By Dan Haley
A crowd of more than 100 turned out Friday morning to hear a lively and sometimes intense debate between the two candidates for Oak Park village president. Anan Abu-Taleb, a local restaurateur and an independent candidate, faced off against John Hedges, a current village trustee and the candidate of the Village Manager Association (VMA).
The two met in the Grand Ballroom of the Carleton Hotel at a session sponsored by the Civic and Business Council.
Abu-Taleb, the owner of Maya del Sol on Oak Park Avenue, was aggressive in challenging Hedges as a status quo candidate and on issues ranging from economic development to pensions to the speed at which local government works. Hedges, now in his sixth year as a trustee, walked a line between defending progress made in village government during difficult economic times and pledging greater efficiency in delivering services as a guard against raising property taxes.
The VMA candidate also raised a new issue in the campaign, asking how Abu-Taleb could function in the dual roles of village president and official liquor commissioner of Oak Park while also owning a restaurant which has a liquor license from the village. Abu-Taleb said he was aware of the issue and had discussed it with legal counsel.
More face-to-face forums are scheduled in what is the only contested race this spring in Oak Park municipal government. On Wednesday, March 13, Wednesday Journal will sponsor a forum for the presidential candidates at 7 p.m. at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St. That event will be moderated by Dan Haley, editor and publisher of the Journal.
Answer Book 2016
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2016 Answer Book, please click here.
Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.
|Submit Letter To The Editor|
|Place a Classified Ad|