Oak Park candidates stand by decision to ignore event

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The candidates for village trustee — Ray Johnson, Adam Salzman and Bob Tucker — currently are engaged in many citizen conversations throughout Oak Park. We therefore are disappointed with the Wednesday Journal's criticism of our campaign's decision to participate in neutral forums, but not in a forum at which avowed political opponents, calling themselves the Citizens for Community Conversations, will be selecting and asking the questions [Hey VMA, just show up, Our Views, Feb. 9].

Voters will have many opportunities to meet and speak with Johnson, Salzman and Tucker, who are running as the Village Manager Association-endorsed Citizens for Accountable Leadership. They will be participating in several public forums sponsored and hosted by community groups. These include the Democratic Party of Oak Park's meet and greet (Maze Library, March 12, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.), the League of Women Voters' candidate fair (OPRF High School, March 19, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.), the Buzz Café's candidate forum (March 17, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.), and the Ascension candidate forum (Ascension Church, March 24, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.). And they are willing to consider participating in any other neutral forum.

Ray, Adam and Bob will also answer citizens' questions at a dozen or so coffees, and, most importantly, they've already been knocking on doors of Oak Park homes for several weeks. They will do so every week right through Election Day on April 5. Moreover, voters can also e-mail questions to info@VoteCAL.com.

Clearly these are not candidates who are "worried" about conversing with voters and answering their questions. Our candidates do want to spend their time having direct conversations with any and all voters and listening to their concerns. Voters don't need the leaders of the Citizens for Community Conversation to serve as an intermediary between our candidates and the voters.

We are also disappointed that your editorial neglected to mention that Village Citizens Alliance president, Gary Schwab, told your newspaper in November 2010 that, due to his group's inability to find their own candidates, they were announcing the creation of the Citizens for Community Conversation and offered the Village Citizens Alliance's assistance to any independent wanting to oppose our candidates [No Slate for VCA in April, News, Nov. 12].

As we mentioned in our letter to the Citizens for Community Conversation, Ray Johnson, Adam Salzman and Bob Tucker would be very pleased to participate in a forum moderated by our local press.

Jim Kelly and Lynn Kamenitsa
Campaign managers, Citizens for Responsible Leadership

Reader Comments

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john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: March 5th, 2011 5:59 PM

As you suggested OP, OP Resident, OP Resident Imposter, etc. I went to the candidates website and found only election forums that the VMA rock band has agreed to participate in. I am interested in all the candidates' forum not just those designated as approved events.


Posted: February 28th, 2011 6:08 PM

John, Have you read their OWN comments???? They all have provided emails to get in touch and COMMUNICATE with them!!! Go to the Campaign website and you too can see the events that they will be at!!! Hello, is this mic on? http://votecal.com/

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: February 28th, 2011 4:02 PM

A little digging in village files lead me to believe that the paranoia of the candidates who decline public debates and reject public discussion on blogs goes even further. Messrs. Saltzman and Tucker are both Chairpersons of Oak Park Commission. Their commissions completed, approved, and published minutes of their meetings less than 1/3rd of the time during 2010. Minutes for every meeting is mandatory. Their willingness to communicate with the public does not appear to be their strong point.


Posted: February 26th, 2011 9:54 AM

@Op'er you cite no evidence I lie nor can you. And I admit I never got a third grade degree, sadly it would have looked nice sitting next to my MBA on my wall but you got me. I guess only the really tanlented and educated people like yourself were given a third grade degree. Be proud.


Posted: February 26th, 2011 9:32 AM

More OP successes: Marion St Cheese (and building), Marion St, Walgreens on Madison and OP ave and Roosevelt and Ridgeleand, Wendys, McDonalds, Park National Bank( both locales), Old KFC on Harlem now Bank, CVS's, Condos across from Fitzgeralds, Salernos, Als Grill,condos across from Turano, Condos and commercial at South Blvd and Ridgeland, Condo on South Blvd used to be Blue cab. More to follow.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: February 26th, 2011 12:56 AM

Johnson&Saltzman suggest that we should only contact them via e-mail rather than blogs to get their positions on issues. That is, we should use their e-mail executive session for viewpoints. The paranoid candidates then would not have to deal with writers not using proper names. That's silly. Anyone can write them, get a reply, and post it anywhere they want using any pseudonym they want. What's next?, Sending cardboard posters to forums rather than having to face the riff-raff.


Posted: February 25th, 2011 4:26 PM

State of Illinois will be Forced to follow Wisconsin - and do the right thing. Public sector Unions have Busted the State of Illinois - plain and simple. And this has all taken place before are very eyes - elected officials doling out favors, benefits the State does not have and forced on OP. Borrow (Bonds) to payoff. Why - it is time for public sector employees to pay their fair share. Common sense there are NO Free Rides - and Quinn and


Posted: February 25th, 2011 2:14 PM

Great to hear from Mr. Salzman. Thanks so much for joining Ray and going on the record. This is an issue that needs more people to voice their support for public sector employees. Oak Park has some of the best and most dedicated people serving our community. I agree it does get confusing with all other names people us when posting but it certainly does make for interesting reading. Thanks, again.

