After all the heated rhetoric last fall and early this year, no one would have been surprised if the Chicago Zoological Society ignored the recent deadline for the payment of an amusement tax imposed by the village of Brookfield in late December.

Zoo officials were adamant that the tax was unconstitutional and sought the assistance of the state legislature to outlaw such a tax as a way of putting an exclamation point on their point of view.

What was really surprising was when, in mid-February, the village of Brookfield received a check from the zoo for almost $20,000. It was their payment for that same tax, through Jan. 31, basically until the date Gov. Pat Quinn signed the General Assembly’s bill into law.

In a letter to the village that accompanied the check, zoo VP Kenneth Kaduk stated that the amount was being paid under protest and that the zoo retained its right to litigate the matter in the future.

Our take on the check is that the zoo wasn’t so sure about the unconstitutionality of the tax, after all. And that the state legislature would step in to limit the power of a single municipality to impose such a tax remains troublesome to us.

Village President Michael Garvey said he has resumed talks with the zoo and that relations are thawing. The zoo also met recently with both the Riverside and Brookfield chambers of commerce.

If this is an indication of fence-mending, we’re all for it. We’re also all for the recognition that the zoo perhaps isn’t the self-sufficient island it made itself out to be during the wrangling over the amusement tax.

Oh, and Brookfield, do you really need that $22 from Brixie’s? If you’re not getting any more checks from the zoo, repeal the tax and give the guy a break.


Why skip RBHS forum?

Is the format of the forum featuring candidates for the Riverside-Brookfield High School board ideal? No. But, come on, four of the seven candidates won’t participate?

This is, as far as we know, the only forum to which all candidates were invited to participate and share their views. It will be broadcast live on RBTV and re-broadcast before the election.

Candidates owe it to voters to participate in the forum despite their concerns over the venue or lack of a live audience. Regardless of who set the ground rules or called the League of Women Voters to schedule the event, we expect the League will do a fine job moderating the discussion and asking questions that all voters care about.

Candidates should stop worrying about control issues and start worrying about stating their cases to voters in any forum provided to them. The point is for information to be disseminated, no?

But with only three of seven candidates participating, plenty of info is going to be missing, and that’s a shame.