Editor's fiat: Things I'd decide, if I could

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DAN HALEY

There are things that are going to happen in Oak Park. You know it and I know it. They could happen easy. Or they could happen the Oak Park way. That would be excruciatingly, contentiously, under the delusion they are really important.

Who am I to complain? Without following the same six stories interminably, what would this newspaper have to write about? What we put between the ads in the letters section?

But once in a while I just get this urge to settle a few things, stop the process dead in its tracks and move things along.

Here's my current list.

Lights at the stadium: There are going to be lights in the stadium at OPRF. It makes too much sense not to install them so that we could have Friday night football a few nights a year and also take advantage of spring and fall twilights to get in some extra sports practices on a landlocked campus. The lights are relatively cheap. The Booster Club basically has the money. And the neighbors moved in next to a high school so they don't have a right to be shocked and surprised about lights and traffic and, yes, even all those high school kids wandering around their neighborhood.

So now let's talk about what kind of lights and how much they can be used. That's a worthwhile conversation to have. And what about the idea of adding some one-way streets to ease traffic congestion? Next case.

6th trustee: People started to lose confidence in the Oak Park Park District about 10 years ago when one of its board members moved out of state and it took the four remaining board members months and months to appoint a successor. Now our "new day in Oak Park" village board is almost three months out from election day and there remains a vacancy.

Starting to look odd folks. Make an appointment. We know it's not going to be a white guy since five white guys is probably enough on one board. So scratch all those names off the list.

The first woman's name in my 2002 Oak Park phone book is Geri Abarbanel. Lives north on Woodbine. Give her a call. Probably a fine person. Move on.

Two-flat demolition: West Suburban Hospital, the largest employer in Oak Park, vital anchor of the east side of town, health care provider to our sickly fellows, owns a ramshackle two-flat on Humphrey. Looks like every other 1920 vintage two-flat in Oak Park. Has been empty for years. The back steps are falling off. The village is bugging them over code violations for a building they have no use for. The hospital wants to knock it down, plant well cared for sod. Can't knock it down until it goes through a Historic Preservation Commission hearing process.

Readers, this building is going to come down. Doesn't matter that it is in the Ridgeland-Oak Park Historic District. It's not historic. It is sitting by itself on an empty block. It has no reason to exist. Knock it down.

Then, neighbors, get active in the debate over what West Sub is eventually going to construct on the only piece of build-able land it owns. That's a topic worthy of process.

At some point in the past few decades Oak Park has forgotten how to pick its fights. So we fight about everything. How many dogs can a family have? Should a front porch have round columns or square? Should we plant sugar maples or lindens? Is OPRF non-grad Ray Kroc a role model for inventing fast food or a heel for not sticking around for a diploma?

Enough already.

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