In the closing days of the election campaign for a new Oak Park village president, all the worst instincts of the Village Manager Association (VMA) came into view. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't fair. It wasn't effective.
It closed out in recent weeks as a contentious battle between two formerly collegial River Forest village trustees. But voters Tuesday chose Cathy Adduci as the next village president over Michael Gibbs by a decisive margin. Adduci tallied 64 percent of the vote to Gibbs' 36 percent.
For the past six weeks here at the Journal, we've been interviewing local candidates as we readied our endorsements for today's edition. Thanks to my colleagues for all the hours invested, to the candidates for taking part and to Alicia Plomin of our staff who coordinated all the scheduling.
Contested elections are good. They force candidates and political groups to think and adapt. They demand that local media step up and perform. They give voters responsibility to take their job of choosing seriously.
Terry Finnegan, the sole OPRF school board incumbent in the April election, will not be planting any lawn signs. He won't be printing any brochures. Instead he suggests that you take any money you might have donated to his campaign and "take your family out for dinner" or "maybe make a donation to Hephzibah or Sarah's Inn or another one of our great local charities."
It is a daunting thing to sponsor a candidate event. Every race has its peculiar challenges. Remarkably, there are 13 candidates running for four seats on the school board at OPRF. And that is down from the original 15 folks.
One of the best things about a contested election in a small town is the campaign "names list." Who, among those you sit in church with, jaw with on the soccer sidelines, knew their uncle, dated their sister, saw quoted in the Journal, is backing whom?