The only contested race in the April 5 election that we didn't issue endorsements for last week was Oak Park Township. In that race, the entire slate of incumbents is running for re-election, but for some reason, only one of the four candidates contacted us in time to set up an endorsement interview. Our rule is we only endorse those candidates who participate.
The township is a stable body of local government that generally flies under the radar. Their purview is social services, so they do good work. The only department that gets much attention, and deservedly so, is Youth Services, out of which the invaluable Youth Interventionist program operates.
So we don't have anything bad to say about the incumbents. The one incumbent we did interview, Bill Troyer, was perfectly adequate. We don't mean to damn with faint praise. However, if he is representative of the township board in general, then perhaps this particular body of government flies a little too much under the radar.
That's why we enthusiastically endorse the challenger, Eric Davis. He's young, smart, energetic, and enthusiastic. He has plenty of ideas and a dedication to the concept that government can work effectively to improve people's lives. This is precisely the kind of person we like to see getting involved in local government, and this board is a good place for him to begin. Davis has ties to the local Democratic organization, but partisanship doesn't really apply at this level, so those connections don't trouble us.
He does, however, have a connection with Youth Services, having served on the Youth Activities Committee for two years. In addition, he has ideas for not only getting Oak Park Township on the village's radar, but also working more closely with the other local bodies of government.
That's the kind of energy we think the township could use.
If you voted Nov. 2, why not April 5?
And speaking of democracy in action, there's really no good excuse for the fact that over 28,000 Oak Park voters took part in the November election, but typically only 7,000 show up for the local elections every other spring. Oak Parkers take pride in being informed and involved. The only way to prove that is to vote this Tuesday. The future viability of the park system and the future direction of the Oak Park village board are at stake. Spread the word.
And if you need help deciding who to vote for, here's a recap of our endorsements:
? Park district referendum: Yes
? OP village president: Robert Milstein
? OP village trustees: Greg Marsey, Mas Takiguchi, Martha Brock
? OP village clerk: Sandra Sokol
? RF village president: Frank Paris
? RF village trustees: Patrick O'Brien, Russ Nummer, James Winikates
? District 97 school board (OP elementary schools): Carolyn Newberry Schwartz, Peter Barber, Julie Blankemeier
? District 200 school board (OPRF High School): Jacques Conway, John Rigas, Paul Wolfman, Dee Millard
? OP library board: Jim Egeberg, Matthew Fruth, Dee Leonard, Mila Tellez
? RF library board: Mark Coe, Margaret Horstman, Leonard Soffer