Buchanan has priorities in proper place

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Relocating to take a new job in 1990, I settled in Oak Park. I knew little about its "progressive" history. But it seemed like a good place to live for a few years, as I had been moving every few years for work. Those few years have spanned to almost 30.

Something kept me here. It was the quality of life, the intellectual stimulation I found among the residents here, the activism that never lets up, the belief by many that they can get something worthwhile accomplished. Everyone here has talents, interests and the kinds of unique energies that also energize me. And I believe we all want Oak Park to be a good place to call home.

What does that mean? Schools that are excellent and equitable. Neighborhoods that are peaceful. Neighbors who are kind and affable. Public officials we can trust to make sound, fair, well-considered, transparent, unbiased decisions. We get that by electing candidates whom we believe exemplify the values that matter to us.

I want someone who thinks with an open mind, knows how to assess the many sides of an issue, can tease out the nuances of data, and centers people at the heart of every matter. The candidate for village trustee who embodies those traits best for me is Susan Buchanan.

A family doctor and environmentalist, Buchanan will bring strong credentials and skills to a board that has no shortage of "business people." She also will bring something else a good trustee should possess: listening skills.

She's smart and also smart enough to know that she can also still learn something new. These past few months, she has called on many Oak Parkers to hear what they have to say about housing, business, taxes, development, equity and inclusion, parking — and all those other topics we never tire of discussing, or complaining about. She has learned that Oak Parkers are complicated, conflicted, caring and sometimes uncompromising in their views. And she still wants the job.

I believe she will be an excellent trustee. And something else about her that earns my support: she cares deeply about our environment and wants Oak Park to be a real leader in reducing its negative impacts on our planet. To paraphrase what a young climate activist said recently, "Taxes [fill in your own Oak Park gripe] won't matter if the Earth is uninhabitable in 20 years." That's real, folks.

Perspective matters. I believe Susan Buchanan will keep Oak Park's priorities in the proper perspective.

In the April 2 election, I ask you to cast your vote for Susan Buchanan for village trustee. 

Cassandra West

Oak Park

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Reader Comments

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Les Golden  

Posted: March 20th, 2019 11:43 PM

BK. Being an environmental advocate and wanting to hold the line on tax-gouging politicians is not mutually exclusive. The former simply takes such little effort. My position on taxes, removing duplication of services, freezing salaries, consolidating governments, unifying D200 and D97, etc. has been well-known since 1985. In 1991, you'll recall, the park district majority achieved by the election of candidates from my CARE Party under my direction BOTH cut the levy by 5% (rather than holding it to increases of 3% which seems to be what current candidates think is responsible) and BANNED ALL pesticides in the parks. That pesticide ban, of course, was reversed by Michael Grandy and now we have to breath in that rancid Agent Orange, packaged as Round-Up, in the parks. So, to repeat, environmentalism and tax sanity are not mutually exclusive. I hope Susan will state her position on consolidation and I hope Cory and Bridgett will state their position on a tree ordinance and commission and other environmental issues.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: March 20th, 2019 11:18 PM

So here's a suggestion Les: vote for her. Problem solved. In regard to green spaces, trees and a healthy outdoor environment Oak Park paid a consultant well over a decade ago to come up with a Master Plan envisioning what this village should value and look like going forward. Remember?And one of the things proposed was to value and treasure our open spaces and parks - because we had so little. And the result? Albion. My point is that talk is cheap, and valuing trees and open space isn't exactly a light bulb moment because we all say we do. Duh! The real issue is to make this a reality and the nitty gritty hard work is through sensible development polices which IMO is very much a local issue. And that issue truly has divided our community and requires a local political solution; not some feel good platitudes. Oh and by the way, I'm with Neal on this: I'll be voting for Cory and Bridgett because Les, there is in my view an immediate existential crisis here in Oak Park. Some of us are literally being taxed out of our long term homes. But of course that doesn't seem to cause you concern. But that's OK, that's why we have elections after all. Right?