Adam Salzman from Oak Park, IL   

Posted: February 25th, 2011 1:52 PM

@JC- I prefer to take questions via email and the web because with all the various handles and pseudonyms, I frankly have a difficult time keeping track of who is asking what. I can be reached at adam@adamsalzman.com, and always return emails promptly. You can also get me via the campaign email-info@VoteCal.com, as Lynn noted below. I do not support repealing the collective bargaining rights of public sector employees, and I think Governor Walker has taken the wrong approach in Wisconsin.


Posted: February 25th, 2011 1:34 PM

Ray Johnson comes thru again! That's why he gets my vote. Now, can we please get all of the others candidates to go on the record? This is going to be an important election for Oak Park. I'm not sure what to make of the response from Lynn Kamenitsa. It seems that posting candidates positions online or via this forum would be a very effective way to communicate/engage with voters. I'd really like to hear from the rest of the rest of the CAL slate. It worked for Ray Johnson!

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: February 25th, 2011 1:14 PM

@JC - I've expressed in these pages prior the best way to reach me is through the VOP phone/email system. My Trustee # is 708.358.5788 or email at rjohnson@oak-park.us In addition to the CAL email address listed below. In regards to the question: I am NOT in favor of repealing collective bargaining rights from public employees. We need to work in partnership with our employees. My father, a 40 year member of the Operating Engineers Local in Michigan, instilled these values in me.

Lynn Kamenitsa from Oak Park  

Posted: February 25th, 2011 1:07 PM

@JC Posting comments online is not the best way to reach all of the CAL candidates for Village Trustee. If you have any question to which you'd like them to respond, please send it to the CAL campaign email address: Info@VoteCAl.com and they will respond directly. Thanks.


Posted: February 25th, 2011 1:00 PM

James, you're more transparent than you seem to be aware. Seriously, come back when you get your third grade degree.


Posted: February 25th, 2011 12:27 PM

I promised Ray Johnson my vote in the April election and plan to honor that pledge. But must add that I'm disappointed he has yet to answer a direct question posed more than a week ago to all of the Village Board candidates. Ray has always been willing to go on the record but has been strangely silent over whether he supports measures to strip public sector employees of the right to collective bargaining. "What's up,Ray?" I'm not singleling you out but have come to expect at least some response.

j.oakpark from oak park  

Posted: February 25th, 2011 9:19 AM

@OP I don't think your "success" stories can all be attributed to the VMA. However Trader Joe's and the parking lot in what used to be the colt building can be and are kind of like giving high praise to the undertaker's wife for making the corpse "look better than ever". Trader Joe's is part of Whiteco with millions of dollars given away over years of acrimony. The parking lot is a result of failed "planned development". Accidental success is just dumb luck...

off the top of my head  

Posted: February 25th, 2011 9:13 AM

Perhaps I have the advantage of knowing that there have been viable proposals that have been shot down by the Village. The old Volvo building is not being used in any meaningful way and has sat out a few very successful business cycles. South/Harlem was condemned years ago and has been watching the world go by. Foley Rice proposals are shot down time and again by the insistence that the building facade does not get touched. The "economy" didn't cause Village land banking.


Posted: February 25th, 2011 8:40 AM

@Oper, nothing I've written is a lie, sorry I've taken down your idol.


Posted: February 25th, 2011 8:22 AM

Shall we look at some successes? Euclid and North Blvd. Euclid and Lake( Every corner) The HS playing fields South of Lake at East. Trader Joe's. Fitness Formula. Colt site is MUCH needed parking. The old Villager. Things could be a lot worse my friends.


Posted: February 25th, 2011 8:12 AM

More Village avarice? Volvo lot was a good choice since we are getting TAX dollars and it made for good new development and the old building is being used. Foley Rice- Couldnt afford the TAXES and shut its own doors. Lot at South Blvd and Harlem is a victim of the economy and had full approval- but being used for needed parking. Can you say Old Currie Motors in FP? Linens and Things RF? Armands in Elmwood Park?

off the top of my head  

Posted: February 25th, 2011 5:59 AM

More Village avarice - Foley Rice; former Volvo; lot at South Blvd and Harlem. Oak Park has more "Block 37" type developments than Chicago ever had. If only these properties were adjacent to brick streets and heated bluestone walks....

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 25th, 2011 1:42 AM

The checkered history of Oak Park's development attempts doesn't fit well into 500-character bites. As the Wednesday Journal doesn't want to talk about "old news" (except for occasional ridicule of NLP trustees) and campaigns don't provide opportunity for much discussion, the truth and I are reduced to forums such as these.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 25th, 2011 1:37 AM

OP: The "Colt" and surrounding buildings were demolished after the Avalon Bay deal was dead. The block at Madison and Oak Park never had a deal. As for Los Cazadores, I'm quite sure from private communications made to REDCOOP at the time that Carl Swenson and Mike Chen did improperly threaten these owners, and Tasty Dog's owners, with eminent domain. Now the Board is suggesting pre-emptive demolition of the Lake-Forest garage even though almost no one seems to think that project will happen.


