Who's Running for Office in Oak Forest?

The deadline for filing has passed; now find out who's running for office in Oak Forest in April.

Oak Forest residents will see a few fresh faces on the ballot April 9.

As the filing deadline passed Dec. 26, Oak Forest Clerk Scott Burkhardt closed the books on the two-week filing window, with 11 names officially filed. Burkhardt accepts the filings, then sends them off to the state to verify signature requirements and ensure the potential candidates meet all state-mandated requirements.

Below is a list of candidates:


  • Hank Kuspa*

City Clerk

  • Scott Burkhardt*
  • Carl Stegner

City Treasurer

  • Jo Ann Kelly

2nd Ward Alderman

  • Rich Simon*

4th Ward Alderman

  • John Janozik
  • Chuck Toland* 

6th Ward Alderman

  • Ken Barry
  • James Hortsman
  • Peter Muscarella*
  • Greg Simos

* Denotes incumbent candidate

Mike Fangman December 29, 2012 at 04:20 PM
That's it Darnell, blame Obama.
Baba Wawa December 29, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Yes, Darnell. Blame Obama because Hank Kuspa is running unopposed.
Mike Fangman December 30, 2012 at 05:29 AM
There is one thing I do know about Midlothian elections: we're going to elect a new Village Clerk. Mike Woike died of cancer just before Halloween.
phxdr December 30, 2012 at 09:06 AM
I was getting thrilled about a challenger to Toland, until I seen John Janozik is a Oak Forest Fire Lt. The problem with current and former city employees holding office is that we get even MORE of the same...more spending and less cutting.
phxdr December 30, 2012 at 09:13 AM
Christiana- I share your thoughts on Toland (believe me I do). Let me ask a question. When firefighter contracts come up how do you think Janozik will vote? Think he we vote to be conservative with the OF taxpayers money and get the best value we can get or will he vote to give even bigger paychecks to city employees and raise taxes to cover that later on? There are CLEAR examples of this when current-long former city employees run for office. They look out for their "buds" and not the taxpayers.
phxdr December 30, 2012 at 09:30 AM
The writting is on the wall people. Home prices still have not gone up enough for us to feel we can get what we want for our place. We still have some things we are doing now to get it ready and on the market. If anyone thinks that the people on this list will make anything better here in town they are living in a delusion. Some on this list are the same old that have proven they can not be trusted and run the town properly. The "new" are people that will do more harm then good. This ship has long struck the iceberg and is taking on water...I am going to see to it that I am on a lifeboat and off of it by moving out of OF! The higher property taxes comming year after year after year. The higher taxes, higher water rates. Increased spending for city employees who are friends of the council. Those who are smart will leave, those who are not so smart will stay.
Janozik for 4th Ward Alderman December 30, 2012 at 05:53 PM
phxdr: I understand your concerns, however, the reason I chose to run is because I see exactly whats going inside... There is no direction in the 4th ward (abandoned homes in deplorable conditions, poor streets, lack of lighting, blame being placed on homeowners and so on) and the city has no true plan because of the cronyism. I am a VERY concervative individual and plan on being fiscally responsible in ALL aspects. The problem is some aldermen sit there and rubber stamp everything through instead of asking questions, I understand some questions are asked behind the scene, but the citizens need to know what questions are being asked by their alderman so they understand the concerns. I will be available to answer questions and concerns to the people of the 4th ward, something we lack. Its great to have an email blast with things that are forwarded to you, (and think thats "keeping the lines of communications open") but the real reason for the email blast is to advertise your business especially when you sign it under your business name and not as your alderman. Why would I be running against an insider if I was an insider? I expect a hard fight and only because I wont be welcomed as an alderman from the inside... I plan on asking questions.
Janozik for 4th Ward Alderman December 30, 2012 at 05:56 PM
When a firefighter contract comes up, because I would have a vested interest, I would abstain from the vote. The contract was just renewed and wont be up until the next 4th ward alderman race.
Janozik for 4th Ward Alderman December 30, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Christina: Thank you for your comments, I have spoken to 90 people when I walked around for my petitions and I recieved the same comments from the people of the 4th ward. I want to be a great alderman and I know I will build the confidence of the residents. I know people will have concerns and comments to say about me being an employee, however I am of supervisory status and not management. I dont have the power for direction of various departments or the city administration. I feel we need to set a business plan into place (among other things) and if one is in place, it isnt working. The citizens of Oak Forest need to be the main concern, especially the seniors.
Brian Ahlgrim January 02, 2013 at 03:52 PM
