Monthly Archives: April 2013

Dangerous talk from local socialists

Poverty is very much with us, but we can eradicate it | Articles | News |

Dangerous? Hold out hope like that, and either you are hopelessly sentimental or you want to justify just about anything in governmental interference in the lives of men, women, and children.

This at the heart of the “progressive” impossible dreaming. Tut-tut.

Poverty is structural and can be eliminated. In 1962, [socialist] Michael Harrington’s The Other America: Poverty in the United States, was published. This groundbreaking work made American poverty visible. It is credited with kick-starting America’s War on Poverty, launched by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. The U.S. poverty rate declined from 19% in 1964 to a low of 11.1% in 1973.

via Bullshit, dangerous talk from local socialists.

LBJ’s “war” made things much worse for all of us, digging the debt hole deeper and deeper, harming most of all the poor.

It was a “costly, tragic mistake,” which socialists want us to repeat for the sake of their grossly flawed imagining of how societies work and how people react.

we had to wait for the New York Times to decide this news was fit to print—which it finally did on February 9, 1998. In a front-page story on poverty in rural Kentucky, Michael Janofsky detailed the failure of this effort in the one region that was supposed to be the centerpiece of reform. “Federal and state agencies have plowed billions of dollars into Appalachia,” he wrote, yet the area “looks much as it did 30 years ago, when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty, taking special aim at the rural decay.”1Read more:


Down goes the liquor commissioner barrier

Don Harmon to the rescue.

With amendment to existing law:

1934 Liquor Control Act established that suburban mayors or presidents would also serve as local liquor control commissioner, and to avoid conflicts of interest they could not hold liquor licenses in the communities that elected them.

The General Assembly amended the law last year to exempt communities of 50,000 or less and provide for delegation of liquor commissioner duties to another official in such cases. With Oak Park’s current populationat about 52,000, the Harmon amendment would slightly increase the exemption so it would apply to communities of 55,000 or less.

Doing so would allow Abu-Taleb to keep his liquor license for Maya del Sol and direct the other members of the Village Board to appoint a replacement liquor commissioner.

The amendment passed the senate 47-3 April 18, will go to the House in “a couple weeks,” reports Patch.

And a comment from a longtime resident of fairly high profile:

7:51 am on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

State Senator Don Harmon shows wisdom in addressing what could otherwise be a contentious situation in Oak Park and possibly other communities. Lawyers don’t have to give up their practices to be president of the Village Trustees but it would be unwise for them to practice law on behalf of the village while they’re president. A way would be found for them to serve but at the same time avoid any real or apparent conflict of interest. I wish our congress would act so wisely as State Senator Harmon has done and is doing.

Trade assn. to Oak Pk budget: Yr the best!

Let us hear it for OP budget as “policy document, financial plan, operations guide and communications vehicle,” says Government Finance Officer Association.

Making sure HS students live in OP or RF

New process this year, all at once verifying residency. Well received, Wed Jnl finds. (Publisher Haley as father thought so too.)

Anan on how Oak Park is “a Middle Eastern democracy”

In Anna Lothson’s very interesting post-election interview:

“We are not doing our trustees justice by not making them campaign and earn their vote. To me it’s the underlying issue of what is wrong with our town,” Abu-Taleb said. “One of my goals is to end this madness of having elections that are unopposed. … This is a Middle Eastern democracy as far as I’m concerned. I’ve lived in the Middle East and I don’t like it. I don’t like their kind of democracy. People need to step up.”

Early challenge for Abu-Taleb-led village board

Maneuvering something really really good onto Oak Park & Lake’s SE corner.

Big hole on hot corner. What does a business-friendly village do?


Changed head, as some may have noticed. Had it for Abu-Taleb alone, which is not quite it. More later, as matters develop in respect of this key distinction.

Damn fine victory speech

By Anan, Oak Park’s newly elected president.

VMA not a party, hiring a manager, long meetings and more . . . .

