Township slate has, and will serve, OP's neediest citizens well

Opinion

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Because township government does not receive much attention, elections for township officials are often unopposed. For example, in my bid for re-election as Oak Park Township Assessor this April 5, I am the only candidate on the ballot. Although I like to think that the lack of opposition is a vote of confidence in my performance as assessor, it may well be that I am the only person in the community crazy enough to actually want to be Assessor.

Jokes aside, there are serious decisions to be made regarding township government this election season. Although half of the individuals seeking election on the Township Party slate are unopposed, the slated candidates for Township Trustees do face an election challenge. I am writing to recommend your support for Eric King, Lee Pulliam, Clarmarie Keenan and Bill Troyer, my colleagues on the Township Party slate, and current trustees on the township board.

I have served with the current trustees for four years, and appreciate their support of my efforts to ensure fair treatment for local taxpayers. I am also pleased that the board has taken the lead on some financial issues that affect the entire community. For example, when we learned that one of Oak Park's largest taxpayers was underpaying its share of the tax burden by over $1 million, the Township Board of Trustees was the first unit of local government to challenge this underpayment. When other units of local government joined the township, the community was able to recover most of the missing tax money while insuring that the challenged taxpayer will continue to pay an appropriate level of taxes in future years.

I tend to view the activities of the Township Board through the prism of tax policy, but the purview of the board is far greater. Oak Park Township takes an active role in the lives of senior citizens, helping them live with dignity and independence whenever possible. The township seeks to engage youth in positive and productive activities, while steering them from gangs, drugs and violence. Oak Parkers who struggle with mental health issues find support and advocacy in Oak Park Township, as do some of our poorest residents.

It is often said that a society is judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens. The populations that Oak Park Township serves?#34;isolated seniors, troubled youth, the poor and those struggling with mental health issues?#34;are the most vulnerable members of our community. The professionalism, dedication and effectiveness with which the staff and elected leaders of Oak Park Township serve the neediest of our neighbors is a credit to all of Oak Park. As the leaders of an effective service provider, the Township Trustees running on the Township Party slate merit your support in their bid for re-election.

Ali ElSaffar
Oak Park

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