Mayor apologizes for trustee's name calling

Elected official calls appointee 'racist' and 'misogynist' at board meeting

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb has apologized to a man named by a 4-3 vote to the Citizen Police Oversight Committee (CPOC) after Trustee Arti Walker-Peddakotla called Jack Powers "a racist" and "misogynist" during a discussion of his appointment at the Feb. 3 meeting of the village board.

Abu-Taleb apologized to Powers at the meeting, after Walker-Peddakotla would not, and subsequently also wrote a public letter of apology (see sidebar).

"Jack, I am sorry. I am embarrassed and ashamed that you were attacked by a village board member," the apology letter states. "Arti's views and comments do not represent the views of a majority of this village board."

In an email to the Wednesday Journal, Walker-Peddakotla reiterated her feelings about the appointment, writing, "Proper civilian oversight of police protects the civil rights of those residents who come into contact with the police and ensures greater accountability to the community. With this CPOC appointment, our village leadership continues to demonstrate resistance to progress and transparency as part of the larger narrative around community safety."

She also stated that in her time as a trustee, she has heard of many painful and traumatic experiences with police had by black and brown people living in Oak Park.

"I am dismayed that this qualitative data continues to be disregarded in our ongoing pursuit of community safety," she wrote. "I'm hopeful that Oak Park can join other progressive communities in acknowledging racial bias in our policing and working to pursue true racial equity. We are, sadly, behind the curve on this important issue."

CPOC comprises a group of seven members who volunteer their time to evaluate complaints regarding the police department and interpersonal, as well as community relations.

Powers' application stated he "expressed concern for crime in Oak Park, he prioritizes public safety, and has a desire to assist the Oak Park Police Department." It also stated that Powers thought the police department vital to Oak Park.

At the Feb. 3 meeting, Walker-Peddakotla stated that Tim Thomas, with whom she campaigned for village trustee, had wanted to join CPOC, but was appointed to a different commission instead. She supported Thomas, who is black, for the CPOC position. Powers is white.

"There is only one person of color on the [Citizen Police Oversight] Commission right now, Kevin Barnhart, and in a town where 40 percent of the people pulled over by police are people of color, predominantly black and Latinx people," she said. "The fact that we're not appointing a black man, Tim Thomas, to this commission is ridiculous."

Walker-Peddakotla referenced what she called a "racist, misogynistic" email Powers sent to the village board Sept. 25, 2019, saying, "Jack Powers, in his email said to me, quote, 'Public safety is a fundamental function of the board. If you do not understand this, you do not belong on the board.' Telling me, the only woman of color, that I don't belong on this board."

The email was sent following comments Walker-Peddakotla made at a meeting last September regarding her view that Oak Park police emphasized racial profiling over public safety. She posted the email with Powers' last name blacked out on Facebook on Sept. 27.

Walker-Peddakotla continued, "He goes on to say, quote, 'We have our share of homegrown crime and are adjacent to one of the most crime-ridden and violent neighborhoods in the Midwest.' That is racist."

She called on the board to "do what's right by black folks" and to appoint people who cared that police predominantly stop black people.

"But we've decided to appoint a racist, misogynist to the Police Oversight Commission," Walker-Peddakotla said.

Trustee Dan Moroney offered his support for Powers, as well as his disapproval for Walker-Peddakotla's language.

"I believe he's qualified. I do not believe this man to be a racist. I do not believe this man to be a misogynist," said Moroney. "I think throwing those terms around cheapens those terms a little bit."

Moroney said Powers has the ability to be both impartial and objective while serving on CPOC.

"So does Tim Thomas," Walker-Peddakotla interjected.

Moroney replied, "This isn't about Tim Thomas."

"He was in line to get appointed. Why didn't you say any of that about him?" she asked.

Moroney replied, "This is the first I've heard of it."

"That's absolute crap and you know it," Walker-Peddakotla said. "That is absolute crap."

