Continuity and change with Oak Park Together

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Oak Park Together Slate

The Oak Park Together (OPT) team will bring continuity and change to village government.

Continuity is desirable because there are a lot of positive things going on in village government, including initiatives that John Hedges has pushed for as a trustee that he will make even greater priorities as president.

Change will happen because, with our team's collective experience on the village board and school board, our longtime involvement in our community, and our commitment to listen to your concerns, we want to take a new direction in some areas to make sure Oak Park remains a diverse, affordable, sustainable community ready to compete in the post-recession economy.

On the continuity front, let's talk first about your taxes and the village budget. The village board has held the line on spending over the past six years, making the difficult decisions to cut staff and unnecessary programs, to outsource some activities better handled by the private sector, and to ask village staff to run things more efficiently. This year was budgeted at 2011 levels. Oak Park has come through the recession in much better shape than other communities. With the OPT team led by John Hedges, fiscal responsibility will remain a top priority.

On the change front, let's talk greater accountability. John Hedges and OPT will set and enforce clear performance standards for the village manager, village staff, and partner agencies. We will work toward a multi-year budgeting process so we can make more responsible spending decisions. We will meet regularly with our colleagues on other boards to find ways to save taxpayers money. We will reach out to you on a regular basis — village president office hours, Farmers Market, community events, knocking on doors — so you can more easily share your concerns.

Continuity: Downtown Oak Park has never been more vibrant, despite the punishing economic times we've been through. In an independent, statistically-valid survey taken in 2011, 90% of residents surveyed indicated a "good" or "excellent" quality of life in our village — 10% more than in the initial survey in 2000. We want to continue to make Oak Park a great place to live by encouraging local investment, supporting our housing diversity programs, and advancing our new sustainability initiatives.

Change: We need a better and more cohesive public-private approach to economic development in the new economy. We need to make it easier for businesses to get up and running. The newly created economic and community development position will improve our efforts to attract and retain business. OPT pledges to hold the new village manager accountable for improvements in these areas by setting clear and actionable performance standards.

Experience matters. It allows for continuity and change because we already have an idea of what's working and what needs improvement. We have made a lot of progress over the past few years. The last time we elected completely inexperienced board members, the result was chaotic, with two trustees quitting before finishing their terms. It is a big commitment to be on the village board. Our broad and diverse community involvement has prepared us for that commitment. Experience also matters because when unanticipated time-consuming issues arise, you want leaders who are tested and trustworthy, who can think on their feet and have already proven they can make hard choices.

Oak Park Together is John Hedges for Village President, Peter Barber, Glenn Brewer, and Colette Lueck for Trustee, and Teresa Powell for Village Clerk. Please let us know your concerns at www.voteopt.org. We sincerely ask for your vote on April 9.

Reader Comments

49 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 4:55 PM

Early voting begins Monday March 25th at Village Hall. Voting means more than comments.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 11:42 AM

At the Buzz Cafe, not one of the OPT candidates would say that reduced taxes in Oak Park was feasible. With home valuation weak and commercial development at a standstill, that implies that growth, the engine of tax relief and public services, will restrict the village's ability to attain the vision of the 1990 Village Plan and the 2005 extension of the Greater Downtown Oak Park Plan. The OPT position on taxes is sobering, but not necessarily correct. Meaningful growth and reduced property taxes can occur if the board vision concentrated its attention on bringing the village business processes and archaic village code into the 21st Century. There are hundreds of people who want to live, or stay, in quaint Oak Park. That does not mean it wants quaintness in lifestyle. The people who live, or want to live in Oak Park want to live in a community that is on the leading edge of the 21st century. It has been done in Oak Park already - Visit the Library.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 11:55 PM

"It's not a nimble community." John Hedges made the comment at the WJ debate at the end of a long statement he made about the difficulties Oak Park has in getting projects up and going. Perhaps, John meant government rather than community, or it was a Freudian Slip; but the statement slammed into my head like a brick. Oak Park is a dynamic, energetic community with incredible creativity. Just look at the care, pride, and creativity in its famous homes. Just read the WJ blogs and see the amazing potpourri of activities, clubs, businesses, going on in the village. The Nimbleness of Oak Park is incredible with the exception of its government which is slow to act, and hesitant to change. The structure of Oak Park government is an obstacle that has been holding back a creative community with a delight for innovation.

