LIVE blog: Oak Park president, trustee holding second forum tonight

Live blog of conversation, questions available on Oak

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

Staring at 7 p.m. tonight, Village President Anan Abu-Taleb, joined by Trustee Adam Salzman, will be hosting the second forum of Abu-Taleb's presidency.

The first forum was held in August at the Oak Park Public Library with Abu-Taleb and Trustee Bob Tucker. Read a recap forum that forum.

Tonight's meeting will run from 7-8:30 p.m. and will be held at Cheney Mansion, 220 N. Euclid Ave.

October's forum will begin with an opportunity for residents to voice concerns about development plans at Lake and Forest, among other issues.

"The Board has a big decision to make this fall on economic development. Are we going to continue down the same path that led us to our present situation? Or will we change our strategy?" Salzman said. "We can't answer questions this important unless we hear directly from our residents, without constraints or time limits. I am really pleased that this forum will provide that opportunity."

For those unable to attend the forum, Wednesday Journal will provide a live blog via The forums, which are designed to be informal conversations between residents and elected officials, allow for questions to be asked to the elected officials. Questions readers want answered can also be posted below in the comment section or sent by email to

Email: Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

17 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 10th, 2013 1:16 PM

@dystOPia, This wasn't a board meeting discussion.If it were, then I would agree with the protocol and process you lay out. It wasn't for us to hear from them, it was for them to hear from us.Many notes (ideas, concerns, questions) from residents were taken, on one of those giant notepads, and those notes are being brought back to the whole Board.There was no reason to make all board members (and Clerk) show up for yet another meeting (unless they wanted to, as Trustee Lueck was in attendance).

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: October 10th, 2013 9:42 AM

@Bridgett ... I completely understand that the public comment process at board meetings is abyssmal. I am just saying that a board meeting discussion requires any comments by citizens or board members to be included in the public record, which serves as a means of accountability. Also, I would like to hear from all board members, not just two, so as to better understand the official position of the overall village board, and how they are representing the public interest on this issue.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: October 10th, 2013 9:33 AM

@Anna Lothson ... thanks for the update. If one were attempting to remain informed on this topic, the Oct. 7 board meeting that you reported would include this topic was an important item. If the board decided to re-schedule until Oct. 21, I would have expected board members Abu-Taleb and Salzman to announce this at the beginning of their Oct. 8 public forum, with any necessary explanation. They did not, which goes to my concern about lack of public disclosure re. status of this project.


Posted: October 9th, 2013 1:52 PM

Ms. Lothson, see comment posted at 7:25. As long as you didn't know he was in the room there is no problem with the integrity of the blog process.

Anna Lothson from Wednesday Journal   

Posted: October 9th, 2013 11:36 AM

@Gizmodog. To clarify, you are correct. The purpose of a live blog is to engage people who aren't at the meeting. Unless people were posting on the live blog from a smartphone while in the room (I can't imagine anyone was), all questions I asked were from readers who were not in the same room.

Anna Lothson from Wednesday Journal   

Posted: October 9th, 2013 11:26 AM

@dystOPia from OP: To answer your question about the Oct. 7 date, staff had mentioned the 7th as the next possible time to bring up the topic. It was then decided to have it at the meeting on Oct. 21 because of potential board schedule conflicts. I can't recall if it was formally decided it would be on the Oct 21 agenda that night or not, but that's what I've been told as of today.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 11:17 AM

@dystOPia, I'm trying to understand what is "contrary." It was an open meeting, publicized many different ways, giving residents a platform to speak freely and to be heard. And other residents got to hear from them. While I appreciate Anan and Adam's contribution to the discussion, comments from the residents, some of whom are current and former elected officials, were invaluable. The forum, maybe hosted by one guy, wasn't about one guy.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 11:00 AM

@dystOPia, I'm glad the Lake-Forest topic wasn't on Monday's agenda. I found last night's forum, which much of the talking was done by well-informed residents, to be enlightening. I do not think that such candid and detailed talk would have happened using the "public comment" process at a Village Board meeting. And, looking to engage the community, I think that last night's forum might encourage more folks to attend the Board meeting, when this topic is put on the agenda.


Posted: October 9th, 2013 5:22 AM

It is my impression that blogging helps people participate in an event when they could not physically be present for the discussion. But, I question the integrity of that form of communication when the reporter/blogger is posing a question from somebody who is in the same room. It is the journalistic equivalent of two "tweens" texting each other in a car while being driven to the mall so their conversation isn't overheard by Mom the driver.

Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 11:46 PM

As with the last forum in August, this was a great opportunity for frank conversion with our elected representatives. No one may get the answer they expect, but they will be listened to.


Posted: October 8th, 2013 10:46 PM

Nothing in the publicity about this meeting said that it would only be about Lake & Forest, but that sure is the way it seemed to turn our; which was very different from the last one. On the subject of getting more participation, it would help if the moderator called on everyone she didn't know first.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 9:11 PM

@MargieGreenwald ... the village cannot provide public notice or a public record of this event, as it was not a village event. If you submitted your contact info to the 2013 Committee to Elect Anan Abu-Taleb on their website, you would have been notified of this event via tweets by Citizen Anan Abu Taleb. What's next? Trustee Johnson holding his own public forum sponsored by VMA?

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 8:58 PM

President Abu-Talem is no longer a candidate running for office as a citizen, but rather an elected official serving the community. Therefore, he is part of a village board that may choose to schedule a public forum as a government body, with due public notice and record of discussion. Or he may accept an invitation by any organization to attend a public forum. But to initiate a public forum as a citizen through his campaign organization is contrary to public service as an elected official.

Marge Greenwald from OP  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 8:26 PM

Why am I finding out about this now? Why is the publicity not in FYI or other widely circulated medium. Feels like a campaign meeting.


Posted: October 8th, 2013 7:31 PM

@dystopia - not sure what the point is of trying to establish tonight's forum as belonging to a (previous) candidate...the topic is critical to many in the Village. What's the difference if it's being hosted by Anan, or any other village official, as long as it's being hosted, and anyone is welcome, without having to pay at the door?

Adam Wallace from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 7:19 PM

@dystOPia Village President Abu-Taleb and Trustee Salsman are meeting with the community. Why do they need "official capacity"? Anan is fulfilling a campaign promise to meet and discuss community issues with Oak Park residents. Why do you begin the conversation on a negative/attacking tone? What is bad about two public officials meeting with the public? I'm glad to see campaign promises being fulfilled and even happier to see the public being engaged in politics outside of an election. Good Job President Abu-Taleb and Trustee Salzman!

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 6:38 PM

According to a previous WJ article (Sept. 17), staff recommended including the Lake-Forest site issue as an agenda item for the Oct. 7 regular board meeting, which it was not. WHY NOT? Also, tonight's forum is administered by the 'Committee to Elect Anan Abu-Taleb', as per This forum is not an official village meeting, nor is it being administered by an objective nonpartisan organization. WHY NOT? In what official capacity are Anan Abu-Taleb and Adam Salzman acting?

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