I had the pleasure of attending the Buzz Café's meet the candidate's night. The speakers were the candidates from the NLP party. Unfortunately two of the candidates had to leave early, so the majority of the evening was spent listening to Bob Milstein.
This is not necessarily a bad thing since Bob is clearly the best public speaker on the scene today. When he reaches out with both hands pleading with you to follow him on his mission to undue 50 years of good government, I feel like I am watching one of the best TV Evangelists available.
Bob spoke about expanding volunteerism and getting village employees to be a more responsive group. I have no idea how he would accomplish this goal. The truth is a large number of volunteers and employees have quit because of the abusive and disrespectful group he leads. They have forced a wedge between village employees and citizens like never before.
Bob also proclaimed that the NLP really is not against development. In a patronizing way he claimed they want to build what we want. What is that? How would the NLP know what we want when they have opposed all of the initiatives that the village has tried in order to increase public input.
How is this also not hostile to the business community? Currently we have a terrible situation for small businesses. If you try to establish yourself in Oak Park, the anti-developers immediately assault you and the process will take at least 6-9 months to get started. How can you possibly afford to fight this battle when your resources are already low? You wouldn't, but you would consider sending your creative business and tax revenue elsewhere.
The NLP was not even able to describe what they thought a good development was. They spoke about how they forced the development at Ridgeland and South to change and become a good development. Then the next speaker proclaimed that when they are elected such a building would never be built again. I hate to use an abused national phrase, but the NLP has officially brought "flip-flop" to our community.
This is not the only national item they have brought here. The core of the NLP is still the Oak Park Green Party. This is how they were able to develop a platform before the candidates were selected. There was a Green litmus test given to all applicants.
I admit I am a partisan participant in this election. I am supporting and working for the Oak Park First campaign. I believe our VMA endorsed and elected officials have helped make Oak Park such a desirable place to live. Look no further than at the results of the independently conducted village wide survey. Over 90 percent of Oak Parkers are very satisfied at what is happening in our community.
I will not claim that all VMA endorsed and elected officials deserve a statue. I even believe that when elected, our current slate will make a mistake or two along the way. But they will create an environment conducive to evolutionary progress and not revolutionary destruction. The decisions by the board will affect your home. I do not believe we can turn it over to a group of people, who have an agenda that does not keep Oak Park first.
Lastly, I will admit that Bob was right on one point. The VMA selection process was more controlled than in the recent past. The reason for this was that two years ago the VCA, now NLP, attempted to hijack and take advantage of our openness to undermine the process. They were hoping that if they sent enough of their people we would endorse their candidates. When they were unsuccessful they were so shocked that they called for a recount and verification of the vote. If this is their definition of an open process then I need a new dictionary. This is what we are dealing with and they think we should turn over our community to them?
Please attend the public debates and listen to what we have to say. On April 5 get out and vote and retain the community we love.