The mayor attempted to defuse the situation but was shouted down in the process.

"Your willingness to slander somebody is frankly despicable," Moroney told Walker-Peddakotla.

Trustees Deno Andrews and Jim Taglia, as well as Mayor Abu-Taleb, joined Moroney in voting to appoint Powers. Trustees Susan Buchanan and Simone Boutet joined Walker-Peddakotla in voting against the appointment.

Powers, who was not present at the Feb. 3 meeting but watched online, said he did not believe Walker-Peddakotla was qualified to assess his character, nor did he agree with her description of him.

"My main thought is, I've never met that trustee," Power said. "I've never spoken to her, so she's in no position to know anything about my nature, my temperament or my disposition."

In regard to his Sept. 25, 2019 email, Powers said he sent it after reading the comments Walker-Peddakotla made about public safety and racial profiling in the Wednesday Journal.

"All I did was very factually state the obvious," he said. "I didn't refer to any person or group, I didn't impugn anybody and that was that."

He didn't believe his email was racist or misogynistic.

"I was being neither of those two things and that's not how I am in life either," he said.

Powers said he wasn't upset that Walker-Peddakotla attributed the email to him at the Feb. 3 meeting, but he took issue with it being posted on social media.

"Putting that email on Facebook was questionable at best," Powers said. "She never reached out to me and replied to that email. Not by phone, not by email."

Should Walker-Peddakotla reach out to him now, Powers said he would probably be open to speaking with her.

In the aftermath of the meeting, Abu-Taleb said it was inappropriate for elected officials to verbally attack citizens at the board table.

"We get elected to serve and not to attack the people that we serve," he told Wednesday Journal. "I don't think the board table should be used to do that. The majority of the board feel the same way."

Abu-Taleb stated he took no issue with trustees opposing the people he appoints to commissions, but the method in which Walker-Peddakotla expressed her opposition to Powers bothered him.

"It's in the manner that she used the board table to label a citizen as racist and misogynistic and to continue those labels online," he said. "This is not the Oak Park I know. This is not the Oak Park we should have."

Prior to appointing Powers, Abu-Taleb met with him to discuss the committee but did not speak with him directly about policing. Abu-Taleb said he believes Powers to be very qualified for CPOC.

"Here's a guy that wants to serve the community, volunteer his time," he said.

Beyond that, Abu-Taleb didn't know what else motivated Powers to go after a spot on the committee.

"I don't know what his motivations are any more than I know what anyone else's motivations are," Abu-Taleb said. "But I do know that if he has grandchildren and they hear that about him, they start wondering, 'Is my grandpa a racist?' We're a small community. I don't think we need to be doing that to each other."

Abu-Taleb said Walker-Peddakotla didn't contact him to discuss the appointment when she saw Powers' name on the meeting agenda.

 "She has never picked up the phone to call me and say to me, 'Hey Anan, I have a problem with this guy.' Not once," he said.

Abu-Taleb felt like his own motivations were also under fire, as he made the appointment, when Walker-Peddakotla spoke against Powers at the meeting.

"She was basically questioning my motivation on why I'm appointing a racist, in her mind, to a commission for the village," he said. "You're questioning my motivation. Don't ever do that. You can question my judgment, absolutely."

Abu-Taleb would have preferred Walker-Peddakotla reach out to him to discuss her concerns with Powers instead of airing her grievances at the board table.

"I'm your colleague. Call me. You can say, 'I don't like this guy because his views don't align with mine and I feel we could have someone of color,'" he said. "But when you start labeling people, calling them racists – how does she know? How does she know what's in people's hearts?"

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Reader Comments

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Comment Policy

Kevin Peppard  

Posted: February 15th, 2020 11:29 AM

Bruce Kline: I'm being reeducated Chinese-style every day by just living here -- no plane ticket to Beijing required. I fele like I'm living in the movie "Animal House", where after charges of racism. sexism, homophobia and the like are made against White Oak Parkers they plead "Thank you Sir, may I please have another"?: Since OPRFHS wants to get rid of its long standing traditions, why not rename the Huskies the "Flagellantes"?

