Something is going to be built at Oak Park and Madison — or Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb is going to go down trying. The vacant, village-owned block on the northeast corner of that intersection has been vacant for 30 years. It's the world's most expensive Christmas tree lot — for five weeks of the year.
Last week the village board, in its guise as the duly constituted Ethics Commission, squished a complaint from a frustrated citizen, Chris Donovan, a regular in the public comments portion of village board meetings and in the Journal's Viewpoints section, who seemingly doesn't like plans for a retail and condo project on that site, doesn't like the so-called "road diet" to ease traffic on Madison, really doesn't like the proposed "road bend" intended to gather more square footage for a large retailer, a grocery store, we've reported. Mostly though, Donovan doesn't seem to like the village's two-term mayor.
Abu-Taleb has private talks with developers, says Donovan. Who do we expect to be having private talks with developers? Abu-Taleb is on the board of the reconstituted Oak Park Economic Development Corporation. Who else would be on the board of OPEDC?
Is it all perfect? No. We've raised concerns about transparency, but we recognize the inevitability of tension between full transparency and getting projects actually built. Not a strength of Oak Park in the past.
Oak Park had an election nine months back. Abu-Taleb ran unopposed. Don't like the mayor? Find a candidate to run against him.
Answer Book 2018
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2018 Answer Book, please click here.
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