Posted: February 25th, 2011 1:17 AM

Oh, good god, James, you're such a lying little child. Please, come back to this forum once you graduate third grade.


Posted: February 25th, 2011 12:06 AM

Thanks Gary. You're public participation is very much out there and now, confirmation from your own mouth that you are a complainer. It's like a cherry on top.


Posted: February 24th, 2011 11:28 PM

Gary, Every project whether it was Village owned real estate or not DID HAVE someone in line to take up the space vacated by the small businesses. If you are referring to the Mexican restaurant on Lake street, that's simple. They were late on their rent and owed the village money and the Village had a buyer lined up. The Village stopped the bleeding of a tenant who didn't live up to their end of the deal. The other projects were stalled based solely on the economy.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 24th, 2011 3:24 PM

OP: Only in Oak Park do stalled projects so often translate to village-owned vacant properties off the tax rolls waiting for a developer to whom they might be given. Other places seem to leave the buildings (and the small businesses) in place until they actually have something better in hand. Other places with similar demographics also seem to have a more rational definition of "better." A new college? A third hospital? A bowling center? A large comedy/music venue? Target? Please...


Posted: February 24th, 2011 1:02 PM

Gary, You sure do "think for yourself". Are you assuming I do not? Maybe I agree with how things are and have become. To you that means I cant think on my own? Hmmm. I give credit where credit is due. Clearly our Village would have gone no where had you won. And yes there are plenty of stalled projects in and around neighboring towns like Forest Park, Chicago, River Forest, Berwyn, Elmwood Park, Maywood, Etc.... and even the Evanston's and the Hinsdale's of the world too.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 24th, 2011 11:00 AM

OP: Oak Park is a wonderful place to live because of the cumulative work of many thousands of people since 1835. We can still have this argument because some very creative, dedicated people saved Oak Park from resegregation and disinvestment around 40 years ago. To suggest that everything good in Oak Park results from recent government actions is silly. I'm glad you like everything the VMA does; not having to think for yourself must allow you the free time to attack, as recreation, those who do.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 24th, 2011 10:49 AM

Taxman himself said, repeatedly, that he'd have done something much better at Lake and Harlem if he'd known how well Oak Park would do in subsequent years. I've presumed he meant he would have built something with condos upstairs. He also complained that Oak Park made him change his architecture. I guess he really liked Dryvit. The Landmarks Preservation Council also criticized Taxman's original plan, so I wasn't the only complainer.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 24th, 2011 10:44 AM

James: As you hide your identity, I can't return the favor. My public participation is on the record. We don't know who you are. Similarly, all the real negotiations between the Village and developers happened out of sight. I didn't oppose Taxman's initial development, except for criticizing the original plan for "strip mall" parking on Lake St. The Village got this changed, and I think it was an improvement.


Posted: February 23rd, 2011 11:03 PM

@Gary, I wasn't making fun of your looks I was giving you a valid reference point so you could be sure I was in attendance. But keep playing the victim. I remember the beginning of it all, you and your merry band didn't like Sy Taxman. You hated the Gap development (which was put up by VMA boards you supported wasn't it?) and didn't want him to have any further development. It was as simple and petty as that. But keep playing the victim Gary.


Posted: February 23rd, 2011 9:37 PM

Who said anything about free speech? I didn't say you can't disagree. I just think yr after yr, election after election, it just gets OLD!!! Wouldn't you agree if your so intelligent? Just not sure why you enjoy living in a place in which you dislike so much.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 23rd, 2011 4:47 PM

OP: So, anyone who disagrees with government and dares to say so should move? Funny, I thought we had free speech. I guess we can't afford that anymore; it could hurt business. You know, my electoral record is mixed. I did help elect President Pope (as Trustee)and Trustee Johnson. Perhaps I need to hang around to make amends for that profound error. I'm at least capable of learning from my mistakes.


Posted: February 23rd, 2011 4:17 PM

"Arguments out of a petty mouth are unanswerable." -Joseph Addison


Posted: February 23rd, 2011 3:08 PM

Gary, If you've had no success, then its time to move on. The way it works in a democracy is the people vote(however low a percentage that might be) and those elected make decisions. You ran and lost. If you are in constant disagreement with how OP has become or how it is becoming LEAVE. There are plenty of towns that would welcome you with open arms.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 23rd, 2011 11:28 AM

OP: I came to Oak Park and have stayed here at great expense because I love the community's historic character and unique commitment to real diversity. Recent boards have been far too willing to sacrifice community character for imaginary short-term gains and to make Oak Park's version of diversity hollow by excluding anyone without a lot of money. I and my colleagues have proposed - on the record - innovative alternatives for years and have been shut out.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 23rd, 2011 11:19 AM

James: I realize there's little point in trying to debate facts with someone who just wants to make fun of my looks. I guess you don't (or don't want to)remember the beginnings of the Taxman deal. If no one had ever complained, we might have a big, ugly, mostly empty building after having given Mr. Taxman tens of millions. If there was any real demand for a commercial hotel, SOMEONE in the past 30 years would have proposed building one on his dime.


