Dogs aren't people, too, and other cogent thoughts

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Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others:
Dogs are dogs: It is good to be passionate about your dog. It is a healthy thing to fight for a dog park so your pooch can run and run. It is, though, very strange to write a letter to the editor about those issues and then to sign your names with "Samson's Mom and Dad." We have that letter from Samson's folks running in today's paper.

Judy gets outed: The chances of Judy Baar Topinka being our next governor may have taken a hit Tuesday when Oak Parker and Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown reported that Topinka sidelines as a newspaper columnist. We know how the public feels about journalists these days.

Actually Topinka has been a twice-monthly columnist for a newspaper owned by Wednesday Journal, the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark.

Topinka owned the paper for a short time before she sold it to us in 1997. As much as the state treasurer liked the idea of owning her hometown weekly, you'll be happy to know that the idea of losing money on it by running it as a hobby did not sit well with her thrifty ways. One of the happy conditions of our purchase was her agreement to keep writing her column, which is nothing like the dull, platitudinous essays put out by too-earnest politicians. In fact, Topinka, by agreement, seldom mentions politics. She's too busy writing about her life in Riverside, her son, her dogs, her pals.

In her pre-political days, Topinka was a reporter for another paper now owned by the Journal. That would be the Forest Park Review. Knowing Topinka a little and knowing Bob Haeger?#34;the late, great publisher of the Review?#34;a lot, I'd have to say they had some good times putting out the Review in those days.

However, I did not much appreciate Brown reporting that Topinka makes $35 per column. Now everyone is going to want a raise.

World Champs: I am a baseball fan not a baseball expert. But before the memory of the World Series run fades, here's what I wrote pre-World Series on Oct. 18: "These Sox may win, they may lose, but they will compete fiercely and surprise us at odd moments."

I'd say that about sums it up.

How about just governing?: I'm getting a headache just trying to publish this week's paper. There's a lot of shouting going on in this issue. We've got letters, ads and inserts, and even a story, about the battle over the future of Downtown Oak Park.

Really though the fighting seems more about issues of governance. An emerging, and seemingly really annoyed, constituency of business people wants the current board to adopt a specific plan for downtown. At this writing, a narrow majority of the board wants to go in a different direction.

People on both sides of this argument have actually said to me this week that the debate over the Colt building is the start of the 2007 election campaign. Get a grip everybody. That is how people in Washington, D.C. talk. We just had an election in Oak Park. Let's let the people we elected make decisions.

Yes, I think the board majority is about to make a bad decision in trying to save the Colt Building. But after years of genuinely bad governance?#34;non-governance, really?#34;I'm happy to see this board move toward making decisions at all.

There may still be moments to influence and persuade board members to shift on this issue. The 2x4s upside the head, the questioning of this board's legitimacy, likely aren't the ways to accomplish that goal.


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