On Thursday night, we’ll see if Oak Parkers charged up on Facebook about rising property taxes can make the transition to real life and face-to-face conversation.
Since October, more than 600 locals have joined the Oak Park Property Tax Watch group on Facebook. Rising tax bills clearly have riled most in the group and one common response on the page can be a sort of anti-government, all spending is misguided rhetoric that has become common in our national debate. That said, the conversation has been mostly civil and there is a mixed record of allowing dissenting voices to comment without being torched. Admins are working to quiet the most noxious voices.
The challenge, in our mind, is for all of us to have this worthy discussion without going to pro- and anti-government corners. We think Oak Park, and a lot of other towns, needs a course correction on taxing, spending and growth rather than any simplistic conclusion that shady, unfeeling leaders have taken the village down the road to perdition.
Facebook groups tend to be loosely aligned and for at least one member of the group, James Peters, there are questions if debating topics on Facebook can ever lead to specific action to create change in taxing policy.
So Peters has led this week’s effort to find out if like-minded people gather in a room at the main library can they move from venting frustration to crafting a plan that leads to clear efforts to, at least, hold the line on property tax increases.
This is a legitimate debate and Thursday’s gathering is a worthy next step.