Front-page picture a bad omen from District 97

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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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
Oak Park

Reader Comments

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Julie Nilson Chyna from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 18th, 2011 10:34 AM

This is utterly ridiculous. Is the WJ that desperate to fill up the Letters to the Editor page?

Elizabeth Hoyle from Wichita   

Posted: April 18th, 2011 8:28 AM

You have GOT to be kidding! My nephews live in that district, and my brother and sister-in-law are OVERJOYED that the tax increase passed. Talk about sour grapes - I mean the petty, ignorant kind.

Oak Park mom   

Posted: April 13th, 2011 5:54 PM

So funny. My kids eat regularly at Trattoria 225 (kids eat free on Thursdays!) and my preschooler learned to cook pizza there during Harrison Street Art Camp (under Chef Craig, no longer there but much missed) Signed, not signing name in fear that Mr. Smith will report me to CPS. Now a note to Wednesday Journal: why do you waste valuable space with this nonsense?

Peter Traczyk  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 5:31 PM

Mr. Smith-this event was held by the Committee to Support Oak Park Schools to celebrate (or commiserate) the outcome of the vote. I was invited and glad to come. In my glass is a tasty Fat Tire ale, which my kids have seen me drink at home. These two were with me while their brother was at soccer and their mom at a knitting class; they asked to come. My wife came and took them home shortly after this picture was taken. I find your letter to be appallingly judgmental and I make no apologies.

Excuse me  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 4:37 PM

Actually as "op drinker" already stated, the children in the picture are two of Peter Traczyk's three children. They are 9 and 11. Wow.

op drinker  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 11:49 AM

Clearly Peter is older than 21. The BOE & Vote Yes group worked hard & deserve to toast a victory. This was not a "scheduled" celebration, merely a location to gather as the polls came in. The kids are his, good for him including them not leaving them at home with a sitter. Or would you like to blast him for being a family man? Your criticism is misplaced and ridiculous.


Posted: April 12th, 2011 11:24 PM

So that's what those signs meant: Just Say No!

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