Oak Park's next president: Anan Abu-Taleb


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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

See a recap of our liveblog coverage here.

One of Anan Abu-Taleb's three sons, Matt, said his father had two speeches prepared, but was optimistic early Tuesday evening that he'd only be addressing the crowd as the next village president.

His son got his wish — and more.

The restaurateur jumped out to a quick and decisive lead Tuesday night and maintained that strong lead as the results were tallied, building to 58 to 42 percent victory over the VMA candidate John Hedges with all 38 precincts reporting.

The hard-fought campaign was a test of the VMA's traditional strength, but a strong anti-VMA sentiment, aided by a charismatic candidate carried the day. Ironically, the rest of the VMA slate ran unopposed. Abu-Taleb ran on a platform of bringing change to Oak Park; Hedges ran the Oak Park Together slate with the mantra "experience matters," that the village needed leaders to keep the village on its current path.

Voters saw it differently.

"It's not a difficult message to buy into," Matt Abu-Taleb said Tuesday, shortly before results came in. His family was welcomed by a packed crowd at Maya del Sol, the Abu-Taleb family's restaurant, cheering as the precinct results were updated.

Abu-Taleb arrived shortly after 8 p.m. and was his usual boisterous self, hugging or kissing nearly everyone in the crowd with great enthusiasm. He said he was overwhelmed by the support.

"I feel great," he said as he moved past to greet supporters. Then he disappeared to make finishing touches on his speech, which he was expected to deliver around 9:30 p.m.

After Hedges called Abu-Taleb to concede, the future village president delivered his speech to an enthusiastic crowd. Here's what Abu-Taleb said, according to a written copy of the speech:

"Wow. The American Dream is alive and well. I am a grateful man tonight. Thank you for this humbling victory. This victory is most gratifying because it came from you. It's a victory for all those who believe that Oak Park's best days are yet to come. I love Oak Park because this is where I realized the American Dream. Where I grew up, few dared to hope or to dream. I have been given many chances, but none was more valuable than the chance to come to the United States. Without it, the possibilities would have been limited. With it, the opportunities have been limitless."

The speech continued with a list of things he is grateful for, including being embraced by the U.S., his wife and loving family, and the supportive community that gave him "a sense of belonging." He also said he appreciated John Hedges and the others who worked for the "good of Oak Park" in this election.

"But I am most grateful for the voters and residents of Oak Park that listened openly to the ideas of a man with a foreign name and accent. And I am exceptionally grateful tonight for all of my campaign staff and volunteers. This victory belongs to you."

He said he will work with an open mind and also pledged to be respectful and civil to all, regardless of anyone's opinion on any particular issue.

"So my promise was that 'together, we can be more,' and together, we have made this historic change. But this is just the beginning. Your role does not end with your vote. Together, we must create a spirit of advocacy in the village and start to create pressure for change. I can't wait to get started. Let's continue to work together."

John Burkowski, who helped with the campaign, said the secret was getting Abu-Taleb's message out across multiple platforms, including forums, his website, Facebook and Twitter. Abu-Taleb could be found reading the 2013 budget on the Stairmaster, and put an immense amount of time into learning the ins and outs of village government, Burkowski said.

"We ran a hard campaign with good groundwork with social media," Burkowski said. "You wouldn't believe how much preparation he put into preparing for all the forums. … He read anything he could get his hands on."

Abu-Taleb's love for Oak Park was another factor he thought carried the candidate to victory.

"He's got an amazing energy for this community," Burkowski said. "He really wants to make a difference."

Early on Tuesday morning Abu-Taleb and Hedges spent their time at the Oak Park el stops reaching out to voters with last-minute messages. The two candidates were at one stop together at one point with their wives.

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

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Posted: April 16th, 2013 9:36 PM

Wish you had a "Like" button because that last assessment about Pope's weakness and the hope for the future leadership of the Village by Anan, written by JB Murtagh, was/is really accurate and good! JBM, you really know your local history!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 16th, 2013 11:05 AM

David Pope came to the presidency with a vision for Oak Park - a combination of growth and charity. Growth centered around massive development. Charity centered around OP Housing for the poor. He spent 8 yrs on his vision passionately selling it and urging the board, staff, business, and residents to embrace it; in its entirety.. His knowledge of both subjects allowed him to avoid listening to other viewpoints. He did not need anyone's help. He had it all figured out and there was little self-doubt. The nature of civic discourse is self doubt. Open discussion is the road to overcoming it. David is a poor listener. . He listened not to learn but to prepare his rebuttal. There is a silver lining in Anan's election. He arrives with little government experience. He is dependent on those around him to provide the information to make decisions. He has very few pre-conceived notions. He has a broad, largely undefined vision for Oak Park and believes that conversation and discussions will guide the vision development. Anan's is smart. He knows his weaknesses. He also knows how to draw people together and grasps and adopts viewpoint readily and quickly. Finally, he is a consummate team builder. It is impossible to judge his term as president before he takes the oath. That's good, really good.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 16th, 2013 8:39 AM

The potential impact of Anan lies not in his sole vote, but in the leadership difference between himself and Pope. Instead of Pope misrepresenting budgetary and TIF finances, jamming the board agenda with personal pet projects, and dominating board discussion with long-winded lectures, Anan will bring a voice of reason to board meetings. This will help level the playing field with Johnson and Lueck's downtown obsession, and provide a forum for a more reasoned approach from the other Trustees.

Chris Walsh from Oak Park  

Posted: April 16th, 2013 1:17 AM

I congratulate Anan on his victory but suspect he will be deeply disappointed to discover how little power he actually has to change things unilaterally. He needs to work with and persuade a majority of the VMA-slated Trustees to get anything meaningful accomplished. However, the trustees elected on VMA slates have no dogged agenda. Indeed, the VMA would abhor that. It WANTS its Trustees to be "free agents" and "independent" thinkers so to speak So lead, Anan, with the power of your ideas.

Welcome to the People's Republic of Oak Park  

Posted: April 15th, 2013 10:43 PM

@holy M says "the VMA should just stop existing because they are the only "political group" and there shouldnt be just one? Ridiculous on its face. The make up of the VMA is DIFFERENT today than the make of the VMA in the 1960's! People miss the point when they pigeon hole the VMA b/c they have history and longevity. Its called organization and work." I think that this is, almost word for word, the exact same thing that the Chinese Communist Party says to explain themselves and their governing.

Charlie Veitch  

Posted: April 14th, 2013 10:29 AM

I heard Anan is a secret government agent in the International Man of Mystery program. The whole restaurant thing is just a cover.

Not a revelation (or serious comment)  

Posted: April 14th, 2013 10:07 AM

Jackie - Did you really think the VMA planted this person as an independent in an election so that they could win? The comment was made to seem ridiculous (sorry u missed that, but I'm the knuckle head) in response to what I thought was a uninformed/ridiculous statement by Revolution Machines. The VMA has been made up of involved community members throughout the years, that attempt to bring qualified candidates to a slate. Not always successful. Some now support Anan. I support Anan.


Posted: April 14th, 2013 9:38 AM

@not a revolution--your comment that Abu-taleb's campaign committee was made up of former VMA'ers made me curious. I checked the State Board of Elections site and his committee is made up of Abu-taleb and his wife. So I looked at some of the WJ articles and this paper identifies Abu-taleb's son and a 22 year old young man named Wallace. So who were the former VMA'ers who are on this "committee" or are you just one of those knucke-headed bloggers who says whatever nonsense comes to mind?

@holy Moly  

Posted: April 14th, 2013 12:46 AM

So by your logic, the VMA should just stop existing because they are the only "political group" and there shouldnt be just one? Ridiculous on its face. The make up of the VMA is DIFFERENT today than the make of the VMA in the 1960's! People miss the point when they pigeon hole the VMA b/c they have history and longevity. Its called organization and work.

