It is hard to be at war with a zoo.

Mostly people love zoos. Happy memories are made. Animal conservation is admirable. And those little chimps, well, they’re adorable.

Lately, though, Brookfield Zoo is acting the part of the 800-pound gorilla – bullying and intimidating the village of Brookfield as the town tries to reorient its ties to the zoo in a way that is financially reasonable, especially in these hard times.

While the zoo is the main reason most people have a clue as to Brookfield’s whereabouts, the upside for the town is hard to identify. Efforts to build commerce off the zoo’s considerable traffic have been modest at best. And over the past year, the village’s sometimes ham-handed efforts to negotiate a financial partnership with the zoo have been disrespected and abused.

An attempt to create an amusement tax that would raise revenue for the village based on a tax on zoo attendance was smacked down. A long-running negotiation over pass-through water rates was difficult and confusing.

At every turn the zoo turned on its PR megaphone and manipulated its loyal members into thoughtless opponents of the village’s efforts to rightly raise some additional tax revenue from its largest entity. Now, the zoo has turned its political lobbying apparatus against the village with the surreptitious passage in the state senate of a law that would prohibit Brookfield from revisiting the amusement tax concept.

Pitifully, State Senator Lou Viverito, a Democrat who represents a portion of Brookfield, carried the zoo’s water, so to speak, in sponsoring its amendment to an unrelated bill. Viverito did this without ever talking to Brookfield officials. This fellow bought the zoo’s talking points hook, line and sinker: The poor zoo already boosts Brookfield’s economy. Any amusement tax would result in layoffs and exhibits being closed. What’s next? The suggestion the village will start killing pandas?

Frankly, we’re getting tired of Brookfield Zoo and its bullying ways. The glamour of hosting a collection of ill-tempered animals, and we’re not talking elephants and hippos here, has lost its luster.

Enough with the intimidation tactics. The Village of Brookfield has every right to consider ways to collect money from the zoo. Taking the water pact off the table Monday night was a reasonable response by the village. Working in the Illinois house to defeat the bill is the next step.

Lorraine and Oprah

Come spring, about the time Oprah Winfrey takes her final bow, Lorraine Housa will be packing up her Brook Park School classroom for the final time.

That the careers of these two remarkable women intersected briefly one day this week is a testament to the quirks of celebrity and the reality that everyone, even Oprah, identifies with local heroes.

Housa has been teaching school for 51 years, most all of those years at our own Brook Park. A fellow teacher, Lisa Stukel, nominated Housa as a hero in what turned out to be Winfrey’s annual giveaway extravaganza. Housa was chosen. Stukel joined in the celebration. And on Monday prizes rained down on the two, and nearly 300 other heroes.

Long, though, after the VW Beetle is rust and the Coach purse is at the Goodwill, the impact of great teachers like Lorraine Housa will be remembered and live on through their students.