John Hedges seeks VMA nomination for Oak Park village president

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

John Hedges acknowledged Monday what has been quietly discussed for months: He will seek the nomination of the Village Manager Association for Oak Park village president in the April election.

He demurred from acknowledging that he is, by some talk, the pre-chosen candidate of the VMA, even as that politically powerful group begins its fall selection process for three open trustee seats and the village president's seat.

This all raises the question of what happens to current President David Pope, who has twice won election to the top spot, first as an independent in a three-way race and four years ago as the VMA candidate.

Tuesday morning, Pope said he is still considering his options and, with his wife, Beth, expects to finalize a decision within two weeks. "It is less an issue about if I want to run or would continue to do a good job and more about whether it works for us as a family situation," he said.

Pope said Tuesday that if he chooses to run for an unprecedented third term, he would "certainly appear before the VMA" as part of an effort to "reach out broadly to all constituencies."

But within some quarters of the VMA, the tide has turned away from Pope. Here are three reasons:

  1. Oak Park has never had a three-term village president and there is an underlying and increasingly vocalized worry over encouraging a Chicago-style mayor-for-life political culture.
  2. At least several of Pope's fellow trustees and those close to them are frustrated that Pope has not involved the full board in decision-making. Pope, insiders say, seldom consults with trustees on issues or agenda-setting. His self-imposed isolation is increasingly evident in split board votes.
  3. There is concern that Pope has become too enmeshed in day-to-day staff operations at village hall. Especially with a new village manager about to be hired, political insiders want to ensure that the line between a policy-setting village board and the operational role of staff is reset.

Pope presumably would offer rejoinders to these objections, though he wasn't ready to engage in that debate Tuesday, beyond saying that if he ran and won a third term "it would be very clear that this would be the last time I'd run."

Equally important, VMA leaders are enthusiastic about the prospects of a John Hedges presidency. The 68-year-old Hedges has a sterling resume: six productive years on the village board, 20 years as executive director of the Park District of Oak Park, a stint as acting village manager. He is steeped in Oak Park history and connections and is seen as thoughtful, inclusive and fiscally conservative.

While praising Pope, Hedges said that he would "be a different president than David. I am more interested in board perspectives, having us move together. This is not meant as criticism of David, but I would be much more open in relationships."

Hedges noted his long park district experience as the top staffer working for an elected board. "I have a perspective on how it should work. The manager and staff do what is expected of them. The board works as policy makers. But sometimes we have gotten too deep in the weeds," he said, acknowledging concerns that Pope has become too involved at the staff level.

Hedges emphasized the need for village government to operate within its economic limits and to continue to actively find efficiencies in delivering services. Reminded that he had once told this reporter that village hall had laid off 70 staffers "and I can't tell the difference," Hedges said, "We need to find out what it really costs to run the village." He pointed to expansion of pay-for-performance as a necessary step in improving efficiency and containing costs.

Asked for his reaction on a bullet point list of issues, Hedges said he "could not support the whole ($17 million) plan" for the remaking of Madison Street though he thought the village "could make a difference in smaller ways." On Madison Street, he said, the village is "not attacking the root problem, which is that a lot of the buildings on the street are economically obsolete."

Hedges said the coming expansion of lanes on the Eisenhower was his "Number 1 concern." He is confident that the highway will remain within the existing ditch but said the current proposals for high-flung on and off ramps leave him "very concerned."

On the issue of crime being at a historic low as measured over four decades while wariness of crime seems to remain high, Hedges said, the worry is "always there. There is such a primary need for safety. So people put pressure on us and that's fine. We are an active community and that response is fine. We can always find new ways to be more responsive."

It will be interesting to see what happens if Hedges and Pope both seek the VMA's nomination. Being forced into such a choice will renew scrutiny of just how inclusive the VMA membership and selection process actually is. How many people will be in the room during candidate interviews? How do the internal politics of the organization work in support of Hedges over Pope?

