Dr. John makes a house call


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You know how you get that feeling that while things are OK for now, something bad is about to happen? Like when the Cubs are leading by a run in the 9th inning, but the St. Louis lead-off man walks? Or when the cop car pulls up behind you? Or when a little puddle appears in the basement after it rains?

Well, that's the feeling I have about our new village board. Nothing terrible has happened so far, but there are disquieting signs. Micro-managing a village employee termination. Indifference to the business community. Letters by individual trustees attempting to explain minutiae.

Put it this way, when my friend and Oak Park businessman Anthony Shaker feels compelled to write a letter to the paper expressing that he's worried, then I'm worried.

But fear not. Dr. John has reviewed this situation and offers helpful advice to the board so it can get its act together before it is too late.

My qualifications are not the greatest, but my fee is very reasonable?#34;free. I'm a real Doctor of Jurisprudence (1974) and I've been around egotistical, self-centered lawyers all my professional life, so I'm experienced in dealing with these situations. Like Senator Bill Frist, M.D., who diagnosed Ms. Schiavo without benefit of a physical exam, I have diagnosed what ails the village board without actually attending their meetings.

First, humility pills need to be taken immediately. The Village Board of Oak Park, Illinois is not that important. It is kind of like being the tallest midget in Boise. Or the guy with the reddest shirt at Farmers' Market. So get over yourself.

Second, a suppository of perspective. You don't have a mandate for anything. Sure you have your hard core supporters, but so did Timothy Leary, Baba Ramdass and the Reverend Jim Jones. Most villagers don't vote at all. Most are too busy raising families, caring for aging parents and/or working long hours at difficult jobs to understand the differences between VMA and NLP. Why, I even think Mr. Milstein lost his last election, so surely he doesn't have a mandate. There is nothing heroic about village government.

Please work on issues like potholes, fire and police and stray dogs?#34;just like most villages.

Third, a heavy application of skin-toughener is needed. Criticism is part of the job. Often the criticism will be unfair or uninformed. Just remember no one made you run for office and you can quit any time you want. Stop writing letters and explaining and defending yourself all the time.

And finally, an injection of collegiality. You don't have to be best friends with your fellow board members, but you do need to treat them with respect. You're a member of a team of seven, not four. Be courteous and respectful. Use the manners your parents taught you.

Do all of these things and come back and see me in a couple of months. I'm not going to lie to you. Your condition is serious, but not fatal at this time. You just need to listen to your doctor.

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