“Whenever a man [woman] has cast a longing eye on office, a rottenness begins in his [her] conduct.” Thomas Jefferson

Apologies to Mr. Jefferson but I never like cynicism blanketly applied to public service. Jefferson’s is a sweeping generalization, the kind we are told not to make in Beginning Logic. There are those people who enter into public service out of a sense of duty and moral obligation. Can you imagine the state of government if everyone absolved themselves of any responsibility in this regard? Yet, how do we discern who is in politics for the right reasons and who is in it for ego or personal gain? Many people work selflessly for good government, disclosure, and financial accountability and stand to gain nothing personally.

Now read about the financial coffers of the VMA, Citizens for Progressive Action. They have a war chest of $50,000+ to run a local election! Where do you get money like that? Who is it from? What do they need all that money for? We have a great forum in local papers, don’t we? Can people buy an election? Why would they stoop to a low push/pull dirty-tricks poll? To me, the VMA overspend speaks to their governing philosophy, “Throw money at it and everything will be OK.” Examples are Whiteco, Marion Street restreeting proposal, Downtown Oak Park TIF management. Operatively, the VMA philosophy has failed Oak Parkers for years.

NLP, the VMA lite, pushes a philosophy of compromise. Sounds like “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” True to their word? New Leadership Coalition apostate Trustee Greg Marsey is the only coalition member elected two years ago who is left on the village board after the resignation of the other two NLC trustees. Considered by half of the coalition to have broken the vow he made at the candidate selection caucus to uphold the agreed-upon platform, Marsey’s apostasy is, in part, responsible for the coalition split. Complementing his negative actions, President David Pope’s replacement appointees for trustee failed to respect the voters’ choice of non-VMA candidates.

If we could get to the truth on the departure of two trustees this year, would we find an atmosphere so inhospitable that most decent people would find it intolerable? After all, the 20+ commissions have, for years, been populated by VMA appointees, some being groomed to move up in position to serve on the village board, a clique many would find intolerable.

Oak Parkers need to maintain the will to stand up against one party rule.

The VCA candidates, Milstein, Schwab, Balanoff and Abraham, are the only choice with a proven record of distinguished service and commitment in the community. They have not accepted any money from developers or special interests and have run a fiscally conservative and responsible campaign reflecting a healthy philosophy for governing. They deserve our support and we deserve good government under their guidance.
 
Christine Vernon
Oak Park

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