2009 Wednesday Journal Endorsements
Our choice for village president in Oak Park is much simpler, though again villagers have two honorable men to choose from.
DAVID POPE is running for re-election as Oak Park village president and we offer him our enthusiastic endorsement. Saddled during his first two years with as dysfunctional a group of colleagues as could be conjured up by Central Casting, Pope has come back strong over the past two years. A new board of pragmatic progressives has allowed Pope to lessen the drama and increase the focus on a raft of challenges.
Deteriorating finances tops the list of issues this new board will need to continue to address. Two years of aggressive budget cutting have hardly kept pace with the falling revenues and the residue of past bad financial planning by the village. A new campaign brochure paints Pope and his slate as tough decision makers in tough times. There will be endless opportunities to prove that promise. There remain within village hall seemingly intractable issues with service, budgeting and morale that must be addressed. Tough to do during times of cutbacks; but in the downsizing, there are always opportunities, too.
David Pope is exceptionally bright. He is also an unusually decent fellow. He is, however, not the most focused leader. Whether it is the cascade of his ideas for making the world right via Oak Park, or the cascade of his words that too often obscure his simple, critical point, Pope has the opportunity in a second term to discipline himself into being a better village president.
Gary Schwab heads a slate of candidates whom we respect but with whom we feel no allegiance. A dedicated public servant, Schwab has contributed to village life in many ways and we look forward to his continued involvement. However, there is a dourness to Schwab that does not speak to the possibilities of this village. He does not bring ideas for a better future for Oak Park, only an unsettling criticism of most everything in place.