Candidates for Oak Park Village Board of Trustees

Election Guide 2011

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Three seats are open on the Oak Park village board with five candidates running for office. What follows was supplied to Wednesday Journal and by the candidates.



Lewis Carmichael

Retired Dentist

Current or previous elected office(s) you have run for:
Assistant Supervisor, Waukegan Township, Lake County; Alderman, Waukegan; Did not win either

Running independently

Primary reason for running:
I feel that the voters need a choice. The citizens need the ability to get answers from the board. We need transparency.



Ray Johnson

Program Manager

Current or previous elected office(s) you have run for:
Elected Village of Oak Park Trustee in 2003 and 2007

Running as part of a slate:
Citizens for Accountable Leadership

Primary reason for running:
In my first two terms of service, I have made a commitment to engage with citizens in concrete ways and in a responsive manner. I want to continue to serve the citizens of Oak Park to solve problems and seek innovate ways to provide high quality village services.

My 28 years of professional experience and skill-set in the areas of budgets, finance, customer service and human resources align with the current needs of the Village. Special emphasis on fiscal discipline must be a continued area of focus and I pledge to seek ways to stretch the taxpayer's dollars.

Oak Park is a very special place -- a community which has given me opportunities and enhanced my life in meaningful ways. I want to be sure we protect what makes Oak Park special, from our diversity, historic neighborhoods and urban forest, to our customer friendly business districts.

Working with our neighboring communities, we must build the strongest possible relationships which in turn help create safer neighborhoods. Within our borders, intergovernmental cooperation must move to a higher level so we can seek ways to reduce the tax burden of our residents and business owners.

These and many other issues continue to motivate me to serve the community to the best of my ability.




Lynn Kessen

Govt Affairs Analyst - Civil Eng Firm

Current or previous elected office(s) you have run for:
Condominium Board of Directors, 2004-present (hiatus 2008) | Held positions of Treasurer and Secretary

Running independently

Primary reason for running:
I am running for Village Trustee in order to facilitate democracy and promote diversity of thought in the governance of the Village of Oak Park.



Adam Salzman


Current or previous elected office(s) you have run for:
No elective offices previously sought; currently serving as Chair of the Universal Access Commission.

Running as part of a slate:
Citizens for Accountable Leadership

Primary reason for running:
I am seeking the office of Village Trustee because I believe strongly that young families, on whom the future of our Village depends, need a representative voice in Village governance. Naturally, if elected, I will be a responsive and dedicated representative of all generations of Oak Parkers. However, there are several key issues pertaining to young families that deserve special emphasis in this election. Chief among these issues are transparency, responsible fiscal stewardship, and a commercial development policy that is smart, fair, and sustainable. I am proud to say that my slate, Citizens for Accountable Leadership, has made these issues a key part of its platform, and I am proud to be running on that slate alongside two accomplished public servants-- Ray Johnson and Bob Tucker.



Bob Tucker

Corporate General Counsel & Chief Risk Officer for Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago

Current or previous elected office(s) you have run for:

Running as part of a slate:
Citizens for Accountable Leadership

Primary reason for running:
I am running for Oak Park Village Trustee because I want to keep Oak Park moving forward, and I want this accomplished with strict fiscal discipline, responsible and strategic development and an open and responsive Village government. I firmly believe in the value and importance of service to my community, and I am in the fortunate position to be able to dedicate my time, energy and skills to serving Oak Park as a Trustee.

My wife and I moved to Oak Park 16 years ago seeking a thriving, beautiful and diverse community, and we never have been disappointed. We now have two children, Spencer (a freshman at OPRF) and Bennett (a fifth grader at Longfellow), and we love all that Oak Park has to offer our family. Oak Park, however, can be even better, and I believe that I have the skills, temperament and experience to help make it better. I offer a unique voice with unique and important experiences.

Oak Park, like most municipalities, is facing challenging economic times. I am the Corporate General Counsel & Chief Risk Officer for Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, a large non-profit organization with a mission to create opportunities for people to live in affordable homes and strengthen their neighborhoods. While the finance and budget work of the Village Trustees might not grab all the headlines, it is crucially important work. I have many years of experience analyzing and working with complex budgets, and I also have extensive experience in the areas of municipal finance, development and housing. These are crucial issues to Oak Park now, and they will remain so for many years to come.

Just as important, I have served on Oak Park's volunteer commissions for over a dozen years, and currently I am the Chair of the Community Design Commission. This experience has been invaluable to helping me understand how Village Hall and the Board work. The importance of serving on Oak Park's volunteer commissions should not be underestimated; this service will be a tremendous help to me on the Board.

My volunteer Oak Park experience combined with my professional experience will allow me to hit the ground running if I am elected Trustee. I am not a single-issue candidate but instead offer a comprehensive vision for all of Oak Park. I am passionate about public service, and I am passionate about Oak Park. I want our Village to continue to thrive for many, many years to come, and I want to help in that process.