As I read your response to phxdr, there are quite a few things that disturb me in regards to your answer. It looks to me, that you already have started a "smear campaign" against Alderman Toland. You blame the direction of the 4th ward on him. Last I checked, and maybe I am wrong here, it costs money to fix streets, get lighting, and restore abandon homes or tear them down. But, then, you directly blame the city for no true plan! Which is it??? Every politician says they plan on being fiscally responsible, yet, you are already spending money to fix citizens concerns without any plan of where it will come from and who will pay. Then you criticize them for rubber stamping, yet, you give no specifics!! Every single concern I had in the 4th ward, Ald. Toland answered promptly. I can also say that about Ald. Wolf, as I have lived in her district as well. Also, the email blasts that get sent out, well, you are accusing a man who has grew up in Oak Forest, donated his time, money, abilities, the charitable contributions, coaching when he has no child in the system, to advertise his own business???? Wow!!! I understand it is politics, but, that, is completely uncalled for, unprofessional(given you are a city employee), and downright nasty. I would love to hear exactly what you have done for the city the last 30 odd years, as Ald. Toland has, and even his mother, whom was a city employee. Last that I checked, Ald. Toland's cell phone number is in those emails
Brian Ahlgrim January 02, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Lt. Janozik, You discuss seniors in this last post I read. And, yes, I believe that seniors need to be taken care of. They get various breaks on various things with the city. I can applaud Oak Forest for doing that. But, you emphasize the seniors. What about me? No, not me, what about all the other DISABLED VETERANS that live in Oak Forest and live check to check because they can't work?? I am sorry, and real sorry if you are a veteran, but last I checked, I, yes, ME, fought for YOUR RIGHTS, and what did I get???? A disability check monthly, because I can't work. Oak Forest has NO COMPASSION for disabled vets, none. It is always the seniors!! Do I get a break on my city sticker???
Brian Ahlgrim January 02, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Do I get a break on taxes, free rides to the doctor????? A shuttle service to take me shopping???? It really is a shame that all you politicians care about is the seniors, because that is a good turn out for you, and Oak Forest isn't getting anymore youthful!! But, then there is the injured soldier.....and you turn your backs!!!! It sickens me that ALL politicians are after the votes that will show up come election time. Can I get a ride so I can vote??? Nope!!!!!!!!!!!!! All this talk about insiders, democrats, republicans, complaints. Why doesn't everyone who posted on here go join the military and fight for your damn rights. I did, and I fought for yours!!! All of you make me sick!!!!!! It is all about you!!! THAT IS WHY OUR NATION AND CITY ARE IN THE SHAPE THEY ARE IN!!!
Brian Ahlgrim January 02, 2013 at 04:16 PM
And Christina, yes, bankruptcy information is public record. I, personally, have no clue who Mr. Stegner is, but, do you know why he filed bankruptcy???? Was there 250k in medical bills??? Did his house burn down??? Was there a death??? Loss of income???? You all judge people for actions that may be far from what they appear. On the other hand, I might agree, him handling a clerk's position might not be best, but let us please learn why it happened first, before we decide to play the Higher Power and judge!!
Brian Ahlgrim January 02, 2013 at 04:19 PM
I would like to apologize to the staff of the Patch for my rant! But, as a citizen, I have a right to my opinion. You can agree or not.
Resident of Oak Forest January 02, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Why does Oak Forest need 7 aldermen? And correct me if I'm wrong but I believe they each make $8000/year. With as little business that is currently in Oak Forest and nothing looking promising for the future, couldn't that number be cut in 1/2 and the money saved put to use for other things such as cleaning up 159th street to make it more desirable to bring business in?
michelle pruitt January 02, 2013 at 11:58 PM
I think Chuck has done a great on as alderman. I live in the 3rd ward, but my parents still live in Chucks ward. Anytime my mother has an issue and contacts Chuck he has taken care of it as fast as he can. I say vote for Chuck Toland!
phxdr January 03, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Brian- I would like to reply to your comment but it has so many errors in it, I have NO idea what you are talking about (it helps if you proofread). Here let me help make you feel better by saying "Alderman Toland is a swell guy". There, now I can walk around Oak Forest in a delusion with a big giant stupid smile on my face like so many others! To be honest I am so done with this town its not funny. It is similar to the town of Redbud in the movie "funny farm". We have a part time former Mayor making full time pay as a secretary for Kuspa, a Finance Director who recommends tax increases but lives out of town and now Joanne Kelly is comming back (clearly she would now like to see what other damage she can do in a different position). If Jack the Ripper was on the above list, it would not stun me in the least. We just want to be able to sell our place and not take a huge hit and get out of here.
Brian Ahlgrim January 03, 2013 at 12:08 PM
phxdr-Thanks for the comments!!! And, if I made no sense to you, I truly apologize. I was responding to Janozik and not you. However, thank you for making me feel so much better. Based on your "name" here, I could assume you are a doctor of some sort. You probably work very hard, long hours, and I understand all your frustration with Oak Forest as a whole. As the educated person that I am sure you are....as you want ME to proof read what I write, I would suggest you install spell check. That aside, because I do understand typos or maybe even a bit of anger while typing, I wish you would have read every comment that I had put on here. First, I am a disabled veteran from the Persian Gulf war. So, when you tell me I make no sense, that is fine, maybe, just maybe, you could have joined me in that war, saw what I saw, feel what I felt, and relive it every single day of my life. So, this will make no sense to you also, because, see, I do have issues regarding concentration and coherency. Yet, you mock me in a a public forum, such as this, without knowing all of your facts. Did you serve??? Did you see people getting killed??? Have you had nightmares for 20 odd years??? Don't you dare judge me on what you interpret as "no idea" what I am talking about. All this, and you hide behind call letters for your name. You are right, I have no idea what I am talking about. But, I do know this....I served this city, state and country so you have the freedom to judge me freely.
