By Dan Haley
Odds and ends from the notebook after covering Monday's Oak Park village hall meeting extravaganza:
- All the men wore sport coats and ties for the occasion. A rarity these days.
- Trustee Colette Lueck said that John Hedges, outgoing village trustee, had a certain father figure thing going at the board table. And while she said she is about the same age as Hedges she reported there was not a mom figure equivalent.
- Village Clerk Teresa Powell offered up gifts for outgoing president David Pope's two daughters in case they were eventually interested in seeking political office. Giant cookies with the words "Vote for Elise" and "Vote for Vivienne" were a big hit with Pope.
- Trustee Ray Johnson recalled moving to Oak Park when he 25 and said that "Oak Park has made me a better person."
- Johnson, who is gay, recalled with emotion serving on the Community Chest board with John Hedges many years ago and being surprised and impressed when Hedges raised concerns over the Chest funding Boy Scout programs after the Scouts anti-gay policies were reported.
- After being sworn in, Anan Abu-Taleb sincerely thanked David Pope saying, "thank you for teaching me for the past four weeks."
- Powell recalled first meeting Pope when she worked at Alcuin Montessori School and Pope visited one of his daughters to work on a project about families with multi-generational ties to the school.
- Trustee Bob Tucker picked up on the pre-school theme and said he imagined a young David Pope sitting at Alcuin and drawing Venn diagrams to explain concepts.
- Trustee Adam Salzman said he first met David Pope when he came to village hall with his Realtor as he and his wife were considering buying a home in Oak Park. He said Pope asked where the house was and then told him all about the block and told him he even knew the house.
- Welcoming Peter Barber to the village board, Trustee Bob Tucker said Barber's years on the District 97 school board might not have prepared him for the semi-dysfunctional village board, except for the fact, he allowed that Barber had worked with Peter Traczyk.
- Ray Johnson estimated that over 10 years of shared service on the village board that he and Pope had attended 571 actual board meetings.
- In the closing of his closing remarks David Pope said, "It is sort of a miracle for me to be sitting here. I happened to have been adopted in 1966. I'm fortunate to have been adopted by my folks (in Oak Park). When I look at the world it is through a slightly different lens. I don't know anything about my biological background. When I walk down the street I could be related to any one of you."
- Pope's comments were tied to his observation that Oak Park sits between "one of the poorest communities in the state and one of the wealthiest." The children in those two communities "are not intrinsically different" and deserve equal opportunities.
- Pope's parents were in attendance as was Abu-Taleb's mother.
- Lueck let the cat out of the bag when she told Pope that board members sometimes had a pool on just how long he would talk. But she had never won the pool, she said.
- As it has on the opening night of every board swearing in since 1973, the village board reaffirmed Oak Park's diversity statement. When's the last time an editor had a crack at that overlong and rambling statement?
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