As 2004 draws to a close, I find myself in a remarkably fortunate situation. Nearly all the New Year's resolutions I've made over the past several years are still current. I have utterly failed to fix any of my myriad flaws, and should I accidentally mend a few of my ways, I've got failures and vices I can readily add to the list. So I have no need to generate a new list of New Year's resolutions for 2005. I can use my old ones.
This leaves me in the enviable position of being able to generate a list of New Year's resolutions for other people. And since you, humble readers, have so patiently put up with my columns in this paper, I've decided to create a list for you.
Oh, don't stop reading! They're not resolutions that you need to keep. They're ones for you to share with those who need them most. After all, this is the season of giving.
Feel free to cut out relevant resolutions and mail them to or place them under the windshield wipers of the people to whom they apply. And Happy New Year!
For your neighbors' friends: We will get out of our cars and ring the doorbell rather than honk when we're waiting to pick someone up.
For the guy with the car alarm: I will not wander out of earshot of my car when the alarm is on.
For the District 97 School Board: We will sincerely entertain outside candidates for the Superintendent position.
For Superintendent John Fagan: I will donate the last year of my salary to District 97 to ease the budget crunch.
For people who drive SUVs: We will take the Oak Park Shuttle whenever possible to offset our gas consumption.
For the editors of the Oak Park FYI publication: We will refrain from updates on Barrie Park until it's actually open.
For the Oak Park Plan Commission: We will reread "Small is Beautiful" and look to Forest Park for inspiration.
For consumers in Oak Park: We will support our local entrepreneurs who offer high quality products and services as well as a commitment to our community (e.g. we will buy our coffee at the Buzz Café, our office supplies at Pieritz Bros., and our music at Val's Halla).
For the Park District of Oak Park: We will recognize the south Oak Park is as deserving of programs as north Oak Park and reinstate summer lap swim at Rehm pool.
For the Oak Park Village Board: We will follow the general wisdom of homeowners in Oak Park and throw out the highest and the lowest bids on any job in order to find a contractor who is interested in doing the job well within the allotted timeframe.
For the future Superintendent of District 97: I will recognize that equality and equity are not the same thing, and that if we want to maintain our diversity in a positive manner, we must allocate more district resources to elementary schools in sections of the village that have less inherent financial resources.
For developers in Oak Park: We will acknowledge that most residents need at least one parking spot and address this need when we convert apartment buildings to condos.
For the Oak Park Public Library: We will bring the same high standards to the upcoming Maze branch renovation as we did to the Dole branch and main library projects.
For all of Oak Park: We will remember that Oak Park's main strength is its combination of good schools, good community and genuine diversity, and we will commit to doing the hard work that's necessary to sustain those attributes in the coming years.