Wednesday Journal’s editorial “Opposition, please” [Our Views, Nov. 3] was, for the most part, a simple call for a robust dialogue and a competitive village election in the spring of 2011. We, the trustee candidates comprising the Citizens for Accountable Leadership slate — Ray Johnson, Adam Salzman and Bob Tucker — could not agree more. Our village deserves an open, vital and energetic campaign in the months to come. However, the end of the editorial takes a rather strange turn, stating that a victory by our slate would result in a village board with “six white people or six males,” and that some might consider this result “unacceptable.”

Our first question is: Unacceptable to whom? The Oak Parkers we know do not judge people by the color of their skin, or any other characteristic which too often divides us, but by the content of their character — or in the case of elections, by the quality of their candidates. Shouldn’t voters cast their votes for the best candidates, even if such a board were then comprised of six African-American people or six women?

The very way we think and talk about diversity has progressed in Oak Park and is and should be seen through the widest possible lens. Acknowledging the fact that discrimination knows no boundaries, the life experience of people and their sensitivity to seeking the best possible community for all Oak Parkers is what inspires us to seek elected office. “Accountable leadership” means we commit to working with every citizen and stakeholder to continue building upon the rich history of our village as it relates to diversity.

On a more personal note, our team is actually diverse in various ways. Ray Johnson is openly gay and has worked to advance human rights for a broad cross section of Oak Park, especially on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and people with disabilities. Adam Salzman is a Latino Jew who has devoted the lion’s share of his career to advancing in court the rights of low-income clients and people with disabilities. Bob Tucker happens to be married to an African-American woman, and his attorney practice revolves around the expansion of affordable housing and improving certain Chicago neighborhoods. Ray Johnson served on the Citizens’ Council of Oak Park and River Forest High School and has been an advocate for a strong education foundation for all Oak Park children. The Tuckers have two interracial children, one of whom is a student at a District 97 school and the other at OPRF. The Salzmans have two children under the age of 4.

Perhaps the Journal took an initial look at our slate and saw three white males. We believe that Oak Parkers will dig a little deeper and get to know our slate and see three committed, independent-minded public servants with widely diverse professional and personal backgrounds.

In the coming campaign we will be accountable to citizens on every issue and will never stop talking about creative approaches to engaging all willing citizens in ways that take the remarkable diversity of our village into account. The leadership we strive to provide seeks to enhance the quality of life for all, and we look forward to listening to you on this and other matters in the days and weeks ahead.

Citizens for Accountable Leadership is a slate of three candidates, endorsed by the Village Manager Association, running for trustee on the Oak Park village board. The candidates are incumbent Ray Johnson, Bob Tucker and Adam Salzman.

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