Holy Moly!  

Posted: April 13th, 2013 11:09 AM

@MacInnes, credit where credit is due! The VMA did once, and some members still operate in earnest. I never said they were evil, Westboro Church was just to make the point that what some people think is good and righteous, others on the outside see as objectionable. I keep thinking of the suspicious double digit million dollar subsidy to the WhiteCo project benefitting who was never understood, the hidden machinations of the VMA, Anna - evil is domination of a government by one political group.

Not a Revolution  

Posted: April 13th, 2013 8:28 AM

@Revolution - I just hope you didn't vote for Anan. His committee is made up of VMA and former VMA members. He might be a member as well. I am thinking that the VMA was behind this "independent candidate". They faked competition while placing their "former" insiders to run the campaign. Can't stop the evil machine.

Revolution MacInnes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 9:16 PM

@HolyMoly I think the VMA is evil, they have perpetuated a racist and unconstitutional sign ban, steered blacks not to integrate but rather to segregate, given tens of millions to their buddies in back room deals conspired to make few real estate firms extremely wealthy, helped build a mini media empire but comparing them to Westboro Baptist Church that takes the cake. I laughed until I cried. Bravo for speaking out!

Holy Moly!  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 7:34 PM

Anna, the Village Manager Association is not a political party, just a group of nice caring people?! To some, Westboro Church is a group of caring people but many people think that they care about the wrong things. Read up on democracy! We have had. almost exclusively, one party rule in Oak Park for more than sixty years. This would be like having the Democrats. Republicans, Libertarians, or even Communists run the country for sixty years with one point of view. Do you think that's a good idea?

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 6:06 PM

Frank, The "baggage" was apparently not an issue with the majority of voters You are right about public misperception regarding property taxes in Oak Park. Village government's share is a small percentage compared to the amount distributed to the school districts. Of course, the Village does have a number of ways to raise additional revenue. Most fees have skyrocketed. I trust you would agree there has been an expenditure or two that gave you some pause. Take a look at some of the consulting and personal services contracts the trustees have approved. Many were not even subjected to an open bidding process. That PeopleSoft hiring deal was a real stinker. Another that really sticks out involved the payment of thousands of dollars to experts for a report on how to improve the tiny shopping district that runs from Marion to Harlem along Chicago Ave. All we got in return was a report recommending improved signage, more parking and that the gas station on the corner to open a coffee shop. Add that absolute waste of tax dollars to the pile of deals and silly purchases that the trustees have signed off on and you're talking about some large amounts. And that's just the stuff that's part of the public record. The TIF books are a whole nother story. We have to see if our new Village president acts and finally allows the public to examine all those districts' revenues and expenditures.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 4:10 PM

I agree 100% with "Trust Is." Too frequently the elected officials treat us like we are ignorant children

Trust is not an entitlement  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 3:15 PM

Frank, what is missing is trust snd trust is created when actions mirror what is said (or published in the case of a platform). When words and actions are out of alignment that's when trust goes away. Just shouting "You're wrong about us" won't cut it. Actions have to show that those who don't trust you are wrong. Also you should keep in mind that the re-establishment of trust does not happen overnight.

Frank from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 1:55 PM

Jim, You seem to not be following. I am saying both engaged in dishonesty and mudslinging. if there has been "reckless spending" then why has the Village's portion of taxes GONE DOWN? I don't blame people being upset about taxes, but that isn't the Village's fault, that is the SCHOOL DISTRICT'S! Lastly, you cannot claim that Anan doesn't come with his baggage.

Observer from Oak Park  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 11:42 AM

Congratulations to Anan!!! Hopefully the VMA will realize that things need to change. OP is tired of the same line that they know best because they have 'consultants.' Never mind the fact that the consultants rubber stamp everything the village wants to do.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 11:39 AM

I don't think the VMA is evil. I do think it has become badly disconnected from the core of the community.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 10:55 AM

Frank There's a big difference between making the wild claim that the VMA has been characterized as "evil" and calling out supporters of a candidate for engaging in mudslinging. Those tactics are a distraction and do not promote an open exchange of ideas. Fight the good fight but fight fair. Regarding voters preferring Anan over Hedges, I wonder if some were frustrated and angry about high taxes, declining public services, awarding no bid contracts for legal and outside consultant services, reckless spending practices and a perceived lack of accountability and transparency by the current Village board. Hedges may be have been the best choice to restore trust at Village Hall but his failure to protest the straw purchase of the Westgate building and the subsequent payoff of ten of thousands of tax dollars to couple of well-concected folks was rightly viewed as a backroom deal and cronyism. That's not good government.


Posted: April 12th, 2013 10:32 AM

To me the VMA seems no more than an open group of involved, caring citizens who want the best for Oak Park. Are they new and long time Oak Parkers- Yes. To call them a one party ruler is false and misleading. They just happen to still be organized and intact after many yrs. Kudos to them. Its all about community and people moving this town forward.

Revolution MacInnes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 10:06 AM

@JoelS. Great to hear your voice on the sign ban issue. I would love to see you sit down with Anan and his people and fill them in! It seems like every couple of years I get a young federal attorney fired up over the issue but a few days later they call me back very downtrodden and let me know in a round about way that the higher ups have put the kabosh on their idea. I would love to see certain actors who have benefited tremendously financialy do a bit of prison time, overturning it would be great but I can still dream!

Joel A. Schoenmeyer from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 10:00 AM

That's a good point, OPRFDad, and it's a problem in Illinois generally. According to our own Secretary of State's website, Illinois has 6,903 units of local government, more than any other state.


Posted: April 12th, 2013 9:54 AM

The real "cancer" is the overall political system. In a village of 50,000, we have a Village Board, Township Board, H/S Board, Grade School Board, Park District Board, Library Board, and I'm sure I'm forgetting others. This is WAY too much government and WAY too much administration. It makes it difficult to keep track of everything, and forces people to pick their poison. I'll follow either D200 or the Village Board. If we want an efficient effective government, change the structure.

Joel A. Schoenmeyer from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 12th, 2013 9:43 AM

"It may be time for a serious study on the effects and benefits of the signage ban." I don't think a study is needed -- the ban is clearly unconstitutional. (See the US Supreme Court's decision in Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Willingboro, written by Justice Thurgood Marshall). Keen legal minds like Ken Trainor and Ray Heise (#sarcasm) may not understand that fact, but people with even a basic understanding of constitutional law certainly do. It's just a question of whether the Village gets rid of the ban on its own, or is forced by a court to do so (which could be a very expensive proposition).


Posted: April 12th, 2013 9:34 AM

To make my argument balanced the characterization of Anan as inexperienced needs clarification. If you think experience in government and public life is necessary, give examples how. How is leading a government different from owning and running a business, and why those differences are different. I didn't see enough of that. So Anan hasn't been involved in politics and public life. So? How and why does that matter? Just like the characterization of Barack Obama in 2008 as inexperienced.


Posted: April 12th, 2013 9:30 AM

Jim, In terms of individuals terming the VMA "evil" there has been plenty of "mudslinging" on here. Calling the VMA elitist, corporate rule, that they don't care what Oak Parkers think or feel. Anything to tear them down. My point is that if your government isn't doing what you want it to do, then you need to organize others and get your voice heard. Simply say you don't agree with them, but when you start to character assassinate that is going down the path of "evil"


Posted: April 12th, 2013 9:20 AM

Jim, And honestly there was a very small difference between the "platform" for both candidates. The only big difference I saw was that Anan it seemed, and correct me, didn't want to hire this new Business Development Person. He wants to get rid of some of the policies and procedures businesses must go through. There was a contrast that was brought out in terms of taxes, but the Village President, and even the Board has little control over that. The Schools are the tax issue...