Posted: February 23rd, 2011 8:51 AM

I think the suggestion to move on is to those who are yr after yr, election after election, bickering, whining, and such and dont want to bring any constructive change to the process. Patricia, I wouldnt classify you as one of those. There are some people in this Village that DO qualify and I wont name names.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: February 22nd, 2011 10:39 PM

I can't get on board with the "if you don't like it, move" argument. a) if everyone ran away when they didn't like something vs. working for change we would have no progress anywhere ever and b) on a lighter note...my house has lost so much value I probably can't sell and with the way Madison Street is developing (or not) I am going to be even more stuck.


Posted: February 22nd, 2011 8:13 PM

I also saw you Gary stand up in front of a crowd at the library during a debate with David Pope and say David supports a hotel "which nobody wants". Nobody really? That's a huge lie, there was and is plenty of people who support a hotel. Your spats over the past year in this paper I saw you be schooled time and time again. I just want to hear what you actually like about this Village since all I see is whining. Why would you choose to stay in a place that makes you so miserable?


Posted: February 22nd, 2011 8:09 PM

@John, there's a flurry of anon postings yet of them all mine get's your wrath. Probably because you don't agree with it; duh, hypocrite much? @Gary, the proof is in the newspaper over the years. I too was at those forums and saw you every week come to provide your opinions dressed in the same tattered blue shorts and white sox pulled up to your knees. You're intervention caused that parking lot, own it


Posted: February 22nd, 2011 7:17 PM

There seems to be a huge difference between whiners and civil discourse. Most of what I witness here in the comments sections are pure whiners. Continue.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2011 6:56 PM

Somewhere I do have a videotape of a board meeting in which President Trapani, very late at night, spoke longingly of old Oak Park days when people who didn't like what was going on just left town. Funny, I don't think she was actually here in the years for which she was nostalgic.

name from oak park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2011 6:04 PM

No need to get snarky, commenters.


Posted: February 22nd, 2011 5:32 PM

Come on now, OP. We went over this already. You need to ease off and let the civil discourse continue. Demanding that everyone must accept the status quo without a hint of dissent does not contribute to the discussion. And telling people to move along seems rude and childish. I'm sure the VMA is not going to be asking folks to leave town if they didn't vote for the CRL slate. How about you just let the adults mull these things over and find yourself some busy work? Stop being so silly.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2011 5:29 PM

OP: Once again, I defy anyone to show me, or anyone, another inner-ring Chicago suburb with similarly desirable housing and so many vacant lots in prime commercial spots. Recent Oak Park governments have been unique in performing/encouraging demolition to try to force redevelopment markets don't support. In a place many potential visitors think of as "historic Oak Park," this is a particular and costly act of hubris.


Posted: February 22nd, 2011 4:21 PM

Gary and John, The same is true for ALL those who are against the VMA for no reason other than that they are the choice of the people for so long. Thank the VMA and be happy to live here or just move. Note to Gary: Go to any town, village or city in this fine country and you will find undeveloped projects. Gee, I suppose the VMA has their hand on those as well.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2011 3:22 PM

For many years, the VMA stayed in power by adopting good ideas that arose within Oak Park's active politics. For some perverse reason, the VMA chose to decide a few years ago that citizen calls for limits on subsidized redevelopment were morally wrong and needed to be fought at any cost. The VMA purged everyone they saw as enemies, rallied special-interest support, and got complete freedom to play developer. The vacant lots in business districts are THEIR monument.

just wondering  

Posted: February 22nd, 2011 3:21 PM

James is simply repeating the time-honored VMA mantra; "If I don't care about it, then no one cares about it." If repeated enough times, then it must be true. BTW: Congrats to Bob Tucker for breaking Colette Lueck's record of having the longest tenure as chair of a citizen's commission past the two term limit. Like Lueck, Tucker's reward for years of work steering pro-development plans is being selected as VMA candidate for village board.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2011 3:14 PM

OP: So, everything fine and good in Oak Park is the result of 58 years of VMA rule? As someone who began working within the VMA around 1991,I state categorically that today's VMA isn't much like the one then or earlier. If I like the United States, does it mean I have to like/support everything government does? If I admire Abe Lincoln, do I have to like George Bush? Almost all advances in equality and social justice have come from people you'd like to call whiners.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2011 3:07 PM

James: You keep saying I'm lying, but you offer NO evidence. I personally observed/participated in all the DTOP development activities during the period in which Oak Park politics became a contest between preservers and destroyers. I can back up everything I say; you don't try. I'll debate anyone saying that a few NLP trustees ruined Downtown, in any fair public forum.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2011 2:11 PM

Duh! James as a signature is as anonymous as "blank." Use a last name. It is the right thing to do. As far as the VMA being the source of all joy in Oak Park -- Really? Have we already forgotten the first decade of the 21st Century? The decade was a disaster for OP. I am surprised that the VMA is so satisfied with the last ten years of turmoil. Unfortunately, I did not move to OP until 2001. That was too late to enjoy the glory days.