Bruce Kline  

Posted: February 14th, 2020 8:23 PM

@ Kevin your ignorance is astounding in this day and age. "Red Chinese reeducation" you say? You don't have to go the "Red Chinese" cultural revolution route (although a good route it is). There are many others for your convenience. For instance there is the "Stalin Soviet Experience" ... a little harsh but ... well that's the point ... challenging. There is of course the "Che for the 21st" for those who like their reeducation with a touch of revolutionary romanticism. I noticed there is also the "Patty Hearst Boot Camp" for folks just like you: You know fragile white folks of means who need to toughen up ... and learn the art of liberation. There are so many varied opportunities, Kevin, that there is no excuse not to get reeducated and get your mind right. And I can see from your post you are going to need an extended and intensive curriculum as well.

Kevin Peppard  

Posted: February 14th, 2020 2:47 PM

Jameel: There is a strong scent of condescension in your post, with a note of moral superiority. Somehow you claim to speak for the "Black Community" vs. all Whites. I contend that neither group exists other than in people's oversimplifications. Whites range the gamut from David Duke to Bernie Sanders, with most in between. Likewise, I suspect that most Blacks put their pants or skirts on in the morning not asking, "What can I do to advance the Black Cause today?". They probably ask how they can get that report on their boss' desk first thing Monday morning, or how to give better patient care as a doctor, or whether they are being the best parent possible. I will now be labeled as having "White Fragility", which is a convenient way to shunt aside anyone who does not follow the party line. I for one refuse to go to a Red Chinese "reeducation camp" to get my mind right. Oak Park is becoming a place not of dialogue, but of suppressing dissent from political correctness.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: February 13th, 2020 1:28 PM

@Brian, yes this is in response to your post " The commissioners should be judged on the content of their character for fitness to sit on the board, not their skin color"

Edwin Haag  

Posted: February 12th, 2020 10:13 PM

I'm sure most Oak Parkers are on board with having more African American representation on the committee. I would even go a step further and suggest the committe should have at least 1 ex offender. Jason is correct. How Arti handled herself is probematic, not what she was advocating for.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: February 12th, 2020 8:41 PM

@ Jason Cohen: is that comment for me?

Jason Cohen  

Posted: February 12th, 2020 8:03 PM

@Brian, this is a committee to discuss policing in our community. It makes perfect sense for race to be a potential qualifying factor to be on this committee. Race is one of the top issues the police have to deal with so it's logical to consider race as part of the criteria for determining if someone makes a good candidate to be on the committee. This doesn't mean there's anything wrong with any candidate but to ignore the fact that we have only one AA member on this committee is odd. The problem here isn't her reasonable concern about this fact. The problem is how she handled this issue. It doesn't take a genius to realize that it might be smart to be sure ALL perspectives are well covered which means having a well represented group discussing these issues. She ruined this very reasonable discussion topic by attacking a citizen and making it personal. The issue still stands.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: February 12th, 2020 3:26 PM

Kelly Bacon Desmarais you are judging a group without knowing what each person really thinks. That is not a fair way to judge people. Try and do it as an individual and you may learn that some people in a group are really good people who mean well

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: February 12th, 2020 3:23 PM

John Abbott I tried and read as much of the Wednesday Journal, and maybe missed a column about Tim Thomas and why he would make an excellent choice for the CPOC and who the other volunteers where so maybe some where between the public disconnect and whoever appointments these people to board is what Arti is having a problems with. If trusttees are not going to act like children and not admit when they make a mistake then it is a lot easier to accept the behavior and try and figure out what it is that the children want

Kelly Bacon Desmarais  

Posted: February 12th, 2020 11:19 AM

Ramona Lopez, truer words were never spoken. "The leftists activists in Oak Park which Arti is a part of, do not want to end racism, they want to reverse it. They don't want equality, they want revenge."

