My name is Anan Abu-Taleb and I am running for Oak Park village president.
I have lived in Oak Park for 23 years. My wife Margi and I own a home here and have sent our four children to Oak Park schools. For 17 years, I have owned and managed a business in Oak Park — first the restaurant Vivaldi and now Maya del Sol. Oak Park is my home, and I am running for village president because I am committed to what Oak Park stands for and I want to contribute to what it can be.
I have spent the last few months talking to business owners, government officials, and you, the residents of Oak Park. You've told me about your dreams for Oak Park, and we have talked about the things we must change to make it better.
Many of us came to Oak Park for similar reasons — the progressive community, the diverse backgrounds and viewpoints, the great schools, and the friendly neighborhoods. Many of us chose Oak Park to immerse our children in a culture that is respectful of others and provide them a life rich in diversity and opportunity.
After talking with you, it is clear we agree that to move Oak Park forward we cannot continue the status quo. We cannot continue to create ill-will among residents and business owners through parking restrictions that antagonize the people who live, work and shop here. We cannot continue imposing tax levies that significantly outpace inflation. We cannot continue investing in village-owned real estate, only to have those properties sit vacant and off the tax rolls. If we want a better Oak Park, then Oak Park needs to vote for a change.
As a businessman, I understand numbers. We can't spend money we don't have, and we must live within our means. Oak Park must broaden its tax base, reduce residents' tax burden and stop investing in projects we can't afford. Our taxing authorities must work together to identify redundant spending and reduce waste.
At the rate we are being taxed, we should expect a transparent, resourceful, and responsive government. Our government should deliver the best value for every tax dollar we pay. We should expect improvements that result in tangible benefits: great customer service, increased property values, lower tax burdens, and more efficient and less obstructive processes.
The question in this election is who has the vision, tenacity and leadership skills to shape a better Oak Park? I believe I do. And that's why I'm asking you to support me for village president.
The challenges we face may be daunting, but — to borrow a phrase — there is nothing wrong with Oak Park that cannot be solved by what is right with Oak Park. With the right leadership, I am confident that we, as a community, can be bigger than the challenges we face. I sincerely look forward to serving you.
Learn more at www.ananforoakpark.com