Posted: February 22nd, 2011 12:40 PM

@OP Your one comment was more than enough to get the idea that you don't want any public discourse unless it's pleasant in nature. Have you got Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" playing on a loop. Come on, debate is healthy! Oak Park experienced some wild times when the handgun ban was first proposed. We survived. People who don't agree with you are not whiners. They are neighborbors and taxpayers and deserve to be heard. Listen up and learn.


Posted: February 22nd, 2011 11:55 AM

To ALL the whiners regarding the VMA, I offer one comment. Either you enjoy OP and have for sometime or you dont. If you enjoy OP then you can THANK the VMA for that You CAN"T have it both ways though! Either you recognize that the VMA has been in power and are responsible for the good or you choose to live in a place where you're not so happy and you just like to WHINE.


Posted: February 22nd, 2011 10:23 AM

Set the wayback machine, James. If you are really interested in ancient history, take a look at the VMA plan that tore up Lake Street and built an outdoor mall. How did that work out? Talk to longtime Oak Park residents. They'll recall a thriving business district was destroyed and replaced with nothing. It's taken decades and millions of dollars to restore order and get retail businesses to return. Don't limit your focus on just the Colt fiasco. There have been plenty of expensive mistakes.


Posted: February 22nd, 2011 9:45 AM

@Will, I guess because I would require proof other than from an anonymous poster on the internet before jumping off the handle. Isn't that reasonable? @Gary, you still fail to take any ownership in that Colt building debacle, and that's ok. We, outside your circle of 5 friends, know the truth.

OP Resident  

Posted: February 22nd, 2011 8:14 AM

Thanks Gary Schwab for addressing a question regarding posts from David Pope. It did seem unlikely that the Wednesday Journal would permit someone to confuse readers into thinking that they are reading comments from our Village President. I'm sure David Pope's office and his political operatives would have quickly stepped in and set the record straight. So, it does appear that we've heard from David Pope & he favors measures to strip collective bargaining rights as does the VMA slate. A sad day.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2011 8:57 PM

I know nothing as to whether the David Pope here is the real one; I've sort of assumed he is. The Wednesday Journal sees the real email addresses of anyone posting. I'd hope they'd check on someone claiming to be Village President and speaking for the VMA.

OP Resident  

Posted: February 21st, 2011 6:48 PM

OPer may be on to something. The nasty attack launched by "David Pope from Oak Park" seems strange to be coming from Oak Park's top elected official. The rant included charges of slander and libel. David Pope is too smart a guy to express such wacky views. I am concerned that his name may have been hijacked by someone intending to discredit him. I'm certain Gary Schwab can shed light on this mystery. Let's hear from him & see if he'll confirm that it has been Village President David Pope posting


Posted: February 21st, 2011 5:07 PM

It's easy enough for David Pope to sign-on with his FB account, which would give a better (though not absolute) assurance of his identity. In any case, if that is the real David Pope mouthing off like a violent idiot, it's not only understandable why we mere village prols are leery to reveal our true identities, but indicates that Pope has no business being in any position of leadership. Here's hoping that a verifiable Pope enters the debate soon and lets us know how he really feels

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2011 3:57 PM

A VMA board made the stupid, unconscionable decision to lock the Village into either supporting Taxman's plans or paying him too much for his properties. Throwing good money after bad wouldn't have made things better. Neither will spending any possible TIF balances on streetscape and pretending this will benefit taxpayers as much as the promised high-rises supposedly would.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2011 3:51 PM

James: You keep pretending that Taxman & friends didn't want a subsidy. We don't know how much he wanted, but we do know that the Village accepted the Avalon Bay deal including over $30 million in subsidies for something similar and $30 million ultimately wasn't enough. If we'd known how commercial real estate and condos would collapse, a less thorough rehab of the existing buildings on the "Colt" site would have been the clear and obvious choice.


Posted: February 21st, 2011 1:57 PM

Commenter might be right about the forum not being useful for dialogue between Oak Park residents & our elected officials. But believe me, Ray Johnson is the exception. He regularly posts comments and engages with the community in a thoughful discussion of the issues. That's why I'm surprised he's yet to express his views on the Wisconsin plan. I don't know the other candidates seeking a seat with the Village Board but Ray Johnson is not the type to duck a question. I trust we'll hear from him.

Commenter from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2011 12:45 PM

We are invited to COMMENT on this site, not dialogue, so questions and answers are apparently irrelevant.


Posted: February 21st, 2011 11:42 AM

Where is Ray Johnson? To my knowledge, he's never refused to answer a resident's question or go on the record. Eay's been that rarest of elected officials. He'll tell you exactly what he's thinking and explain his position. I hope when he returns from his hiatus, he will reveal to the public where he stands regarding the Wisconsin plan to strip collective bargaining rights from public sector employees. So far, none of the people running for Village Board has uttered a single word on the subject.


