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.
Former Oak Park village trustee
Answer Book 2019
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