Before Bob Milstein leaves this editorial smelling like roses, we'd first like to point out that he has done his fair share of dirty campaigning. We, if no one else, clearly remember his days as a VMA "operative" (if Oak Park has any campaign role quite that sophisticated) who took the hatchet to opponent John Troelstrup in long-winded screeds that we, of course, published in this paper.
But we have to admit that this election season, we're a bit taken aback by the rampant Milstein-bashing that's turned up in recent letters-to-the editor and elsewhere--not because we weren't expecting some spite-spitting, but because they're coming from senior VMA campaign officials. VMA comments typically end with vagaries about their own candidates, which generally amount to "our candidates are nice, vote for them."
The VMA should be touting Diana Carpenter, and its whole slate, for that matter, rather than spending all their energy trashing their opponents (who, should also not reek of roses, as they have written equally vicious diatribes against Joanne Trapani, who has cast more than a few stones at the press).
If your candidates aren't good enough to publicly praise for more than two sentences, you shouldn't have slated them.
Moreover, Oak Park's politicos, including and especially the VMA, have consistently argued over recent years that there needs to be more civility in village government. We couldn't agree more. Banter between board members, and comments from the gallery at Village Hall have become increasingly, and unnecessarily hostile.
If you candidates are really committed to proving to the public that we can at least agree to disagree and not be disagreeable about it, you only have three weeks left to haul yourselves out of the mud.
Time for change at Brooks
Over the years, District 97 has recognized the key roles played by principals at all its schools. And when legitimate problems and concerns have been raised, the district has held principals accountable?#34;at Hatch, Irving, and many years ago, at Longfellow.
Problems at Brooks Middle School first surfaced in 2003, and came under closer public scrutiny after the release of a highly critical consultant's report. To deal with the problem the district established a school improvement process.
A January review found all stakeholders involved in the improvement process were only "medium satisfied." And just last week, evidence surfaced, through comments from the district's former consultant and teachers, that there is still a morale problem at the school.
Simply put, Brooks principal Flora Green had two years to turn this school around and she hasn't done it. The board will vote tonight and we fully expect they will decide it's time to bring in new leadership.
It is the responsibility of the current school board and administration to allow the new superintendent to start with a clean slate; Dr. Constance Collins cannot inherit the problems that have plagued Brooks and, to a lesser degree, Holmes.
In the coming weeks, we expect to hear some people in the community say Green's re-assignment is a matter of race. We say she was given ample opportunity to step up and solve problems at this school, and she just didn't pull it off.