Over 60 years, the VMA has been extraordinarily successful in pushing its good-government mission and in electing nearly everyone it slates for office. But it is not invincible and there is a path to election for independents, as has been sporadically evidenced.

Whether a battle for president takes place within the fall's VMA selection process or in an actual campaign come spring, it will be incumbent upon the VMA to define and explain itself to voters.

Contact:
Email: dhaley@wjinc.com Twitter: @OPEditor

Reader Comments

66 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: February 4th, 2013 4:20 PM

When was John Hedges Executive Director of the Park District? Was it during the time I was on the AYSO Board, when we made a donation to improve the soccer fields? Or was it the year after when the Park District sent us a bill for using the fields? Or, maybe it was the year my taxes for the Park District went up 168% after a referendum? The Park District needed the money because it had been deferring maintenance on all it's buildings.

Bon Voyage! from OP  

Posted: October 2nd, 2012 6:06 AM

@Voter 3: Yes, I suspect you're right that Pope has higher aspirations. My fingers are crossed that he is placed somewhere else far, far away from Oak Park and where he can pave all the streets with bricks that I don't have to pay for. And don't let the door hit you on the way out.....

OP Resident from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 1st, 2012 4:05 PM

@Voter - The fact that John Hedges voted against the affordable housing on Madison is the ONLY reason I'll consider voting for a VMA candidate, should he be nominated. Thanks for reminding me how opposed I am to the rest of the board as a result of those shenanigans.

Vote  

Posted: October 1st, 2012 7:42 AM

Money, ideas, and dialogue win elections. These are all available to all candidates. Some groups/people are better at maximizing their chances of winning(and winning) by successfully executing one or all three.

Christine Gawne Vernon  

Posted: September 29th, 2012 1:06 PM

Bill, thanks for the straightforward, civil answer. Sometimes when VMA people respond hatefully or even unkindly, I wonder why they feel like they have to throw bricks at flies. They won. They are in power. Why do opposing views bother them so much if they have conviction about what they are involved in? All I am saying is that we were taught in school that we are in a democracy...but that's not the truth where machine politics run things in a one party system. It's not healthy.

Bill Sullivan  

Posted: September 29th, 2012 11:11 AM

@Christine - Yes, I have run for public office; twice. Ran unsuccessfully for the Illinois House of Representatives in 2000. Ran successfully for the Township Trustees of Schools Board in 2005. Know full well the challenges of campaigns and fundraising.

Voter 3  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 6:34 PM

Don't worry about Mr. Pope. He has higher aspirations then being Village President again.

Voter too  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 4:59 PM

Hmmm, Hedges does not believe in putting a low income housing project smack dab in the middle of a business district? Interesting...He just may pick up a few votes on the south side....

Christine Gawne Vernon  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 4:57 PM

A. Parishioner, why not use your name and civil discourse. We are not in Chicago in minority neighborhoods where there is a lack of institutions like our Library for public use or the many banks, like we have which hosted these slatings in recent history. Organizing in Churches is the only option. I admired Ascension when they had the seminars on the death penalty years ago, a moral issue. With the VMA, we are talking a about a political machine which has basically controlled OP for 60 years.

Voter  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 4:56 PM

John Hedges is against the approved affordable housing on Madison ?? That could cost him some votes if he runs

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 3:02 PM

Hedges voted against the Madison Housing Proposal.

Ha  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 2:52 PM

John Murtaghs BIGGEST issue was the Interfaith Project on Madison. How did Hedges Vote?????

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 2:47 PM

Jan - to give some context to my response to your question. Most of the votes taken by the board are procedural or approvals of routine matters. 7-0 votes are therefore frequent. From Jan to Sept 10, President Pope and Trustee Hedges had differing votes six times. The issues were: Greater Downtown Streetscape Drawings (Tiger), Additional budget funding for Housing Center, two votes re Flooding Issue, and two votes re Zoning Ordinance Changes.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 2:43 PM

Woops, "No" was a reply to Mrs. Vaughn's question about separation of church and politics.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 1:51 PM

No

A realist from Oak Park  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 1:20 PM

Who wants to raise their hand to start the "Fiscal Responsibility" party. One candidate for the Village Board, one for D200, one for D97. The platform is to look at all the "Nice idea" proposals and see what they really mean in terms of tax dollars.