Posted: April 12th, 2013 9:17 AM

Jim, Look at their platform. They are principles. They don't highlight very specific actions like "We will bring in a Target" or "We will make Madison in OP look like Forest Park." Any candidate needs to have a set of principles they bring. But this isn't national politics where we have a difference between more spending on social services and more spending on defense.


Posted: April 12th, 2013 8:47 AM

Jim, Go back and look at the history. Pope ran as an independent for his first run as President. And again, IF you and others actually talked and got to know your Trustees you would know that many were not happy with the length of meetings. The opinion of some on the Board is that the Board is to simply that, a Board to provide recommendation, not to micromanage. Pope felt differently. Hence why long meetings. Again, proof that the VMA is not homogeneous.


Posted: April 12th, 2013 7:37 AM

Outling a plan and explaining why you are equipped to execute it is precisely what one is supposed to do during campaign, before being elected.


Posted: April 12th, 2013 7:14 AM

@observer - did iq's drop? Part of moving on implies you give the winner time to outline plan to execute and time to put in place. Again, DEAL with it and I am so tired of fellow OPer's who feel so entitled and think can drive outcomes -


Posted: April 12th, 2013 6:51 AM

@OP - It's a natural part of the process for people to express disappointment in the outcome of an election. If you were sincere about unifying, you would not tell the dissenters to shut up, You would try to answer their concerns. You might start by explaining how Anan will address all of the issues you identiy and how he is equipped to address them.


Posted: April 12th, 2013 3:59 AM

@ observer - again, election is over move one -sorry if comments appear snarky. The reality is OP has great assets but is mismanaged. Rapidly rising taxes coupled with poor services, average schools, overspending and unfriendly environment indicate there is a problem. the question is are we going to protecty our own interest/ego or do the right thing for the village/next generations. Doing the right thing is not easy -


Posted: April 11th, 2013 10:25 PM

OP, if you were sincere about uniting you wouldn't start out by insulting the people you claim to want to unite with.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 9:55 PM

OP - I agree

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 9:55 PM

Jim - Ten bucks was not the issue for the VMA or me. It's the barrier it creates.


Posted: April 11th, 2013 9:46 PM

Time has come to unite and support the winner. Stop whinning and move on - be part of solution - change is GOOD - Oak Park has lost it's edge and needs signifcant work. Deal with it - put your big girl/boy pants on ...

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 9:42 PM

$10.00 does not seem like too much to charge to attend a private event but I wonder why a payment is even required. Perhaps the money is needed to cover related expenses (facility rental, refreshments, etc.,.). Does the entrance fee include official membership in the VMA?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 6:59 PM

Jim - I asked about attending the VMA Selection Meeting last year and was told I had to pay $10 at the door which could be used for membership dues. I stayed home.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 4:44 PM

Not to quibble, but the wonderful Audrey Hepburn actually sang only one song in the film, "Just You Wait". All of the other songs were dubbed by Marni Nixon. "Show Me" is a terrific number.

Show me  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 4:28 PM

@ Frank. Actions speak louder than words. As Audrey Hepburn sang in My Fair Lady, "Show me!" Now is the chance for the VMA to do just that. How the new team led by Anan works together will be what people are going to care about...rather than statements on what the VMA is/isn't - statements that have not matched up to historical behavior.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 3:58 PM

To my knowledge, no one posting on this forum has referred to the VMA as "evil". That would be unfair. As is the accusation. People who take issue with what they view as one party rule are asking how and if it is a benefit to the community. A fair question. So far, no one has been willing to offer an answer.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 3:46 PM

You seem to know more about the party/caucus system than me, Frank. Is it true that you must be a dues paying member of the VMA to participate in the candidate screening and selection process? As far as the endorsed slate goes, informational literature provided to voters outlines the policies and goals that all the candidates have pledged to support. I can't recall any VMA candidate who campaigned contrary to a slate's stated position.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 3:31 PM

I saw it differently, James. One of the reasons that Geoff Bakker cited when he resigned from the board was the significant amount of time required to serve as a trusteea and how that was negatively impacting his family which included very young children. The meetings I watched on TV6 often went long into the early morning hours. Whether Pope acted deliberately to allow the meetings to drag is certainly open to question but you'll notice that was no longer a issue after Brock and Bakker resigned or in regards to the current board. As far as Pope being an independent, it did not appear to the case and I believe he maintained his membership.


Posted: April 11th, 2013 2:40 PM

@Frank, would agree with your last two posts. Those first two years of meetings ran late not because of Pope but the other unqualified "trustees" people elected. There was much grandstanding and it wasn't David. Now, is he immune to being longwinded, heck no but let's call a spade a spade.


Posted: April 11th, 2013 1:57 PM

It seems that MANY here haven't honestly tried to get to know the Trustees. If you had you would KNOW that each bring their own perspective, own philosophy, own idea of governance. VMA is a caucus, not a party. They don't have a party platform like the Dems or Reps. Every Trustee operates independently of what any VMA leadership wants. If its a Party, when do they Caucus about issues, and get the perspective of the VMA leadership? They don't. The VMA is a structure to select candidates


Posted: April 11th, 2013 1:54 PM

Jim, What do you mean when you say "When Pope regained control of the Board". You do realize that Pope ran as an independent candidate for his first term right? I wasn't at those meetings, but knowing Pope (not well, but well enough) he wouldn't deliberately make meetings last to frustrate. If anything maybe to get through what he wanted.

V M A  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 1:40 PM

If the VMA is so evil why did Anan ask to be their candidate? Anan ALSO said that if he wasnt running that he WOULD have voted for the VMA candidate.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 1:30 PM

@GATF, Please direct your questions and concerns about one party rule in Oak Park to VMA officials. I've continually pressed Jim Kelly and others party officials for an opinion and have heard squat back from them. We are all too familiar with the machine politics in Cook County, Chicago and the State of Illinois. It hasn't worked well for taxpayers or businesses. Politicians and party bosses embrace the notion because it provides them with no incentive to be accountable or transparent. I share your frustrations with the system.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 1:21 PM

As I recall the ban on displaying for sale signs in Oak Park was an attempt to stablize home prices in a community that was, at the time, perceived to be experiencing "white flight". I did not occur to me then nor has it been a subject of discussion that the ban might prove to be a bonus for local realtors. It may be time for a serious study on the effects and benefits of the signage ban. There are plenty of them on front lawns throughout River Forest. I would also suggest that Oak Park has enough data to examine how well privatization and outsourcing of public services has worked. Have these measures proven to have saved such a significant amount of tax dollars to justify the loss so many key positions and employees at Village Hall, Police and Fire, and in Public Works. And please detail how any savings been spent? I trust ithe money hasn't been used for bonuses or wasted on foolish follies and pet projects.

Getting at the facts...  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 1:16 PM

@Coghlin, sometimes your posts are exasperating! How could 60+ years of one party rule be good anywhere in government? Look at Chicago and how control extends into the State Legislature, creating the mess we have in Illinois today. Doesn't diversity mean control should never be all of one party or one demographic, i.e. not all Repubs, not all Dems, not all men, not all women, not all whites, not all blacks, not all lawyers, not all gays, not all straights. Do we mean to live diversity or not?

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 12:30 PM

@Robert Milstein, In addition to what you mentioned, the Anan campaign also effectively used social media, most notably its Facebook page, with posts worth "sharing." And wiith a clear, intentional, inviting, vibe of "we're all in this together." And unlike the other's fb page during the final week of campaigning, the Anan one didn't talk about the other candidate, but continued to focus on its own candidate's message.

Revolution MacInnes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 12:16 PM

@JimC I agree it would be fantastic to get an open and transparent accounting of the cronyism that has been occurring throughout the VMA's reign. We also need to look inward at Oak Parks history of good intent fueled by a racist and unconstitutional sign ban that is a huge stain on a community that genuinely believes they are open and inclusive for all people. Getting the dialogue out in the open is what the village needs. Hopefully this election will see the beginning of that dialogue and real and meaningful change can occur in Oak Park.

