The April 4 Wednesday Journal looks at extremism too narrowly. Extremism has negative connotations, but not solely. WJ is railing against extremism as Easter approaches – Jesus was an extremist. Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King were extremists.

WJ says extremists shouldn’t have a role in guiding but Pope John XXIII & Mother Theresa were extremists, while they still led large organizations quite effectively

I’d argue that extremism is not new to Oak Park. Both the racial diversity ordinance of 1968 and the domestic partner registry of 1997 were considered extreme when they were passed.

But I acknowledge that some extremism should be rejected and fought against. What comes to mind is the extremism of Ray Johnson & other VMA trustees giving away $12 million of taxpayer money to Whiteco through backroom negotiations; the extremism of allowing developers virtually carte blance as to height and density, while they create traffic congestion and parking problems, plus downgrading our quality of life, and the character of our neighborhoods. It’s extremism to give developers our tax money and place our community’s future in their hands.

And finally it is an extremist view, contrary to all evidence, that we can “condo-ize” ourselves into lower taxes. It is time to face the reality that this old canard just doesn’t fly.

For a forthright, compelling vision for Oak Park, check the VCA’s positions on their website, They advocate for residents (not developers and large property owners) deciding the essential character of Oak Park, and they will allow only development that enhances that character. They recognize that Oak Park residents expect that Marion Street businesses can be improved while preserving the mall. Oak Parkers are committed to preserving the character & quality of life for ourselves and our children which first attracted us to Oak Park.

Karen Ard
Oak Park

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