Background: Geoff Baker is a local attorney who currently sits on the village's Environment and Energy Commission. He is also a founding member of the Save Our Retail Coalition (SORC), an organization that formed to advocate for more retail space in the development project at Ridgeland Avenue and South Boulevard. He is also a sixth grade CCD teacher at St. Catherine/St. Lucy, and served in the Peace Corps.
Baker has a Chemical Engineering degree from University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin. He is running on the New Leadership Party slate.
Priorites: Baker lists the top three challenges facing the village board as:
1) stimulating economic development village-wide while maintaining community character,
2) transparent government, by which he says means ensuring that all village decisions include citizen input upfront, and
3) creating a sustainable community, with improved transit and neighborhood development.
Baker is critical of the village's subsidy of the Whiteco project, and has concerns about the Crandall and Arambula plan, which he says is, in parts, "too extreme."
Quote: "I see us gentrifying at all costs. I can't name a single development that includes an adequate fair housing component. We're abusing a TIF. We're not doing anything about Madison and Roosevelt Road."
Background: Raymond Barbosa is a relative newcomer to Oak Park politics. He has served on the village's Housing Programs Advisory Committee, and professionally, he is a tax attorney, who has served as a tax, legal and financial executive at two Fortune 500 multinational corporations. He has also worked at two major law and accounting firms, and is on the board of Streetwise, the newspaper sold by homeless vendors.
He has lived in Oak Park for 22 years, and decided to run for the village board to give something back to the community. He is running on the Oak Park First slate, selected by the Village Manager Association.
Priorities: Barbosa lists the top three challenges facing the village board as:
1) ever increasing taxes,
2) the ability of the board to make informed and timely decisions, and
3) a need to focus on a policy role.
Barbosa says his professional experiences working on several boards have taught him how to help craft "win-win" decisions.
He says trustees have to focus on "equitable economic development" throughout Oak Park to help broaden the tax base, and that he will bring a "fresh and critical" look to the budget process.
Barbosa also believes respect among board members will help decisions be made in a more timely manner, and that the board is responsible for setting a "long-term vision."
He also said the board doesn't need to hold four meetings a week, and that trustees need to "re-think what boards and commissions are all about."
Quote: "What I want to bring to the board is creative experiences, a fresh perspective and fresh things to look at. There is tension [on the board] that you can cut with a knife that doesn't have to be there. There is consternation over leadership, but it is the responsibility of all seven people to set policy. We need to be more open-minded about what other people are saying, and we have to respect other people's opinions."
Background: Martha Brock is a professional photographer, and a former co-president of African American Parents for Purposeful Leadership in Education (APPLE). Locally, she was also former member of the Citizen Involvement Committee, a member of the District 200 School Improvement Plan and is a volunteer for West Suburban PADS.
Outside of Oak Park, she has been involved with the After School Matters program in Austin and at the Working in The Schools program at Cabrini Green-Maineer Elementary School. She is also a founding member of the Chicago Alliance of African American Photographers.
Brock has a degree in criminal justice from Mississippi Valley State University and is a second-year MBA student. She is running on the New Leadership Party slate.
Priorities: Brock lists the top three challenges facing the village board as:
1) unequal attention to development outside of downtown,
2) a lack of commission members who reflect full diversity and expertise, and
3) a lack of openness in village government.
Brock said she believes Oak Park needs to pay better attention to maintaining economic diversity and addressing issues affecting renters, such as parking.
Quote: "The affordability of living in Oak Park is often an after thought. We need to step up to the plate. All housing development in some way needs to resemble affordable housing?#34;across the board. The village board needs to make that part of the planning process."
Background: Greg Marsey has been involved in a number of neighborhood organizations, and is a founding member of the Harlem-Ontario Community Association, which opposed the Whiteco project, and Neighbors United to Save South Marion. He is also on the board of Responsible Economic Development Citizens of Oak Park (REDCOOP), a founding member of Citizens for Change and the New Leadership Coalition. He is also a PADS volunteer.
Marsey has a B.A. from Columbia College, Chicago, and works as a marketing and communications manager. He is running on the New Leadership Party slate.
Priorities: Marsey lists his top three priorities as
1) fiscal responsibility,
2) open planning, which he describes as "citizen-based" and with "particular emphasis on retaining and encouraging locally-owned and operated businesses," and
3) maintaining diversity, in part by developing assistance programs for those "adversely affected by gentrification."
Background: Dorothy Reid is life-long resident and an Oak Park Realtor who also previously served a term on the District 97 Board of Education.
She is a past president of the Oak Park chapter of the NAACP, and a member of the village's Retail Rehab Grant Commission. She is also a member of the PADS board.
She has a degree from Spellman College.
Reid is running on the Oak Park First slate, which was selected by the Village Manager Association.
Priorities: Reid lists the top three challenges facing trustees as:
1) "bringing civility back to the village board,"
2) capping the Ike expressway/bringing north and south Oak Park together, and
3) enhancing the minority procurement program.
On economic development, Reid believes trustees should strive toward "opening up the process without dragging it out," and that new development should spread throughout Oak Park. She also believes it is important that there be more minority representation on elected boards in Oak Park.
Quote: "There is a lack of civility amongst everybody?#34;between board members, residents, staff and the board. Our challenge is take what we hold dear and sacred and yet still advance. We need to not let egos get in the way."
Background: Mas Takiguchi is an attorney who has been involved in a number of housing organizations and most recently served as president of the Oak Park Residence Corp. board of directors.
Takiguchi has also served as chair of the Oak Park Housing Authority board, and currently sits on the Barrie Park Investment Oversight Committee.
He served on the Wonder Works Children's Museum board of directors, and was also on the village's Liquor Control and Review Board for a year.
Outside of Oak Park, he has been a member of several legal and social service organizations.
He ran for village trustee two years ago with the Independent Party, but this year is running on the Oak Park First slate, selected by the Village Manager Association.
Priorities: Takiguchi lists the top three challenges facing Oak Park as:
1) balancing economic development with quality of life issues as a primary central policy,
2) enhancing efforts to control spending and fuller articulation of budget priorities/policy in the budget process, and
3) an aggressive approach to parking and transportation issues.
If elected, Takiguchi said he would like to serve on the board's finance committee, in part to streamline and improve the budget-setting process.
Quote: "The most fundamental thing we need to do is create a vision and actually get decisions made. We need to start the budget process earlier, so we don't let it be driven by [Village Manager] Carl [Swenson]."