John Abbott from Oak Park  

Posted: February 11th, 2020 11:29 AM

Trustee A W-P's singular talent is to take important issues and make them all about her. And so it goes with her latest burst of toxicity, which seems to have largely sidelined the original issue. Tim Thomas was (and remains) an excellent choice for the CPOC; we would all benefit from his participation in that body. Here's hoping that, after the smoke clears, this option remains in play.

Tom MacMillan from OAK PARK  

Posted: February 11th, 2020 11:26 AM

The two new trustees, Buchanon and Art Walker-Peddakotla, have both shown that their desire to judge fellow Oak Parkers by skin color is the only thing that matters to them. They can scan a room and tell instantly who the good and bad people are. Who should be on a committee. Who should remain silent. It is amazing that we have to put up with this sort of unprofessional racist behavior. The withering defense of their name calling and shouting is revealing, as if anything makes it ok.

Gregg Kuenster from River Forest CPA  

Posted: February 11th, 2020 6:59 AM

Present facts, define problem, propose a solution ... Well said Christine Vernon Hats off to all who serve in the public arena.

Christine Vernon  

Posted: February 11th, 2020 1:51 AM

Voters can set limits at the Ballot Box with elected officials always...but it can take a while before that happens. I think I like to give people who step forward for public service the benefit of the doubt. It is a generous thing to do if the person's motives are right. It can be frustrating to hold a minority position on the Board on an issue requiring a vote. Frustration can lead to rage which, if an when expressed, can demean a person's status and be self-defeating unless a person puts his/her belief and convictions into a powerful argument offering data and facts. An outbursts can damage a person's credibility and render a person ineffectual. A person does well do well fighting for his/her beliefs and convictions with a persuasive and powerful argument offering facts - defining the problem, the grievance and propose a solution, both passionately and dispassionately at the same time you bring it to the public.

Christine Vernon from Oak Park  

Posted: February 11th, 2020 1:47 AM

Whoa! Are O.P. Village Board Meetings going to become like the British Parliament, everyone yelling at once? The popularity of bad acting in political warfare is catching on. In the comments below, someone mentions facts. It would be good to see the stats/facts from the Police Department, referenced about who the OPPD stop. Yelling, slanderous, & libelous name-calling don't make a good case. No trustee should stand with another elected official who makes slanderous and libelous remarks about a citizen. The person who uses slander should be called to account, especially as a representative of our government. When it comes to making a case, Emotional Blackmail ?" fear, obligation, and guilt (FOG). in order to manipulate a person to do what you want, also won't work. Who does this kind of thing?! Oh that's right, our Commander in Chief, the President, models verbal abuse as his idea of an appropriate form of behavior in governing and human interaction ?" the very reason why so many people want him gone. The silence of half of the Congress serves to condone Trump's lack of respect and dignity with which he treats people Tweeting out insults and hateful remarks. His base of Republicans,by their silence, condone his lack of decorum. Trump has been called a racist, too, but there are well-known facts that substantiate the charge in his case. He thinks the State of the Union address is an appropriate place for him to have a political rally, and he brought in a partisan hate-monger radio host to give him the highest honor in the land for a civilian, The Medal of Freedom. So whether or not this standard of President Trump's behavior will be tolerated by Americans will be a referendum in the next Presidential election at the Ballot Box. That's where people can say how far, and how long, Americans will tolerate Trump's demeaning and abusive treatment of people. We will know how the majority of Americans feel about this next November. Voters can set limits at the Ba

Ada Johnson Tikkanen  

Posted: February 9th, 2020 3:55 PM

Brian Rikarson - I don't know if the guy sitting outside of Target is the same guy I know. But if it is - his name is Joshua. I don't know him. But we have a deal - if he brings my cart back from the parking lot I give him a few bucks. I think he is sometimes on something which may make him "off" at times. I've never witnessed him being violent though. Just want to throw that out there so people don't get confused. As Joshua sits out there quite a bit.

