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La Grange Village Board again raises safety comimission issue

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By Joe Sinopoli, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Suburban Life Publications
Posted Feb 09, 2010 @ 11:12 AM
Last update Feb 09, 2010 @ 11:18 AM
La Grange, IL — The formation of a Public Safety Commission was resurrected by the Village Board Monday, Feb. 8. But questions remain as to what the duties of such a commission would have — or if it is even needed.

Trustee Michael Horvath, who raised the issue, said such a commission sends a message to the pubic that public safety is just as important as economic development to the community. He likened the commission to the village’s current Community and Economic Development Commission.

“I see it as a value add and a resource that would really help the community improve its ability to understand what public safety issues are and deliver public safety solutions — no different than any other commissions we have,” he said.

Village President Elizabeth Asperger said residents can always participate and provide input with all issues, particularly with respect to public safety.

“But these issues tend not to be as simple on their face as they are in reality, they can be very complex,” Asperger said. “When you consider a particular traffic safety issue, whether it’s vehicular safety or pedestrian movement, very small changes can have very significant consequences that might not be apparent at first blush.”

That, she said, is why the community relies on its professional staff which is studied, well versed and knows the entire community.

“And quite frankly, that’s our job as elected officials to evaluate that as residents and representatives of the whole community, and make the policy decisions we need to make, ensuring that they don’t simply affect one group of folks, but that we look at the whole community picture,” she said.

Horvath said his vision is that of an advisory commission.

“I don’t think it’s a policy making body nor do I see it as a judiciary body on the delivery of public service,” he said. “I see it more as an input, sounding board communications vehicle, organizational assistance, information assistance. It would assist staff, not hinder it. I think there is some really good expertise in the community.”

Horvath first called for the formation of the commission last year following the death of Countryside resident Cari Cook, who was killed while crossing 47th Street on May 19. Cook’s death prompted a community meeting between some 200 residents, state and village officials. A series of safety improvements along 47th Street and other part so of the village have been completed and more are being planned as an outcome.

“I just think it puts an official stamp on public safety,” Horvath said. “It’s not that we’re doing a bad job, I would like to see an improvement.”

Source: La Grange Suburban Life -

Cari Lyn Cook (Stevens)

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