not necessarily  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 5:59 PM

Here is some good news. The single family market is doing well. Homes are selling, many of them quickly. There are still some rough properties on the market but investors are buying them, rehabbing, and reselling. It improves the quality of the overall housing stock and average prices as well. There are rough spots in the market but plenty of good news. Property taxes are more tied to the village budget than village property values. For example, we don't cut police pay if home values go down.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 4:05 PM

Condos and low end house are selling which drive down the comparison to last year. But it also indicates that the mid-range and high sale are still in a slump. Wouldn't that lead eventually to lower tax assessments that would impact the village's very tight General Fund budget. The reduction in the asset base could also lead to a downgrade of our $100M in bond debt. I sure don't see any good news in any scenario. The village is already considering bonds as a way to complete the Greater Oak Park Development. That would make the bonds more expensive and possibly reduce the village's capacity to use debt to support General Fund deficits. I sure don't see any good news in any scenario.

not necessarily  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 3:50 PM

JBM -- To your question of whether or not it implies that traditional homes are selling at a very poor rate, the answer is not necessarily. In Oak Park there are a number of sales at the lower end of the market that skew the figures. Condos selling as low as $10,000. Additionally, as some of the financing restrictions have eased it's become easier to buy a condo now than it was. A presumed boost in condo sales reflects changes in supply & demand in that market segment, separate from SFR.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 3:26 PM

Oak Parks high property taxes (along with the perception that things are not as good as they should be at OPRF) are not helping. I have known several families that have chosen to move elsewhere based on the property taxes alone. However, the RE stats don't necessarily tell the whole story. Adam is correct, it is largely driven by the mix of properties that are selling.

Adam Smith  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 3:04 PM

@JBM - Lots of reasons to buy or not buy in Oak Park, I was just trying to help clarify the stats. My home has gone down 40% since 2005 so it's still bad out there. The VMA can be blamed for a lot of things but home values may not be one of them.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 3:00 PM

Adam - if the condo sales boost is the answer, doesn't that imply that traditional homes in OP are selling at a very poor rate. Seems to me that people looking for homes are skipping by OP despite attractive prices. Perhaps that is because of high taxes.

Adam Smith  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 2:49 PM

@JBM - The "home" values include condos; condos cost less; more condo sales as a percentage of all sales in Oak Park greater than River Forest = "home" values going down. The problem is scaring away commercial development with onerous regulations (e.g. Aldi) and high real estate taxes that make it difficult to make a profit.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 2:35 PM

OPT - the Hunky Dory -- How does the slate explain this? "The median price of homes sold in River Forest was also up compared to last year. It rose 16.6 percent to $577,500 from $495,500 during February 2012. But the prices dropped 26.1 percent in Oak Park, down to $255,000 from $345,000 in 2012.." This is an important "neighborhood issue. How can the Oak Park Board continue to have Commercial Development as the number 1 OP goal, when the neighborhood property values continue in decline?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 18th, 2013 5:16 PM

I accept with pride your calling me monolithic-power meme. Where I come from that means that I state my viewpoints without bias. Some like my views, some don't, and neither influence my thinking or writing. My goal is to foster open dialog in the village. Being a monolithic-power meme can only help me do that.

Jon Hale from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 17th, 2013 10:27 PM

