Now that the NLP has gained a four-member majority of the village board with the election of three trustees, these are some of the reforms I hope they will place in village government:
1) Water billing must enter the 21st century. Oak Parkers can annually save up to $50,000 in stamps if the water bill can be paid online, via, for example, the same site used to pay ComEd. This will also lead to a reduction in the cost of processing the bills, and the savings can be passed on in terms of lower rates.
2) Dog tags should be bought once and only once, for the lifetime of the animal. Instead of an annual $7 fee, a lifetime fee of $35, with much greater than the estimated current 20 percent compliance, will result in the same revenue stream but free the animal control officers from interminable, annual paperwork.
3) Vehicle stickers should be reduced in price for vehicles with state antique plates. This not only reflects state practice but encourages conservation. To further aid the environment, the shortfall in revenue can be balanced by a surcharge on gas-guzzling SUVs.
4) The nationwide police practice of scoffing at Miranda must be stopped, and we can stop it in Oak Park by the police having a notice sewed onto their vests stating suspects' rights in black and white.
5) The Historic Preservation Ordinance must be rewritten preventing the kind of chicanery that the law department and the village manager used in destroying the Hoppe building, and giving the Historic Preservation Commission the ability to enforce the village's responsibilities as a certified local government.
6) Trees on private property must be protected from cutting down: A permit should be required from the village, which can be issued only if compelling reason for the homeowner's wishes is provided.
7) Homeowners who wish to foster strays should be exempt from the 3-dog rule. We are surrounded by compassionate communities, and we should join them.
8) Tax-increase referendums should only be placed on the ballot during U.S. presidential or congressional elections. Placing referenda on low-turnout election ballots is a blatant attempt to disenfranchise all but the special interests.
9) To obtain a position on a village commission should require, not the approval of the village president?#34;this has been the time-honored technique of the VMA to control those who obtain entries on their political resumes?#34;but a majority vote of the members of the commission the resident seeks to join.
10) An NLP pledge to stimulate business districts other than downtown can begin by cooperating with District 97 and the park district to sell their administration buildings to commercial interests and move their offices into existing government buildings. Dist. 97 should move into one of the schools, and the park district can move into either village hall or a playground. Moving into Stevenson, for instance, would provide a presence minimizing the cost of security there. This will stimulate business development along Madison Street and generate property and sales taxes.
11) The park district must be divorced from the lumberjack business, cutting down trees at will and freelancing for Dist. 97. Only the village has a certified arborist. The park district has cut down 55 trees at Lindberg Park, 18 trees at Mann School, and are soon to cut down untold number of trees in the forest at Austin Gardens. You are not in the timber business!
12) Cell phones should be banned for drivers. If one needs to make a call, the driver should pull over.
13) A moratorium should be placed on the placing of stop signs. The proliferation of signs simply leads to scofflaw behavior and consequent dangerous driving conditions.
14) The park district has been feckless in fulfilling the requests of 10,000 dog owners for a dog park. Let the NLP take the lead in creating one.
15) The library board has been feckless in stopping the murder of thousands of migratory birds, crashing into the new library. Let the NLP direct them to find a solution to how to turn off the lights at night.
16) Place a hiring freeze at village hall, and in particular get rid of all the assistant village manager positions.
17) Festival Theatre is a local cultural treasure. Give it appropriate funding.
18) Put a stop to pawn shops and currency exchanges. They destroy the flavor of our town.
19) If you want to do something personal for me, please pass a resolution condemning those on the outgoing board for destruction of the Hoppe building.
20) Those who wish to poison the earth by having their lawns chemically sterilized should be charged a village fee. The revenues can be used to reduce the exorbitant cost of paramedic service. At it stands, the cost is prohibitive to many seniors who most need the service.
21) To stop hundreds of computers and peripherals from being dumped in landfills, when they could be used by those without computers or by non-profits, institute a web-based, year-round, used-computer exchange. Stop wasting village hall staffing time on a bureaucracy-overloaded once-a-year effort. Look, for example, at geocities.com/oprfcex.