Having attended two candidate forums, one on March 13 and one on March 23, I think Oak Park voters can rest assured that Anan Abu-Taleb will represent them well and faithfully as village president.
For too long, the entrenched village leadership has trotted out the same old failed solutions to the problem of stagnant economic development in Oak Park. We taxpayers cannot afford yet another parking garage giveaway to yet another developer, more buildings and parking lots owned by the village and off the tax rolls, and millions more in general obligation bond debt payable out of all our pockets.
In the two forums, Mr. Abu-Taleb showed remarkable grace under fire, but even more important, had a clear grasp of the current lack of financial transparency and accountability that the village owes its taxpayers.
He also had good ideas for removing road blocks to economic development. For example, he noted that businesses seeking to do business in Oak Park need decisions to be made much more quickly — and with fewer meetings — than they currently face. In contrast, candidate John Hedges stated, "This is Oak Park — it's just not a nimble community."
I am a 13-year resident of Oak Park. I am grateful to Mr. Hedges and all the other trustees who do this thankless job. But we need fresh eyes overseeing our hard-earned tax dollars, and fresh ideas for recruiting business and economic development that will pay their fair share of taxes alongside of us residents.
I believe Anan Abu-Taleb will be those fresh eyes and help nurture those fresh ideas.