By John Hubbuch
The announcement that Maya Del Sol owner Anan Abu-Taleb has tossed his chapeau into the Village President ring for the spring election has caused the small band of villagers who follow these things to get all tingly with excitement. I feel like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in the Andy Hardy movie where Judy declares that the gang is going to put on a real show.( I apologize to any readers less than 50 who probably have no idea what I am talking about.) Maybe we will have a real election for Village President.
Anam Abu- Taleb on paper seems a formidable candidate. He was born in Palestine and has a funny name, and we like diversity. He's lived here for 23 years and raised four kids. We like roots. He got a degree from the University of Chicago. We like smart. And he owns an Oak Park restaurant. So he's run something before. We like competence. Plus he was wearing a suit in his newspaper photo, and didn't have wild hair , a beard or crazy eyes. So far . So good.
I do see a few possible problems with his candidacy. His newspaper bio made no reference to any involvement in Oak Park other than owning a business and living here. No service on a commission. No volunteering. No sports coaching. Maybe that's a good thing, but bossing around restaurant employees is very different from herding fellow Board members and our involved citizenry.
AAT will need an organization to challenge the VMA. He will need workers to do all the retail work of a Village election. He will need issues. I'm not convinced that his reference to fiscal resposibility goes anywhere given that the Village is a small part of our tax bills, and is not the reason for recent tax increases from all the referenda which we voted for.
AAT in his announcement said he was concerned that our children might not be able to live here. So what? It is the way of the world. Housing prices increase ,and if you don't make enough to buy a home in the town where you were born, you buy elsewhere. That has happened in history. So buy a home in Forest Park or Berwyn. Or give your home to your kid.
His newspaper comments that he wasn't pleased with the permit process for his successful restaurant raises a small red flag. Be wary of anyone running for office for personal reasons.
No doubt there is lots to learn about AAT in the coming months. I'm pleased that he has decided to run. It probably makes little difference if he or John Hedges win, but at least I'll get some material for my blog and column. Better yet , maybe we can get some free food at Maya Del Sol. Nachos for all!