I like David Pope, but I sure wish he wouldn't ignore my friends. For those of you who don't know him, Mr. Pope is the first person to announce that he's running for president of the Oak Park board of trustees. There's an election coming up in April, and he's going for it.
I like him because he is willing to apply for a thankless job that pays nothing. That shows spunk. But he's also going to run as an independent, which means that he missed the chance to interview with either one of Oak Park's two major political groups (let's call them MOO and OINK).
Mr. Pope didn't talk to either group because he said that they're too partisan. They don't represent real Oak Parkers. Well, I belong to one of those groups. And let me tell you: if these people aren't representative of Oak Park, folks, we have a problem.
First, there are more than 60 people in the caucus, which is enough to form a rather large bowling league. Diversity? Half of them are women. Alphabetically, then, there are African Americans, Asian Americans, an Australian, Democrats, Gays, Greens, Latinos, Middle Easterners, Republicans, a Socialist and one guy from Texas.
Usually we're interviewing candidates. But we've also made some major policy decisions. Caucus rules prevent me from giving you an actual example. But as a thought experiment, imagine asking 60 people the best way to make pot roast. Half of them bake, 24 of them simmer, and the six who are left don't eat meat. That's democracy.
The meetings are brutal, but it seems to work. We even have a platform. On the other hand, it's easy to see why the other group has more or less given up on the democracy thing.
Like any exclusive affair, their caucus is by invitation only and?#34;according to Mr. Pope?#34;there's only 20 members left. The rest of them mostly came over to our group, where we don't even have a dress code.
What we do have is meetings. Like last week at 9:30 p.m., listening to our township tax assessor explain the TIF, which is political shorthand for "you're getting sleepy." To be honest, I'm starting to think that our group is bordering on the outside definition of wonk. But, gosh, these people care.
Anyway, I wish Mr. Pope had decided to interview with us. He would've had as good a chance of anybody else of being our presidential candidate. Instead, we'll be picking somebody else, plus three trustees, and a village clerk.
I don't know who will get the final nod. But let me tell you this: our candidates will absolutely represent Oak Park. If not, we'll make 'em come to another meeting.
Member of the New Leadership Coalition Oak Park