Les Golden  

Posted: March 20th, 2019 11:04 PM

Simply by enacting a tree preservation ordinance or reinstating the village tree commission, and possibly naming it after Kathryn Jonas, would have significant effect. It, for example, would have prevented Michael Grandy at the park district from scoffing at the order of the State of Illinois head apiarist and destroying the Honey Bee tree at Maple Park, a village Heritage Tree, thereby destroying a viable colony of honey bees while pesticides nationwide are devastating colonies, because the park district wanted to avoid a lawsuit if someone was stung (no one had ever been stung in that area). You can make a difference by a minimum amount of effort. Banning artificial turf rather than spending the time in making Oak Park a nuclear free zone would have been another admirable, minimum effort, but important act.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: March 20th, 2019 10:49 PM

Because Tom it's much easier for a local Trustee to work on some pie-in-the-sky project that she will have absolutely no meaningful affect (other than making her and the rest of her supporters feel good about themselves) than to actually work on something where you can make an obvious difference. You know like taxes, transparency in government, development, etc etc. Hey in the later case, there are results - good or bad - a record if you will, that is subject to judgement by the electorate. So why not work on something where meaningful results are unobtainable and avoid judgment and accountability? And if any VOP Trustee candidate thinks otherwise here's a suggestion: run for Congress; not VOP Trustee. (And Tom, we do not have coal mines here. But we almost had nuclear power plants if not for our Nuclear Free Zone.)

Les Golden  

Posted: March 20th, 2019 10:43 PM

To my friend Neal, global warming is everyone's problem and should be a priority for everyone, everywhere. Only government can prevent the destruction of our planet and its species, but government places low priority on such issues. That's all levels of government. Cut down that refrigerating tree because it's old and a limb may fall on someone, leading to a lawsuit against the village. Destroy the trees at Ridgeland Common and rip up the grass for artificial turf so that Paul Aeschleman can make more money as a soccer coach/referee. Destroy all the trees in Field playground for a soccer field. Pour tens of thousands of square feet of concrete where those trees used to be. Lay down surfaces of the slurry of shredded tires bonded by carcinogenic adhesives because the kids won't get bruised or break an arm on the pseudo-gym mats and sue the park district. When my ignorant neighbor cut down a 140-year old tree with a huge canopy, he contributed to global warming. When another neighbor cut down three trees, which were cabled to prevent damage to his house, he contributed to global warming. The argument that Oak Park cannot solve global warming is myopic.

Les Golden  

Posted: March 20th, 2019 10:42 PM

(cont'd) For every massive tree that is destroyed anywhere, for every slab of concrete poured, for every piece of sod replaced by artificial turf, we heat the atmosphere. And for every such act we need to do twice as much remediation to make progress. Sea levels are rising, and New York is already engineering levees. Societies in the Pacific are being relocated as their islands are flooded. The habitat of krill, the base of the oceanic food chain, is being devastated. As the atmosphere heats, increasing the density of water vapor, the release of whose latent heat drives all storms, the frequency and intensity of cyclones increases, at great cost to all societies. The majority of mankind lives without twenty miles of a seashore. The devastation of habitat will cause unimaginable poverty, starvation, and wars as societies seek to survive. It is everyone's role to stop the madness. Only government has the power to do that, but they have no will to do so. Susan Buchanan obviously is trying to change that ignorance and deserves accolades and election, not petty attacks. Think globally, act locally is not some buzz phrase of environmental geeks. It's the only way we can save the planet from a Venusian runaway hell.

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: March 20th, 2019 10:00 PM

If you think Oak Park can solve global warming, vote for Susan. If you think the trustees have more control over village spending, vote for Cory Wesley and Bridgett Baron.

Laurie Casey from Oak Park  

Posted: March 20th, 2019 9:48 PM

Oak Park is making good progress toward our sustainability (climate change fighting) goals, but we still have a lot of work to do, as the 2016 OP-RF PlanItGreen Environmental Sustainability Report Card indicates. I'm voting for Susan Buchanan. We can't put this on our children's shoulders. It's so much easier and effective to act today than it will be 10 years from now. I'm so heartened by all the actions my neighbors and friends are taking. Let's keep the momentum going and build on it. Vote for Susan. https://sevengenerationsahead.org/images/work/planit-green/PlanItGreen2016Report_Card_FINAL.pdf

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: March 20th, 2019 11:15 AM

She wants to listen to voters? Listen to this: Why do we keep getting candidates who want to work on stuff that has nothing to do with being a local Trustee? There are not a lot of environmental issues in Oak Park. No whale hunts or coal mines. Local trustees are not running the planet.

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