It makes good sense to stick with the New Leadership Party (NLP). In the 2005 election of the Village Board of Trustees, the citizens of Oak Park made it clear that they wanted change and new leadership on the village board. They were so adamant about change and new leadership that they voted in the entire NLP slate.

As a result of this mandate, many accomplishments have been made since for the past two years. Let’s look at the record:

The NLP majority cut operating expenses for the first time in over seven years; hired a new village manager with an excellent record and credentials who possessed the experience to handle the problems of the village; enhanced the business districts of Oak Park, other than DTOP, by making $5.8 million available for growth. Harrison Street, Chicago Avenue, Roosevelt Road, and North Avenue are finally getting money for infrastructure and facades–and loans were made available to all of the business districts.

The NLP board completed a business development plan for Madison Street. This plan was not completed behind closed doors, it sought and won the participation and approval of the residents and businesses in the area. The NLP has started rebuilding downtown with the Marion Street project, making the best of a bad deal that was entered into concerning Whiteco and the Colt building by a previous board. It has downzoned 500 homes, preventing their demolition and replacement by developers. It has improved village government efficiency by implementing performance measures that compare the cost and delivery of municipal services of other municipalities similar to Oak Park. Most importantly, the NLP is getting the village government out of the development business. For example, the board has instructed the village to start selling off more than 15 village-owned properties and get them back on the tax rolls.

There will always be legitimate criticism and concern about trustee performance and accomplishments, as well as criticism that is not deserved, especially in an election year. No board is perfect. However, when you compare the actions and accomplishments of previous boards with the above-mentioned accomplishments of the NLP over the past two years, it is clear that the NLP leadership is headed in the right direction.

I urge you to vote for Barbara Dolan, Harvey Lyon, Rose Meyer and Mary Shiffer in the upcoming April election and continue this progressive leadership.

Al Whitaker , Oak Park

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