How can we vote to preserve and expand the work of the “Great Generation” of 1970s Oak Parkers? We need to make this community more economically affordable, and we need to preserve our reputation for diversity and social justice. This election we have a unique opportunity to do this as the two major factors — (the VMA in its later years, and Wednesday Journal endorsements) that have caused our village to “regress to the mean” of a local government that is dominated by business and developer interests at the expense of affordability, diversity, and social justice — are no longer. So finally, we the residents can choose our candidates without being disproportionately swayed by opaque bodies of elite power brokers.
My simple broad-brush proposal (that may be unfair and inaccurate for specific candidates) is to “follow the location of the yard signs.” Candidates whose yard signs disproportionately appear in front of large apartment buildings are more likely to represent landlords and developers. Candidates with more “residential yard signs” in front of houses or small duplexes, etc., are more likely to represent the interests of we the residents.
An unscientific survey of my area indicates disproportionate residential yard signs for: Cate Readling (for Village President); Anthony Clark, Juanta Griffin, and Chibuike Enyia (for Village Trustee); Christina Waters (for Village Clerk); and Tim Thomas, Eric Davis, Margaret Trybus, and Ade Onayemi (for Township Trustee).
Full disclosure: “The yard sign location” rule of thumb doesn’t generally work as well for local elected offices other than Village President and Trustee. Tim Thomas and the rest of the “Oak Park Community Service” Township Trustee slate come out ahead in my survey results because I know that Thomas and Davis are true OP progressives, and I put up a (rare) Township Trustee yard sign for Tim Thomas. Further full disclosure: Anthony Clark has been endorsed by the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (CDSA) and I’m co-chair of the West Cook branch of CDSA.
Ron Baiman, Oak Park