My decision to seek this Office is based on the very positive notion that we can and will do better in the future, and on the recognition that the path we currently tread needs to be re-directed if we are to achieve that end. While I recognize the very positive elements of our town that have made it a unique community of diversity, a community honored by two All-America City awards, the sole community of our region and State to have a section of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., dedicated to it – indeed a community whose many positive benefits are the reason why so many of our citizens have been drawn to it, and the reason why so many have remained as residents here – I also recognize that changes are necessary, that the past must be the prelude to the future, and that we stand on a threshold that requires positive vision and leadership if we are to move forward.
We CAN and WILL Do Better with Joe Woods as Mayor
"My decision to seek this Office is based on the very positive notion that we can and will do better in the future. As I have studied the efforts of past Park Forest leaders who built our community, the single common denominator that I have discovered is the way good vision and policy development on the part of the elected officials has led to professional and creative actions by staff, with the community at large being the ultimate beneficiary."
As I have studied the efforts of past Park Forest leaders who built our community, the single common denominator that I have discovered is the way good vision and policy development on the part of the elected officials has led to professional and creative actions by staff, with the community at large being the ultimate beneficiary.
Knowing Park Forest
After four years as a Village Trustee, seeing the operations of our community from the inside, I cannot see that vision, leadership, and fruitful policy development at work at present. Unfortunately, I do not see the leadership role of the elected Officials working to guide the professional role of the staff. I do not see the mayoral leadership needed to put our community on the right pathway to both solve our current problems and develop creative approaches to the future. I run for Mayor with the specific intent to give our community the vision and direction it needs for the future.
Our Village is at a crossroads. What we decide in the next four years will be critical to the future of Park Forest. None of us can deny that we have seen slippage over the last several years – in the failure to attract new businesses, in the closing of schools and churches, in neighborhood blight from foreclosed and abandoned houses, in spiraling taxation – and sadly that slippage has not been met with the work needed to turn things around.
I’m not running against anyone. I’m running for ‘the urgency of now.’ I’m running to preserve the cultural traditions of our community, but also to be effectively visionary about where we want Park Forest to be in the years ahead. I believe the way in which we develop our needed vision involves some specific steps that I intend to undertake if I am successful in my campaign.
We must find ways to help young people. We lost the Park Forest-based high school athletics and extra-curricular activities that used to provide after-school outlets for our teenagers. We must fill that gap for their good and for the good of the community. While the Village government has no control over the decisions of our local school boards in closing schools, especially what occurred with Rich East High School, we must recognize the problems many of our youth face today are the direct result of those decisions. We must find ways to help young people deal with those problems. I’m...Read more
First I will create greater opportunities for citizen involvement. I intend to re-introduce our program of neighborhood meetings so that the elected Officials and staff once again travel through our Village and meet with citizens face-to-face and hear their complaints and suggestions. What citizens tell me repeatedly is that they feel their voices are not heard. Your voices will be heard with Joe Woods as Mayor of Park Forest.Read more
Park Forest is a family-oriented community. It is my intention to lead the community toward more benefits for families. I intend to help address some of what I have outlined above and concerns increasing the role families play in developing the policies of our Village. I will be reaching out to them and seeking their guidance and advice on the best ways to deal with their issues. Creating a Parents Advisory Council will codify a formal process for parents to advise the Board and staff on matters relating to youth, public safety, neighborhood issues, schools, taxes, and so many other...Read more
I intend to work on economic revitalization efforts that are specific to the needs of our residents. For example, it is well-recognized that the south suburbs, especially communities that are majority African-American or Latino, are food deserts. Over the years, the efforts of our community to attract a major grocery store have been disastrous, so why do we continue to move in that direction? Alternative ways of dealing with the food desert concept have been developed elsewhere. Why not in Park Forest? We know, for example, that pop-up stores that handle certain products on a limited basis have been successful...Read more
Create more programs that address issues of crime. Our police force is well respected, and the work the officers do is renowned in our region. However, as decision-makers, the elected Officials need to provide the support needed to engage in more measures that prevent crimes rather than address them after they have occurred. Enforcement is essential, but prevention is ideal. It is my pledge to provide our police department with the tools it needs to increase crime-prevention efforts, including greater visibility of our officers in areas where crime seems to occur more often. Some of these efforts may be more...Read more