@ John Murtaugh. We RE-financed the debt at lower interest rates! There was no issuance of bonds instead of raising taxes. Hedges is the guy who pushed for a fund balance policy going forward. We never had one before. (Apparently neither does D200, but that's another issue.) But he thought it is good fiscal policy to have a target. However, if the Board had raised the cash reserve ?" which is what the fund balance really is ?" immediately to 10% to 20%, they would have had to raise your taxes to do it just to satisfy bond-holders when we already have a superior investment-grade rating. As it is, we are on a path to get to the target. Much as it fits your VMA-as-monolithic-power meme (ha ?" first time I get to use that word on-line), Hedges is not Johnson or Pope. In fact, he announced his intention to run for President before he even knew whether Pope would seek a third term. John Hedges and I came to the Board at the same time and had similar ideas about getting spending under control, setting up a better budget process, and generally getting our fiscal house in order ?" policies that were pursued by the Board post-2007 and helped get the Village through the recession. That's why I think he'd be a good president. The disastrous NLP board prior to 2007 drove us into a ditch financially ?" Pope and Johnson were in the 5-2 minority ?" but the VMA Boards immediately prior to the NLP certainly weren't all that distinguished on the fiscal front either. I guarantee you, I know this from experience, when you put people in these kinds of positions who have no experience with municipal finance, you are asking for trouble.

Poor Richard  

Posted: March 17th, 2013 2:31 PM

It would be good to know just what the uncontested group intends to do and why are we waiting to hear about their approach.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 17th, 2013 11:09 AM

Jon Hale's comments are a bit confusing. What I got out of his post was that the board borrowed $90m so it did not have to raise taxes. Pretty much the same thing said by the "Everything is Hunky Dory" slate said at the Buzz Cafe Debate. That sounds like a Bait and Switch Strategy.

Jon Hale from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 17th, 2013 11:00 AM

There is no "troubling downward trend" in Oak Park's bond rating! Today's Aa2 rating is HIGHER THAN a Aa3 rating that one commenter says we had in 2006! Municipal bonds rated from Aaa through Aa3 are considered "superior" by Moody's ?" of "high quality with very low credit risk." The "negative outlook" simply means that Moody's thinks we are closer to moving back to Aa3 (also a "superior" rating) than we are to moving up to an Aa1 rating, which I don't think Oak Park has ever had. The reason for that outlook is because the last time we had totally inexperienced people running things on the Village Board, they squandered our cash reserves! When I was on the Board from 2007-2011, we started rebuilding the cash reserves and the current board has continued that. But ?" keep this in mind -- if we had built cash reserves up to the point where it would have satisfied bondholders, it would have meant raising your taxes. As it is, we have refinanced I believe all of the Village's outstanding GO debt at extremely low prevailing interest rates, saving taxpayers even more money. It's easy for Mr. Abu-Taleb to find something on-line that he thinks supports his campaign, taking it completely out of context, when what it really tells me is that he doesn't understand the first thing about municipal finance.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 16th, 2013 11:46 AM

While the Aa2 rating itself is not of concern, the downward trending is troubling. As recently as May 2006, Oak Park was rated as Aa3 with a positive outlook, but has been downgraded ever since. As per Moody's, the current negative outlook "reflects a lack of progress in improving the village's overall financial profile." Also of concern is that the current Aa2 negative outlook not only applies to current General Obligation bonds, but also previously issued GO debt, totaling $82.4M.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 16th, 2013 12:48 AM

At the Buzz Cafe debate, Anan Abj-Taleb, candidate for president, cited a Moody's Credit Rating Services on Oak Park Village's bond rating. The report was published in December 2012. Moody's has ten ratings for investment grade bonds. The ratings go from Aaa to Baa3. Oak Park Village has a Aa2 rating. The village also has a "negative" rating, which is a status the credit-rating agencies (Standard and Poor's , Moody's and Fitch) give a company while they are deciding whether to lower that company's (village) credit rating. Moody's wrote that Oak Park Village's negative outlook is based on narrow liquidity in the village's General Fund and enterprise funds, negative budget to actual variances, and sizable unfunded pension liabilities. As reported by the Wednesday Journal, Trustee Hedges reply was ""There are problems. We're gone through this recession. We have high taxes, we've got all those things going on," "There is work to do, there's no doubt. ?But we're turning the corner." The election becomes clearer and clearer every day. The issue is how the residents' money is handled and the choice is "Status Quo" or "Fiscal Change."

Figures don't Lie... but..  