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: February 9th, 2020 1:58 PM

Thank you, Jameel Rafia.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: February 9th, 2020 11:09 AM

The commissioners should be judged on the content of their character for fitness to sit on the board, not their skin color. As far as the social security number for the report there is a box to be filled in to track victims, complainants and subjects within the data base of the OPPD. The standing question to Vasquez is what did she do about the incident? Ask for a supervisor , speak to a CPOC representative ? I wager the answer is no. Same with Arti coming in contact with all complainants, is she referring them to CPOC? Safely sitting in a warm dry well lit Village Chambers with a cop at the door discussing these issues are fine. However if all the trustees and Mayor were required to speak with crime victims and the scene of the crime their perspective of these issues, thought will change. Nothing like speaking to a rape victim at the scene of the offense in an after offense interview to ascertain how the police should conduct themselves. Nothing like speaking to a 10 year old who was beaten to obtain their bicycle to understand the issue of crime. Cops sometimes drink to excess and commit suicide to escape their constant haunting of the face of the victims the officer failed to protect., A long time ago in a galaxy far far away at 6AM there was a young OPPD officer with a 36 in waist who ran down a subject for four blocks for jaywalking only to physically fight the subject. After the scuffle. the radio dispatch was sent of a home invasion rape subject fled where the foot chase started. The jaywalker was identified as the rapist by two sisters and sent away for 25 years In 2002 the then 46 inch waisted (but not wasted) police officer was sent a memo from a younger officer that they had just stopped a subject just released from prison at 6AM for being in someones yard. Same guy.Yijng and yang. Balance. The OPPD has an open case file on an honest to god stranger kidnapping of a six year old who found safe. Ying and yang. Balance. Sleep tight Oak Park.

Jameel Rafia from Oak Park  

Posted: February 9th, 2020 10:34 AM

10 Things White People Can Do To Celebrate Black History Month. 1.Donate To A Blcak Woman's Self-Care Fund and Tell No One 2.Buy Books By Black Authors Read Them. 3.Contribute To Local Black Organization 4. Acknowledge the Ways You Personally Benefit From White Privilege 5.Watch Movies Which White People Are Not the Hero 6. Ask YOur Faith Organization To Stop Ignoring Black People 7.Educate Yourselves On the BLM Movement 8.When Talking With BLack People Listen More Than You 9. Make A Purchase or Many From A Black-Owened Small Business 10. Read  "White Fragility"

Linda Vasquez from Oak Park   

Posted: February 8th, 2020 8:57 AM

The OP Police Commision should be a majority of People of Color as this is a majority issue of policing in Oak Park. As to the rest, this trustee needs to learn how to negotiate in private, then if the Mayor & rest of Board still refuse to address the concerns appropriately, THATS when yu blast in PUBLIC. Really what a waste of energy , OP shud be farther along on the Racism topic by now. Appoint me on OP Police citizen commission...I'm still fuming about the older white OP cop asking me, A Latina, for my social security number as he is standing in my living room after I reported a crime that happened in our alley near Austin & Division! Yu can imagine how I verbally blasted his racist self.. luckily the younger white cop asked him to go canvass the neighborhood for the CRIMINAL!

Amanda Poppenk Massie from Oak park  

Posted: February 8th, 2020 7:42 AM

Let's not forget that these commissions are made up of volunteers. If POC don't volunteer then they won't be on these commissions. With regards to why Tim Thomas was put on another commission is another story, that doesn't make sense. Her questioning of that is valid. Her slander of Jack Powers is just that, slander. His email to her wasn't racist. If anyone doesn't agree with her she calls them names, like a 8 year old. I know Jack, he is neither of the slanderous things she called him. Our so called 'Progressives' seem to be an angry vengeful group. Unfortunate since I agree with many of their passions, as do many of us in our community She/they need to learn that 'how' you says things is just as important as 'what' you say. How you say things can alienate your potential supporters. I appreciate Dan for standing up for a community member getting slandered. More trustees should've joined him. This is what 'low voter turn out' gets you.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: February 8th, 2020 6:57 AM

