There are ample reasons to demonstrate why a referendum is ill-advised; what I wish to draw our attention to is the political problem and the authoritarian creep of the Village Board of Trustees.

Make no mistake, the taxing bodies efficiency task force was born on Feb. 20 in a resolution (18-816) that opens with the assertion that the “property tax burden […] may be an economic barrier in the local commercial and residential property markets.” Throughout this founding document there is no mention of citizens, our opinions on public services, or even purported redundancies or the frustrations of the people; this is a task force engendered by the concerns of an unelected and unaccountable cadre, producing a recommendation without publishing a report, appointed by the village president. This is the authoritarian creep of Abu-Taleb’s board. This is an affront to democracy, popular self-determination, and in its place, we are made spectators, reduced to an audience for technocratic elites in collusion with finance, rent extractors, gentrifiers.

Make no mistake, while a referendum question looks democratic and possibly popular, that is mere pretense; this referendum, which should never have made the ballot as presented, is not more democracy. Its aim is to provide a popular cover to consolidate more power in the executives who do the appointing, we will invariably hand more control to the village president and other elitist gentrifiers and rent extractors; make no mistake, the pretence of a referendum is to let our unaccountable representatives appoint yet another un-elected committee, diminishing constitutive power.

Make no mistake, many of these trustees and this village president detest democracy and the will of the people. This authoritarian power grab, a ham-fisted attempt at annexation of democratically-run, service-providing institutions, should be seen for what it is: this is not an attempt at collaboration; it’s certainly not an attempt at returning democracy to the people of Oak Park; this is an authoritarian swindle.  

Abu-Taleb’s term expires April 2021.

Adam Paradis

Oak Park

Join the discussion on social media!

2 replies on “Make no mistake, this is authoritarian creep”