Oak Park asks for help assessing flood damage

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

The Village of Oak Park is asking for help assessing flood damage, following several heavy rainstorms this week.

The Cook County Department of Homeland Security and the village are having residents who incurred flood damage at their homes fill out surveys. Residents have until Thursday, Aug. 4, to fill out the three-page questionnaire, which is posted at oak-park.us and available for download at the bottom of this article.

Once finished, residents can submit their answers via email to cole@oak-park.us, fax at 708-383-9584, or snail mail at 123 Madison St., Oak Park, IL 60302.

According to a village email release, the surveys will help officials determine who is eligible for public assistance, and to develop a database for future aid programs. In the past, Oak Park and the county have provided assistance to those who don't have insurance to cover the damage from basement flooding, according to the email.

Cook County Damage Data Collection Form

Reader Comments

18 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Just checking from Oak Park  

Posted: August 4th, 2011 6:00 PM

How can those Hydrants be painted by professional painters. I just noticed one and there is paint about 2 feet around the Hydrant and on the Hydrant.

TBD from Oak Park  

Posted: August 3rd, 2011 6:42 PM

Seriously! This is such a waste of time. I have little confidence that this village knows how to do anything other than raise taxes and fees. Construction projects are not their forte! Do I need to mention the Public Works building, Holley Court Parking Garage or any number of unnecessary beautification projects taking place on Marion and Roosevelt? Remember we needed to have the fire hydrants professionally painted instead of using college students/interns. Regret leaving Forest Park.

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: August 3rd, 2011 11:43 AM

@GEt OVer It, if the Village is not already compiling the non-personal flooding data, then what is the point of collecting these surveys? Unless the only purpose of the surveys is to create the appearance that the Village is doing something about the problem, there should be no real difficulty with providing a summary of the areas affected by flooding in response to a request for that information, because the Village should already be creating that summary.

FOIA Me from OP  

Posted: August 2nd, 2011 11:05 PM

The Village seems to need help finding its butt with both hands....but unless they're passing out money or are actually committed to helping, they'll get no info from me. Why would I bother wasting time? Let them FOIA me!

Resident from OP  

Posted: August 2nd, 2011 9:03 AM

@Get Over it Actually, Illinois law does in fact require that they provide the infomation I am seeking. They can and must do so under the law. If they can redact the personal information they are required to provide the rest of the info. It doesn't matter how much work it takes to "black out" the personal data. However, the law has no teeth so they can violate it with little or no consequences.

Basement woes  

Posted: August 1st, 2011 10:12 PM

We've filled out the form. For our effort we received a letter from the village engineer telling us that it was a 10 year storm. Last year it was a 50 year storm and 10 years ago it was a 100 yr storm. We don't care how many years - just fix the sewers to serve the present and future. It was also suggested we install overhead sewers in our basement - at a cost of $10,000. Reduce our taxes by that amount and you may have a deal.

GEt OVer It  

Posted: August 1st, 2011 9:27 PM

Resident, since there is no simple way to sanitize the data of personal info AND provide you what you are requesting, what you are asking is for the Village to spend time creating NEW information, that is, summarize all the exempt personal info in a manner you want (block info). The Village is under no obligation under the FOIA to perform personal services for you.

Resident from OP  

Posted: August 1st, 2011 4:28 PM

You'll have to mail it out with my name on it b/c I moved since my original request and the mail won't be forwarded unless you use my name on the envelope.

Resident from OP  

Posted: August 1st, 2011 4:20 PM

Okay, you know who I am so feel free to mail it out. Redact what you need to, I am eager to learn what blocks in Oak Park have a flood water problem. Knowing what addresses would be better, and answers to questions on the form along with an address would be ideal.

Resident  

Posted: August 1st, 2011 4:12 PM

Sure thing. It will be in the mail addressed to resident Oak Park, IL.

Resident from OP  

Posted: August 1st, 2011 4:03 PM

@ Teresa What you are saying below is not accurate. Oak Park had every opportunity to respond to my request. I would have accepted partial/redacted information that did not include personal information. The Village of Oak Park stonewalled me. It was made clear that they didn't want to release any information under the pretense of it being personal information. Just redact the personal stuff and release the rest of the form. This shoudl have been a simple and routine request.

Teresa Powell  

Posted: August 1st, 2011 12:16 PM

The reason that we didn't release the personal information (name, address, phone) provided by residents is that this is exempt information under the Freedom of Information Act. If someone needs a copy of this form, they are welcome to contact the Village Manager's office directly or contact me at clerk@oak-park.us to request one (or call 708-358-5670). If the Village is able to get compensation for these losses it may help to make needed changes. And possibly some residents, too.

Brendan  

Posted: August 1st, 2011 10:51 AM

Does it make you feel safe that the Dept of Homeland Security still shows Todd Stroger as the County Board President?

Editor from Oak Park  

Posted: July 30th, 2011 11:32 AM

Sewers are part of our vital infrastructure. Doesn't Homeland Security mean anything to you? Giving up private information? Facebook!! Verified e-mail addresses and phone numbers which are traced back. So if you have a Facebook, you've made the list.

Pat  

Posted: July 30th, 2011 12:55 AM

I followed the link just to get a copy of the form...however I needed to give up my personal information on Facebook just to get the form????

Resident from OP  

Posted: July 29th, 2011 11:31 PM

My father always said: The bigger the government, the smaller the people. This is as true in Oak Park as anywhere.

Resident from OP  

Posted: July 29th, 2011 11:29 PM

Oak Park wouldn't even give me partial or redacted infomation listing just the block or street that has someone who completed a form. Basically, they said go away you will get nothing. We don't care if you only want block by block info. I appealed to Lisa Madigan's office. That proved to be a major waste of time. The new FOIA laws are so weak you can't get anything from gov't. Politicians applaud themselves over the new laws, they have proven to be worthless. Shame on OP!!!

Resident from OP  

Posted: July 29th, 2011 11:14 PM

Don't bother filling out this form. You won't get anything in return for you effort. Last summer when we had a big storm I wanted to know which areas in Oak Park flooded. I wanted this information so I could determine which areas needed improvements. I did a FOIA request with the village of Oak Park asking for copies of the form residents were asked to fill out last summer. I was rejected by Oak Park's legal department. They wouldn't give me any info. NOTHING! Ray Heise said NO! Why?

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