Jan  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 1:06 PM

Has Hedges and Pope voted the same during Hedges career on the Board??? John M, you seem to think they are two different types.

Ascension Parishoner from Oak Park  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 1:04 PM

Ms Gawne Vernon; To clarify, the meeting is actually being held in the Ascension School Pine Room...not in the church. You, like many people, clearly have no idea about our Constitution and the meaning of the Establishment clause. Holding a meeting in a buiidling owned by a religious group is not the establisment of a religion by the govt. Wow...I'm curious. Do you have any problem with candidates & pastors in African-American churches being political in the pulpit??

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 12:49 PM

just curious - I agree with your post, but I think there are still elements to consider. The VMA supports the hyper-development approach to planning and is concerned about how they can maintain the board's strong hyper-development policies. 2013 will be about hyper-development versus fiscal responsibility, the neglect of the neighborhoods over the last six years, and the vision-less planning in the village. The short term issue will be fiscal responsibility. The long term issue will be "What is the long term vision that guides Oak Park Village?" To accomplish both requires a leader that can 1)unite the board (it is badly splintered), 2) guide the board to a strong working relationship (not command and control) with the new village manager, and 3) improve trust that residents have for board and administration. I don't think the VMA has already chosen Hedges, not because he is not a solid and reliable leader and a great choice, but fear that they could weaken their control of Oak Park politics.

Pension Man  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 12:03 PM

Is it true that Mr Hedges makes $6,527.84 per month for his pension since 2000? How does he feel about the pension underfunding issue?

just curious  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 11:42 AM

@JBM ... VMA has a problem, as Pope has an abysmal record in economic development and budgetary issues years over the past 8 years. Whiteco, Sertus, Colt, streetscaping, etc. Anyone who has paid attention to these issues and motivated to run can easily challenge Pope for president, which puts in VMA in a bind. They need someone who is perceived as more fiscally responsible and balanced, which is Hedges. The decision to replace Pope with Hedges has already been made by the VMA.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 11:04 AM

just curious - Dan Haley hit it the head when he wrote that it will be interesting if Pope decides to seek a third term, and the selection committee has to choose between Pope and Hedges. The VMA always thinks politics first and probably feel that Pope could be a drag on the VMA slate and possibly create a chance for the VCA or independents to win some seats. The VMA fears the revolution that occurred in the early 2000's when they lost control of the board. I see Johnson and Rouse's comments as a sign that the VMA is split over the decision.

OP 2  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 10:53 AM

Some posters on here are phony from the word GO. They know who they are. Be careful for the people who dont walk the talk. Gibberish.

just curious  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 9:13 AM

@JBM ... I was referring to Ray Johnson's unsolicited comment that "John Hedges would make a fantastic President", as well as the article's statement that "VMA officials are enthusiastic about the prospects of a John Hedges candidacy." Both comments referred to Hedges as a president rather than a prospective VMA nominee, implying the decision has already been decided prior to the start of the VMA selection process. But then again, pre-determined decisions are the VMA way.

T.J. from Oak Park  

Posted: September 27th, 2012 8:24 AM

VMA = Dictatorship

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 11:49 PM

Mrs. Vernon - Actually I do not know why a church was chosen for the selection meetings. My bet is that they are renting space at the church. I don't see a religion involved in the matter.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 11:46 PM

Just Curious - I am not involved with the VMA or John Hedges' planning to run for President. When I saw the WJ article I was pleased to see he was going to seek the presidency and wanted to express that I think he would be a great choice. The first sentence of the WJ article reads "John Hedges acknowledged Monday what has been quietly discussed for months: He will seek the nomination of the Village Manager Association for Oak Park village president in the April election." It appears that he was will be going before the VMA Selection Committee. If he is not selected by the VMA, I hope he will run as an independent.

