An ideology can be seen as a comprehensive vision, a way of looking at things. One purpose of an ideology is to propose social change through a consistent, rational thought process.
Vision Community Action (VCA) candidates differ from our opponents in the upcoming election in that we proudly and clearly state our ideology. We remain committed to a set of principles embracing democracy, diversity, openness, and appreciation for Oak Park’s unique, priceless heritage. We strive to say what we do and to do what we say to preserve and enhance our great village.
We believe that government must truly respect all citizens. We pledge to listen to citizens and act upon their concerns, instead of hypocritically saying we “feel their pain” before imposing some predetermined action upon them. We pledge to pay attention and offer real solutions when residents say they have no place to park, when they worry that a hospital is devouring their neighborhood, or when they say they want an improved Marion mall instead of a new street. We will encourage citizens to make the village board aware of problems and opportunities and to participate in solutions through direct involvement and joining newly empowered citizen committees and commissions.
We understand that our decisions will profoundly affect Oak Park’s future. We will consider long-term effects of our actions. We’ll also:
-Promote heritage and arts tourism and provide incentives for historic preservation, energy efficiency, and improved public transportation.
-Encourage adaptive reuse of buildings to preserve our “sense of place” and keep spaces more affordable.
-Create a downtown historic district and join the National Trust’s Main Street program to benefit businesses and residents alike.
-Restructure currently uncoordinated business recruitment and support efforts to find and encourage a wide range of businesses intended to improve neighborhoods and create unique shopping destinations in Oak Park.
-Encourage appropriate development by streamlining development approval and inspection processes, making sure that all developers are treated fairly and uniformly, and providing incentives for environmentally sensitive construction.
-Consider imposing fair impact fees for projects requiring additional Village services. We will impose strict limits on Planned Development zoning allowances to ensure that our zoning laws are once again taken seriously.
-Update the 1990 Comprehensive Plan by encouraging neighborhoods to create individual character plans and rolling all these character plans into a Village-wide vision.
-Ensure that building codes are enforced thoroughly and uniformly to protect neighborhoods and prevent demolition by neglect.
-Further seek to protect neighborhoods by extending and creating historic districts and helping residents realize these districts’ benefits.
-Watch public expenditures carefully, begin Village budgeting earlier, and ensure that completed budgets are easily understandable.
-Initiate a real study of TIF performance to see what we’ve gotten for almost 25 years of diverting tax revenue to promote development, and reduce TIF expenditures as much as possible to benefit other taxing bodies.
Annabel Abraham, Jim Balanoff, Robert Milstein, Gary Schwab
Vision Community Action candidates for village trustee