Revolution MacInnes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 11:57 AM

@Getting I stand corrected. Sixty years of back room deals and cronyism. We should also include an unconstitutional for sale/for rent sign ban that helped to create in my opinion massive wealth for several local real estate companies and a mini media empire filled with real estate listings.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 11:52 AM

I never thought of the VMA as being "the old guard Republican Party". The organization has generally served the community well and offered residents some highly qualified candidates to serve in elective office. Our village clerks have really been outstanding. The issue of one party rule frustrates those who think independent voices need to be involved in policy discussions but also angers party loyalists who see the VMA being labeled as a political machine. It's been suggested that the VMA may have lost the confidence of voters and needs to rebuild trust. A positive first step would be to honor the pledge of transparency and open all of the TIF books for public inspection. Ending the practice of awarding no bid contracts and reducing the expenditures for outside consultants would further indicate a willingness to change.

Getting at the facts...  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 10:42 AM

@Murtagh, a good summary of Board dynamics during Trapani's reign and Pope's takeover. @MacInnes, not it's not 50 years of VMA rule, it's over 60! ..their history from their own website: http://www.vma-oakpark.org/downloads/VMA_History.pdf They fail to report that they lost a landmark lawsuit in the 70's, Robert Coleman vs the VMA. They always claimed that they weren't a political party but they lost this lawsuit and were forced to file as a political party.

Revolution MacInnes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 9:48 AM

Fifty plus years of one party rule needs to end. Hopefully the old guard Republican Party known as the VMA is beginning to see that end. Real issues of crime and tens of millions of tax dollars squandered by the VMA and handed out to their buddies in development will begin to be addressed. Oak Park needs to stop it's faux inclusiveness and create a truly open and integrated community. I hope Anan's election is a big enough crack in the VMA to finally end decades of elitist one party rule! Only time will tell.

Robert Milstein from Oak Park  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 7:56 AM

Mr. Murtaugh is on target with his observations. In fact, Anan reached out to a large base of diverse individuals, including those that identify with the VMA. He listened to history! He drew from prior elections: 1-Pope signage "one" name...ANAN, 2. Excellent brochures with positive statements directly from the WJ...which did not endorse him, 3. Meeting with experts and seeking ideas, 4. WJ to its credit was excellent in its coverage this worked to ANAN's advantage...free publicity.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 1:07 AM

Yes, I agree with you that it is eminently arguable, given the scenario you describe.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 1:03 AM

Hi Jim ?" it is a little early to get an in-depth understanding of the 2013 voter turnout. I have some thoughts on the Oak Park Village, but have not had an opportunity to look at the school election results. The OPV voter turnout increased from 17% in 2011 to 23%. That is a significant increase, but not one to brag about. Several factors played into the increase and possibly into the increase not being larger. Factors that added to the increase 1) increased coverage by the press particularly the Wednesday Journal. Their coverage was keynoted by Dan Haley's spirited conversation with the candidates at the library, 2) Anan's creation of a new voter base and his small, but energetic and smart campaign team. To attain such strong positive name recognition as quickly as he did was phenomenal, particularly against a candidate as strong as John Hedges. 3) Internet communications became an election force. The race was tracked daily on websites, blogs, and in the press, and Oak Park residents had a six week daily update of events and a 24/7 opportunity to be political pundits. 4) I think the turnout would have been higher if the VMA trustee and village clerk position had been challenged. Nearly 2,000 voters voted for Hedges or Anan, but did not cast a vote for any trustees. In essence, the slate was irrelevant to the presidential election. In a village election, supporters of trustee candidates drive a lot of votes. The trustees reach family members, friends, old school buddies, etc. that are not regular voters. Uncontested races means less turnout amongst non-regular voters. 5) Issues oriented race with clear differences in candidates views of policies will cause voters to shift away from their traditional choice. Many long term traditional voters find it easier to just not vote, than vote against their long term loyalties. The question now becomes: Will this unique election change the way voters will participate in future elections?


Posted: April 11th, 2013 12:18 AM

"no such official shall be interested in any way, either directly or indirectly in any business holding an Oak Park liquor license." I think it is emimently argable that, if Anan transferred interest in the restaurant to his wife, for example, he would retain at least an indirect interest in the business, and that any real or apparent conflict of interest would not be vitiated.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 11th, 2013 12:01 AM

@Curious, According to the ordinance, which *is* what we are talking about, following the law, there isn't a problem. But by your definition, if my uncle holds a liquor license in town, I am forbidden from holding an elected office? No. What people do, particularly in a town like this where everyone knows everyone, when a situation like this comes up, the party with the potential conflict of interest recuses themselves from the process.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:49 PM

Because the conflict of interest would still exist.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:43 PM

"He can't comply by giving his interest to a family member..." Why not?

Rock and a Hard Place from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:31 PM

I also attended the WJ forum and heard him say that he would divest himself. But when Dan Haley asked him how, he said he didn't need to reveal that. He can't comply by giving his interest to a family member or a business partner and I just can't imagine that he and his family would give up all financial interest in Maya -- which I assume is their primary source of income. But maybe they will. We'll see.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:24 PM

@Rock, Actually,the ordinance does not mention family members.

Rock and a Hard Place from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:20 PM

Re: resolving this issue before he is seated: ironically, as I understand it, he is technically not in violation until he is sworn in! And I don't think it is simply a question of the President sitting as Liquor Commissioner. It seems that that can be handled. But the ordinance also says that an elected Village official or any member of his/her family may not own or have either a direct or indirect interest in an establishment with a liquor license. This is much trickier to deal with.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:17 PM

@RockAndAHardPlace, Anan addressed this liquor license issue in early March. He said that, if elected, if he had to, he would divest his interest in Maya Del Sol. He said this at the candidates forum the Wednesday Journal hosted at the library on March 13, almost four weeks before Election Day. I went to two candidates forums, which I found to be very helpful in my decision-making process, since I got info directly from the candidates, rather than second-hand.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:15 PM

Re your post about David Pope early days as president and the impact on the non-VMA board members. I think it is hard to put all the blame on David. The real harassment of all trustees began with President Trapani. She brought a tremendous amount of angst into the board room with her Gen.Patton style leadership. Her 2nd term opened the door for a big loss of power by the VMA at a critical time in the village. It was 2005 - the first year of Pope as Pres, when it was revealed that the village was having financial problem. Pope did not have majority trustee support - Milstein, Marsey, Brady, Brock, and Baker, were all asking tough question on the DTOP TIF expansion and extension. Pope was the driver of the DTOP Tif, but had consistent board support from Ray Johnson only. At that time, the VMA actively and publicly took policy positions, some nasty, in support of the DTOP Tif. By 2007, with VMA board clout waning, the VMA went all in by raising $70,000 to restore a loyal majority elected majority. They won. Since then, the VMA expanded their power to a super-majority in 2009 and held it until this election. While Pope added a lot of flame to the days of non-VMA challenges, it was Trapani who set the fire.

Rock and a Hard Place from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:53 PM

My intent was not to obstruct or to articulate a strategy. I just thought I was answering the question posed by "curious." I guess I did editorialize in my last sentence. That's probably because the fact that he was willing to risk putting the Village in this situation (rather than resolving the issue before mounting a campaign) did influence my vote.

Robert Milstein from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:42 PM

Voicing disappointment in the elections outcome is part of the process. I agree. No voices ought to be stifled and that has always been a view I have held. The intensity of the reaction surprises me. When I was in office I understand the love me , or hate me view people had of me. People keep coming back to this 6 years later. Ironically my voting record is probably 70% identical to VMA positions. But Anan has done nothing to deserve the venom flowing from some individuals. Give him a chance.

