Sunday, September 27, 2009

When they have to say it's safe, it's usually a problem

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When village officials have to start reminding people that 1) their village is "safe," and 2) that a recent gun fight that took a 20 year old's life in an apartment complex not too far away from the village hall, and 3) that they haven't received any concerns from residents, you know either the elected officials are not that close to the community, or the place is going to hell in a hand basket filled with nice smelling attractive flowers.

That's what Orland Park village officials are saying one week after four teenagers and young adults got into a gun fight in an apartment building north of the village hall and near Frontier Park. One of the kids, a 20 year old, was shot dead. Another was taken to a hospital. The injured and two others have been charged in the incident with First Degree Murder, no small felony by the way.

Click here to read the Daily Southtown story about elected officials' reactions?

No one showed up at the board meeting the following Monday, trustees pointed out, to express their concerns. Well, the truth is no one shows up at any board meetings in Orland Park anyway. First, because most of the big deals are done deals before they get to public scrutiny, and second, most trustees and the village board are not very responsive with information on important stuff at all.

You do get some handouts on theatrical groups with insider clout, big awards and festivals, though. Although in fairness, the police were on top of the incident and they got the information out fast, to their credit, stemming the rumors that could have been and started out far worse when the gunfight at Pioneer Park took place.

The big question is the first test of the village's "Crime Free Housing Ordinance" which states that renters who commit crimes or who have guests that commit crimes shall be evicted from their rental premises.

It sure sounded like a great idea when it was passed. But I didn't hear any trustees talk about the victim, Jorge Mena, or the people he lived with. Maybe the shooters who committed the crime were not renters, so I guess that bright idea ordinance isn't going anywhere fast.

Well, this story is not over. The village should and is coming down hard on the three survivors. Let the investigation decide the circumstances of the victim, who lost his life.

-- Ray Hanania

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