Local News, Opinion

Doing democracy: Time to vote, time to talk (column, free)

This is going to be so cool.

It’s always more fun to play than to watch, and starting Monday, Oct. 24, when early voting polling places open, until Election Day, Nov. 8, all us registered voters get to take the field and make the plays.

We get to help shape the future of our county, our state and our nation by choosing who will take the hand-off and represent us on the Cook County Board, in the Illinois General Assembly, in Congress and serve in the local judicial system.

I just hope we do better than the Bears are doing.

Early voting ends Nov. 7. Locations of polling places and hours can be found at the Cook County Clerk’s website. The one nearest H-F is at Prairie State College, 202 S. Halsted St. in the conference center, Proven IT Room 1318/1320. The hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Oct. 31 and Nov. 6, the hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to the clerk’s office, “voters do not need to provide an excuse or reason why they cannot vote on Election Day. Government-issued photo ID is not required but is helpful if there is a question about the voter’s registration, address or signature.”

Voters who are not registered can do so at early voting sites. Be sure to bring two forms of identification.  

Democracy watch: Discussion about development
Voting is not the only method of democratic participation. I attended Glenwood Trustee Adam Winston’s livestream discussion on Oct. 17 with members of South Suburbs for Greenspace and representatives of Catalyst Consulting. Catalyst is proposing a new plan to redevelop Calumet Country Club. 

Quite often, developments take shape under the public radar. Sometimes there are good reasons for that, as when real estate deals are in progress or lease agreements in negotiation. But if the public only finds out about a project when it starts to get consideration by local government, it feels too late to many residents. It seems as if the deal is done and the community is being informed, not included.

Kudos to Winston and to Catalyst officials Vince Bass and Jerry Lewis for opening up public conversations about the project in advance of formal proceedings. They plan to hold a series of open house sessions at the clubhouse to keep the conversation going. Thanks to Liz Varmecky, David Janocha and other members of SSG for staying engaged in the process, doing their homework and asking tough questions.

Whether the project ultimately succeeds or fails, the process is looking healthy.

Reporter Supporter Club protects local democracy
It’s not really news to claim that healthy democracies depend on healthy local news organizations.
Experts on democracy and on journalism have been articulating that claim for years. (One example: “Reviving democracy requires reviving local journalism,” from the Columbia Journalism Review, September 2020.)

So we owe a big thank you to all the people who have joined the Reporter Supporter Club by subscribing to the web version of the Chronicle. There is strength in numbers. The more members we have, the better we can serve the community.

If you haven’t subscribed and want to join the cool kids, visit hfchronicle.com/subscribe.

Chevy Cares car giveaway
The process of selecting a recipient for the eighth annual Homewood Chevy Cares holiday car giveway has begun. The dealership gives a new car to someone who’s life will be profoundly changed by the gift.
The Chronicle has covered the Christmas Eve car presentation every year, and every year the recipient’s story is moving. LaToya Glover was the winner last year.

Nominations for this year’s car started Oct. 17. Contestants can submit an essay of 200 words or less describing how a new car will make a difference. Contestants can nominate themselves or someone they know. Essays can be submitted at homewoodchevycares.com through Dec. 9.

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