Robert Milstein from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:34 PM

Other municipalities passed ordinances shifting the liquor commissioner role to another Village official. The Better Government Aasociation is calling to change the law. It is a bad law but it is the law. An ordinance allows a shift of responsibility. Check it with BGA. Anan will not sit as the Commissioner. The BGA recently had an edutirial in the Sun Times addressing the issue. Concerns while valid can be addressed by ordinance.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:29 PM

Maybe the questions mentioned in the posts about about the restrictions outlined in Oak Park's liquor laws will be discussed by the current board of trustees so they can express any concerns or propose changes. Let's just make sure it is resolved before the new village president takes his oath of office. We don't want this headed to a courtroom with taxpayers on the hook for attorney fees. I'm not sure why this elected official or a family member cannot hold a license. What's the worry?

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:12 PM

Here comes the obstructionism. Hopefully you're not a VMA insider because trust me...This strategy will not work in today's Oak Park.

Chris from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:12 PM

There is a difference between being disappointed at the result of the election and having a temper tantrum. There are a lot of people on here who need to grow up.

Rock and a Hard Place from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 9:48 PM

OP's Liquor and Ethics Ordinances were passed in 70s and 80s and have been updated several times since then. The results of this election put OP between a rock and a hard place. Either we can ignore our own laws and let Anan serve even though to do so would put him in violation of the law OR we can find him in violation and face the law suit that will likely bring on with its attendant disruption and financial cost. Neither is good for OP, but Anan knowingly put us in this position.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 8:33 PM

Coughlin, it may be that the ordinance or policy that the Village President cannot own a liquor license is outdated or anachronistic. But can you tell me how that conflict will be "easily" resolved?


Posted: April 10th, 2013 8:27 PM

Coughlin and others, I don't get it. Voters were faced with judging the qualifications of Anan and Hedges. Is one's commitment to the Village not a valid consideration? Is it mudslinging to point out that one candidate has a deep history of community involvment, while the other has no history of such commitment, and has not even voted in OP elections? Is it mudslinging to point out that, with regard to the one qualification one candidate brings to the table, he has been convicted of tax fraud?


Posted: April 10th, 2013 8:18 PM

Milstein I applaud your mature outlook. But is it really wrong for people to express their disappointment about the outcome of an election? Isn't that a necessary process? Isn't just as much a part of the democratic process as pre-election dialogue? The voices and views of the dissenters are now to be ignored and quashed?

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:15 PM

VMR; I have worked for and against the VMA and one other party that split the board some 20Yrs ago.It is not the party, but the planks of the platform that get my vote or help. the dude: Spoke to several police officers and they havent seen the new 1960s reconstituted police pin map.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 4:57 PM

Frank, I can't say that dirty politics are new to Oak Park. Maybe some people who have been involved in local elections would have insights to share. I do recall that President David Pope's performance in office during the time that Brock and Bakker served as board members was very discouraging as it seemed that he deliberately allowed every board meeting to needlessly drag on into the early hours of the morning. Whether it was his intention to frustrate and wear them down is unclear but we certainly saw the effects. Interesting to note, he completely stopped those shenanigans once he regained control of the board. I'm hopeful that those tactics will not resurface.

OP Transplant  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 4:48 PM

Not only does Anan hold a liquor license, but I also believe that he was born in Kenya and is a Muslim. Is there a depth to which those whose candidates lose will not sink?


Posted: April 10th, 2013 4:41 PM

Jim Coughlin, And that is my concern. Obstructionism. There were already campaign tactics that were introduced that have been foreign from Oak park for many years. I do not want to see our local elections to become overly political, in the sense of just mudslinging, with lack of substance. Pointing at the faults of the other, without proposing feasible solutions. We don't need that. Nor do I think we want that. At least I hope.

Robert Milstein from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 4:20 PM

Many ex-VMA members became ex members because we did not like the one party rule. Yes,I served on the Executive Committee and I ran an uncontested campaign (Furlong). In fact, Gary Schwab and Mas Takiguichi and I had received VMA Exec. Committee approval to look at ideas to improve the Association. We met ...and no one came...we realized no one wanted to give up any power and that any attempt to look at new ideas would be useless. Sandra Sokol got me involved in local govt. Opposition is good.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 4:17 PM

John, it is discouraging that only 20% of Oak Park's registered voters participated in this election. I wonder if the fact that there were so many candidates on the ballot running unopposed had anything to do with the low turnout? It seems that voters who may have been upset with the current board took out their frustrations against Hedges and sought to send a message. I thought the turning point of the campaign was the position expressed by the former Village attorney that a liquor license issue would disqualify Mr. Abu-Taleb from holding office. That matter is going to be easily resolved but Heise's letter and some of the other ill advised attempts to discredit the candidate bordered on being meanspirited and over the top. Thankfully, both candidates were able to stay above the fray and focus on issues that matttered to voters. It is going to be interesting to see if there will a cooperative effort by the board members to work with an ousider. That has not always been the practice in past years but the outlook is promising if the trustees honor the words they've posted on this forum. We've two years until the next election of trustees and I'm sure the community will be watching and listening. We certainly don't want DC -type obstructionism to become part of Oak Park's political process.

Robert Milstein from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 4:15 PM

Anan is the President. He had the most votes. Isn't that how it is supposed to work? Those who voted made a decision while thousands stayed home. It is like that nationwide. Local elections do not draw lots of voters and that is the simple reality. For once, I agree with Ray Johnson. We need to move forward and the Board and the new Independent President need to work toward common goals that will benefit the citizens of Oak Park. And finally, I lost re-election in 2007...it is 2013...move on..

Old VMR's  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 4:10 PM

What I find ironic is that the people who are the loudest when it comes to opposition to the VMA are actually EX VMA'rs!! Bob Milstien, Brian Slowiak, Gary Schwab..The list goes on and on


Posted: April 10th, 2013 3:59 PM

Ah, poor Francis got his feeling hurt. No surprise that the poor little lad levels all kinds of accusations at others, and then one word sends Francis crying. I can imagine him sitting all alone at the board meetings, wishing that someone would be his friend. Suck it up, Francis.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 3:56 PM

@frank, In terms of Hedges, he has cast a number of votes I disagreed with. Things I have advocated for. However, my voice is not the only voice, and i realize that. I also realize he brings a particular perspective. MY POINT is that both campaigns played with dirt, but some folks on here are so "Anyone but the VMA" that they won't even admit that. That's hypocrisy.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 3:51 PM

Corey, So to have concerns, and to call other's BS because they are hypocritical makes me a sore loser? hmmm. This isn't high school my friend. I am excited that many Oak Parkers got involved, and he won by so much. Against a candidate vetted by the VMA which does a lot of work to get individuals elected. That is great. But that doesn't mean I can't have concerns. its OUR community. And WE can be concerned. Lastly, I didn't campaign for either, again, I am calling out hypocrisy.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 3:47 PM

@frank, So now we are name calling? You are making assumptions as well. I make those assumptions because I go to board meetings and see little representation of the community bringing their concerns, but only see folks complaining. If you are not getting your voice heard you need to get other's organized. The Board doesn't do everything I would like, but I do feel they listen, and have listened.

Steve from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 3:42 PM

Hey, the heated sidewalks in front of the Library Do Work!!!

Doug Knox from Oak Park   

Posted: April 10th, 2013 3:32 PM

My parking fee at the Lake street garage went from $90 to $200 in 2 years. Out of towners who visit our Historical sites are confused and scared to park on our streets in fear of receiving tickets.. Two young woman were mugged last summer on N Oak Park Ave. (My neighborhood) Property taxes go up. Vacant businesses along Madison street while there is a waiting list to grab a site in Forest Park. Outside of the Oak Park Library has become a hangout. We need a change!

