Taglia has been an exemplary trustee

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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As has been pointed out by several others in these pages over the past several weeks, Trustee James Taglia is a community leader of deep intelligence and deep compassion.

I first got to know Jim when I was a village trustee and he was an Oak Park Township trustee. There, Jim applied his training as an accountant to the thankless task of crafting and approving shoestring budgets. Jim's deeply caring nature led him to become a vocal and effective advocate for such progressive initiatives as equipping our police officers with the Narcan antidote to opioid overdoses, and raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21.

When I had to unexpectedly vacate my seat on the Oak Park Village Board in February of 2017, I was concerned about who might be selected to serve the remainder of my term. Leaders who value substance over social media traffic are in short supply these days.

So I was greatly relieved when I learned that Jim Taglia would be appointed to take my place. To the surprise of no one who knows him, Jim has turned out to be an exemplary village trustee. 

At a time where concerns about Oak Park's affordability are dominating the local debate, Jim understands local government finance — particularly the relationship between village expenditures and the property tax levy. He knows that the village is not going to nickel-and-dime its way to property tax relief, and that pressure on our property tax rolls will only be relieved through collaboration with other units of government.

I know that diversity in our local government is a key issue this year. I was deeply concerned two years ago when the departures of Glenn Brewer and Peter Barber resulted in a village board without a single African-American member. That lack of representation is deeply problematic and bothers me still. 

I therefore understand the desire to ensure that people of color and also women are elected during this cycle.

Fortunately, next month we will be filling three seats on the village board. I certainly plan to support the objective of a more diverse and inclusive board when I head to the polls.

Adam Salzman

Former Oak Park village trustee

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Reader Comments

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Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: March 25th, 2019 11:34 AM

I will not vote for anyone that thinks it is a good idea to dump an additional 400 cars every day on to Jackson Blvd.

Mimi Jordan  

Posted: March 25th, 2019 9:28 AM

It should also be noted that the road diet portion of the project is approx. $600,000 - $700,000 of the $6.5 million project. The vast majority of the total project is for infrastructure replacement under the roadway. The road diet is essentially paint, barriers and street features, all of which can be removed or adjusted as the village learns what works and what doesn't in terms of slowing down traffic and enhancing pedestrian safety.

Deno J. Andrews  

Posted: March 24th, 2019 9:54 PM

My pleasure Bruce. Have a great night.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: March 24th, 2019 9:37 PM

Thank you Deno for the clarification.

Deno J. Andrews  

Posted: March 24th, 2019 8:37 PM

Bruce, it was me who stated that knowingly pushing a large number of cars onto side streets, without a mitigation plan, would be unethical. While Taglia and I disagreed on this project, we have agreed on hundreds of votes in the last two years. We simply see the Madison Street project differently. With that said, three other trustees agreed with Taglia and thought the project was best for the village. If my support was based on one vote, I couldn't support anyone because we all disagree sometimes. Despite Madison St., Taglia is a very solid trustee and has one of my votes. As always, I appreciate your engagement on local issues. Thank you!

Bruce Kline  

Posted: March 24th, 2019 7:22 PM

I do kinda remember a fellow Trustee calling this decision unethical. And that is what has me confused. If Mr. Taglia truly supported an "unethical" decision, then how can it be ethical that he has the unanimous support of his fellow Trustees?

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: March 24th, 2019 5:47 PM

Lizbeth, you are correct. In addition, I think they are spending $6.5 million to make this change. We should have never ever allowed tax money to be diverted into TIFs. Hopefully, Bridgett Baron and Cory Wesley, when elected, can prevent this insanity from going forward.

Lizbeth Lemke from Oak Park  

Posted: March 24th, 2019 4:21 PM

Jim Taglia's vote to shift hundreds of additional vehicles each day onto the already over-utilized Jackson and Washington Blvds. as part of the Madison road diet was correctly called "unethical" by a fellow trustee. The Village has not committed to ensuring that the Madison St. plan does not negatively affect surrounding neighborhoods. As a Jackson homeowner, Mr. Taglia will not be getting my vote, because he's proven that he cannot be trusted to make sure the best interests of Oak Parkers are protected in the face of development and change. Not only should residents of Jackson and Washington decline to vote for Mr. Taglia, so should all Oak Park residents who want to be able to trust that Village trustees are watching out for them. Excusing Mr. Taglia from further service on the board will send a message that needs to be heard.

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