On Tuesday evening for over two hours, trustees of the village discussed, debated and then voted on a resolution, presented by Trustee Arti Walker-Peddakotla, to defund the Oak Park Police Department. The conversation was very civil and each trustee had the opportunity to give her/his opinion on the matter without interruption. There was no name-calling, no belittling of other trustees, nothing but civility.
In the end, the resolution was defeated, not because trustees were against defunding, but because there were no specifics offered to define how to carry out the resolution. In fact, during his remarks just before calling the vote, Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb quietly but passionately stated that Oak Park stands for good, civil government and that he supports bringing an appropriate specific response to the resolution to the board for its consideration.
However, before any further business could be transacted at the meeting, and after hearing that Police Chief La Don Reynolds could not be reached in his office, Mayor Anan was noticeably distracted by protestors outside of his home. He asked for a recess. But due to what was transpiring outside his home, the board decided to adjourn the meeting.
On Wednesday morning, I saw pictures of damage to Mayor Anan’s home by the protestors. There was no firebombing or forced entry, but his backyard garden and front sidewalk had been either dug up, trashed or written upon. In one picture, the words “Arti speaks for us” was written on the Mayor’s front curb.
Oak Park is not immune to certain of our residents being influenced by what is happening in other parts of our country. But this is our home, our village, our work, play and learning place. There is absolutely no place for this type of behavior.
There was no rancor at the board table on Tuesday evening. Why does there have to be rancor at the Mayor’s home? I urge people to come forward if they know who perpetrated this undeserved damage to our Mayor’s home.
And I am sorry to have to say that Trustee Arti Walker-Peddakotla has some explaining to do and some influence to exert on her followers to act civilly. Someone should pay for the damage to the Mayor’s home. I wonder who will step up to do so!