragility of recovery, and the courage it takes to be public in a small town. The Entler family has put itself forward. Now it is Forest Park's turn.