Corey Gimbel from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 3:22 PM

@ Bruce Broerman and Frank - I guess the law that precludes Anan from serving will have to be changed/amended, disavowed, or just deleted so that the WILL OF THE OAK PARK voters (which seems to be a higher law) can be served. You 2 are sore losers and would (I think) have been sore winners. Shades of Newt Gingrich huh? You lost................. work harder next time. C

Check the Triton catalog. They must offer logic.   

Posted: April 10th, 2013 3:21 PM

Silly give it a rest. Same old same old. I see you haven't taken that college level logic class yet. Do that then we can have a constructive conversation.

the dude  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 3:19 PM

brian, Why are the police not using the crime mapping? Do you know that they actually aren't using it?

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 2:11 PM

@frank: heated sidewalks that dont work,$24,000 payouts for computer work, below the 25k authorization mark, book discussion club member getting a OP computer soft ware, that purchased computer soft ware never being used,Fire Dept flushing water down the sewer that could have been used to water trees during a drought,police chief going out of state to learn mapping of offenses and not using the program


Posted: April 10th, 2013 2:06 PM

cast no stones, as you did against me. you don't know me either... I gave you my list. I will ask nothing of you, because while I don't know you, I do know that you are just a punk making assumptions of others.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 2:02 PM

You asked for a list you got a long one off the top of my head, and with no reply to the list. what did i do you ask: I signed petitions, sent emails, stood in front of village trustees, all to no avail. The only course of action left was to vote. And that I did, I voted with every opportunity against or under voted the vma.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 2:01 PM

@frank, You need to not make assumptions because you don't know who I am. I am actually not involved in VMA. I just call people out on BS, and challenge when I just see naysayers because its easier to complain than to actually GET INVOLVED AND ORGANIZE AND ADVOCATE. If you don't like how things are run for office, organize to advocate for something. Go to the Village Hall meetings. Are you doing that?


Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:58 PM

To Everyone, So if we had a real board, who would we have hired for the current village manager? Not following. Are you proposing we don't need a manager, or the current manager is not a good one? If you are proposing we don't need a manager, then that doesn't make sense. If you are proposing the current is not good. Why do you think that? What is wrong with the current manager?

To Everyone  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:56 PM

Please do not confuse yourselves with the idea that Anan can do everything on his own, for good or bad. Remember, the village president is not a mayor. have a problem with your street or sewer, call the village manager or the village engineer. If you really want to change the way things get done, then you have to vote in a whole new board. For that to be done we need more candidates to run. If we had a real board, we would not have hired the current village manager, just as an example.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:56 PM

@frank, So when EVERY SINGLE ONE of those proposals happened you were at Village Hall voicing your opposition? I doubt it. They take actions based on residential input, needs, and wants. If something happened that you were against its because you didn't aggressively advocate to prevent it, while others advocated for it. Thats Government, thats Politics. It will be no different with Anan. They do what the residents ask. Democracy is not a spectator sport.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:53 PM

Hey Frank, I feel fine. I am calling out the BS though. That was exactly my point, of course Anan didn't invent that. The point is that the fingerpointing is juvenile because if you claim the VMA is "machine politics" but pardon Anan for his tactics is denying reality.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:51 PM

i wouldnt vote for the guy if he bought me a bloddy mary. I would consider voting for the guy because I like the food he serves, because he is able to work with others to deliver a product to the satisfaction of others. The present VMA delivered heated sidewalks that dont function. At our expense.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:51 PM

FYI ... "Hot Chocolate" in Logan Square also offers a free beer with your Bloody Mary on Sunday.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:50 PM

Connect the dots, The point is that both sides went after each other. The idea that the VMA ran a dirty campaign and Anan's team didn't is to defy reality. Both brought up dirt. period.

The dude  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:50 PM

A new street was up in to our NE OP street despite the broken sewers beneath it. Is Anan going to tear up our new street to fix the broken sewer lines? There were 4 armed robberies within a week recently, and armed robberies and assaults (violent crimes) are practically a weekly occurrence here (and it's not even summer), plus the countless weekly burglaries... What is Anan going to do about this? What's his plan to turn this around?


Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:40 PM

colt building, whiteco, superblock, westgate (oh we did not get to weigh in on that one we were just told about the sale.) not fixing the sewers in NE OP, spcing trees at 50 ft apart rather than 35 ft apart. Frank, you need to talk to more people than just your vma loyalist buddies... your perception is off, but only by a 52 to 48% margin.

A Resident  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:37 PM

Bruce Broerman, some may think writing their name on the inter-web is courageous, others know the stalking it can lead to, so save your moral high ground for someone else. Also, explain how Anan is "ineligible" to be president. Things like public safety are, or should be, an issues for the village president, and John Hedges showed his plan for it, but Anan didn't. Does Anan not have an opinion on the matter? Does he not care, or not seeing the problem? Or does he just not have a plan?


Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:35 PM

Grove Apartments, extension of tif district, high school parking garage, amount of money spent on Marion north and south, sertus project, madison highland project, dunkin donuts on madison, johnsons proposed tif on roosevlet, luecks no eating and driving, geothermal heating of village hall, higher parking fees, peoplesoft...that is just off the top of my head.

Who's on first?  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:30 PM

Now Frank..I mean Emily...don't be so Silly.

Oh come on  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:09 PM

Norbert (and some other regulars here) writes for that lame unfunny website and is just trying to get people to click on it.

ChristineH from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:07 PM

Norbert- that Daily beefing article was a joke....you might have gotten that from the 101% of the votes comment.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:06 PM

Wow, so you guys voted for someone because you like the food in his restaurant and he bought you a bloody mary? I guess I should be grateful that Godfather's pizza tastes terrible.

Hey Frank get a sense of humor  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:57 PM

I would guess the beer with a bloody mary thing was in place before the election. It wasn't exactly invented by Anan. Maybe if YOU had a drink you would feel better. LOL.

Connect the Dots  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:53 PM

Connect the dots Frank. The comments boards here are going after the VMA. The VMA went after Anan via letters to this paper, last minute email shots, etc. What you're seeing - "public degradation of the VMA" - is a direct response to how the VMA chose to run this campaign. If I had more time I'd track when the anti-VMA noise got to a high pitch. I'm pretty sure it started right after that pitiful liquor license claim.

I voted  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:51 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Murtaugh that the huge number of nonvoting Oak Parkers is an embarrassment. What kind of citizen doesn't vote in an important election? Oh right, the guy you just elected. Voting is the most precious right accorded each citizen, a right taken away when one commits serious crime. Mr. Abu-Taleb committed such a crime, had his voting rights taken away, and didn't used them btw the time Blago gave them back to him and yesterday.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:50 PM

@Roxann, I have been one of those not involved in local government in the 18 years I've lived here. It has been this election, specifically the Village President's race, which has *inspired* me to be more involved (at least knowledgeable of how things work around here). And I believe ANAN's "Together we can be more," expresses that this is not a one-man show. We all need to step up. "TOGETHER, WE can be more." Time to roll up our sleeves...


Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:49 PM

Paddy Boy, Its amazing how folks go on and on about "machine politics" of the VMA, but what you describe is CLASSIC Chicago politics. Buying people's votes. Offering them beers, Bloody Marys. Getting bigger outsides, aka Jesse White, to campaign for you in a local election. Keep outsiders out. Our Elections are Ours. I don't care what Jesse White thinks.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:46 PM

Kathleen, Can you provide 3 SPECIFIC examples that the Village Board has "consistently ignoring the wishes of the taxpayers" You do realize that the VMA is made up of, SURPIRSE! Taxpayers from Oak Park Right? And to RTW - the degradation has happened on both sides. Calling VMA candidate's corporatists that don't care about the residents, and Anan as inexperienced. Actually, I have seen much more PUBLIC degradation of the VMA than of Anan

Mark from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:35 PM

I'm sure it was fun for Anan to cast his first ever municipal election vote for himself. I wonder why he never bothered before to vote on village governance elections. Oh well.

