Now that the referendum for the District 97 tax hike has passed — and our property taxes are to be raised somewhere between $37.40 per $100,000 of assessed valuation and $126.04 per $100,000, depending upon which source one uses — the need to hold those people who steward those resources accountable has never been more acute. In viewing the photograph on the front page of last week’s Wednesday Journal, my confidence level is quite low.
In that photo we see the smiling face of District 97 school board President Peter Traczyk sitting at the bar of Trattoria 225 on Harrison Street. In his hand is a glass holding an indeterminate liquid. To his right are two decidedly underage patrons.
This same issue of Wednesday Journal contained a special advertising section about the OPRF Community Foundation. On page B35 of that section is a photograph showing the Clean Mind/Clean Spirit sign that champions how we support drug-free teens. Alcohol is a drug.
It is probably the best-kept secret since Watergate that Oak Park and River Forest have an alcohol and drug abuse problem among the young people attending our schools. To have scheduled the celebration praising a tax increase to aid education at an establishment containing a bar, inviting the press to attend and then allowing yourself to be photographed sitting at that bar, no matter what the glass contains, is either an indication dubious judgment skills or malfeasance in the zygote form.
We must follow this money with great care.
Joseph T. Smith
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