1. VMA not a party.


Posted: April 10th, 2013 10:17 AM

. . . . The VMA is a caucus not a party. The Trustees do not regularly consult with the “VMA leadership” The truth is that [trustees who resigned a few years back] didn’t realize how much work was involved for the wages that were peanuts. Its a thankless job. They didn’t know it was to be so much work.

—> At the first forum, Abu-Taleb got quick spontaneous laugh in his quick response as to why he was running for president having never been a trustee: “For the money.” See below about long meetings. ————-v

2. Village president not a mayor:

To Everyone

Posted: April 10th, 2013 1:56 PM

Please do not confuse yourselves with the idea that Anan can do everything on his own, for good or bad. Remember, the village president is not a mayor. have a problem with your street or sewer, call the village manager or the village engineer. If you really want to change the way things get done, then you have to vote in a whole new board. For that to be done we need more candidates to run. If we had a real board, we would not have hired the current village manager, just as an example.

—-> Current manager good or bad (dunno), hiring the manager gets to the heart of what a president and other trustees can do. Question is, what experience and mentality and priorities-focus does a board bring to hiring a manager or monitoring his or her performance? Monitoring how he or she runs the ship of village, picking heads of departments, whom he or she monitors, etc. Boards don’t run things directly, but set tone and influence how things are run.

3. Turning point of just concluded campaign:

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois Facebook Verified

Posted: April 10th, 2013 4:17 PM

. . . . I thought the turning point . . . was the position expressed by the former Village attorney that a liquor license issue would disqualify Mr. Abu-Taleb from holding office. That matter is going to be easily resolved but Heise’s letter and some of the other ill advised attempts to discredit the candidate bordered on being meanspirited and over the top. Thankfully, both candidates were able to stay above the fray and focus on issues that matttered to voters. . . . .

—-> Yes. It was a shocker.

4. The long-meetings issue (& their frequency, brought up by Anan in the campaign):

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois Facebook Verified

Posted: April 10th, 2013 4:57 PM

. . . . President David Pope’s performance in office during the time that Brock and Baker served as board members was very discouraging as it seemed that he deliberately allowed every board meeting to needlessly drag on into the early hours of the morning. . . . .  Interesting to note, he completely stopped those shenanigans once he regained control of the board. I’m hopeful that those tactics will not resurface.

—-> Meetings are under control of the president more than any other trustee. Chairing meetings will bring into play Anan’s skill set probably more than any other matter.

5. Looking for villainess? Cherchez la Trapani.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois Facebook Verified

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:15 PM

Re your post about David Pope early days as president and the impact on the non-VMA board members. I think it is hard to put all the blame on David. The real harassment of all trustees began with President Trapani. She brought a tremendous amount of angst into the board room with her Gen.Patton style leadership. Her 2nd term opened the door for a big loss of power by the VMA at a critical time in the village. 

It was 2005 – the first year of Pope as Pres, when it was revealed that the village was having financial problem. Pope did not have majority trustee support – Milstein, Marsey, Brady, Brock, and Baker, were all asking tough question on the DTOP TIF expansion and extension. Pope was the driver of the DTOP Tif, but had consistent board support from Ray Johnson only. At that time, the VMA actively and publicly took policy positions, some nasty, in support of the DTOP Tif.

By 2007, with VMA board clout waning, the VMA went all in by raising $70,000 to restore a loyal majority elected majority. They won. Since then, the VMA expanded their power to a super-majority in 2009 and held it until this election. While Pope added a lot of flame to the days of non-VMA challenges, it was Trapani who set the fire.

