Ray Johnson, a man of vision

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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We are pleased to have the opportunity to endorse Ray Johnson for Oak Park village trustee. In addition to being a colleague and neighbor, we are honored to call him friend.

We first met Ray in the mid-1990s when he came to our door campaigning as a candidate for village trustee. He was enthusiastic, committed and tireless. Even though he didn't have any kids of his own, he was more familiar than we were as parents with what was going on at our schools because he was volunteering as a mentor and tutor for our students. That really impressed us and our kids, who also consider him a friend. We'd never met a gay man without kids who liked to spend his free time in local public schools. He was successful in that campaign and has never lost those qualities as he has given his full commitment of time, energy and talents to Oak Park.

What stands out in our minds about Ray is his constancy and levelheadedness, even during some pretty tumultuous times on the board. When others have lost perspective, Ray consistently remains rational, clear and compassionate. I cannot think of a time when I have heard him be judgmental. He is an imaginative problem solver and is willing to collaborate with people who hold all kinds of perspectives in search of solutions that are for the greater good. I have never thought of Ray as a politician, but rather a man who has a greater vision for our community and its inhabitants.

Do your village a favor and re-elect him to the board of trustees. As we face some pretty difficult times ahead as a community, we need that kind of person "on board" — literally!

Elizabeth Ritzman and Cheryl Haugh
Oak Park

Reader Comments

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Posted: March 20th, 2011 8:58 AM

I will be voting against the VMA and any and every other like party that comes along. This method of mindless voting by the public and creation of compliant candidates who would otherwise have their own unique ideas is bad for government. I don't often agree with Ray Johnson but I respect him and feel he is acting in a way that he feels is in the best interest of the community. Sorry Ray, but I can't vote for you so long as you're part of the VMA or similar group.

Luke from OP  

Posted: March 19th, 2011 2:16 PM

I have decided to not vote for Johnson, Salzman and Tucker because it wouldn't be democratic to do so. The VMA candidates have controlled this village for seemingly forever. If you aren't lock-step in what they want you have no chance of winning any local election. I would vote for a monkey before I cast a vote against democracy.

J.Martin Konecki  

Posted: March 17th, 2011 1:24 PM

Ray Johnson would make an OUTSTANDING Village President in 2013. Keep up ALL your great work Ray!!

Thanks Ray from Oak Park  

Posted: March 17th, 2011 8:45 AM

Ray, thanks for everything you do for Oak Park. I don't agree with you on everything, but I am constantly amazed at the effort and time you put into making Oak Park a better community. Many of us, even if we don't post the LOUDEST or more frequent comments on this site, quietly appreciate what you do. I look forward to another few years of your steady leadership as a trustee.

How Long? from Oak Park  

Posted: March 17th, 2011 8:31 AM

I have no opinion of RJ, but a question: isn't this his third term? Has ANY bd member in OP EVER attempted to serve for this long? Will he EVER not run? Is this a precedent that shouldn't matter? If not, why not? I personally don't like it - I think that 8 years is more than sufficient and I question the "coziness" that can POTENTIALLY occur. I conclude where I began, I have no opinion (personally) of RF.

Jon Donohue  

Posted: March 17th, 2011 6:55 AM

It is obvious that politics is a complicated and messy proposition. Candidates are either vilified or blindly supported. Sadly, those in the middle are smart enough not to run because they don't want to lie to their constituents as Ray Johnson has done or blindly lead the lemmings to the financial abyss as the VMA has done. Those that are in the middle may run, but they will not last long because of the ego and greed that is found in the extremes. It is no wonder money rules politics.

Tony Jackson  

Posted: March 17th, 2011 12:52 AM

Tom at least he has the guts to run and serve his community, what have you done except belittle people online? When you have the courage to run and put yourself out there, then talk until then go crawl back in your hole.

OP Resident  

Posted: March 16th, 2011 11:15 PM

I am voting for Ray Johnson & agree that he has been a dedicated and involved trustee. Let's not forget that there have been a few missteps during his tenure on the board. Hopefully, he has learned from those mistakes and will continue to be an effective and trustworthy public official. My primary concern is that Ray has not demanded more accountability from the Village Manager. Barwin has proven that he needs to be closely monitored & will ignore board policies & procedures when it suits him.

Steve Rouse from OP  

Posted: March 16th, 2011 1:39 PM

Ray has been, and will be, the standard for how a trustee should interact with the people of Oak Park in order to foster the exchange of ideas in the community. He is a tireless public servant and worthy of your vote on April 5th.


Posted: March 16th, 2011 1:12 PM

I have never met a more dedicated public servant than Ray Johnson. I am delighted to re-elect this deserving Trustee and wish him the best.

Tom Smith  

Posted: March 16th, 2011 8:27 AM

Please vote for Ray because under his vision and that of the VMA, he has bankrupted this community. I love seeing such incompetence at work. He hides behind closed doors, denies facts, and belittles his opponents. That is such a great vision!

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