Roxann Lopez from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:34 PM

JBM, great news about the spike in turnout but for a community that prides itself on its residents being involved this is pathetic. Should I believe only those of us who take to the comment boards actually vote? When I cast my ballot at 6PM yesterday I was voter #53 at my polling place. I welcome change but hope that the new regime will work to really get OP'ers as involved as they like to say they are. We moved to this community in large part because of the reputation it had for community involvement in all sorts of causes. Government should definitely be on that list.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:34 PM

@Norbert, dailybeefing is not a newsource. It's a satirical site, trying to be like The Onion.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:31 PM

Any man who gives you a free beer with a Bloody Mary during the Sunday brunch service deserves our respect and support!

William B. Sullivan from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:30 PM

Alf mabrouk, Mr. Abu-Taleb. We are all looking forward to your fresh leadership, and are particularly hopeful for you being able to institute your proposed plans to assist the Village's business community.

Norbert from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:01 PM

Did Anan seriously declare martial law in Oak Park? Can someone tell me if this article is serious? (http://www.dailybeefing.com/2013/04/10/anan-elected-village-president-declares-martial-law/). I haven't seen my nephew since the election and I'm worried he's been swept up for voting for Hedges.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:57 AM

I'm with you, Roxann. Voter turnout for local Oak Park elections is a huge embarrassment to the village, On the optimistic side, the 2013 turnout was six point higher than the dismal 17% of 2011.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:54 AM

Well said, Sunny

Sunny Days to come  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:46 AM

Lets be clear- 90% of all politics in campaigns is pure politics and not real life. Things said, did and promises made are normally just generalizations. Anan has just as good a chance as providing leadership that Hedges would have. We are Oak Park. We are smart, respectful and compassionate and that IS WHY WE ALL LIVE HERE, RIGHT. Lets stop the mico analysis of the campaign and focus on the immediate future! We have much more in common than not. Peace

Roxann Lopez from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:42 AM

There are 35,578 registered voters in Oak Park. 8,104 ballots were cast for a 22.78% turnout. Many candidates ran unopposed. You aren't going to get much change with stats like that. What happened to the involved community of OP?


Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:29 AM

I read in Daily Beefing there is going to be a new curfew imposed. Is that true? see www.dailybeefing.com.

RTW_Anan voter from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:21 AM

The postings here that degrade the credentials of a candidate are pure hatred, resentment and smack of poor losers who are so desperate they have to resort to character assassination. An old story in this town... I'm impressed that the voters came out this time to support such a worthy candidate as Anan Abu-Taleb, now our Oak Park Village President Elect! Congratulations to Anan's campaign workers--outstanding job by all!

Steve from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:19 AM

Anan's victory shouldn't be a surprise. Many residents of Oak Park know the challenges of dealing with the entrenched power at the village hall. I recently worked with a large group to open a not for profit business in the area. We opened in Oak Park but it was a nightmare. The buildings department was lazy and difficult at best. Conversely when we looking for space in Forest Park, the head of the Bldgs Department personally offered to help us look. At complete 180 from the Oak Park team.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:08 AM

Frank, there are six board members who rightfully will remind Anan that he is not the mayor. Hopefully, Anan will bring his restaurant experience to the board. That is; you won't be successful if don't respect those you work, listen to and incorporate their ideas, and give rather than absorb credit to those that make your business a success.

kathleen from OP  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:49 AM

I hope John Hedges will run again as he would have been a worthy president. That said, I voted for Anan because a message needed to be sent to VMA. Like others have said, I am weary of VMA consistently ignoring the wishes of the taxpayers and pandering to developers. It's time to do what's good for actual residents.

Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:27 AM

There's an error in the caption to one of the photos. Adam Wallace, not Luke Casson, was in charge of Anan's volunteers. And actually much more: he was the manager of this wonderful, high-energy campaign! Thank you, Adam, for all your hard work. And, WJ, please correct the caption.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:20 AM

What I do hope is that Board works together for the greater good. My concern with Anan is that I had an impression that he felt that the Village President was a Mayor. Its not. He is one vote. Its not his Village to run. What I hope this election has done was to activate the public to get more involved, because involvement in local government is non-existent. Which is sad, because local government is just as important if not more than National. I hope the Board listens to the Residents More

Adam Salzman from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:19 AM

Congratulations to President-Elect Abu-Taleb. Let's make the most of this great opportunity to accomplish great things for our Village.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:17 AM

Those who are ignorant - is that really the story? You do realize that all the Trustees are their own individuals. The VMA is a caucus not a party. The Trustees do not regularly consult with the "VMA leadership" The truth is that Baker and Brock didn't realize how much work was involved for the wages that were peanuts. Its a thankless job. They didn't know it was to be so much work.

itsanewday from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:16 AM

I saw Anan at the Oak Park "L" station this am presumably to thank supporters. Glad I voted for him and wish him the best.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:14 AM

Finally, a new voice - Switched their vote because of the negative campaigning of the VMA? And Anan didin't do that? Why do people always apply the negative to the other side, and not their own? Anan lied on various occasions about the "Village" raising taxes" while the Village's percentage of our taxes has decreased. That is negative campaigning, because its a lie. You have no issue with that?

Those who are ignorant of history....will it repeat itself here in Oak Park?  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:12 AM

The VMA doesn't cotton to outsiders on their Village Board. Ultimately, two of the three outsider trustees elected to office resigned in 2006 and 2007. Geoff Baker left, and Martha Brock who developed heart problems under the stress of serving, in essence driven out. This is the kind of thing that Anan will have to be very aware of and his supporters will need to close ranks to shore him up under the stress of being in opposition to a possessive political machine not good at sharing power..

Daniel Meyer from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 9:59 AM

Without a slate this just means more subsidies for shop keepers.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 9:46 AM

Congrats to Anan for a successful election campaign. Also, a thank you to John Hedges for his civil service and being a voice of reason during his tenure as Trustee. The election was as much a vote against VMA as a vote for Anan. My hope is that Trustees Tucker and Salzman continue their solid work on the village board, and collaborate with President Abu-Taleb towards redefining progress in Oak Park. Hopefully, Trustees Brewer and Barber will take heed and join you as well.

Perhaps a consultant is needed  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 9:38 AM

Reputation fix for VMA is going to be really difficult after the organization's recent behavior. Perhaps hire a consultant?

June from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 9:36 AM

Congratulations! I hope that all of our political leaders work together to benefit the residents and business owners.

Finally, a new voice from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 9:21 AM

The commenter below is right. I had several people tell me they switched their votes based on negative campaigning by the VMA. The fear-mongering in some of the commentaries and letters we received were disgraceful, especially from sitting public officials. Seriously, get some class. I hope the VMA learns something from this. Time to change, folks.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 8:54 AM

This was possible because he was likeable. He wasn't someone like Milstein or Schwab who people just disliked. Also the late negative campaigning by the VMA didn't help, in fact I know of several people who switched their votes the minute Jon Hale openend his mouth. The only disconcerning thing I see is the Anthony Shaker endorsement which doesn't help anyone. Go back in your hole Anthony.

Lick your wounds today VMA, then collaborate. No time to waste.  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 8:39 AM

@ VMA Supporter...you forgot to add "duh duh duuuuuhhhhh" (foreboding music) to your post.

VMA Book  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 8:33 AM

Anans campaign team gets a lot of credit for their efforts. Candidates or money alone will never win elections.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 8:22 AM

Nice to see some change in this community. How could introducing some new blood and new ideas into such a broken system be a bad idea?