6. Voter turnout analyzed:

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois Facebook Verified

Posted: April 11th, 2013 1:03 AM

. . . . turnout [in village govt. voting] increased from 17% in 2011 to 23%. . . .  significant increase, but not one to brag about. . . . Factors that added to the increase: 1) increased coverage by the press particularly the Wednesday Journal. Their coverage was keynoted by Dan Haley’s spirited conversation with the candidates at the library, 2) Anan’s creation of a new voter base and his small, but energetic and smart campaign team. To attain such strong positive name recognition as quickly as he did was phenomenal, particularly against a candidate as strong as John Hedges. . . .  4) I think the turnout would have been higher if the VMA trustee and village clerk position had been challenged. Nearly 2,000 voters voted for Hedges or Anan, but did not cast a vote for any trustees.  . . . .

7. Faux inclusiveness:

Revolutiôn MacInnes from Oak Park, Illinois Facebook Verified

Posted: April 11th, 2013 9:48 AM

. . . .  Oak Park needs to stop its faux inclusiveness and create a truly open and integrated community. . . . .

—–> I’m gonna remember that one.

Oh to be in Downtown Oak Park . . .

. . . now that April’s here:

The International Downtown Association recognized the business district as its “Downtown of Month” in April. It’s just the third downtown association to receive the honor, following the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District and Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

Yet another reason why John Hedges lost: This news missed the campaign by days!

IDA spokesman Kevin Moran said two major factors are considered: commitment to best practices and diversity of organization. Oak Park stood out because of programming and strategic collaborations.

“Oak Park is a great example of a smaller organization making a large impact,” Moran said in the release.

On the IDA website, a feature about Downtown Oak Park states, “The diverse array of boutiques, restaurants and entertainment options make Downtown Oak Park a thriving ‘destination’ business district.”

A destination to which the village might lure professional firms and the like looking for office space, President Anan said in an early forum.

Corporate lackeys, look out

Some noteworthy comments in the wake of the Abu-Taleb victory:

1. The lackey problem (a bit on the bizzaro side):

Corporate VMA

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:17 PM

You still have two administrative level bankers, and a corporate attorney at the helm of Oak Park. Until you get rid of the rest of the corporate lackeys, I’m afraid you have not won.

2. The good-guy approach:

[Trustee] Ray Johnson from Oak Park, Illinois2_17_13_2_1_20x20-3B5998.png Facebook Verified Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:09 PM

We’ve all benefited from John Hedges years of service and I thank him for all he has done. Congratulations to Anan and his team. We now move forward together with a spirit of cooperation focused on common ground and the needs of all residents. We have lots to do and I’m as committed as ever.

3. Ditto:

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois2_17_13_2_1_20x20-3B5998.png Facebook Verified

Posted: April 9th, 2013 11:05 PM

Ray Johnson’s comment is a great sign of a new day. We all need to work as one.

4. Good sport:

Jon Hale from Oak Park, Illinois2_17_13_2_1_20x20-3B5998.png Facebook Verified

Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:27 AM

Congratulations to our new Village President on a decisive victory last night.

5. Poignant:

Come pave my street

Posted: April 10th, 2013 7:48 AM

Congrats to Anan! Great victory. Now let’s all quit bickering and somebody come pave my street please.

6. Oak Park’s lazy & difficult buildings dept:

Steve from Oak Park

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:19 AM

Anan’s victory shouldn’t be a surprise. Many residents of Oak Park know the challenges of dealing with the entrenched power at the village hall. I recently worked with a large group to open a not for profit business in the area. We opened in Oak Park but it was a nightmare. The buildings department was lazy and difficult at best. Conversely when we looking for space in Forest Park, the head of the Bldgs Department personally offered to help us look. A complete 180 from the Oak Park team.

7. Impressed by the voters:

RTW_Anan voter from Oak Park

Posted: April 10th, 2013 11:21 AM

The postings here that degrade the credentials of a candidate are pure hatred, resentment and smack of poor losers who are so desperate they have to resort to character assassination. An old story in this town… I’m impressed that the voters came out this time to support such a worthy candidate as Anan Abu-Taleb, now our Oak Park Village President Elect! Congratulations to Anan’s campaign workers–outstanding job by all!

And that’s all for now, folks.