Anthony Clark and Chibuike Enyia have had their characters smeared in an intensely public way. Mr. Enyia and Mr. Clark are both upstanding men, with strong records of public service to our nation and our village. What should have been an orderly bureaucratic process of crossing ‘t’s and dotting ‘i’s instead became intensely ugly and chaotic. 

Mr. Enyia was smeared as a felon and — when that was shown to be simply false — he was sent away with little more than a “good luck in your future endeavors.” For Mr. Clark, a question about his home address turned into a free-for-all. Mayor Abu-Taleb and Trustee Taglia impugned Mr. Clark’s character and — outrageously — impugned the character of Mr. Clark’s parents as well.

The ballot challenge process put Mr. Clark and Mr. Enyia and their families through the wringer — and for what? For trying to serve the public? Mr. Clark and Mr. Enyia have shown true class throughout this process. It’s time for Oak Park to take a page out of their book. It’s time to have enough class to admit that Oak Park failed these two honorable men. 

As a place to start repairing that, we should reform our ballot challenge process so this never happens again.

John Edgerton is lead pastor of First United Church of Oak Park.

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