My name is Eric Davis. I am the only independent candidate for Oak Park Township Trustee.
There are four incumbent trustees also running, as a slate with the incumbent, unopposed Township officers. Most folks think we need at least some new blood, some new ideas?#34;so what I am asking for is one of your four votes, and to work with me, after the election. Together, we can make a good thing better.
Most voters I've spoken with?#34;even those who regularly read VIEWPOINTS?#34;don't know what the township is or what the difference is between it and the village. This is why I'm running.
The township is the main way our community cares for some of its most vulnerable members, but more is needed, and we can't do more without you.
In case you're not clear on it yourself, basically the township has the same boundaries as the village but it's the social services side: Youth Services, Senior Services and the Community Mental Health Board.
Shortly after moving to Oak Park in early 2000, I was appointed to and served as a volunteer on the Township Youth Services Committee.
The incumbents have done a good job discharging the township's mission-?#34;I am not running "against" anyone. But from my experience, both as an architect and planner and as a progressive activist, I know we can do even better, serve more people more effectively, without raising the township levy. The way to do this, to get more "bang for our buck" is, in a word, outreach.
The township has been hiding its light under a bushel. We need to change that. We need more Oak Parkers to know what the township is and what it does.
The citizens of Oak Park are an "open-source think tank" that has gone untapped. Once they feel their input is wanted, even essential to township activities, I know that there are those, maybe even you, who will want to give a small amount of their time and get involved.
I have designed and planned public buildings for 20 years through a process of holding public meetings and getting neighbors involved. I have also hosted dozens of "Meetup" meetings the past two years, here in Oak Park and elsewhere, as a volunteer leader in Howard Dean's campaign and subsequently with his Democracy for America, in Illinois. I know how to reach out to citizens and get them involved. With the Township, I will fill the outreach gap in four ways:
First, in-person. After the election, I will call for?#34;and host myself if necessary?#34;a series of "listening" meetings, at convenient times and places so that all Oak Parkers have a chance to meet the township leadership and staff, to "kick the tires," ask questions, make suggestions. And yes, to sign up and volunteer to help.
Second, in print. If elected, I will regularly correspond in this important public forum, to let you know what's going on at the township and to tell you each time about one of the great service programs we are either funding or providing ourselves.
Third, television. As a hobby, I am a community access producer at the Comcast station. I will work with Youth Services to train a couple of OPRF students to tape and cablecast Township meetings, at least quarterly. As a citizen production, it will run on 19, where more people will see it than on 6.
Fourth, as a Dean ca mpaign veteran, I will bring the latest tools in internet and e-mail grassroots outreach to allow a freer interface between our citizens and township officials about our important work.
I have other ideas, such as an intergovernmental summit on our teenaged population, but that's for my next VIEWPOINTS letter.
In the meantime, I hope you'll save one of your votes for Eric Davis.
Independent Candidate for
Oak Park Township Trustee