Posted: February 21st, 2011 10:12 AM

@James I care about a conflict of interest, so do many others; please don't speak for us. Why don't you care?


Posted: February 21st, 2011 9:55 AM

It was 6 years ago, no one cares that's why no one else is commenting on it but you. Kinda like all the editorials you write on the TIF and other topics, we don't care. I know that gall's you. Also, are you just ignoring the statement of fact that the knuckleheads you supported are the cause of that parking lot or are you arbitrarily giving them a pass?

none from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2011 9:33 AM

@James ... please know the difference between 'insinuation' and 'statement of fact'. All info re. Mr. Tucker's conflict of interest is factual, sourced from public records, village vendor records, and Chapman & Cutler's web site. Are you advocating for the repeal of Section 8-9: Conflict of Interest (Procedure Manual for Boards, Commissions, and Committees) and Article 25: Conflicts of Interest and Standards of Conduct (Village Code), or arbitrarily waiving stated requirements for Bob Tucker?


Posted: February 20th, 2011 4:38 PM

@ Just wondering, of course it's sitting as a parking lot because the knuckleheads you support made the village buy it vs. it being turned into something viable and having the village gain $11m vs. pay. That's not the VMA's fault it's yours, take responsibility and I hope you enjoy your historically significant parking lot. And, btw, the lack of interest or follow up to your now thrice posted insinuation proves no one cares.

Lifelong Student from Oak Park  

Posted: February 20th, 2011 3:46 PM

Think tank predicted outcomes include world 1) corporatization; 2) institutionalization; or 3) road warriorishness. Stay tuned.

OP Resident  

Posted: February 20th, 2011 2:47 PM

@OPRF- Please read Matt Taibbi's report,"How Wall Street's Crooks Evaded Jail", in the current issue of Rolling Stone. Know the enemy! I agree with you that if the Wisconsin governor's plan is passed other states will follow. Public sector workers should not be blamed for the current financial crisis. You either stand with teachers, nurses, firefighters & police officers or the corporate criminals responsible for this mess. All of the candidates for Village Board should go on the record.


Posted: February 20th, 2011 2:09 PM

State of Illinois will be Forced to follow Wisconsin - and do the right thing. Public sector Unions have Busted the State of Illinois - plain and simple. And this has all taken place before are very eyes - elected officials doling out favors, benefits the State does not have and forced on OP. Borrow (Bonds) to payoff. Why - it is time for public sector employees to pay their fair share. Common sense there are NO Free Rides - and Quinn and Harmon know it. Lets focus on the STATE!!


Posted: February 20th, 2011 1:34 PM

Senator Durbin speaking this morning on "Meet The Press" stated that he and President Obama fully support public sector workers right to organize and collective bargain. Opposing viewpoints have been offered by Karl Rove, Glenn Beck, John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh and Joe the Plumber. Oak Park voters deserve to know where our elected officials stand on this subject.


Posted: February 20th, 2011 1:04 PM

Will Johnson, Tucker and Salzman go on the record and state if they are in favor of efforts to strip collective bargaining rights from public sector unions? To date, none of the candidates for Village Board have taken a position. David Pope indicated a willingness to answer the question but has yet to actually issue his response. I don't think it is fair for candidates to remain neutral or silent on a subject that impacts many hardworking & dedicated public servants. Thank you.

OP Resident  

Posted: February 19th, 2011 3:18 PM

Thanks Patricia. I too wonder if Village President Pope was actually posting but felt the Wednesday Journal wouldn't allow someone to misrepresent themselves as an public official. His back and forth with Gary Schwab seems legit. Pope is not going to respond to my question but may be willing to answer to someone else who doesn't use a dub. I'm a bit leary to use my proper name due to having a family member owning some local prominence. I don't want that person to have to answer for my posts.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: February 19th, 2011 2:54 PM

My wow was my reaction at Mr. Pope's comments. If it truly was Mr. Pope. I could post as Barack Obama and there is no check here to it truly was our President. I expect leaders to me more restrained in how they speak to any constituent, supporter or no.

OP Resident  

Posted: February 19th, 2011 2:00 PM

What's with the "WOW"? Are some people applauding David Pope's smackdown or thinking he should just answer the question? I've spoken to Mr. Pope on a couple of occasions & watched him conduct Village business via TV6. He certainly never came across to me as a person so quick to anger. It seems just my asking him for his position was the final straw. You'll note I apologized for calling him out for not answering the question but still think it's important to get him to go on the record.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: February 19th, 2011 12:58 PM

@Patricia O'Shea...well said.

just wondering  

Posted: February 19th, 2011 11:15 AM

@James ... I was raising the issue of objectivity and bias, not unsubstantiated claims such as your "no one really cares" opinion. Please differentiate between you personally not caring, and speaking for everyone else. Your other claims are biased as well, as it was a VMA board who agreed to the 2001 Put-Call Agreement, which eventually led to the village purchase ($7.5M) and demolition ($1.4M) of downtown historic bldgs., replaced by the current parking lot that provides no property or sales tax.