Insider  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 10:49 PM

Mr. Hedges should address the failures and mismanagement of the pay for performance that is currently in place instead of "expanding" it. How did employees get a mid-year and year-end evaluation one day apart? Why were employees on a list that said they had received their evaluations when they never did? Six months later, why were supervisors frantically hunting down employees to sign those evaluations they had never received?

Christine Gawne Vernon  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 10:40 PM

John, So you have never been a candidate in Oak Park against the Village Manger Association candidates. I see. A church hosting slating of a political party - I didn't say it was illegal. I question the wisdom of that. Can you imagine a church doing that for only Republicans or only Democrats? Maybe if it was done for all political parties, it might work but we only have one. There are public places for events like the Veteran's Room at the Library, unless this is an endorsement by the church?

just curious  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 9:29 PM

It is my understanding the VMA selection process has not yet begun, and is based on seeking application from prospective candidates, series of interviews, and eventual consensus selection. The above article re. John Hedges seeking VMA nomination and the below comments from Ray Johnson, a VMA stalwart and village board member, suggest that VMA has already pre-selected a candidate for endorsement for village president before their selection process has even begun.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 9:19 PM

Mrs. Vernon - my runs for office were not in OP or Ill. I doubt that there is any law that restricts the use of a church for political meetings. Same for the collection of money.

Let Us Not Forget  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 6:26 PM

@Raymond Johnson: I am glad you as a village board member take credit for the crummy condition of the park distict buildings... no matter hedges was the park district director and the whole thing was in a shambles, which lead to it being taken away from the village, and the referendum and the taxes going up etc. etc. you too are welcome to go away as is your crony steve rouse, former chair of viallge board of appeals who was in pope's pocket.

Christine Gawne Vernon  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 6:18 PM

John, did those elections involve the Village Manager Association? On another concern, I am very surprised to see a screening/slating meeting of a political party being held at a church, usually banks have been used. The use of a church does not seem like a healthy separation of Church and State. It seems more like an endorsement of the political party by the Church. And there will be money collected there on church premises that is not for the Church? Not such a good precedent.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 5:49 PM

Mrs Vernon - I have won and I have lost in elections and found both to be enjoyable. You get to meet a lot of great people, some of which become friends for life.

Christine Gawne Vernon  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 5:32 PM

Bill, not sure if you ever ran for office but it takes an incredible amount of time and considerable money. It's not fair to waste the time of decent, hard-working people offering themselves for public service just for the sake of debates or clarifying issues, when, either they have no chance of getting elected or they may be driven from office as Trustees were several Boards ago. The VMA always has the money to finance campaigns and finds people who seem to have more than enough time. So be it.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 5:26 PM

I am with Bill Sullivan 100%!!

Bill Sullivan  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 4:51 PM

We all should be grateful to anyone willing to run for public office in Oak Park; regardless of whether or not one agrees with a candidate's positions.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 1:14 PM

OP - I can live with it. I do what I think is right, not what people think I will do.

OP  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 1:06 PM

I love it. I can see the headline now- John Murtagh endorses a VMA candidate.......but only one!! Ha HA. Murtagh, didnt you say that John Hedges son painted your house? You are just as political as anyone else in this town. Stop your bs.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 12:50 PM

Unfortunately - we need to have a cup of coffee some day. My tel# is listed.

Unfortunately  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 12:40 PM

@JBM. The VMA changed their "process" regarding endorsements, etc., when several "independents" (leftist) became part of the "selection" process several years ago and the regular VMA didn't like how it turned out. They then dropped all pretense of an open and inclusive organization solely focused on good govt in OP - and became a quasi-political party. Today? They've (not all, but many) become a group who believe in their divine/omnipotent abilities and VMA uber alles. And they HATE opposition.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 11:47 AM

Hi Mrs Vernon - We agree a lot but still have some difference. If I read you WJ reply, you are suggesting that the VMA is so entrenched that the village would be better off if we don't bother providing opposition. That is hard for me to swallow. We are at a critical point in OP History. That is the worst time to step away from a lot of peoples efforts to force better decisions and more open communication from the board.