Julie Frangella January 03, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Well said Michelle! One person can not fix all of the problems of Oak Forest. I thank Chuck for his service to Oak Forest, as well as all the others that hold office. I myself would never want to take on such tasks and always appreciate those that do, even if I agree or disagee with decisions made. I do live in the 4th ward and anytime I had a question, Chuck Toland gave a quick response. He has also made himself available throughout his term. Chuck has been a valuable asset to the community of Oak Forest.
Sue1 January 03, 2013 at 08:46 PM
One thing you have to remember is that the Alderman vote on contracts they don't negotiate them. That is done by City Manager and Clerk. The 4th Ward is not my ward and I don't know either of these guys. It is sad that this country as a whole doesn't better support our veterans, but I think you're off base attacking one guy while you seem to support the other that has been in office. Has he tried to do anything for the vets of our community? You bring up an excellent point. Why are you not getting the same benefits as seniors?
Brian Ahlgrim January 04, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Sue1-I am not trying to attack anyone. Lt. Janozik posted that there is no direction in the 4th ward or the City. If I seem like I am attacking him, it is because he stated, " The citizens of Oak Forest need to be the main concern, especially the seniors." Why is he so concerned about seniors? Because the percentage of them voting is high. I am trying to make a point that, although I do agree the seniors need to be taken care of, there also are others of us that may need help also. As you can see, he has not addressed my post. I will give him a fair shake to answer these questions. And, yes, I know Alderman Toland personally. But, with that, I will tell you that our political views are so different that we would never agree on a thing if we worked together. The Lt has made reference to the streets, lighting, foreclosed homes. Well, look around Oak Forest AND the country. It took a child, whom my daughter knows, to get hit by a car to get lighting in one ward. The streets cost money, and who will pay??? Foreclosed homes?? What can you really do, the banks own them. He has taken the time to criticize the current Alderman, accused him of propaganda blast emails for Toland's own interests. Personally, I would love to mediate a debate with them. I know that won't happen, but, I would just like to know exactly where this man is coming from. I think that is fair. And since he took the time to put it on here, he should answer or respond to me on here.
Brian Ahlgrim January 04, 2013 at 12:15 AM
And to answer the veteran question, there is nobody, I MEAN nobody, who can answer that question for me. I have tried and tried, and all I get is blown off by most. Do you realize thatan active duty member gets a break on his sticker, amongst other things? Yes, the servicemember does. My question is, what if they are deployed?? And, really, how many active duty members live here. We aren't near any base I can think of. On a more positive point, my dealings with the VA in Hines, IL and up in North Chicago(Naval Base, but I was Army) have been better than good. I also commend the State for trying to help, and do the best they can. I realize everything costs money, and, yes, maybe I do not get the best care, but it's close, and people that work with disabled veterans are generally great people. Nothing will ever get done about veterans in this city. I know that. There are not enough that a politician would care. And throw in a disability, forget it. This is one reason that I have decided to move out of Oak Forest in the coming months and live in a much more veteran friendly state. And, as my "I should proofread" buddy, who needs spell check himself, wants to complain about property values and how he can't get what he wants for his home....look around, everyone is in that boat. But, he has that "me" mentality that so many have, nothing will ever get done. He told me I made no sense, and the only point that he made was his house isn't at the value he feels he should get
Brian Ahlgrim January 04, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Blame Oak Forest for that....yeah, ok. If he is indeed a doctor as I have suggested, he has to be intelligent enough to realize that this is/was a national problem, created by greedy banks, over zealous lenders, and certainly ever appraiser in America should have their licensed stripped. But, he suggests that it is JoAnn Kelly's fault, or Kuspa, Toland, Jack the Ripper....come on!! But, I would like to give Lt. Janozik every opportunity to respond to the issues....but don't plant a seed in a forum and then run away. No where in there did he state how he was going to fix it. Just I am going to work hard. So, please, just give me your plan to fix it and I can make an informed decision.