Posted: March 15th, 2013 10:46 AM

While I don't want to focus on the negative, I'm sure the 91% number doesn't include vacant land parcels (using potential square footage on all levels), many of which the Village is wrongfully land banking. Why hide the truth? I always thought John and others were over the top in their criticism of the VMA until now. They really showed their ugliness in this election; quite embarrassing for them and the entire community.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 15th, 2013 10:23 AM

Found this on my Facebook Wall today. From Ray Johnson " John.....95% is for downtown. 91% overall. The #'s are from Oak Park Development Corp., but if you have an issue with those numbers, feel free to reach out to them. They presented this at the recent annual awards event they host. Be transparent OPT, request that OPDC provide the community with a full list of vacant retail stores by avenue and street.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 10:36 PM

"Oak Park Together" became a Kumbaya Fest at the Buzz Cafe's Candidate's night All five VMA candidates - Hedges, Lueck (unopposed) , Barber (unopposed), Brewer(unopposed), and Powell (unopposed), showed up and spent the evening praising the glories of VMA-ism, the joy of being on the Oak Park Together Slate, and great joy for the greatness of the VMA board in the last decade. All candidates including independent candidate Anan Abj-Taleb received about the same amount of face and voice time ?" about twenty minute each. That sounds fair until you realize that meant 100 minutes for the VMA and twenty minutes for Anan. A lot of the 100 minutes was spent telling Anan that he might not get any help from the board trustees if elected. He's an outsider. John Hedges reminded the audience of the board chaos that occurred the last time the village elected an "independent" President. For the record, that was David Pope, an independent before he drank Kumbaya juice and became the president of the "VMA" board. Taxes were discussed and Lueck, Hedges, and Brewer used a lot of words to say Lower Taxes are Unlikely. I felt sorry for the "Buzz" After a very good BCC debate, and an excellent Wednesday Journal debate, this one will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 8:54 PM

I just noticed that the Oak Park Together mission statement or campaign letter makes mention of candidates who lack experience and how much that matters. That sounds a lot like the attacks against Barack Obama we heard in 2008 from Sarah Palin and others who claimed the she and John McCain were leaders who could make the hard choices and were "tested and trustworthy". I trust that the former Alaska governor is not serving as an inspiration for the slate. She also resigned from office for personal reasons. Much like the two former trustees the authors of the letter recklesssly chose to cite as examples. It should also be noted that the slate's touting of privatizing and outsourcing government services is actually just the same misguided notion found in the Koch brothers playbook.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 8:24 PM

Sorry, Denice. Hedges did state his support for the installation of blue granite sidewalks and curbing. The post by Correction was directed at me and since my initial comment focused solely on the expenditure for just the sidewalks and curbing and made no mention of the brick pavers, I thought it was appropriate to point that out. I trust this clears up what appears to be a simple misunderstanding. You may seek to obtain confirmation from the public record or the candidate himself.

Denice from Oak Park  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 7:29 PM

Correction is correct. Hedges, Tucker and Salzman voted against the brick streets for South Marion. They also voted against it for Oak Park Avenue.

Dan from Oak Park  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 6:29 PM

Anyone notice the raised slate portion of 100 N Marion (Where it intersects with Westgate) has a few huge slates missing. Saw some village workers dumping a 60 lb. bag of some sort of concrete mix into one of the holes during a rain storm the other morning (Don't think that's going to be a long term solution). Not a good sign for the long term durability of this section of Marion.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 6:17 PM

I think the post by Correction has got it wrong. If you check the record, it will show that show that John Hedges spoke in favor of spending money for installing granite sidewalks and curbs on S. Marion Street. The Village was presented with two options and the trustee stated his preference for the significantly more expensive proposal.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 4:38 PM

Without question, Hedges, Salzman, and Tucker's vote on South Marion and their opposition to $100,000 drawings for a Lake Street Fed Tiger Grant to do streetscapes. Both votes were brave, bold, and refreshing, but two years later it hasn't changed their views on other developments that are still lingering around with no clear direction. The Oak Park Development game has gone on for more than 20 years with little success.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 4:27 PM

Bridget - I agree 100%. The WJ has been doing this for years, as if the VMA is a priority letter writer or poster.