Posted: February 19th, 2011 10:48 AM

Ya, you tried that a few posts back no one really cares. He led a reversal because the decision by the then led NLP/VillageCollection of A@#^%les was bizarre and cost the village a ton of dough which they still deftly walk around. Should have taken the cash, let something suitable be built but no.....

just wondering  

Posted: February 19th, 2011 9:24 AM

I find VMA's sensitivity to bias to be inconsistent with their given past. In 2005, Bob Tucker chaired the DTOP Sub Area Plan Steering Committee while he was a municipal finance attorney for Chapman & Cutler, a firm providing real estate finance counsel to the Village in 2004-05, a clear (and undisclosed) bias and conflict of interest .On the other hand, in April 2006, David Pope led a board reversal of a contract to Heitzman Architects based only on the "perception of conflict of interest".

Carol Zavala from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 9:50 PM

For those of you who have been around for a while you may remember me...I ran the Independent Camapign Committee for many elections.Many of the "Independents" who worked in our campaings were also supporters of the VMA. I've retired from active politics but I've kept up with the campaigns and election of Village trustrees and the VMA is just a shadow of what it used to be. Sadly, the people that were lucky enough to win from other "parties" had no staying power. We deserve a few new candidate

OP Resident  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 9:47 PM

Are you talking to me or every person who has posted on this forum and used "a coward's mask"? I don't think I'm THE "OP Resident" you tagged 2 weeks ago re: name & rank info. It does get confusing at times. Take a look at the number of different dubs folks use to sign off. My question to you regarding the Wisconsin governor's actions was not intended to anger you. I'm sorry if I was quick to judge but it seemed you chose to ignore this question while continuing to respond to Gary Schwab.

Untiltheyputthecoinsonmyeyes... from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 9:40 PM

Just thinking...Isn't this here "Comment" forum modulated by our local press? Since it's rather cumbersome for the candidates and everyone else to get around town (and park) for these meetings, Why couldn't oakpark.com be an acceptable Q&A opening? If possible, make it easier for "people" to question/answer reasonably. Or is that unreasonable...?

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 9:08 PM


David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 8:47 PM

OP Resident - Happy to answer your question after you answer mine from 2 weeks ago. Simply put, "Who are you?" If you can't crawl out from behind your coward's mask of anonymity, but instead use it to malign, slander, and libel others, then you deserve no regard from me or anyone else. If, on the other hand, you're willing to stand up and take responsibility for your words (thereby also exposing your blatantly political motivations) then I'd be thrilled to debate your ill-informed rantings.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 8:45 PM

Gary - I'm getting the point perfectly well. You're accusing the VMA candidates of ducking discussions they can't control, when in fact they're already committed to attend every other forum announced to date and have committed to go to any other that may be planned (you may want to re-read the letter above). Your comments, on the contrary, demonstrate that you're group isn't neutral, by any stretch of the imagination, so they've decided not to waste their time. Pretty simple.

Resident Taxpayer from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 7:28 PM

Tourism is an undervalued asset in Oak Park. Do you any of you guys intend to tap this resource rather than picking at our old scabs?

OP Voter and Taxpayer from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 7:18 PM

I, for one, will vote for any person or group that is against the money-grubbing District 97 referendum AND against the housing project they're planning in the old Comcast Building on Madison that will further reduce my already sagging property values. Where's the common sense in Oak Park?

OP Resident  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 6:16 PM

@Pat Coe- Okay! We'll put you in the "Yes" column. Now, if you don't mind; I'd like to hear what the candidates have to say. By the way, do you have any facts to back up your claim that union membership among Oak Park residents is miniscule? I know that Local 48 of the IAM once sent a direct mailing to more than 8,000 residents identified as union members. David Pope decided to dodge what is an important question. I'm hoping that the VMA slate will let us know where they stand. Let's see.


Posted: February 18th, 2011 6:13 PM

For the clueless, allow me to rephrase "OP Resident's" question for David Pope: "Do you support efforts to strip collective bargaining rights from public sector unions?"

Pat Coe from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 5:49 PM

OP Resident...the current situation in Wisconsin has nothing to do with the OP Village Board, nor the State of Illinois for that matter (unless you include the Wis Senators speeding across our state line). Keep focused on important local issues, and stop trying to waste time and energy on irrelevant symbolic gestures. This town spends too much time on things that don't matter. Plus, union membership among OP residents is miniscule, even for as many public employees as live here.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 5:31 PM

David: You don't seem to be getting the point. We're offering ALL candidates an opportunity to meet voters and address questions posed by the community. I, and the VCA, aren't running any candidates. We'd just like to give voters a chance to see all the candidates in action. My suspicion is that you and your colleagues dislike ANY discussion you can't control on Village issues. This is at least the way you run your meetings.