Sarah Owens  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 8:18 AM

Mr Hale, I see you didmt have it in you to actually use his name! Speaks volumes .

I voted  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 8:02 AM

Question: Did Anan finally vote himself yesterday? Congratulations, Oak Park, you just voted off the board a fiscal conservative who ALWAYS voted for lower taxes and voted for a man who thinks so little of his community and country that he has never bothered to vote since his voting rights were restored by Blago. Good job, Oak Park. Hope Jesse White's friends come asking for that favor later rather than sooner.

Paul Obis from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:53 AM

Yea! Way to go Anan

VMA Supporter from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:53 AM

While my fellow low information voters, stayed home, we lost the President's gavel. Those who voted for Anan will soon regret their actions.

Come pave my street  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:48 AM

Congrats to Anan! Great victory. Now let's all quit bickering and somebody come pave my street please.

Marty from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:35 AM

John Butch Murtagh comparing VMA to Republicans, thats funny.I'll take the Republicans any day.

Jon Hale from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:27 AM

Congratulations to our new Village President on a decisive victory last night.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:17 AM

@Observer--you are wrong, Anan is the President of the Board of Trustees for the Village of Oak Park. Your VMA formula is flawed, "Observer", or "Mr. Kelly" or "Mr. Broeman". You lost, Anan won, grow up and move on.

Oak PArk  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:16 AM

@Ray Johnson Couldn't have said it better.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:09 AM

"Love for Oak Park" and "amazing energy for his community." Am I wrong, or is it true that Anan has not been involved in any community service in Oak Park?


Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:05 AM

Bruce, when you say something like he "currently ineligible to hold elective office," you need to explain what you mean.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 6:22 AM

Mr. Kelly and Mr. Broerman (and the rest of the VMA)--please seek wise counsel on any attempts to obstruct progress in this Village. You may find yourselves on the outside looking in by the 2015 elections. It is clear that you are bitter in defeat, but clear your heads and read the message you were sent last night.

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 3:52 AM

To the VMA slate, I believe you misread the residents of OP. We are more than tired of the "same old". Abu-Taleb offered us change that a lot of us are desperately looking for. I respectfully thank John Hedges for his many years of public service to OP. But, you didn't give me the hope I needed to see a change in where OP is today and headed for tomorrow. Congratulations Abu-Taleb.

Bruce Broerman from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:42 AM

Response to "A resident" or "too cowardly to use his/her real name": The village president does not run the village government, so has no power to implement anything you advocate. And since currently ineligible to hold elective office, Anan cannot assume the office of president. Did you vote for him thinking otherwise?

A resident   

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:15 AM

Good for Anan, now for the difficult part, running a village. I await to see how Anan tackles not only the business and tax issues in the village, but also the crime problem that seems to be a constant concern. I hope Anan can live up to the hype in not just one facet.

Judy Gaietto-Grace from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:14 AM

So will part of the change coming be a change in the ethics code? I hope things turn out well.

Bruce Broerman from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 12:02 AM

OK, how do you actually install someone with no experience, no qualifications, and no prior civic committment into office who is currently and legally unqualified to hold elective office? Just asking.


Posted: April 9th, 2013 11:13 PM

Corporate VMA, Aand having outside monetary support and business support and using his restaurant and having Jesse white isnt anything wrong? Please. Folks pick and choose what they think is no good

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 11:05 PM

Ray Johnson's comment is a great sign of a new day. We all need to work as one.

Anthony Shaker from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 11:05 PM

Anan, congratulations on your well-deserved landslide victory. Hopefully you will break the VMA stranglehold in governing this community and reach out to concerned citizens seeking a better village. The status quo represented by your opponent was soundly defeated. Best wishes.

Tired of Taxes from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:40 PM

Let's hope the beginning of the Anan era will be the end of the Consultant era.

Christine Gawne Vernon from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:27 PM

Congratulations, Anan, on your successful independent campaign to bring democracy back to Oak Park! Congratulations also on inspiring voters to overcome the apathy of recent years and go to the polls. Thank you for bringing the diversity to Oak Park and the Village Board that we say we are about, but sometimes don't see. As the first woman to ever run as an independent candidate for Village President, in 1981, I well remember the challenge of an undertaking like this. It's a victory indeed!

Random citizen  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:18 PM

Woohoo, a convicted tax cheat pardon by our convict governor. (But it wasn't in exchange for his huge campaign contribution, that was just a coincidence.) Now *that's* the kind of leadership Oak Park needs!

Corporate VMA  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:17 PM

You still have two administrative level bankers, and a corporate attorney at the helm of Oak Park. Until you get rid of the rest of the corporate lackeys, I'm afraid you have not won.

Tim Grivois-Shah from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:13 PM

I can't pretend that I'm not disappointed in tonight's results. Anan will have to bring more than bluster to Oak Park if he is to be successful. My hope is that he is a quick learner.

Natalie Rauch Kelly from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:12 PM

Change is needed in Oak Park, and I'm so glad to see that so many people agree. Hooray Anan!

Long Time Resident from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:09 PM

YAY!! Let's try something new! We are tired of the old ways!

Ray Johnson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:09 PM

We've all benefited from John Hedges years of service and I thank him for all he has done. Congratulations to Anan and his team. We now move forward together with a spirit of cooperation focused on common ground and the needs of all residents. We have lots to do and I'm as committed as ever.

Dave from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:02 PM

Jerry and I are so glad to see that you had incredible support and to know sensible change will be represented. Good people do win!

Maria from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:56 PM

Bravo Anan!

Chris from Oak park il  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:55 PM

What a great Day So Happy you won! Chris &Ian @Moss

At The Movies  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:52 PM

Two Thumbs up!!!!

Citizen X from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:50 PM

Voted for Hedges, but congrats to Anan nonetheless. A well-earned win.

Just Curious from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:41 PM

I will be curious to see the actual vote totals. My guess is that Anan received hundreds more votes than Lueck, etc (who ran unopposed). Goes to show that people specifically showed up to vote against someone & for someone who will move th village forward,

Rob Alford from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:36 PM

A great win that shows the people of Oak park want responsible and sincere change. To live within our means. To make government work better for all Oak Parkers. To bring more businesses to the village. I am confident Anan will guide the rest of the board in making all of these things happen. Thank you and best of luck Anan--we've got your back!

Catherine Smith from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:27 PM

Common sense has just met business sense! Congratulations Anan! Now hopeful Oak Park can start to move away from phoney moral high ground intellectualism to a bit more common sense and good customer service. About time!

To John butch   

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:26 PM

Wow. How would you know what Anan would say? Please speak only for yourself in the future .

Jerry Valentine from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:15 PM

My partner and I believe this is the change Oak Park needed, since moving here 5.5 years ago. The Village government's old-school thinking needed a shock treatment. And Anan is the man to do it.

Michelle Darang-Coleman, NP from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:06 PM

Anan, Mes Compliments, Congrats. "It takes a village" As a nurse practitioner, I support you. Looking forward to working with you and your team.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:03 PM

A great win for Anan. He has made a lot of friends and beiievers in this race. I will say it for Anan as I am confident that it is what he would say, "There was no loser in this race. John Hedges is a great community leader and a sincere, honest and engaging elected official. He ran a great race that got caught the village's demand for change."

Howard and Julie Brundage from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 9:03 PM

That a baby!


Posted: April 9th, 2013 8:56 PM

Amen, Kelly. Congratulations to Anan, and thank you to John for his years of service and dedication. Here's hoping the board can turn the page and begin our next chapter.

keith coleman from oak park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 8:55 PM

Anan, as our new leader, so so sweet, thank you.

Pat Martin from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 8:55 PM

A great man who will bring a much needed new perspective to our wonderful village! Congratulations, Anan!

kelly from oak park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 8:53 PM

Change we can believe in.

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