There is always room for discreet partisans with a dash of fire and guts.
We Oak Parkers are discreet partisans. We like our partisan ways to be hidden. We do not do politics in Oak Park. Refer to an Oak Park elected official as a politician and a verbal reprimand appears. Political chats are clinical, not fiery. We do public service and social consciousness, not politics. We are serious about selecting our elected officials, but vote in low numbers. In 2013, just 22.8% of Oak Park's registered voters took part in a wild, crazy, and interesting presidential election between Abu-Taleb and Hedges. The turnout is about right for the discreet, but horrid for those who quietly poke at pet issues.
The ultimate in Oak Park discreet partisanship is "spread around" election money. The money finds its way into the campaign and becomes the gathering space for discreet conversations and decisions. Money becomes the "spread around" that energizes the campaign.
In 2013, the "spread around" was about $100,000, i.e. $12 for every voter. I have no idea how $100,000 is spent on 8,100 people. It would be fun to dissect.
To keep you all abreast, I am providing some info on elections. Those who want to run for office and do not have a lot of money should consider alignment with a political party. The biggest and most successful political party in the village is Village Manager Association (VMA). The VMA has lots of money to "spread around" sometimes. 2013 was not a sometime. The VMA had only $20,000 to "spend around" and lost big. 2014-15 will be a year of replenishing its war chest, but there will be funds for those who display a high degree of loyalty.
If you want a run with a political party other than the VMA, you are out of luck. Those enterprises closed their shops a few years ago. There were too many parties, and not enough cake. A new party is possible if you can centralize your issues, capture the attention of those who share your view, find a way to create campaign cash flow, and passion – heaps of it.
There is a problem though. Three incumbent board members (Tucker, Salzman, and Ott) have already announced that they will run together as the VMA slate. There are only three seats open. The VMA wants them all. But there is no guarantee that a VMA slate can capture three seats. Other slates or independents can knock out slated candidates.
You are probably wondering who spent the remaining $80,000 in the 2013 presidential election. That would be Anan Abu-Taleb. Will Anan and his supporters be spending big money in the 2015 election? Considering that Anan has already shown support for "the three incumbents," it would be easy to say no.
But there is no love affair between the VMA and Anan. Could Anan trust the VMA after the assassination they attempted immediately following the 2013 election? Can Anan complete his assertive development agenda without new trustee blood? Does Anan risk the 2017 presidential election with several VMA incumbents ready to throw in their hats?
While things look dim for non-incumbent independents, I would not drop out yet! There is always room for discreet partisans with a dash of fire and guts.