I urge Oak Park voters to preserve what is good about Oak Park and elect Diana Carpenter as village president.
For the past two years, Diana Carpenter has been the board's liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission on which I serve. I have also worked with Ms. Carpenter on various community issues outside the commission. Speaking individually from my personal experience, and not as a representative of a commission, I believe a President Carpenter will preserve respect for all citizens in the village; will preserve the integrity of village government; and will preserve the historic character of Oak Park.
Preserving Respect: I have observed that, in her relationship with the members of the commission on which I served, Diana Carpenter consistently showed respect for the individual members and for the quality of work performed by this expert citizens' commission. Her consistent presence, her knowledge of the work in progress and her thoughtful consideration of recommendations and insights from commission members clearly demonstrated her respect for the role of commissions in this village government. Ms. Carpenter displays similar respect for the expert members of the village staff and will be the best choice for a president who can gain from staff's expertise while guiding staff toward goals set by the village board. And she will certainly show more respect for the Trustees of the village than does Mr. Milstein, who has referred to Ms. Carpenter as "that woman."
Preserving Integrity: Diana Carpenter is running for president of the village board thereby risking her potential re-election as a trustee. She is the only candidate willing to take that risk. Moreover, election of Ms. Carpenter to the village board allows voters to elect all of the trustees who will sit on the next board. If one of her opponents is elected, he will be allowed to nominate the person who will fill his vacant position on the board, giving the president an immediate two votes on the board. Electing Diana Carpenter as village president will ensure that all trustees are elected, rather than chosen, and will allow for all trustees to be independent representatives of the voters and not of the president.
Preserving Historic Oak Park: The future of Oak Park is being made now. While market forces and tax burdens weigh in favor of increased development, the need to preserve the historic character of and to maintain a sense of community in Oak Park mandates that the new president show wisdom, creativity and openness to new ideas in guiding and controlling that development. Only Diana Carpenter has the experience to successfully balance these competing interests, as shown by her ability to work with citizen commissions, village staff, and developers to incorporate the restoration of the Drechsler Building as part of a vital downtown development plan. Ms. Carpenter was the only trustee to synthesize reports from the Plan Commission, the Community Design Commission, and the Historic Preservation Commission into a coherent review of the Downtown Master Plan. She will bring the same level of respect and commitment to development in all areas of the village, especially along the perimeters of the village, areas about which she is particularly knowledgeable.
To preserve all that is best about Oak Park while boldly facing the challenges of the future, I urge Oak Park voters to elect Diana Carpenter as president.