Here’s what’s on our mind this week.

Oak Park’s gifts to Cook County: Oak Park now has a second notable citizen entering the fray of the Democratic primary in Cook County.

The summer brought the good news that Ade Onayemi, a genuine star of the village’s elementary school board, would challenge Earlean Collins, a genuine hack on the county board, for a commissioner’s seat covering Oak Park and the West Side.

Now comes word that Ali ElSaffar, Oak Park’s township assessor, is entering a crowded field favoring a couple of remarkably mediocre candidates for Cook County assessor. ElSaffar is one of our favorite people. Yes, we like capable, hard-working, honest, ethical public officials. He has distinguished himself in his local post as an advocate for taxpayers seeking fairness in a bizarre and complex taxing process. ElSaffar has also risen in stature among his peers, having been elected president of the Cook County Township Assessors Association in 2008.

A county assessor who really understands this arcane process rather than a politico who only understands how to game the process – yes, we’re talking about you, Joe Berrios, and you, Robert Shaw – would be another worthy step in reclaiming the cesspool of county government.

Avoiding brinksmanship in River Forest: In a sign that River Forest village trustees have learned the hard way not to touch hot burners, the board backed away last week from a proposal to gut the power of board committees. Sure, this is inside baseball stuff, but it is important. A proposal to consolidate committee power under the full board as a way to contain the influence of minority trustees was thoughtfully discussed and then tabled.

We’ll call that wisdom.

Back at you, firefighters union: Pensions are complicated. The state laws that govern pensions are complicated. This paper has for a decade been critical of the lush pensions being provided for police, fire, educators and administrators and other government employees as unsustainable. Suddenly in the wide economic downturn of the past year, that viewpoint is gaining traction.

A recent Journal editorial brought a reasoned response from a retired Oak Park firefighter and union rep. As he believes we overstated certain points to make our case, we believe the same of his response.

The point is that this issue has to be on the table for public debate. Now it is. That’s some progress.

Two-Peat: Is that copyrighted from the Bulls championship years? In any case, the Journal has just scored best-big-weekly-paper-in-the-state honors for a second straight year. The Illinois Press Association made it official Friday in Peoria when they told us to haul the supersized winged-eagles-and-slender-guys-in-loincloths Will Loomis trophy back home to Oak Park with us.

The IPA also awarded our Forest Park Review the handsome Verle V. Kramer trophy as the best little weekly newspaper in the state. Among our six papers, we received 55 awards.

We are genuinely honored by this recognition. This is a great moment to be an independent publisher focused on community news both in print and online.

Thank you, readers. Thank you, advertisers.

Sun-Times lives: While we are applauding feisty publishing efforts, we’re pleased to see the Sun-Times, and by direct extension our competitors at Pioneer Press, find new life under new ownership. We wish them the best.

Join the discussion on social media!