Opinion

Page 2: Democracy limps along in local election

Voters had their say on April 4, but generally, not as many voters as in the past, according to the Cook County Clerk’s election results.

Of the campaigns the Chronicle covered, turnout was down in all but three races, Village of Homewood Board of Trustees (12.69% in 2021, 14.05% n 2023), Homewood School District 153 Board of Education (12.48% in 2021, 13.70% in 2023) and Homewood Public Library Board of Trustees (12.69% in 2021, 14.73% in 2023).

The races that attracted less turnout this year include the Village of Flossmoor and Flossmoor Public Library Board of Trustees (35.9% in 2021, 18.9% in 2023), Flossmoor School District 161 (19.16% in 2021, 16.11% in 2023), Homewood-Flossmoor School District 233 (18.52% in 2021, 14.9% in 2023), Homewood-Flossmoor Park District (20.6% in 2021, 15.53% in 2023).

Countywide, turnout was down, too, with 13.81% of registered voters casting a ballot this year versus 15.9%  in 2021. The turnout this year was the lowest rate in the past 24 years.

The last time the county topped 20% turnout for a consolidated election was 2009, when 20.8% of registered voters voted.

More and better election info
Every year, we try to up the Chronicle’s game in pre-election coverage.

This year, in addition to candidate-provided profiles published in print and on the web, we posted 18 videos showing interviews conducted by Chronicle editors with 20 candidates.

In 2021, we published seven videos.

We also reported on three League of Women Voters candidate forums and posted three stories election night with the results of contested races.

How can we do better in 2025?

We already received one good suggestion. Get profiles and interviews posted before the early voting period begins. I should have thought of that.

What else? Feel free to send ideas to [email protected] or to P.O. Box 461, Flossmoor IL 60422.

Local news news
The Los Angeles Times published a story on March 27 with the headline, “The California newspaper that has no reporters left.” The newspaper, Salinas Californian, has served the city with a current population of 163,000 for more than 150 years.

No reporters.

That kind of sad news is too common in the newspaper world these days. 

I mention it only to highlight by contrast how good we have it in the Southland.

In addition to urban papers, our communities support a number of small, independent news organizations, including the Chronicle.

And some of us are working together to helps local news continue to grow in our area.

Leaders of the nascent Local News Alliance met Saturday, April 15, to develop a strategic plan, led by Amy Crump, who for some reasons thinks strategic planning is totally cool. Interesting hobby.

We appreciated her help in shaping a strategic plan for the coming year or so.

The group includes the Southland Investigative Reporting Center (SIRC), the Lansing JournalHarvey World HeraldeNews Park Forest and the Chronicle.

SIRC is planning a regional reach, but the four community news organizations serve nearly 100,000 people. I wouldn’t say we’re overflowing with reporting staff, but we’re doing better than poor Salinas.

Individually, we’re working hard to serve our communities by providing sources of reliable local news with fairly limited resources. Our goal in working together is to create a structure for mutual support that will enable Southland local news organizations to be strong and sustainable into the future.

During the coming year we will be working to form a nonprofit organization, develop a system for sharing content and start developing funding sources.

We all appreciate the great support we get from our communities. LNA will help us make the most of that support.

A balloon artist at Homewood Farmers Market entertains children while shoppers browse. (Chronicle file photo)

Homewood Farmers Market
The Homewood Farmers Market will open its summer season on Saturday, May 27. 

The event launches a season full of fresh produce, crafts, baked goods, food trucks, yoga for kids and live music.

The market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. The last day this year will be Oct. 7.

From July 5 through Aug. 9 there will also be a Wednesday evening market from 5 to 9 p.m., also with food, activities for kids and music.  

The market is located on Martin Square between Ridge and Chestnut roads in downtown Homewood.

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