Showing posts with label Flossmoor IL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flossmoor IL. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

CVS Withdraws Request to Sell Alcohol in Flossmoor

When the 5 representatives of CVS were presented to the meeting, they were all smiles. Roger Molski, outgoing mayor, gave them bad advice. "Address your remarks to the Trustees," he told them, "because they are the ones who have a vote."

This was only the most recent indicator of Molski's detachment from Flossmoor. Because it wasn't the Trustees that CVS needed to win over, it was the community. The meeting started with 3 Trustees publicly committed to voting against allowing the drug chain to selling packaged liquor across the street from H-F High School. But given the smiles that the CVS people walked in with, it was hard not to think that the deal was in. The other 3 Trustees (Mitros, Minga and Hoag) seemed inclined to vote for the granting of the liquor license, and Molski would break the tie (obviously, in favor of CVS).


What was obvious from the start was that CVS didn't really appreciate Flossmoor. Nor did they exhibit any understanding of the unique character and charm of our community. And they certainly had absolutely no appreciation for the importance of Homewood-Flossmoor High School to the community or our property values. Given that their primary contact had been with the mayor (for 6 and a half years, he told us last night), this cannot be much of a surprise.

The district manager for CVS tried to make two main arguments in support of granting them a liquor license. His first argument was that packaged liquor was already available from Jewel, which was less than a mile away from H-F. And that is true, although no one seems to think that kids are walking up to the Jewel from H-F. They won't even walk to the McDonald's that is across the street from Jewel, so it's really hard to imagine that Jewel is an alternative to what CVS was asking to do.

His second point centered around the specious claim that, well, CVS had a store across the street from Crystal Lake South High, and they didn't have any of these problems. Of course, as you can see, CVS is not located "across the street" from Crystal Lake South High School. It appears that a water treatment plant is located across the street from the High School.

Rather, CVS appears to be down the street from the high school and you'd have to walk past at least one neighborhood to get there. IOW, they lied to us. This can't be that much of a surprise, given the fact that Roger Molski -- the person they've apparently been dealing with -- has always been a little loose with the truth, as well. We have to accept the fact that CVS probably took their measure of our community through him and decided that they didn't have to really tell us the truth if they wanted to get what they wanted. We've been poorly served, and last night's meeting was the direct result of that.

We can only hope -- and expect -- change with the new administration.

In the end, the CVS representatives saw that this proposal had severely alienated them from our community, and perhaps has caused them irreparable harm. Many, many residents of Flossmoor reacted to their interest in selling packaged liquor in a retail store with horror. We don't allow that in Flossmoor, and we certainly didn't want our first store to sell hard liquor at retail to be across the street from the high school. More than one resident said to me, "I don't want the CVS store across the street from the high school, but I certainly don't want them selling alcohol."

It is clear that CVS has a lot to learn about Flossmoor. It doesn't appear that they are really interested in dealing with the village any differently than how they treat Harvey or Chicago Heights. They keep talking about their Neighborhood Drug Store model, but we already have four drug stores within a mile of where they want to locate. There isn't a real community interest in adding a fifth drug store to serve the village. So acting like they are doing us a great service is, well, stupid.

CVS isn't likely to be integrated into our community fabric with that attitude, and it certainly didn't help that they were willing to lie to us to squeeze an extra one percent of profits out of the store. They were willing to risk our children, our property values, and our community values for an extra one percent of profits. That's not a good neighbor. They've got a lot of bad will to overcome with these kinds of tactics.

The CVS representatives left the meeting looking pretty sullen. It certainly didn't help that they had to walk past a gauntlet of village residents who had more to say, and not all of it pleasant. But the fact is CVS withdrew their proposal to sell hard liquor in Flossmoor -- for now. Village residents will have to remain eternally vigilant as long as CVS is here to keep them from trying this again. Village politics has probably been changed forever, as we can expect the chain to try to dominate them in the future, in order to build support for allowing them to sell packaged liquor. I suppose Flossmoor got a little less charming last night. What a legacy to begin a business with...

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Flossmoor's Mayor's Record of Failure

Flossmoor's Missing Mayor, Roger Molski, sent out a postcard last week claiming "Record Commercial Development." Like all things that Molski does, the truth really depends on the definition (and the time frame). But there should be no doubt that Molski is continuing to gloss over his responsibility for bringing of blight to our downtown commercial district -- four years before our current economic crisis!

Our Missing Mayor wants you to believe that his record is one of accomplishment when it is actually one of dramatic failure. Really, what has he done in the past four years to be proud of?


At the May 2005 meeting where he was sworn in, Roger Molski pushed through the proposed "development" on the 2600 block of Flossmoor Road. You probably see the huge empty lot that Molski brought us every day. It's a dark hole in our commercial district.

One month later, in June 2005, Molski told us that "he expects ground to be broken by the end of the summer." The Flossmoor Square development was the centerpiece of Molski's development philosophy -- a philosophy that clearly failed.

Two and a half years later, the project remained "stalled," and even had the Southtown Star editorialize on the blight Roger Molski had brought to Flossmoor:

An empty lot near Flossmoor's downtown area is a reminder of a building project that's been in the works for more than two years, but hasn't happened yet. -- December 9, 2007

Four years later, the Daily Southtown featured Flossmoor's blight in its "Arrested Development" story:

Though a groundbreaking was slated for spring 2008, construction is stalled as plans still are being finalized, according to Patrick Finn, assistant village manager in Flossmoor.