Damn, Ramona! Take a breath.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 11:54 PM

Disorderly conduct, state charge: Does any act in such an unreasonable nature as to alarm or disturb another, That is calling Jack Powers a racist, She would have to prove he is a racist , and to provoke a breach of the peace, Taleb making a public apology. Powers would have to make a report with the OPPD, go to the States Attorney and sign a complaint and come to court each case call. Kim Foxx of the Smollet case making the decision. You cant yell fire in a crowded movie, but you can yell racist at a public meeting. Delicious and sad.

Kevin Peppard  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 9:50 PM

@Tommy McCoy. With regard to this paper calling Abu-Taleb "Mayor" (as he fashions himself): The Wednesday Journal worships at the feet of those in power here. It only offers token critiques of those in command, except for the High School. It used to nag at that institution because it was thought to be "elitist". Now they we have an Administration and Board intent on destroying the core values of the place, it too is immune from criticism..Dan Haley and Ken Trainor are hardly experts on public education. Haley went to St. Ignatius (the most elite Catholic prep school in the area) and Trainor attended a Catholic seminary. But they hold the power of the pen, as long as the Internet does not do them in.

Monica Sheehan  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 9:00 PM

Fact: Trustee Walker-Peddakotla slandered an upstanding Oak Park citizen at Monday night's village board meeting. Her slanderous comments were live streamed and recorded and are linked on the village website. I applaud Trustee Moroney and President Abu-Taleb for speaking out against the slanderous comments made by Trustee Walker-Peddakotla at Monday night's meeting. The silence of the other trustees is noted. I emailed the Village of Oak Park attorney on Tuesday afternoon after watching the video of the meeting. I was outraged by Walker-Peddakotla's slanderous comments of Jack Powers, who had volunteered to serve on a citizen's commission. Walker-Peddakotla has posted similar libelous attacks against him on her trustee FaceBook page. My email to the village attorney asked what is the village's policy regarding slanderous and libelous comments made by elected officials. I copied all of the village trustees on my email. Copied below is the response from the village law department. Disappointingly, the village reply did not address my question. It is an unacceptable response. "Thank you for your email. Below is a link to the Village Board's Protocols that is posted on the Village's website." https://www.oak-park.us/sites/default/files/village-board/2019-10.07-board-protocols.pdf

Lisa Saxon Reed  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 8:35 PM

Jack Powers is a good man who cares deeply about this village. It is unacceptable for a trustee to call him such vile names.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 8:31 PM

@ Romona Lopez: I am sure someone soon will say Freddie was misquoted..

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 8:23 PM

"Socialism ? or the tyranny of the meanest and the most brainless, ?that is to say, the superficial, the envious, and the mummers, brought to its zenith, ?is, as a matter of fact, the logical conclusion of "modern ideas" and their latent anarchy: but in the genial atmosphere of democratic well-being the capacity for forming resolutions or even for coming to an end at all, is paralysed. Men follow?but no longer their reason. That is why socialism is on the whole a hopelessly bitter affair: and there is nothing more amusing than to observe the discord between the poisonous and desperate faces of present-day socialists?and what wretched and nonsensical feelings does not their style reveal to us! ?and the childish lamblike happiness of their hopes and desires. Nevertheless, in many places in Europe, there may be violent hand-to-hand struggles and irruptions on their account: the coming century is likely to be convulsed in more than one spot, and the Paris Commune, which finds defenders and advocates even in Germany, will seem to have but a slight indigestion compared with what is to come. Be this as it may, there will always be too many people of property for socialism ever to signify anything more than an attack of illness: and these people of property are like one man with one faith, "one must possess something in order to be some one." This, however, is the oldest and most wholesome of all instincts; I should add: "one must desire more than one has in order to become more." For this is the teaching which life itself preaches to all living things: the morality of Development. To have and to wish to have more, in a word, Growth?that is life itself. In the teaching of socialism "a will to the denial of life" is but poorly concealed: botched men and races they must be who have devised a teaching of this sort" Friedrich Nietsche