Reader Comments

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Posted: March 26th, 2011 9:32 AM

Because Marlene, that's all she has to offer. Being a condo board president doesn't qualify you to govern a Village.

Another voter from Oak Park  

Posted: March 16th, 2011 12:46 PM

Several comments have urged a vote "against" candidates. What about the alternative candidates (other than that they aren't VMA) makes you want to support them?

OP Resident  

Posted: March 12th, 2011 9:06 PM

Of the three VMA candidates for Village Board, only Adam Salzman is promising transparency. Ray Johnson has learned his lesson after reading the Attorney General's ruling. And Bob Tucker surely does not want to have any light shed on his slick wheeling & dealing. What an interesting dilemma this poses for the VMA. Will voters still buy their act or are the candidates better off by saying nothing and just let the machine to deliver them the votes? I think they're going to choose the later.

Marlene from Oak Park  

Posted: March 12th, 2011 8:01 AM

Some candidates really missed this important opportunity to present themselves to the community. Three sentences doesn't give me enough info on your views and why I should vote for you. Looking forward to more WJ coverage.


Posted: March 12th, 2011 3:30 AM

John Murtagh, Thank you for NOT running. After listening to you and all your rambles, I believe you have made the correct choice!

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: March 12th, 2011 12:21 AM

At the conclusion of Ed Solan's Comcast advocacy speech at the Dec 2010 UAC mtg., Chairman Saltzman asked "At what point can the UAC be helpful on the project?" Yet,in a mock interview on the CAL website, he stated: "I have tried to approach the proposed project on the Comcast site by putting myself in the shoes of the nearby residents." Mark Twain said "To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals."

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: March 12th, 2011 12:04 AM

Thanks for the kind comment, OP Resident. Of all the "OP Residents" at this site, you are definitely my favorite!

OP Resident  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 11:20 PM

John, will put you down as a "Maybe". Seriously, I have really enjoyed reading your posts. They may anger some folks but most certainly add to a lively discussion of the issues that concern many residents. Keep 'em coming! Thanks.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 11:15 PM

I have repeatedly said that I had no intentions, have no intentions, and will never have any intention to run for public office in OP. Let me repeat that: I HAVE REPEATEDLY SAID THAT I HAD NO INTENTIONS, HAVE NO INTENTIONS, AND WILL NEVER HAVE ANY INTENTION TO RUN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE in OP.

OP Resident  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 11:13 PM

Connecting the dots got me nowhere. Maybe I didn't follow the instructions offered by "connecting the dots w/Google" but all that popped up was a picture of a woman in a bikini. No exactly what I was looking for; although I did look! If there's any information regarding Mr. Tucker and a conflict of interest; I can't find it. And we know he's not going to address the issue. This is a serious question about an alleged abuse of power that needs a fair and complete review before we cast our vote.

OP Resident  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 10:53 PM

Patricia O'Shea has stated that she is not considering running for public office at this time. Too bad! Oak Park needs a strong voice who is not afraid to debate the issues.

Voting Tip  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 9:50 PM

If you don't want Saltzman, Tucker and Johnson to win you'll really need the bullet vote technique. I suggest just voting for Kessen and Carmichael and leaving the third choice blank. This would maximize the chances of getting someone who isn't part of the "machine" actually elected. This undervoting method is the only way to beat these three. Pass this tip along...

Voting Tip from Oak Park  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 9:39 PM

Dear Voter: If you really like one candidate in this election, I suggest that you cast a "bullet vote." This is where you simply vote for only one candidate for the three opens seats. Don't dilute your vote by voting for three people for three seats. The power to elect somebody really increases if you use the bullet vote technique. In fact, if you crunch the numbers you will see that you more than double the power of a single vote. I always undervote on choose more than one ballots.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 9:13 PM

Oh and props to you for having the cajones to name people who actually have enough conviction to put their real name out there. Big tough guy.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 9:11 PM

OP, anything to contribute other than nastiness? Ask a question maybe? State a fact? Anything..anything? Come on. You can do it! Intellectual dialog is fun if you try.


Posted: March 11th, 2011 8:33 PM

WJ, You forgot 3 candidates: Gary Schwab, John Murtagh and Particia O'Shea. The slate of ?????

Tom Scharre  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 6:49 PM

I have no evidence, although others suggest otherwise,that your motives are suspicious. But simply based on that time-worn old chestnut that you will "hit the ground running", you have lost my vote. Sorry.

kathleen from OP  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 4:53 PM

Thank you, WJ, for providing this before early voting begins Monday. I wish each candidate would state their positions on projects that will come before the trustees for a vote. Taxpayers have a right to know.

connecting the dots w/ Google  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 4:11 PM

Simply google 'Tucker', Chapman and Cutler', Oak Park Sub Area Plan Committee', and/or 'Don Harmon' and see what happens.

OP Resident  

Posted: March 11th, 2011 3:16 PM

I'm confused. There's no mention in Bob Tucker's bio having worked for Chapman & Cutler or being the chair of the Downtown Oak Park Planning committee. What is the story?

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