Correction from Oak Park  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 3:19 PM

@Jim. I remember the brick street vote for South Marion and appreciated that Hedges, Saltzman and Tucker voted against that.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 3:11 PM

Why is this filed under "News Articles?" This wasn't written by anyone at the Journal. This isn't news. This is more like press release. Shouldn't this be under Community Blogs or an advertisment? {{confused}}

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 2:58 PM

Isn't one of the goals in Oak Park to maintain diversity. This SRO is one way of doing this. I also believe that there was a lot of federal funding for the development of this SRO. Would Oak Parkers put streets and alleys over people, or are they just not the right kind of people. We say things that sound right until we are tested by having an issue to contend with around the corner from our homes. It is hard to hold on to your morals when you are tested.

just wondering  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 2:54 PM

Hey RayJ ... please explain how the village road condition rating system determines that downtown streets should be paved in brick and slate, while asphalt residential streets remain riddled with potholes?

just wondering  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 2:50 PM

Does the DTOP retail vacancy rate include the 6 pre-existing retail businesses that were lost to the Sertus project (now a weed patch), or the 14 businesses located in the Colt Building that were lost to the village's Put-Call Agreement with Sy Taxman (now a parking lot)?

Not Surprised  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 2:21 PM

Money to help build an SRO at Madison/Grove for people who cannot afford to pay OP taxes, but no money to pay for the crumbling alleys of actual tax paying homeowners. How typical for OP. Way to go VMA! This place is Clown Shoes City.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 2:12 PM

Good call, John. Oak Park's neighborhoods have for too long been an afterthought at the board table. Trustee Hedges championed installing costly granite sidewalks as a solid investment for the community while ignoring the reality that many more of our crumbling sidewalks,curbs and alleys could have been repaired with those millions.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 1:47 PM

At the BCC Debate last week, John Hedges stated that there was 95 percent retail occupancy in the village. Last night, he acknowledged that the 95 percent was only Downtown Oak Park (DTOP). The Hedges campaign forgot, again, that DTOP is not the only retail shopping areas. It's a start. Maybe the Hedges Campaign is getting ready to acknowledge the existence of "neighborhoods" in OP.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 12:27 PM

Time to stop with the smackdowns aimed at former Village trustees Martha Brock and Geoff Bakker. It is true that both were inexperienced but each had a true and valid reason for resigning. It seems petty and cruel for the political machine that has controlled local politics for so many decades to resort to these tactics. Certainly, the VMA would admit that they have foisted upon the public some very questionable candidates for office who were less than stellar in terms of effective leadership and performance of their duties. Two of our most recent Village presidents come to mind. Gross mismanagement and wasteful spending practices cannot just be ignored.

Violet Aura  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 12:01 PM

Are they EVER gonna repave Erie from OP Ave. to Grove??? It is one hot mess and ridiculous. I wonder if anyone on that street has ever complained about it. I think the Home viaduct is still gnarly. Embarrassing and yet there always seem to be other cosmetic things (like Mills Park) that get done.

Re: street repair  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 11:25 AM

Ray, the problem with a rating system that gets the worst streets done first is that it fixes a few really bad roads while the rest of us with "merely" crumbling roads have to wait our long turn until they reach critical status. That's not a valid road repair policy.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 11:20 AM

"...although it is a 'pay as we go' process so we don't overburden taxpayers or take on extra debt." Ray - You are talking about Oak Park, correct? When has "overburdening taxpayers" been a hinderance in the past several years? Hasn't stopped brick streets, heated sidewalks, poor accounting on TIF projects that hurt schools, construction projects with companies that can't fund them, and tear downs of revenue producing entities that are now empty lots? We are talking about the same Oak Park?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 11:10 AM

The alley neglect is not about manpower. Berwyn and Oak Park have about the same population. Berwyn has more police and fire employees, Without police and fire in the mix, Berwyn has about 100 fewer employees than Oak Park. That is, the village is overstaffed, but still can't fix alleys. When commenting on development at last night's WJ debate, John Hedges said "It (Oak Park) is not a nimble community." I agree with John's quote but I think it would be more apt if he has said, "Oak Park is a sluggish community."