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 8:18 PM

"Socialism itself can hope to exist only for brief periods here and there, and then only through the exercise of the extremest terrorism. For this reason it is secretly preparing itself for rule through fear and is driving the word "justice" into the heads of the half-educated masses like a nail so as to rob them of their reason? and to create in them a good conscience for the evil game they are to play." Friedrich Nietzsche

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 8:16 PM

The leftists activists in Oak Park which Arti is a part of, do not want to end racism, they want to reverse it. They don't want equality, they want revenge.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 8:14 PM

This passage from Nietzsche sums it up for all the leftists activists in Oak Park. "Thus I speak to you in a parable-you who make souls whirl, you preachers of EQUALITY. To me you are tarantulas, and secretly VENGEFUL. But I shall bring your secrets to light; therefore I laugh in your faces with my laughter of the heights. Therefore I tear at your webs, that your rage may lure you out of your lie-holes and your REVENGE may leap out from behind your word JUSTICE. For that man be delivered from REVENGE, that is for me the bridge to the highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms. The tarantulas, of course, would have it otherwise. "What JUSTICE means to us is precisely that the world be filled with the storms of our REVENGE"-thus they speak to each other. "We shall wreak vengeance and abuse on all whose equals we are not"-thus do the tarantula-hearts vow. "And 'will to EQUALITY' shall henceforth be the name for VIRTUE; and against all that has power we want to raise our clamor!" You preachers of equality, the tyrannomania of impotence clamors thus out of you for equality: your most secret ambitions to be TYRANTS thus shroud themselves in words of virtue. Aggrieved conceit, REPRESSED ENVY-perhaps the conceit and envy of your fathers-erupt from you as a flame and as the frenzy of revenge. " Friedrich Nietzsche

Monica Sheehan  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 8:07 PM

Fact: Trustee Walker-Peddakotla slandered an upstanding Oak Park citizen at Monday night's village board meeting. Her slanderous comments were live streamed and recorded and are linked on the village website. I emailed the Village of Oak Park attorney on Tuesday afternoon after watching the video of the meeting. I was outraged by Walker-Peddakotla's slanderous comments of Jack Powers, who had volunteered to serve on a citizen's commission. Walker-Peddakotla has posted similar libelous attacks against him on her trustee FaceBook page. My email to the village attorney asked what is the village's policy on slanderous and libelous comments made by an elected official, and I copied all of the village trustees on my email. Copied below is the response from the village law department. Disappointingly, the village reply did not address my question. It is an unacceptable response. Thank you for your email. Below is a link to the Village Board's Protocols that is posted on the Village's website. https://www.oak-park.us/sites/default/files/village-board/2019-10.07-board-protocols.pdf

Jason Cohen  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 7:05 PM

@Klara, I think life experience is also a significant qualification. She has a point about the makeup of the CPOC. It's very fair to consider the experiences of someone and how that qualifies them for a position like this. I mean can any white people actually speak to the experiences of an AA person as it relates to the police? She shouldn't have attacked Powers as he did nothing wrong but she's in the right to question why 1 out of 7 of the CPOC are white. That certainly feels odd. I mean what's one of the most significant issues the police deal with today? It's how race is handled. We just had an incident involving race very recently that was written about here. That's not to diminish anyone's on paper qualifications but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask why we can't find a more balanced group for this committee. What's sad is this is a point worth making and she ruined it by attacking Powers and getting extremely emotional. She lost her credibility at that point.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 6:14 PM

