This is the ninth and last of our regular Vision Community Action (VCA) campaign articles. By now, most Oak Parkers have likely seen more material than they ever wanted from all three slates running for the village board.
The April 17 election offers Oak Park voters a startlingly clear choice.
The Citizens for Progressive Action (CPA/VMA) talk almost exclusively about encouraging retail and commercial development, saying that such development will solve our property tax problem. We’ve explained, with real data from the township assessor, that we can’t add enough new development to make much difference in taxes without obliterating the community. The CPA/VMA also don’t quite mention that the only way to get the retail/commercial development they want is to allow and encourage developers to put lots of condos/apartments on top of new retail, or that the new retail spaces will be so expensive as to displace most of our unique small retailers in favor of generic chain stores.
From their constant emphasis on business promotion and on chanting that what’s good for business is good for Oak Park, one might think the CPA/VMA believe they should be a business advocacy group instead of citizens’ representatives. This isn’t surprising, given the fact that the CPA/VMA have already raised nearly $70,000, of which around $15,000 (according to Wednesday Journal) has come from “business and commercial property interests.”
Is it overly cynical of us to think some of those interests might expect something more than good, impartial government for their money? Is it really unreasonable to suggest that the CPA/VMA focus on promoting narrow business interests because they’ve been bought, without objecting much, by narrow business interests?
Our former allies, now in the NLC/NLP, seem to be mostly emphasizing their willingness to compromise. We suspect this means they’d rather hold power than uphold any particular principles or beliefs. Their materials take credit for changes and actions which, in truth, were initiated and effected by people who’ve left the NLC for the VCA. Especially when those seeking to make a quick buck see no need to compromise, we agree with Jim Hightower that “there’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”
We VCA candidates have clearly and succinctly stated our positions throughout this campaign. These are available in previous articles here and on our website (www.oakparkvca.org). We have consistently offered better alternatives to the tired plans put forth by our opponents. We will listen respectfully to Oak Park residents and strive to govern solely for their benefit. We will do what we say we’ll do. We don’t stand to profit personally from any actions we’ll take as trustees. We cannot be bought.
A last thought: In his April 3 blog entry, Dan Haley admits to having said, “I’d rather be dead than live in Naperville.” If he hates Naperville so much, why does he want Oak Park to become so much more like Naperville?
Annabel Abraham, Jim Balanoff, Bob Milstein, Gary Schwab
Vision Community Action candidates for village trustee