Three columns in one:

Moroney and Proft: Dan Proft is a right-wing conspiracy hack. He hosts a low-rated Chicago radio talk show that speaks mainly to white supremacy. And, with his considerable skills in raising money, he backs actual, undeniable fake news to stir up fanatics in communities with fake newspapers and websites.

This is how Proft operates. It is well known. It is despicable. It is dangerous.

That Dan Moroney, an Oak Park village trustee, agreed last week to appear on Proft’s morning show, “The Answer” (WIND, 560 AM), showed terrible judgment and raises fair questions about his motivations.

A parade of angry Oak Parkers lit into Moroney on Monday night in a village board meeting which, for the only time I can recall, set aside everything except the consent agenda to permit very extended public comment. All of it was aimed at castigating Moroney for his conscious efforts to explode fellow Trustee Susan Buchanan’s angry, principled, but inappropriate outburst at a board meeting early this month into the national fever swamp represented by InfoWars and Proft’s radio muck.

The criticism of Moroney was more than warranted.

Tuesday morning, Moroney released a statement saying that he and Buchanan had a sit down Monday afternoon to “discuss what has transpired and recognizing what unites us, rather than what divides us.”

Sure there is a lot that unites us. The path forward, though, is in focusing on productive ways on what divides us. Because what divides us is foundational and it needs to get sincerely and imperfectly sorted out. It is about racism, it is about sexism, it is about systems of oppression, it is about an inability or unwillingness to listen. It is about control. 

It is always about control.

I said last week in this space that what our village government accomplished over 50 years ago on open housing, gay rights is all admirable. But it is history. The inevitable extension of that history is equity, and on that front village government has been too passive.

Two weeks ago there were impassioned calls for Susan Buchanan to resign. Monday night there were impassioned calls for Dan Moroney to resign. Then as now my view is that the best way forward is the hard way through it. 

Set aside time, create the “brave space” that Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb quoted from a poem Monday night, for honest talk among the people voters chose to lead Oak Park.

The board rules: A curious shift in position was quietly announced this week at Oak Park and River Forest High School. The school administration now acknowledges that ultimately its bold plan to remake the freshman curriculum in the name of equity will require school board votes at multiple key moments of the transition. 

Previously, Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt Adams said this shift in the curriculum was within her purview as superintendent to approve. Now Karin Sullivan, the communications person at OPRF, said that was a miscommunication on her part. 

I’m not convinced of that. 

With some opposition organizing against this plan, in part due to the lack of school board votes, taking this to a school board seemingly all in on equity seems like a more protected path for administrators. And at a school which still, oddly, requires school board members to review and approve textbook adoptions, a wholesale remaking of freshman curriculum seems like a board vote is necessary and beneficial.

Poof, a parking garage: Even as the glow remains from the opening last week of Rush Oak Park’s new $30 million ER, comes a village board vote to have the Plan Commission consider a newly unveiled proposal for a $27 million, six-story parking garage on the east side of the hospital campus.

Great news that the continuing successes of the hospital require more parking. Great news that downtown Rush sees the value in another giant financial investment in Oak Park. 

But having watched both West Sub and Oak Park hospitals struggle over decades with neighbors about expansion, this announcement feels a bit out of the blue.

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Dan Haley

Dan was one of the three founders of Wednesday Journal in 1980. He’s still here as its four flags – Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark – make...

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