Oak Park can be both green and cost-conscious

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Oak Parkers are quite right to be concerned about the switch from green to brown energy. I share those concerns. Sustainability is one of our most deeply held community values. 

But ComEd raised the cost of its transmission system, which we have to rely on, even if the energy source we use is 100 percent renewable. Not only that: They are also going to raise their rates in June. We don't know how big that increase is going to be. Binding all Oak Parkers to an electricity contract is about as wide-ranging an action as a village board can take. Not knowing the amount of ComEd's June increase could end up costing 52,000 residents way more than the $4/month figure that's been floating around. 

The board made the right decision by choosing the contract that would cost consumers less. We are not, as some are arguing, jettisoning our commitment to green power in favor of dirty energy. We are protecting our residents' pocketbooks while at the same time working to create a multitude of green energy solutions (like we're doing in with the Korean Smart Grid Institute, for example, to integrate smart grid technology wherever we can.)

We had to take the action we took on Friday morning to protect the economic interests of all of our residents. No one should doubt that we will continue to place green initiatives at the top of our policy priority list. 

Oak Park is a green community and it will stay that way. 

Adam Salzman

Village trustee

Reader Comments

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Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 5:19 PM

For clarity: Adam Smith left the same original comment on the letter Trustee Lueck wrote. An anonymous poster challenged him not to be selective, and so Adam left the same comment on Trustee Salzman's (this one) letter. Colette's letter is here: http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/4-15-2014/Going-(down)-from-green-to-brown/

Adam Smith  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 5:08 PM

@Brad- Trustee Lueck's letter: "..five trustees changed public policy and voted for the "brown" provider. This dramatic change in policy direction occurred at a last-minute and poorly publicized meeting held at an unexpected time of day." Wrong on policy (which is to save money on power) and implies misconduct. Let's agree to disagree that this letter was well advised.

Brad Bartels from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 3:45 PM

Adam Smith: The board is a collection of individually elected officials that act/think independently of each other as trustees. They don't act/speak as one voice and often disagree on matters of policy. They often communicate in a variety of ways with their constituents - public letters, public meetings, door-to-door canvassing, etc. They all are trained on the ins and outs of the Illinois Open Meeting Act and understand the confidentiality of Executive Sessions. They also understand the importance of hearing from constituents, studying issues and at times agreeing to disagree.

Adam Smith  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 12:51 PM

The Village Board acts as a single unit and not a collection of individuals. The discussion on Board issues have specific legal processes, presumably discussion takes place in the public record and a vote is taken. Individual Board members speaking on behalf of all or criticizing other members on a Board issue is inappropriate and out of place IMHO.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 11:11 AM

Adam Smith, Why is it inappropriate? I am genuinely interested in understanding this perspective. About a year ago, this topic came up at a Village Board meeting, with a couple of Trustees opposed to Letters to the Editor, for any Board Member; while others, even those who would not personally write a letter, supported one's right to do so. So I'm seeking to understand your point of view.

Brad Bartels from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 10:32 AM

Sorry - "Adam" is Adam Smith one of those that committed below - Not Adam Salzman (who is not new to Journal letter writing)

Brad Bartels from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 10:30 AM

Perhaps Adam is not familiar with the long and rich tradition of trustees and the Village president writing opinion pieces in the Wednesday Journal - prior to and after matters before the Village. Mimi, you will also find that Collette did write a letter entitled, "Going Down From Green to Brown".

Tired of Spin from Oak Park  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 9:55 AM

Simplistic, you are correct about the supply and demand model but not correct about the nanny state. Please research the amount of subsidy and preference given to the coal and gas industry and their stranglehold on distribution. Until more consumers (individuals and municipalities) create demand for something else brown is all anyone will get.

Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 9:50 AM

It is entirely appropriate for a board member to write a letter to the editor about a board matter. Not everyone can go to or watch the board meetings, so this is a good way to hear what at least one board member thinks. I understand Trustee Lueck voted against this, and I'm sure residents would appreciate hearing more about her views, if she chose to air them in the WJ.

Adam Smith  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 9:40 AM

It is really inappropriate for an elected official to write a letter to the editor on a Board matter.


Posted: April 16th, 2014 9:36 AM

Uh . . . brown energy was going to be on the menu anyway. Either you could opt out to brown or opt out to green. There is always going to be a mix. So the Ruth's Chris analogy is silly. And by the way, if everyone at Ruth's Chris ordered the vegetables, I bet Ruth's Chris would reconsider their menu. Consumers have power. How about exercising it instead of whining and pleading for the nanny state to make the choice for you?

Tired of Spin from Oak Park  

Posted: April 16th, 2014 9:24 AM

"Oak Park is a green community and it will stay that way." Just like opting for the vegetable plate at Ruth's Chris makes it a Vegan restaurant.

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