Before I endorse anyone in next spring’s local elections, I am putting together a questionnaire for all village board and District 97 candidates. I want to know where you stand on a couple of issues near to my heart.

Let’s start with the village board candidates:

  • Do you support throwing millions of tax dollars down the rat-hole to “Save the Colt” building? Let me know where you stand. And please do not sugarcoat your answer with pleas that we must preserve the historic fabric of our downtown. No more studies. No more consultants. Just a simple yes or no will do.
  • Do you have a tendency to kick the cat when you are angry? Do you stalk out of meetings? Do you use words such as “liar” when describing those with whom you disagree?
  • Who do you think runs village hall? This is kind of a trick question (Hint: The village manager runs village hall, based on policy set by the board).

Here are related questions: Do you support shrinking the size of village board meeting “study books” by 50 percent? The more board members delve into the minutia of village government, should it be within their purview to control it?

  • Do you support building a municipal parking garage on North Boulevard near Marion Street? If we want to have a shopping district, we need spaces where shoppers can park the Prius.
  • Do you support a moratorium on condo conversions and new condo construction in Oak Park? Tricky question? Not for those who believe that market-driven construction within the zoning guidelines adds to the tax base and on balance improves the quality of life (not to mention home values).

And now some questions for the District 97 board candidates:

  • Do you think eighth-graders should read more than one short novel between September and December in their Language Arts class? That is what the curriculum calls for in my son’s class. If the answer is no, please explain how Julian students will ever become lovers of books if they rarely read one.
  • Do you support extending class time for Math and English classes every day and shortening class time for electives (including everything from music, to computers, to foreign languages, to art)? If not, explain your plan for ending the chronic underachieving of many Oak Park students on the state exams in key subjects.
  • Will you vote to raise taxes for District 97? Voters are entitled to a straight answer to this basic question. While you’re at it, tell us whether you would agree to outsource janitorial services at the schools or make any other budget cuts.

Here is a bonus question:

  • Do you support negotiating automatic pay-step increases out of the next teachers contract and replacing them with some form of merit pay? This is a revolutionary concept: paying people based on their job performance. It is done in every line of work except for union hall jobs and teaching.

Think about this over the holidays and let me hear your responses. Merry Christmas.

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