Roger Molski introduced Chuck Bruti at May 2005 meeting as "his friend." He said that he'd known Bruti for years, and he mentioned that he -- our Missing Mayor -- had suggested to Bruti the development of the property where five thriving businesses had to be destroyed and removed from our tax roles.

This sounds like Blagojevich cronyism. Molski was looking out for his friends, not looking out for the village. Old school machine politics right here in Flossmoor.

Had the mayor done due diligence -- or even shown an bit of judgment -- he would have known that this project would sit idle for the past three-plus years (I predicted it at the very meeting that Molski pushed the project through). It was said that Bruti was having trouble with other projects. And if he was having trouble during the go-go period of economic development, there was no way he would be able to continue in the stingy credit environment we have now.

But Roger Molski was trying to help his friend. He even waved Flossmoor's zoning code to help his friend.

What did Flossmoor get out of it? Well, we've lost money. The five businesses that paid property and other taxes are now gone. The large parcel in the heart of our commercial district remains empty -- four years later. The actual prospects of development are low, especially as long as Molski is mayor.

Of course, Molski has moved on. He's trying to divert our attention from his record of failure by pushing the development of a store that will sell liquor across from Homewood-Flossmoor High School. Think about it. Roger Molski wants to turn H-F into a party school!

These two developments -- blight in the middle of our commercial district and alcohol to be sold across the street from H-F -- creates a tremendous downward pressure on our property values. Instead of being insulated from the rest of the South Suburbs, Molski is working hard to turn Flossmoor into another Harvey, another Robbins. It's not simply that Molski exhibits poor judgment, it's that he just doesn't care about Flossmoor anymore. If re-elected this time, it's hard to see how Molski serves out the full term.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

They're Baaaaaaaack!

Flossmoor's First Couple, Roger and Marcia Molski, are back from an extended "vacation." This being a month before the next election, Flossmoor can expect to see more of the two. They did this last time the mayor was on the ballot as well, Marcia spending time in the village to give the appearance that they still live here.

Voters in Flossmoor can be expected to vote on whether it is "good enough" to have an absentee mayor. No one can blame Roger for wanting to sleep in his own bed or return home to his wife each night. The problem is that they are in Chicago, not Flossmoor. So the question remains, should the mayor live here?

The issue with having an absentee mayor has been made crystal clear this winter. Flossmoor's mayor was absent from the village during the recent ice storm. He didn't endure local power outages because he was at home, in Chicago. Nor did he visit local businesses concerned about having power to open their doors. He simply wasn't here.

Molski was absent during our recent "blizzard," as well. Pictures were provided in a prior post of the Mayor's absence. Of course, the blizzard only made Molski's practice of going home (to Chicago) each night more obvious.

Because the mayor doesn't live here anymore, he's fairly disengaged from the community. So it is no surprise that the mayor has expressed little interest in helping Flossmoor benefit from federal stimulus dollars. While the city manager has done yeoman's work in trying to recover from the mayor's managerial weaknesses, the fact remains that Flossmoor would have greatly benefited from a mayor who was engaged in his community, who could have had an immediate response when the concept of stimulus dollars was becoming public.

The question of whether our mayor should live here really is a question about how invested the mayor should be in the community that he leads. Overnight power outages have no effect on the mayor because he doesn't sleep here. He can't look out his windows and see a community that is blacked-out. One suspects his condo in Chicago has its own backup generator, so he may very well be immune to local power outages there, as well. Must be nice.

The mayor's lack of investment in Flossmoor shows in the kinds of things he is doing to our community. He brought blight to Flossmoor, helping an over-extended developer raze five active businesses on the tax rolls here and leaving a half-block long hole on Flossmoor's main street. What is he doing about it? When I asked, not a thing.

Instead, we come to find that the mayor is helping to bring in a store that will sell liquor and tobacco across the street from Homewood-Flossmoor High School. Once again, Molski was instrumental in having our community standards waved in order to get one of his pet projects passed.

Would Roger Molski really have worked so hard to wave our community zoning requirements if he actually lived in Flossmoor? Probably not. If Molski was fully invested in our community, he would have been more likely to understand why residents would want to retain the look and feel of Flossmoor, why it is important to encourage businesses to adapt to our community standards, why selling liquor across the street from one of our community's main assets (its high school) isn't a good idea. No, our absentee mayor has discovered Chicago values and seeks to import them here, to Flossmoor. He's not fully invested in our community, and it shows.

So the question is, should the mayor live here? If you care about Flossmoor's community values, about its inherent charm and small town flavor, then the answer must be yes. If you want to turn Flossmoor into Chicago, then obviously the mayor is a great promoter for undermining Flossmoor's charm and standards. He's done it before and you can expect for him to do it again. Home is where the heart is, and it's clear that Roger Molski's heart is no longer in Flossmoor.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Flossmoor's Missing Mayor

I had previously posed the question, shouldn't the mayor live here? Flossmoor's mayor, Roger Molski, uses Flossmoor as a second home; in essence, a place where he can escape the people whenever he's in the village.

Which isn't at night. Once again, it snowed, and I could get visual proof that the mayor (and his wife) were at their (primary) residence downtown. They certainly weren't here in Flossmoor.

Now I understand the mayor's desire to be with his wife, to sleep in his own bed, to have his dog around. And I understand that the real estate market is tight -- probably even tighter for the mayor's condo, since he had our neighbor's torn down and all that remains is an ugly empty lot that no one appreciates. What I don't understand is why he would run for mayor in a place that he's basically abandoned.

The sparkling lights of the big city must be seductive. But if Molski really wants to be mayor, why doesn't he run in Chicago? Where he lives.

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