By Dan Haley
For the past six weeks here at the Journal, we've been interviewing local candidates as we readied our endorsements for today's edition. Thanks to my colleagues for all the hours invested, to the candidates for taking part and to Alicia Plomin of our staff who coordinated all the scheduling.
Here are a few things I learned and a few quotes picked up along the way:
Anan Abu-Taleb, running for Oak Park village president, says his goal is "not to turn Oak Park upside down. But maybe turn it sideways."
Eric Davis, running for the OPRF school board: "OPRF is not comfortable with change. The high school board doesn't get out enough and it doesn't play well with others." Davis, an architect, has a number of interesting ideas. Here's one: Add a deck to the high school garage and use it as headquarters for District 97, District 200 and the park district.
Jeff Weissglass, also running for the high school board, expressed a sentiment similar to Davis: The high school board "talks too much to themselves."
Tom Dwyer, a candidate on the River Forest Pride slate, had this to say about Mike Gibbs, the slate's top guy: "Mike's a good critical thinker. Don't think he gets enough credit." (And do you think the group thought much about the gay connotations of running a Pride slate?)
After bailing out on a joint agreement to share a fancy fire truck with Oak Park, River Forest is all enthused about sharing a street sweeper with some other town. And heads up, Dominican and Concordia. The plan to find a way to charge you for some portion of fire and police services is not dead.
John Hedges, candidate for Oak Park village president: "The overall property tax burden threatens to change the diverse character of the village." (And he allowed that he is thinking in terms of a single term as president if he is elected.)
Steve Gevinson, a retired OPRF teacher, administrator and current board candidate: "Information filters up. Most board members only hear happy news."
Roma Colwell-Steinke, independent candidate for River Forest village board, talking about the Pride slate: "The slate wants to go back to River Forest when we were kids. Most people like where River Forest is now."
Both Gibbs and Adduci tell me that Tom Mannix, a Forest Park village commissioner and a Republican political operative of dubious ethics, approached each of them looking for campaign work. Both tell me they turned him down. Good decision.
In this odd political season in River Forest, I can now report that Mike Gibbs went to college and graduated from Loras College in 1984. So put that to rest. Gibbs confirmed his campaign did spend a few dollars for "robo-polling." He wasn't impressed by the results, he said, as the sampling was a "hodge-podge." A more skeptical view might be that he didn't do real well in his own robo-poll.
Speaking of how River Forest is now, when we hosted a forum for Gibbs and Adduci at the library a couple of weeks ago, there were 10 to 15 black people, mostly women, in the crowd of 110. At the Oak Park presidential forum the next night, I saw one black person and that was Trustee Glenn Brewer.
Back to Gibbs. He told us last Friday a few days after Kevin Hanley quit the ticket that he thinks of the five trustee candidates Hanley "would have gotten the most votes." Since his name is still on the ballot it begs the question — what if he wins?