Thank you for your very kind words and your generous appraisal of my candidacy for village president. Taken together with the endorsements that I have received from the other two local media outlets (March 16 Oak Leaves endorsement, and March 22 Oak Park Journal endorsement), I believe that my chances of being elected on April 5 are promising.
At the same time though, these endorsements, combined with the situation on the ground, seem to be pointing to a race that is increasingly becoming a choice for voters between myself and Bob Milstein.
While I respect Bob's commitment, and the campaign that he has run, I believe that I would be a better and more effective village president.
Balanced decision-making: Some seem to want to pose the choice of Bob or me as one that hinges on emotion vs. reason. I think that this is a false choice. My decision to run was intimately influenced by both emotion and reason.
I was born here in Oak Park, and was adopted as an infant. In turn, I understand, in a very conscious way, what "opportunity" and "community" can really mean in a person's life. My family has long-standing ties to this community. And, my wife and I made a truly intentional decision to return, and to raise our family here, drawn as we were by the village's continuing commitment to values that we share.
Living in a welcoming and diverse community matters to us. Living in a community that respects the natural environment, celebrates and preserves its historical character, and embraces arts and culture matters to us. Living in a community that commits itself to the education of its children matters to us. Living in a community that responds to the needs of all populations, including seniors and persons with disabilities, matters to us. At their core, these are emotional issues that are grounded in our values as individuals and as a community.
However, these values and the emotional commitments that underlie them cannot stand on their own. They must be supported by basic principles of thoughtful leadership and reason. This is particularly important in our community today.
Your tax bill matters: Rapidly escalating taxes are undercutting our long-standing commitment to diversity, as we tax more and more people out of our community. If left uncontrolled, future tax increases could have the further effect of eroding property values. We need a village president who is clear-minded enough to see these clouds on the horizon, and experienced enough to know how to address them and to get things done.
Professionally, I work with large-scale organizations to find solutions to strategic challenges. This is what I do. In turn, I am the candidate best equipped to ensure that the dollars you entrust to us are spent responsibly?#34;as I did when I was the only one who did not leap, for political purposes, to a conclusion regarding a $105 million expenditure commitment, but rather insisted on an accounting of the long-term impact to the taxpayer. To me the impact on the taxpayer matters.
Schools and parks matter: We need a village president who will work creatively with other governmental bodies, identify community-wide priorities, and ensure responsible and efficient service delivery. If we really care about educational quality, early childhood care, and the condition of our parks and open spaces, then effective intergovernmental coordination will be necessary. I have worked effectively with board members from these bodies (addressing early childhood education and a rationalized funding model for our parks), and am the only candidate to have made significant substantive proposals addressing intergovernmental coordination (see www.votepope.com).
Good government matters: Absolutist, "my way or the highway" decision-making, too often driven by politics, tears at our community fabric. We need a village president who will reach across this divide and return us to fundamental principles of good government, focusing on reasonable approaches and responsible solutions. We must be open about how and why decisions are made, when and how citizens can offer their input, and what the outcomes mean for people's lives. And we need to be willing to talk with people regardless of their perspective.
I know that we share a deep commitment to the future of Oak Park. The decisions we make over the next four years will have real impacts on all of our lives. I take this responsibility very seriously. As a trustee I have dedicated myself to responsible policymaking rather than partisanship. As village president I will continue to reach across boundaries and divides to find solutions that work for us all.
While I deeply appreciate the media endorsements that I have received over the past two weeks, the most important endorsement is the one that I hope your readers will provide me on Tuesday, April 5, and I ask for their support.
Candidate for Village President