Steven Rouse from Oak Park  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 10:40 AM

John: You have to be a dues paying member of the VMA to be on the Selections Committee and appear before the Selections Committee as a candidate for president, trustee or clerk.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 10:33 AM

Steve - If a resident who does not want to join the VMA allowed to attend the Selection Committee meetings as an observer rather than a member of the Selection Committee? Do residents who submit an application to be a VMA candidate have to join the VMA before being interviewed, or is becoming a VMA member a stipulation only if the interviewee is chosen by the selection committee?

Steven Rouse from Oak Park  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 9:31 AM

To echo what Ray said, please consider joining the VMA and being on the Selections Committee.( You can pay your 20 VMA dues at the door) The meeting dates are October 2, 11, and 17 at Ascension Church. If you would like more information please e-mail me at selections@vma-oakpark.org Steve Rouse VMA Selections Committee

Sully from Oak Park  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 9:01 AM

Can't you people ever say anything nice? If you don't support Hedges, then say who you would support. Do you have any positive suggestions?

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 8:56 AM

@ "Forget": A technical correction; the Park District field houses were the responsibility of the Village until around 2004, when "ownership" was transferred from the Village to the Parks. Aside from that, John Hedges would make a fantastic President. If folks on these blog pages want to get involved, join the VMA Selection Committee and participate.

Let Us Not Forget  

Posted: September 26th, 2012 5:44 AM

John Hedges was the guy who ran the park district, into the ground. He deferred maintenance on both the buildings and grounds to the point of near collapse. John Hedges needs to retire form public service and try and get a real job. Thank you and good bye john hedges.

voter  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 11:01 PM

Hedges has also been there too long. He is intrenched in many more ways than Pope is. Hedges has voted right along with the rest of this VMA board for frivilous spending. In my opinion, Hedges, Pope, Johnson and Teresa Powell need to go. It is a tough job and I hope there will be enough independent candidates to wipe the VMA slate clean.

Christine Gawne Vernon  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 7:45 PM

John, I never said "things cannot change without forcing the demise of the institution." I say let the VMA run unopposed and stop the pretense that this is a democracy. I think the role of the opposition is to keep the Board in check, call them out when they run small businesses out of town as Pope's administration did; or they overspend $20Mil subsidy for WhiteCo; or when they destroy a public space like the Marion Street Mall over the objection of experts like the Project for Public Spaces.

Jamie  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 7:43 PM

John is a tool. His record is poor. He is a VMA puppet and that is not the only organization with its hand in his backside.

Unfortunately  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 6:48 PM

I'm with JBM and Mrs. VERNON (I think that the "slip" was due to my knowledge of a "Duke" Gawne who was a plumber in OP - and so when I saw the full name, "Gawne" just stuck in my head!) with their opinions. Am I mistaken that Ms. Vernon is referring to the CARE board members from the 80's regarding co-option? And what I've NEVER understood is why so many VMAers are so insecure that they believe that they must have a 7-0 board at all times!?! TRUE dissent should be sought after and appreciated.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 5:52 PM

I will endorse and support John Hedges for Village President. Yes, I know that he has had VMA support in the past and could have it in 2013 if the VMA choices him over Pres. Pope. That is immaterial in my mind. If the VMA chose to endorse Pope, I would encourage and support John if he ran as an independent. During his time in office, John has shown that his interest lies with the village residents. He has never been a VMA puppet or part of inner board clique (Pope, Johnson, Lueck, and Brewer). He votes his conscience, asks tough questions, and does not allow himself to be politically patronized. My endorsement also recognizes that the village will have a new village manager in the soon (I think!). If we are going to have a village manager who can take charge, it is best that he/she not be under the thumb of the board, particularly Pres. Pope. I want a village president that knows how government works, has a strong knowledge of the community, and the trust of the residents. I do not know of any member of the board other than John that I could support for village president in 2013. I am riding with a man of integrity, honesty, and openness in 2013. By the way, I am not supporting any slate he endorses. All my votes will be individual or independent. Slates are the lazy way to screw up a village.

