Village Trustee Martha Brock recently convened an ad hoc committee on the issue of affordable housing, bringing together housing specialists to discuss a too-often-overlooked issue. We like the initiative. We're less than thrilled with the lack of communication.
Brock convened the committee in November without clearly informing her fellow trustees about the work the committee was doing. That's a problem. First of all, other trustees didn't benefit from hearing the discussions. Secondly, they weren't able to offer input on how the committee would be formed and structured, or who would serve. Perhaps that was the intent?#34;freedom from bothersome kibbitzing.
But that kind of freewheeling only leads to chaos. An effective board is a coordinated, collaborative entity. This particular board has already created a badly disjointed impression at times. Pursuing individual agendas will make things worse.
Brock is new to the board, so she may still be getting used to the protocol. Before she was elected last April, she was an activist?#34;in effect, an outsider. Now she's an insider and needs to operate like one?#34;as a member of the team. That means at the very least informing her fellow trustees when she wants to shine a spotlight on important topics.
Affordable housing is an issue that needs to be addressed, and we're glad this group is doing so. As we said, we respect the instincts, but the execution left something to be desired.
When outsiders move inside
Speaking of outsiders and insiders, the grassroots Village Citizens Alliance (VCA) faction of the New Leadership Coalition (NLC) felt left out after the Citizens For Change (CFC) faction won most of the seats in the recent party elections. Welcome to the world of coalition politics. The NLC swept a longstanding institution, the Village Manager Association (VMA), out of office after 50 years. Now the new kids on the block are trying to become an institution themselves, and some members of the coalition are feeling the growing pains. It's not easy holding coalitions together, but the NLC is no longer "the opposition." They're now the ones with power, which is a whole different ballgame. The VMA, on the other hand, held sway for so long because they didn't have any opposition to speak of (with the exception of the short-lived CARE party). The VMA is now "the opposition" and they, too, will have to build a coalition in order to regain their former prominence. A year from now, the village election campaign will be heating up. It will be interesting to see where the dust settles.
Efficient, timely response
The Park District of Oak Park deserves a word of acknowledgement for the speed with which they reacted to Cook County's ban on off-leash canine activity in the parks. Responding with lightning speed in process-intensive Oak Park, they managed to negotiate an alternative and implement it within two months, the blink of an eye in Oak Park time?#34;and in a cost-effective manner to boot. We hope the new arrangement works for all concerned, but at the very least we're impressed by the efficient, timely response to a community need.
? The Jan. 11, Wednesday Journal article titled Collins' step-son killed in auto accident the victim was actually District 97 Superintendent Connie Collins' step-grandson. Wednesday Journal regrets the error.
? In the Jan. 11 Wednesday Journal article on the Jan. 28 meeting of the Oak Park GOP and candidate forum as well as the need for election judges [Oak Park GOP plans candidate forum], we included an incorrect e-mail address. The correct address is oakpkgopaol.com. Wednesday Journal regrets the error.