As one of the 15 or so volunteers who circulated nominating petitions for them, I would like to ask my friends to vote for the "Alive! Our Parks!" slate of Diane Dunn, Tom Finch and Julie Grossman for commissioners of the park district on April 5 for many reasons.
Since 1991 a total ban on pesticides has existed in the parks thanks to the CARE Party of that era. The insider-incumbent slate supports the current board action of starting spraying again. This is unhealthy for all of us, toddlers in particular. Second, data from the Oak Park Township assessor shows that increases in the property tax levy of the park district under the current board is far greater than those of the other taxing bodies in Oak Park. Their 33 percent increase in only the last five years is much greater than the others, including both school districts, which have increased their tax levy by 10 percent in the same period. More alarming, in the last year the park district is even accelerating its tax increases, the levy increasing from 2008 to 2009 by almost 10 percent while no other taxing body increased theirs by more than 3 percent.
The Dunn-Finch-Grossman slate promises to reduce the property tax levy by 50 percent by selling the administration buildings for commercial development and using the proceeds for immediate tax relief, moving the offices to the low-rent Harrison Street arts district (providing an anchor and additional foot traffic for that district), freezing management salaries, increasing the proportion of benefits paid by managers, and eliminating some of the eight new management positions created in the last five years at a cost of $750,000. Dunn-Finch-Grossman are running for office for the first time, outsiders like most of us, but all have lived in Oak Park for more than 20 years. They are bringing fresh, specific, innovative ideas with a spirit of tax-saving and efficiency-creating intergovernmental cooperation.
Please punch 44, 45 and 46 on April 5 for this new group of involved citizens.