NLP candidates will listen, not 'maul the messenger'

Opinion

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Voters in the next Village election to be held on April 5 face deeply important decisions that will have lasting impact on Oak Park. Responding to these challenges will require a careful balance of creativity and pragmatism. In this election, voters will have to choose between distinct alternative views for the future of our village. Recent letters to the editor in these pages provide a window into some of these differences.

Over the past 4 years, the current VMA board majority has treated anyone that voices a difference of opinion as an obstructionist. Rather than address the substance of differing views, they have chosen instead to avoid, attack, and vilify. To them, "civility in government" means agree or get out of the way.

Recent letters from supporters of the VMA slate have echoed this approach. Clearly, the VMA would rather defame the messenger than discuss the message. Why not? It's easier to smear the speaker, than to address the argument.

The New Leadership Party (NLP) slate led by Robert Milstein for president, Sharon Patchak-Layman for clerk, and Geoff Baker, Martha Brock, and Greg Marsey for trustee has a positive vision for our future. The NLP slate realizes that they will have to balance the need for economic growth with preservation of the historic heritage embodied in our treasured architecture. The NLP team understands that they must weigh the imperative for openness in a citizen-driven government against the need to make timely and difficult decisions in the interest of all citizens. The NLP candidates insist that government measure the funding challenges faced by our schools, parks, and other village taxing bodies, against the capacity of Oak Parkers to financially support those needs.

Those are tough problems. There are going to be people with different views that must be heard and whose concerns must be addressed. Debate regarding the decisions faced by our village with vigorous argument legitimately made on both sides will result in a better Oak Park?#34;and that's what this election is all about. It's not about mauling the messenger. It's about making the decisions that must be made with a commitment to the character of our village, the dreams of our citizens, and the necessities of living in a compassionate, committed, and diverse community.

The New Leadership Party seeks to enrich our quality of life without lowering our standards. You can decide for yourself?#34;are personal attacks the right way to conduct yourself in an election as important is this, or should we be focused on the decisions that will affect our own lives and those of our children?

Substance and reasoned debate on issues?#34;not personalities?#34;are what Milstein, Patchak-Layman, Baker, Brock, and Marsey stand for. That's why you should cast your vote for the New Leadership Party slate.

Brian Farrar
Oak Park

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