OP Resident  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 5:12 PM

@David Pope- Would you please answer the question I asked you? "Yes" or "No"? Oak Park is home to many union members and Village employees are represented by various bargaining units. I think we deserve know where you stand.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 4:46 PM

Gary -- Btw, as I wrote earlier, I'm happy to debate you -- or your candidate(s) -- in front of your group or anywhere else. Kind regards, David

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 4:44 PM

Gary - Well then of course they're not going to come. You're inviting them to a "meet and greet" with yourself and others who are already publicly opposed to them. Obviously, they've got the good sense to not waste their time. Also, if I understand correctly, you criticize other forums because they "offer almost no opportunity for any real debate with their opposition" and yet you're trying to create a venue that will offer "no opportunity for real debate." Curious. -- DP

OP Resident  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 2:28 PM

Here's a question for David Pope. "Do you support Wisconsin governor Walker's effort to strip collective bargaining rights from public sector unions?" I'd like to hear all of the candidates go on the record regarding this issue.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 1:47 PM

David: There's no panel. You should read what we've put out. We're asking candidates to answer standard questions in private interviews which will be posted on the Net for public information. The event on February 27 is a "meet and greet" for everyone.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 8:29 AM

Hi Gary. I accept. I will be pleased to be on your panel (assuming that you're willing to commit that I'll have equal time to respond to your questions). Even though it will be in front of a group with a built-in political bias, it will present an opportunity to correct some of the dramatic misinformation that you and a handful of others involved in opposition campaigns have been spreading on these pages. My cell phone number is 312-498-6001. See you on the 27th. Kind regards, DP

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 1:46 AM

David: Meanwhile, you could come to our event on February 27. I promise there wil be no blunt objects, shock devices, or large cooking pots. I can't, however, speak for the Wednesday Journal.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 1:43 AM

David: I'm not opposing the VMA's candidates as such. I am disagreeing with many of your board's policies and procedures. As most of your really important decisions are made in "special" meetings with little or no public input allowed and approved as "consent" items, anyone wishing to disagree has little recourse except to complain in the press. As for a debate, I'm ready almost anywhere, anytime as long as it's a fair public venue. Neither of us is running for anything at the moment.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: February 17th, 2011 11:16 PM

Hi Gary. It just seems silly to criticize the VMA candidates for not appearing before your group when you've publicly stated that you oppose them. I, for one, can clearly understand why they would prefer to spend their time meeting with residents on porches, at neighborhood coffees, and in open and neutral public forums. At the same time, since you are directing your complaints at me and the current Board, I'd be happy to debate you again at any time. My # is 312-498-6001. Kind regards, DP

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 17th, 2011 7:27 PM

The Wednesday Journal last week suggested that the VMA not run from the CCC offer. This week, the Journal ran a "Shrubtown" cartoon comparing us with (imaginary) people who might beat, torture, or EAT VMA candidates. I guess this is a way of promoting and maintaining civility and focus on real issues. In the same polite spirit, might I suggest that the current regime beats down public participation, tortures Freedom of Information and TIF laws, and eats up tax money to play developer?

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: February 17th, 2011 7:17 PM

Most of the venues where VMA candidates will appear offer almost no opportunity for any real debate with their opposition, the Ascension and Buzz Cafe events being possible exceptions. The Wednesday Journal has called for real discussion of issues. We (the CCC) offer such an opportunity. Even Trustee Hedges seems to think it's possible the Board does too much business in private. Is it possible the VMA fear they can't defend their positions in discussions they don't control?

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: February 17th, 2011 2:02 PM

My comment regarding the VMA forum was in error. I apologize for my misreading of the letter.

Chairman of the Bored from Oak Park  

Posted: February 16th, 2011 5:44 PM

A bickering cesspool of political fill-in-the blank once again prepares for maybe ten percent voter turnout.

Citizens for an Accountable John Murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: February 16th, 2011 4:47 PM

Hi John. Your post is dishonest. Anyone can see above that the forums listed are hosted by a variety of orgs having nothing to do with the VMA- DPOP, LWV, Buzz, and Ascension. The authors of this letter don't invite anyone to anything. So I guess you are just so determined to make people who disagree with you look bad that you've decided to dispense with facts and make things up. That is sad. Shame on you. And shame on the journal for giving you a forum. You put the "strange" in "strange trip."

john murtagh from oak park .  

Posted: February 16th, 2011 2:57 PM

The candidates state "...but not in a forum at which avowed political opponents, calling themselves the Citizens for Community Conversations." In the next paragraph they invite everyone to attend the VMA sponsored political forum. So it appears that they will attend political events held by supporters but not opponents. Democracy in OP -- a strange, strange trip.

John Hubbuch from Oak Park  

Posted: February 16th, 2011 8:11 AM

Many years ago I ran for District 97 School Board. I really didn't know much about the office, but I went to every forum of every group and told them what they wanted to hear in kind of vague wishy-washy way. It worked! I won the election and served four years with no time off for good behavior.

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