He talks about the great principal and the failing principal. And test scores don't come up. No mention of data or technology. Rather, Jean-Claude Brizard, the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, describes walking into two Chicago elementary schools, neither in the affluent neighborhoods of the city, and knowing almost instantly that one principal was a high flyer, the other rudderless.
The Oak Park village board is on to me. Or maybe they are on to us. That would be all of us who use the annual fall leaf collection — the only free service remaining in Oak Park — to dispose of, oh, so many things.
Oak Park, it has been said, is Evanston without the lake. Or perhaps Evanston is Oak Park without Wright and Hemingway. Or perhaps Oak Park is Evanston without the airs. Oh, that's right, we are just as smug — and just as insecure — as Evanston.
Late Sunday afternoon I was driving around northeast Oak Park, trying to explain to my wife Mary the finer point of some discussion that had taken place at the office the previous week. Sometimes it is good to just drive and talk. There are no kids in the car. You're not waiting for a commercial to continue the discussion. There are no distractions.
I have, over the years, been tough on Cook County Commissioner Earlean Collins. I have criticized her for being invisible in representing Oak Park and Austin on the Cook County board. Yes, it is possible I once offered $100 cash to anyone who ever spotted her in our fair village. I have criticized her for being complicit in the tax-hog, boondoggling, stuck-in-the-'50s approach to running the gigantic government that is the County of Cook.
Joel Sheffel, a lively and pugnacious advocate for people with disabilities in Oak Park and beyond, was found dead in his Oak Park apartment on Monday. Mr. Sheffel was 68 and reportedly suffered from leukemia, according to a spokeswoman for the Oak Park Housing Authority. He had last been seen at The Oaks late on Sunday evening.