To paraphrase Joseph Welsh during the McCarthy hearings: "Until this moment, Trustee, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"

Klara Gabor  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 5:33 PM

This woman has major issues and appears to always be combative. Why does any board have to have a certain number of whit, black, brown members or equal numbers of male and female members? Do qualifications mean nothing? Does not being of the same sex or color make you sexist or racist? If so, then that is insulting. The fact that Trustees Buchanan and Boutet support Walker-Peddakotla comes as no surprise and should speak volumes.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 4:36 PM

Powers offered to be on the committee so why should he be attacked for that? It's not like he forced himself on the committee. I think it's a valid point to make about the diversity of this group but that's not his decision to make. Why attack him for just wanting to be helpful? As far as his comments I don't see anything wrong with any of it. Does anyone think West Chicago doesn't have a crime problem? By attacking Powers she's distracting from an issue that's fair to discuss which is what the makeup of this committee should be. This is completely lost now which is unfortunate. The board seems to spend much of their time dealing with hurt feelings and personal attacks. I am looking forward to voting for some new blood.

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 4:27 PM

Here we go again.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 2:39 PM

Tom MacMillan the voter's did make the right choice when they did not vote another candidate in as a trustee. You would have experienced the same name calling which is common childish behavior which is supported by the fact that there is no longer a need to apologize

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 2:37 PM

Kevin Peppard The Wednesday Journal had a story about how they were now going to refer to the Village President as Mayor. The Village President mentioned that at Mayor meeting's, they were confused what a Village President does. It would probably be easier if they changed the name from convention of Mayor's to convention of Mayor's and Village President's so now they would understand the difference. So you are right. It is not really official and you can call yourself anything you want

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 2:02 PM

Voters were asleep at the wheel, allowing Arti Walker-Peddakotla to win a Trustee seat with under three thousand votes. Actions like this most recent one are an embarrassment to the town. She is mad because while she pushes to cut our police protection, a citizen dared to write her a letter, which respectfully disagreed with her. If you disagree with her, her next step is public name calling at town meetings. The crazy behavior needs to end, but only the voters can do it.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 1:50 PM

Trustee Walker-Peddakotla, Oak Park's very own Robespierre.

Patty Reilly-Murphy  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 12:47 PM

Trustees, get your act together! If you are unable to tackle difficult issues while engaging in civil discourse, you don't belong to occupy your seats on the Board. We expect more from you--this isn't Washington.

Kevin Peppard  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 12:30 PM

Mayor? He appeared as Village President on the ballot. If he's Mayor, I'm the self-appointed Emperor and Grand Poobah of Oak Park. I thought the Susan Buchanan brouhaha put Oak Park on the national map, but then I saw a video of the Village of Carpentersville Board Meeting. It starts out slowly where the Mayor waits interminably for a second to a motion that never comes, but then gets going with naming a Trustee convicted of wife-beating, people not a spouse sleeping with a Board member, and mention of death threats and hitmen. Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFeA-pM0o8Y

Bryan Rekarson from Op  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 12:21 PM

Disgraceful and embarrassing behavior once again exhibited by this particular trustee. If this trustee would like to do something particularly meaningful, please engage the young African American person who sits outside the Target south entrance door every evening. This is the person who spit, threatened and swore at my wife for no reason. The Oak Park police department will not remove that person from his seat.

Matt Baron  

Posted: February 7th, 2020 12:05 PM

Very well done story, with thorough and balanced reporting. As with any institution, the Oak Park Police Department has room for improvement. The Citizen Police Oversight Committee would benefit from more racial diversity. Getting there won't happen through petulant, irresponsible character assassination, but by respectful discourse and effective interpersonal communication. I am grateful that we have a mayor who models the civil, reasoned leadership that any functional home, let alone community, should aspire to achieve. Over the course of my life, I have found that name-calling (or, as in this case, much worse) reveals far more about the individual flinging the labels than the person who is being labeled. This is especially true when it is not supported by facts.

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