I’ve lived in Oak Park since 1990. As part of our general disenchantment with the town, my late wife and I allowed our subscription to Wednesday Journal to expire. Somehow, the occasional copy still winds up on the porch. The last time this happened, my wife was dying in the living room, the patrons of Club Inclusive were tearing up the peace every Fiday and Saturday night outside on the streets, and the Journal was still covering the crisis of the Colt Building. My wife passed away, after another fun Saturday evening, on March 11. This Wednesday, another copy showed up, and finally, there was coverage of the situation in our neighborhood [Rowdie Roosevelt bar patrons challenge OP, Berwyn cops, News, June 13]. How timely – the area has only been dealing with this since 2005!

This is so Oak Park. Is the Colt Building so much more important than a situation which, all by itself, is causing people to move out? Where are the reporters coming around and asking people what it’s been like living with this? Why, I’d be thrilled even to have Dan Haley patting us on the head and reminding us to ask ourselves if race isn’t affecting our feelings about being jerked from our beds week after week to the sounds of violence outside our windows – at least that would be some acknowledgement.

If you want a story, why don’t you get one of our police officers to admit – anonymously, of course – that they haven’t made any of the numerous arrests they could have because showing up in front of the same judge over and over with “little” cases would be bad for their careers. That’s the only reason this situation has gone on so long. If people know that unless they hit a cop, they won’t get more than a warning, they’ll be back to their playground (my neighborhood) again and again.

If the paper had used half the print it used on the Colt Building to throw light on this sorry situation, maybe Chief Tanksley would have been motivated to instuct his officers to stop worrying about their career trajectories and start doing their jobs, and not threatening to arrest the people who pay them to enforce the laws, as I was threatened last Saturday night. Maybe I would still be a subscriber. Maybe I wouldn’t be living for the day when I, too, can leave. Once upon a time, I loved Oak Park, but like the man says, once upon a time never comes again.

Mark P. Bloedel
Oak Park

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