By John Hubbuch
Oak Park elections either have too many candidates or too few. Like the Goldilocks story, it's hard to get it just right. District 200's filing period has concluded and we have 15 candidates for 4 spots.Too many. But even worse is District 97 which has 3 candidates for 3 positions. Too few.
So the District 200 race will be so cluttered and noisy that we poor voters will really have no very good idea who we are voting for. We'll decide on the random comments of our neighbors who have kids at the high school or the endorsement of the papers. Hey. It's better than a dart board. On the the other hand the District 97 campaign will be one of listening to crickets chirp. I am not interested in following a coronation.
Perhaps the number of candidates for these elections is a measure of citizen satisfaction with the two governing bodies. Maybe everyone is pretty happy with District 97 so no one wants to run . It is a pain to get your signatures and go to lots of redundant forums in the cold early spring. Obviously the natives are restless in District 200. Some years of stockpiling cash reserves and Board indifference to tax payer complaint has obviously rubbed some folks the wrong way. Three current Board members chose not to run providing further evidence of heat in the kitchen.
I'm always wary of single issue candidates. District 200 confronts lots of issues besides the very important one of how it pays for itself. Let's hope the candidates address issues other than finance-- minority achievement, drugs and drinking, special ed, curriculum, the bottom quartile, and many others.
Just remember as unhappy as you may be with a current Board, you can always do worse. If only some of the 200 candidates had chosen to run for District 97 office, we like Goldilocks in Baby Bear's bed would have gotten it 'just right". Democracy is a messy business.
On an unrelated note I was disappointed with the last minute resolution of our tax/spending crisis. Going off a fiscal cliff was one of the items in my personal bucket list. I'm comforted by the thought that there will be further opportunities.