Oak Park's new village board has apparently agreed on the qualities they're looking for in a would-be seventh trustee. The "criteria" for a candidate, who would be appointed in the coming weeks to serve a two-year term, are hard to argue with: a capable listener, a person of high integrity, an independent thinker with a track record of achievement and getting things done, etc.
Though the list includes a plethora of reasonable, polite and a-political adjectives, we would also like to add a few more things the board should?#34;and shouldn't be?#34;looking for in a candidate.
We agree with President David Pope that the board shouldn't add another "40-ish white guy" to the board. The board would genuinely benefit from more diversity in gender, race, perspective?#34;and even age.
We're not interested in naming names, but anyone who has testified before the village board, the Plan Commission, or the Zoning Board of Appeals more than 15 times in the last year should also go off the list. We respect those who have been elected, in part, through their criticism of and opposition to past processes and policy. But those who have become too involved with too few issues, or have too many axes to grind, are at this point better left to activism than policy-making.
Anyone who worked on a political campaign, or ran for office and lost, should also be crossed out. It's tempting for some to suggest tossing a VMA-backed candidate on the board. At least those candidates who lost got some votes, is the logic. And we're sure it's likewise tempting for some of the New Leadership board members to add a few HOCA, REDCOOP, VCA, or other acronym-involved citizens on their list. We think, however, that Oak Park would be better served if the board looked toward its citizen commissions for a person who understands?#34;to a reasonable extent?#34;how government works, has shown commitment to and has a deep understanding of Oak Park, who will bring a new perspective to the board and who didn't write a check for anyone running in the most recent campaign.
It would be a notable accomplishment if this village board can agree on such a candidate without a protracted, contentious process. Especially if can be done?#34;as it should be?#34;quickly.
Maybe in Sociology, but Spanish?
One poor choice that appears to have already been made at Oak Park and River Forest High School was a faculty member's decision to pass out a "Heterosexual Quiz" in Spanish class.
The quiz is, maybe, thought provoking. To some it may be seen as clever. But it is also too strong and too personal for its audience. Understanding and celebrating one's sexual nature is a key part of growing up. Teasing and titillation are not the preferred path to getting there.
We agree with OPRF Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Phil Prale that, at the very least, this exercise was better suited to a sociology or psychology class. After all, the quiz wasn't even written in Spanish?