Persuasive arguments by VMA/Progressive Action candidate Jon Hale:

* Why not let builders put up condos, period? Condo w/o stores not good; mixed use is key, because it puts customers at stores, says Campaign for Sensible Growth, recommending what’s best for Waukegan in 2002. Argument is, if you don’t have a say in what’s good for yourself, you lose out.

* It’s good to break up super-blocks (such as Colt Bldg area), as recommended by the Urban Land Institute among its “best practices.”

* Having a caucus such as VMA is the way to go, as in Wilmette, Lake Bluff et al., per Chi Trib story 2/6/07, even with the danger, as in Lake Bluff, of “old-guard insiders ruling the roost.” This sounds familiar to Oak Parkers, but “it works when you trust the people representing you,” this Lake B. resident told Trib.

This last is indeed the nub. “Illinois has dozens of such groups,” says Trib’s Lisa Black, “some established in the early 1900s during election reforms seeking to remove partisan politics from local elections.” This is also familiar.

In Wilmette, “the system imploded in 1969 after some residents formed a second caucus to challenge the established leadership,” Trib writes. Familiar too.

Moreover, “Independent candidates can, and occasionally do, win a race. In 2005 Tolbert Chisum beat the caucus-favored candidate by three votes for Kenilworth village president.” Tolbert Chisum, meet NLP and VCA.

In 1969 in Wilmette, the caucus apparently died forever, with a “heated” election vs. “insiders” who controlled it, a first. Issues get debated now, but it costs money to campaign, as in paying for “sign gardens” that pop up. The village board president spent $14G in 2005.

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