In response to the “Our Views” of April 24 [Liquor resolution]: The recent village elections are an excellent example of an unlearned lesson in citizen involvement — failing to exercise your right to vote can have disastrous consequences.
Someone with no prior interest, experience, or involvement in village governance is elected village president over someone with a stellar and proven track record of civic engagement that spans decades. To speak of this as a voter mandate and a landslide victory is ludicrous. Spending unprecedented sums of money for a single-person slate and utilizing the influence of state-elected officials in a local election does not bode well for the future.
No one disputes that certain departments and the m.o. of certain individuals in village government could be improved, but the oversight lies squarely on the village manager, not the board and not the village president.
In regard to the liquor ordinance, you state, “The obvious conclusion: Voters did not see a conflict … tells us that voters want those hurdles cleared away.” Whoa! You, along with Senator Harmon and Representative Lilly are confusing the registered voters of Oak Park with those who voted for Mr. Abu-Taleb. The latter constitute a tiny percentage of eligible Oak Park voters, so you certainly cannot claim that you know what the voters of Oak Park want.
There should not even be a discussion about the liquor and ethics ordinances. Mr. Abu-Taleb stated quite clearly in a public forum that he would divest himself of his business if elected. When John Hedges responded that as long as Mr. Abu-Taleb and his family divested themselves, it was not an issue, Mr. Abu-Taleb retorted that that was not what he said, but then repeated the promise to divest himself if elected, presumably knowing that neither he nor a family member could hold a liquor license under the current Village Liquor Ordinance, but also knowing that local state officials had begun working on his behalf since the beginning of January on this pesky little problem.
Either we can take Mr. Abu-Taleb at his word, whatever that is, or we cannot.
Apart from divesting himself, he does have other options available that would allow him to retain his business and not violate any local ordinances. He could move his business to Forest Park, which he held up as a model to be emulated by Oak Park, or he could simply relinquish the current liquor license and function as a BYOB establishment for the tenure of his office. That is the one and only way “that Oak Park’s rightly strict liquor ordinance and our adherence to strong ethics policies” can “be respected and advanced.”