Hats off to Oak Park's next village president, Anan Abu-Taleb. He spoke and the voters listened.
Months ago, we didn't think a newcomer had a chance against the well-respected, longtime public servant John Hedges. We thought the restaurateur challenger was enthusiastic and had some good ideas, but we were concerned he couldn't back them up with substance. After all, this is his first foray into local politics — but maybe that freshness is what voters wanted.
We don't know yet if Abu-Taleb can deliver on all he has promised, but we're eager to see what a new face can do on the village board. Hedges and his fellow trustees also indicated that it's time to shake things up. While we don't think John Hedges was the status-quo candidate he was pegged to be, we agree this is a time for change.
Taxes are high and they're getting higher. People worry they can't stay in Oak Park. Many new businesses have opened up, but vacant storefronts remain. The village's finances are on the mend, and a new performance management piece is in place.
A lot has been done, but much remains. We hope Abu-Taleb can lead this board by listening and learning from his more experienced team members.
Anan Abu-Taleb didn't get Wednesday Journal's endorsement, but we're hopeful that he'll prove us wrong. It sounds like he hasn't slowed down a bit as he's already met with some of he fellow board mates.
He and his team ran a strong, hard campaign with simple and focused goals; his message struck a chord with voters. He should be proud of what he accomplished and we hope his success will continue. We aren't asking for a revolution, but we do want change. What we need is efficient, meaningful and calculated change. Hopefully Abu-Taleb and the board can bring us there.