Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley and Oak Park Police Officer Ed Hadac were in high spirits as they rolled up to the Wednesday Journal offices last Friday in a Cruise Car Kudo model electric car.
The “green” car was on loan for the weekend from the Electric Vehicle Company in Northbrook, and officers spent the next few days scooting around town in it.
“I’d like to get it out there and see if it works,” said Ron Fantetti, Oak Park fleet superintendent.
The Kudo, a four-seat car powered by eight batteries that only reaches speeds of 25 mph and vaguely resembles a moon rover, would be used in densely populated areas of the village, such as Downtown Oak Park.
Incorporating the car into the Oak Park Police Department’s fleet would be part of a broader attempt to cut down on carbon emissions, reduce the amount of money spent on gasoline, and decrease the number of patrol cars in downtown Oak Park.
“It plays into reducing our carbon footprint and reducing our motor fuel cost,” Fantetti said, “and a lot of pollutants downtown don’t make for a very pleasant walk.”
Hadac expressed approval, saying, “It’s a glorified golf cart … but it’s got a nice turning radius!”
State Rep. Chapin Rose, who represents downstate Champaign, isn’t a big fan of red light photo enforcement. He’s even less a fan of using the technology to enforce speed laws.
Back in March, Rose voted no on HB 0442, which would legalize the use of automated camera technology for speed enforcement.
All three House members representing our area – Karen Yarbrough, Deborah Graham, and LaShawn K. Ford, plus Angelo “Skip” Saviano who previously represented River Forest – joined 64 other representatives in voting yes.
The 68-47 vote sent the bill to the Senate, where it lost soundly by a 13-36 vote, with four senators not voting. State senators Don Harmon and Kimberly Lightford, who represent these villages, voted no.
The bill’s now in committee being reworked. In the meantime, another key Springfield player from Oak Park, the decidedly unelected Alfred G. Ronan, continues to act as the main lobbyist for RedSpeed, one of the companies that provides this technology.
Rose banged heads with Ronan last spring on two previous bills that proposed changes to the Open Meetings Act, changes Rose succeeded in getting stopped. Around that same time, in response to HB 442’s success in the Illinois House, Rose filed what’s technically termed “House Amendment 005 to House Bill 442” on March 9. It reads:
“Any penalty [for speeding] shall be waived if the violator delivers two bags of tea to the city attorney of the municipality from which the violation occurred.”
That language didn’t make it into the proposed law, but it definitely makes the list of the best political swipes of 2009.
Oak Park: Mecca of wealthy singles?
A recent item on CNNMoney.com named Oak Park one of the top 10 “best places for the rich and single” – or to find a sugar daddy or sugar mama. This comes three years after daytime talk show The View called Oak Park one of the five “sexiest suburbs” in the country.
CNN says communities such as Oak Park have an abundance of “affluent young professionals,” pointing to the village’s median income of $102,485, with 33.4 percent of its residents single.
“Bookworms and art fans will feel at ease among this Chicago suburb’s artsy, well-educated crowd. Go to a reading at a bookstore and talk literature with distinguished professorial types. Impress architecture buffs with your knowledge of Frank Lloyd Wright, an Oak Park native whose work can be seen all over the village. On the third Friday of every month, stroll over to the Oak Park Arts District for an open-air art gallery walk. Then sip coffee and mingle with intellectuals at a nearby café,” the CNN Web item says.
Number one on CNN’s list is Hermosa Beach, Calif., with its median family income of $137,941 and 47.2 percent of its population single. The only other Illinois community to make the list of 25 was west suburban Lisle, ranked 17.
Anchor’s son schooled briefly in Oak Park
Scott Kurtis, son of former CBS and Channel 2 News anchor Bill Kurtis, died on June 20 at his father’s ranch in Kansas. The 38-year-old had suffered from schizophrenia since his teens and reportedly died from complications of the ailment. Bill Kurtis is a former resident of Oak Park and his son attended school in the village. Scott was a student at Holmes School from 1976 to spring 1977 before transferring to a school in Iowa, District 97 confirmed last week.