Did you ever notice, as Andy Rooney used to say, that there’s a lot of complaining in Oak Park? Parking. Taxes. Services. Socialism. Guns. Crime. There’s also a fair amount of suspicion. Elected officials don’t listen. They’re in it for themselves. It’s a closed VMA circle.
Sunday night a group of maybe 40 Oak Parkers gathered at Unity Temple to share their thoughts about Oak Park. That’s a good thing and we applaud people for turning out. Organizers, several of them previously active in local politics, said it wasn’t exactly a dry run for forming a slate of candidates for the spring village elections. We wish it had been. Instead it seemed like more of the same.
Assuming they are all going to vote for Obama, since 80 percent of Oak Parkers will, didn’t they hear the president’s big convention theme? “Forward.” Could we please stop looking backward in Oak Park to a time that never actually existed?
How about a political opposition taking root here that actually offered a positive view of future possibilities for this village? Don’t want to hear about Marshall Field’s, don’t want anyone ragging on now elderly former officials who put in the Lake Street Mall (and, then, dagnabbit, they took it out!), don’t want to hear about too many (or too few) stop signs.
We’d like to hear from individuals or slates who love Oak Park, see a bright future, but who think that the level of taxes paid is simply too high and that the entire focus of the next four years needs to be on fiscal restraint and collaboration with every taxing body to lower the cost structure. Or optimists who have a defined plan for reinvigorating commercial enterprise on Madison Street and Roosevelt Road. Or digitalists who have a vision of where new technology can be applied to governance. Or idealists who want to create the next generation’s story of genuine integration.
Let’s have an actively, enthusiastically, forward-focused, contested election.