The Nossaman Chronicles shrouded in mystery

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Why won't the village release the Nossaman reports [In tight budget, more trustees question Ike lobbyist spending, News, Nov. 10]? We may never know. But let's speculate, shall we? Seems like fair game to me. I'll go first.

I think Nossaman is a conglomerate from a distant, future galaxy hell-bent on capping the Ike. That way they can capture all the trapped toxins spewed by our quaint, old-fashioned SUVs and trucks to power their dodo thought machines. To that end they have fashioned such a machine to convince Oak Parkers that expanding the Ike will lead to the destruction of their homes and will draw in alien traffic with the blessings of the evil Illinois Department of Transportation.

Already the machine has Oak Parkers stubbornly voicing opinions against their own best interests. Last week a woman wrote that she is against the expansion because the people on Harrison and Garfield will lose their homes [Anything that stops Ike expansion worth the money, Viewpoints, Nov. 3]. She doesn't say why or how they would lose their homes. She is simply convinced that they will. (I don't think she is an engineer.) Another woman repeats the "it will draw more traffic" mantra, without realizing that a lot of that "more traffic" will be the overflow from the Ike that has been swamping Oak Park residential streets for years.

The machine has erased the question from the minds of Oak Parkers: Just what happens to all the Eisenhower traffic when it is squeezed into three lanes at Austin? Do they think the traffic is vaporized and then reconstituted west of Harlem? The machine has convinced some village trustees that, rather than look after the best interests of Oak Park, they can change the behavior of commuters by extending the Blue Line to some point west. And after years and years of studies and debates and dollars, and some good intentions, meadows and daffodils will bloom over the face of our village.

But maybe the Nossaman reports are less sinister. Maybe they reveal the sources of the funding and the distributions necessary for the small group of people — consultants, engineers, politicians — who profit by keeping the Eisenhower a divisive issue.

Michael O'Malley
Oak Park

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Posted: December 1st, 2010 12:38 PM

Consultant contracts are really a form of white collar patronage. Oak Park boasts of having eliminated the hiring of employees being tied to political favors. The contracting of "outside experts", expecially by no-bid process, remains a real concern. Millions of tax dollars have been wasted on meaningless studies. A more recent trend involves awarding contracts to former department heads. They offer their expertise and receive a hefty check. It's still dealing from the bottom of the deck.

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