As an established member of the active opposition Wednesday Journal doesn’t want to see, I find your editorial titled “Opposition, please” to be remarkable, amusing and truly strange [Opposition, please, Our Views, Nov. 3]. Your paper has done almost everything possible to denigrate and marginalize people who disagree with Village Manager Association policies, even before they attempt to run for office. You then express disappointment that people don’t seem to want to run and subject themselves to your unceasing ridicule.

You don’t want to see “grumpy splinters of the old VMA block.” As the VMA has been almost the only entrée into Oak Park politics since 1952 and the only path to participating on committees and commissions for at least the past decade, most people who have detailed knowledge of and experience with Oak Park’s government have been part of the VMA. Perhaps, in searching for “independent” candidates, you should praise rather than attack people who learned within the VMA and then left to offer their own ideas when their independence was no longer welcome.

I’ve never said that the VMA is an “evil cabal.” I have said, many times, that a government of like-minded people selected and promoted by people with a single, clear agenda might not be optimal. Your editorial seems to be trying to say the same thing.

You ask for new ideas on a range of substantive issues. In election campaigns and otherwise, I’ve personally offered, as have other candidates, many real, positive suggestions for improving Oak Park and its government. While I don’t expect you to print them, I am attaching published Village Citizens Alliance articles from our 2007 and 2009 campaigns. I’ll gladly send copies to anyone who asks. Any honest reading will show that we’ve made detailed, constructive proposals on most of the issues you raise. Our proposals seem to have been consistently dismissed simply because they weren’t ones you’ve liked.

I challenge you (or the VMA) to provide any similar, real discussions of issues from village hall. At present, we taxpayers usually get to know what government intends only after the important decisions have been made, with finality, somewhere out of sight.

Gary Schwab
Oak Park

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