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 10:56 AM

It is very hard to except Ray Johnson rational for the abombinal condition of Oak Park alleys. He blames the recession and says the village is fixing them a litte at a time, while spending money freely on other projects. From 2010 to 2013 budget, the combined budget increase fo Business Services, Planning, Community Development expeditures was up 175 percent, Public Housing up 110 percent. There seems to be money available at the village, but not for neighborhoods.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 14th, 2013 6:07 AM

Just two examples of change related to use of the survey results: Police have more regular interaction with the public through the Resident Beat Officer meetings and John Hedges supported increased funding for alley/street repairs, although it is a 'pay as we go' process so we don't overburden taxpayers or take on extra debt. The recession has made it difficult, but we are completing streets repairs through a public works rating system, ensuring the worst streets/alleys get done first.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 13th, 2013 6:10 PM

Someone in village hall must have disagreed with you. After they published the glowing 90% Quality of LIfe with glowing statements in the press, the value was questioned in WJ Comments and never replied to, but for the first time the survey was not mailed to households. The purpose of the survey was to help the staff improve performance, but wound of being used only as a PR tool. Personally, I thought the sample of people surveyed was also bogus. The negative responses are too far over the top and only positive results were used to calculate the Quality of Live. 90% result. The village is going to have the same survey again this year. Maybe they will execute and publicize it better this year.

LynnK from Oak Park  

Posted: March 13th, 2013 5:36 PM

@Mr. Murtagh: It may have been a while since my last statistics course, but even I understand that the categories on the survey cited are not mutually exclusive. I, personally, would indeed rate crime and homelessness as problems in our community, but would still rate the quality of life as "excellent" no matter how the survey defined it. That's only a sample of one, but I doubt I'm alone. Surely we all understand that "good" and "excellent" don't mean perfect.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 13th, 2013 5:18 PM

The more things that change in Oak Park, the more our elected officials say the same. Does anyone recognize this quote? "As village president, I will offer a return to a different kind of leadership, unifying our community and bridging gaps that have developed in recent years." That quote was from David Pope, Candidate for President Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: March 13th, 2013 4:19 AM

Boy, nice, easy to read article. But there does not seem to be much substance. I am still wondering what the issues are and where this group stands on the issues. Summarizing this article, we have been here for you and we will continue to be here for you. Sorry, but that is pretty lame.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 13th, 2013 2:02 AM

"The Oak Park Together (OPT) team will bring continuity and change to village government." Yep, that true if you like deception. Let's start with CONTINUITY. OPT says ?" "In an independent, statistically-valid survey taken in 2011, 90% of residents surveyed indicated a "good" or "excellent" quality of life in our village." Ask yourself how we got 90%when 50% of those surveyed replied that Crime is a moderate or major problem, 49% gave New Development fair or poor, 38% gave homelessness a moderate or major problem, Economic Development got 66% fair or poor, Government Performance got 40% fair or poor, Parking got-60% fair or poor, and Value of Services for Tax Paid got 39% fair or poor. "How is it possible for the stuff that matters being horrible and our Quality of Life great? The answer is simple. The National Research Center who conducted the survey defines Quality of Life as the natural ambience, services, and amenities that make an attractive community. That is; Quality of Life is about lifestyle ?" "the soft side of life!" Why are the Oak Park Together Team still quoting the bogus interpretation after the fib was reported in the Wednesday Journal Comments of 1-13-2011? Maybe, they want to make us feel good! Let's move to OP BUDGETING, the OPT team says, With the OPT team led by John Hedges, fiscal responsibility will remain a top priority. Sound good, but they don't seem to have looked at the 2013 budget which is 15% above 2010 spending. They certainly must not have noticed that inflation went up only 5% in that period. The 2013 had other revelations vs. 2010. Business Services, Planning, Comm. Development went up a total of 175%, Housing went up 110%, Health Services 56%, Info Tech 47%, and DPW/Standards up 37%. The Oak Park Together Team has a slogan for the election. It is "Experience Matters." The problem with the slogan is that you don't get experience when you do the same thing over and over and over again!!!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 13th, 2013 12:15 AM

The Oak Park Together (OPT) team will bring continuity and change to village government. Yep, that true if you like deception. Let's start with CONTINUITY.

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