CITIZEN X  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 5:36 PM

Someone thinks the VMA is doing a good job. After all, VMA candidates are elected election after election.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 5:19 PM

I agree with Mrs. Vernon and Unfortuately's views on the VMA. The village residents have allowed the VMA over five decades to become a political institution that puts its interest in political power before the governance of the village. It is an institution that poorly serves the village. With control of the Village Board, the Community Involvement Commission, and the Plan Commission, it has created a monolithic profile of who is suitable for elected office. While I agree with Mrs. Vernon and Unfortunately's views re the VMA, I do not agree with their doomsday outlook or sense that things cannot change without forcing the demise of the institution. They have too much business financing and political support to go away. The answer lies in expanding the number of voters (a less than 20% voter turnout is a crap shoot for the VMA), encouraging independent candidates to run and being prepared to support those you choose with sweat and money. Do not support the OP slate practice that destroys any meaningful debates. Vote only for individuals you believe can do the job. A fifty year history will not be reversed in one or two elections.

observation  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 5:13 PM

Never heard of his act. really nice someone of his age can win a Video Music Award! :-)

Christine Gawne Vernon  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 3:54 PM

It's Mrs. Vernon, not Ms. Gawne - immaterial to this discussion. The defeat of VMA candidates, as seldom as it occurred, never created an independent Board. The difference between the philosophy of opposing candidates versus the philosophy of the VMA is opposing candidates move to be democratic and they end up giving their power back to the VMA, who NEVER share power with outsiders. I can't believe that voting for the lesser of two evils, between two machine candidates, is voting at all.

Unfortunately  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 2:58 PM

@Ms. Gawne. I do understand and, trust me, I can relate. Having said that, what is your opinion regarding the semi-recent defeat of the VMA earlier this decade? I long ago arrived at your conclusion, but that was before the VMA defeat. Having said this, I do think that John Hedges would be a vast improvement over Pope. "Old-Timerism" of him and Johnson, imo, has lead to too many "I know it all!" positions - and the typical VMA "circle the wagons!" VMA is NOT good for Oak Park!

Christine Gawne Vernon from Oak Park  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 2:36 PM

60 years of one party rule. Residents should never kid themselves about this being a democracy in Oak Park. No one should waste their time running against VMA candidates. This is a machine run town. After forty years of involvement with the Loyal Opposition; as the granddaughter of the first Catholic elected to public office - a Trustee in the 1930's; and as a candidate (who had a respectable showing) for an independent for the Board in 1981; I am telling you honestly, don't waste your time.

Austin Healy  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 2:26 PM

Is this a news article or an opinion piece? The last 3 paragraphs are the writer's observation/opinions. What are opinions/observations doing in a news article?

Anyone Remember  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 2:21 PM

How diverse(sex and race) was the admin of the OP Park dist when John was director?

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 1:49 PM

I consider this very good news.

Progressive from Oak Park  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 1:37 PM

Hedges seems to believe that Village Hall will eventually function properly if only the staff could be made small enough. It is not just Pope who has stayed too long and become too insular. It is the entire VMA. Here's hoping for fresh faces.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 1:34 PM

"On Madison Street, he said, the village is 'not attacking the root problem, which is that a lot of the buildings on the street are economically obsolete.'" Translation: Let's buy up the old ones, and give out some sweet deals to developers to put up new ones, just like David Pope would do.

Gail Moran from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 1:18 PM

Caution - not all VMA members should be painted with the same brush, Dan. I'm sure there will be a robust debate about all the candidates that appear before the selection committee.

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: September 25th, 2012 1:14 PM

While it might only be a rumor, I feel John would be a fine choice. He has a lot of experience with local government, as well as, the not-for-profit organizations which are such a large part of the Oak Park social life and economy. And, he listens!

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