My vision for Oak Park is a thriving community that values education, public service, diversity, and a culture of progress. I’d like to see business districts throughout the village with unique and useful stores, balancing locally owned and corporate brands. Achieving this goal requires a comprehensive strategy to attract new businesses, and to retain existing businesses.
Each area of Oak Park should be treated equitably. Whether we live near a border street, south of the Ike, or in the heart of our downtown district, we are all Oak Parkers and every resident deserves equal representation. Culturally, we can continue to forge relationships with each other to build a community that welcomes all, embraces all, includes all, and advocates for all.
Our quality of life should be second-to-none. Forward-thinking leaders can build this community to suit the needs of our next generation. I would like to see sustainable growth near transit lines, and Oak Park being a leading community in bicycle-friendliness. Investments in development projects should be thoroughly vetted and clearly demonstrate medium and long-term return on investment, while at the same time protecting Oak Park’s charming ambiance and hearing the public’s voice.
As the election approaches, there are numerous reasons to vote for someone. I look for people who are committed, open-minded, intelligent, responsible, and who genuinely seek the input of all perspectives before making decisions. Having been a commissioner on the Board of Health, and a current board member of Rescue Foundation, Sugar Beet Schoolhouse, Suburban Unity Alliance, Felony Franks, and the North Avenue District, I sincerely hope I have demonstrated that I will bring a diverse skill set and expertise to the next village board.
We are facing a challenging tax burden that threatens our diversity. While there is no easy fix or ways to quickly reduce taxes, we can take steps in the right direction. As a 10-year corporate executive, my experience taught me that pragmatic budgetary solutions are the result of incremental increases in revenue met with calculated reductions in cost. Recent developments in downtown Oak Park will bring much-needed revenues into the village. Now we need to meet our fiduciary responsibility to ensure that new revenues are not completely allocated to new spending.
Another substantial step that needs to be taken is increased collaboration between taxing bodies. Until we have an intergovernmental mechanism that works, each taxing body will continue to chart their own course with little or no regard to the overall fiscal direction of this village as a whole.
Finally, our government should be transparent and accessible so that our residents can be more informed, involved, and engaged. Information on projects, budgets, developments, and policy should be readily available without having to navigate a labyrinth of bureaucracy.
I hope to earn your vote between now and April 4.