Janozik for 4th Ward Alderman January 04, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Mr Ahlrim- 1.) Thank you for your service to the country. 2.) You are questioning me about a post for seniors which is what I believe in, however I am open to suggestions. When I comment about seniors I wasn't closing the door on anyone else with my statement, so again I would be open to creating breaks for disabled vets. 3.) Have you ever looked at the City of Oak Forest web site? You talk about transportation however, here is a rule of the senior bus that I found for you that you might be interested in: "Free bus transportation is available to seniors (60 years or older) and disabled individuals, (18 years or older) who live in Oak Forest." This should help you out.
Janozik for 4th Ward Alderman January 04, 2013 at 08:04 PM
4) He IS your friend afterall, shouldn't you be questioning Chuck as the CURRENT sitting alderman? I am a candidate for the office, so Im not quite sure why you are complaining about a city service which are at the direction of the city and IT'S administration, not a candidate. Your statements don't really help his cause! You facebook posted to him yesterday about your: "patch battle with this idiot is now in a personal stage ME VS HIM." Now I am assuming I am supposed to be the" idiot" and you're real concern is to defend Chuck and simply bash me with something. You are obviously making judement OF me with out knowing about me and most people would just send an email or simply ask a question... not BATTLE as you indicated in your post. Remember, I am the one talking to citizens and the lack of direction is part of the feedback I am getting back from those citzens. I am moving on with this post and will focus on issues lacking in the city. I will not "battle" on here with you, since it is obvious that you have an alterior motive for the postings. Thank you
chuck toland January 04, 2013 at 08:55 PM
John, as a city employee, you know that it would be impossible for me to add all my constituents to the address book to email them from my city account. I respond to individual emails from there all the time, but forwarding information to the residents would be impossible from that account. That's the only reason I send emails from my presonal/work account (and I work on city business at work a lot of the time). I have often sent out an email to the group saying if anyone would like to be removed from the list to let me know, and I will remove them. When people send me an email at the city address and ask me to add them to my email list, I explain to them that it will be coming from my work address and tell them to add the address to their contacts so the emails don't go into spam. I am very upfront about this and everything else I do. phxdr even knows I do not lie or shy away from my decisions, votes and direction. I have had several conversations with him and others on items we disagree with, and I will/had always reply(ied) to every question, problem or suggestion ever directed to me. Jack, you are on that distribution list, and get every email I am talking about. This is the second mistruth you have chosen to put out there about me. I will not do the same. You'll be happy to know I'll remove you from my email list so you don't get email blasts advertising my business. As a resident of the 4th ward, feel free to contact me about any other concerns you have.
EMM January 04, 2013 at 09:21 PM
I think we can all agree that our town has some major issues to deal with, being taxed to death is the first that comes to mind. But I have to say that Chuck Toland has given his blood and sweat for Oak Forest. He goes above and beyond, I don't live in his ward and only met him a couple of times but the way some of you are trashing his reputation is disgusting. Here's an idea, if you don't like it get off your behind and do something about it, run for office yourself or volunteer to make our community better. I really wanted a dog park, I heard about it from Laura probably December 2011 and was one of the first to volunteer my time and commit to fundraising because it was important to me. Well we accomplished our goal, probably comparing apples to oranges here but I'm sure you get my point, you can't change anything if all you do is sit at your computer and complain on patch. If you want change you have to step up to the plate otherwise you're just part of the problem. Rant over.
Sue1 January 08, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Brian, maybe attack wasn't the appropriate word. A debate would be an excellent idea. The statements you made regarding the City not being willing to do anything for veterans because there aren't that many of them, is crazy. I know it's probably true, but seems like you could use that to your point that they could do more because the City won't take a big hit financially. I know they probably aren't interested because the numbers aren't there for votes. That's just disgusting. I agree that a person can't say ,"vote for me I will work hard" but it reminds me of the last mayoral election. I never heard any plans from the Mayor, and he won. so strange things happen.
phxdr January 11, 2013 at 05:56 PM
The people of China and N Korea also worship their leaders. In a republic form of government the questions asked need to be: - Are the current elected leaders doing what is best for the taxpayers (the employers, the boss)? -Are they running the government in a way that makes it efficient? EVERYONE CAN BALANCE A BUDGET BY TAX INCREASES. It takes work to cut. I am not saying there has been no cutting, but the overwhelming majority of balancing has been done on the backs of the taxpayers. Chuck is a nice guy but it is however time for him to go. This is a suburb that is suppose to give the best bang for the buck to the ones who pay for the services of the city. This is not a rotary club.
phxdr January 11, 2013 at 05:58 PM
You ID the problems yet you make excuses for those in positions of making change. Sigh.... "In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve." Alexis de Tocqueville


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