Barrie Park's grand unveiling took place Saturday, but I didn't get there until dusk. The sunset's afterglow painted the cirrus wisps high overhead, which seemed appropriate. It's been a long time since this park and neighborhood had a rosy outlook.
The second executive director in the 33-year history of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, Aggie Stempniak, is stepping down. She's been in the position nine years, not nearly as long as her more flamboyant predecessor (and agency founder) Bobbie Raymond Larson, but her tenure is a testament to the continuity and stability of this critical village institution.
Sometimes the lack of imagination of our architectural planners and critics astounds me. I was surprised when the Oak Park side of Lake and Harlem was redeveloped that it did not mirror the River Forest Town Center. That would have presented a cohesive look. When it didn't, I was surprised that they hadn't considered the Tudor style of the buildings on Westgate.
If the events of 9/11/2001 brought this country together, it is clear that the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has brought about further division. While all government parties must take some share of the blame, it is clear that the federal government was far too lax in its response effort.
Americans need to have an independent investigation of what went wrong with the planning and events before, during and after Katrina. President Bush can't carry out this investigation, nor can the Republicans by themselves or as the majority. The commission needs to be independent.