Abu-Taleb hits hard in Oak Leaves story

In the last full week of the campaign for Oak Park village board president, candidate Anan Abu-Taleb comes on hard:

Abu-Taleb argued that at the heart of many village problems is an insular candidate slating process that excludes most citizens.  “Candidates for the (Village Manager’s Association) pledge their allegiance to a party and not to the community,” he said.

. . . .

“If I wasn’t running, there’d be no talk of our financial condition, of the structural deficit,” he said. “I’m saying we have to do something now. We need to change before we’re forced to change.”

. . . .

“The issues are the financial issues, the debt, the empty store fronts. Those issues are directly threatening the base this community is built on,” he said.“Our government is indifferent, we think we’re better than others,” he said, calling that a mistake.

“We’re good. We’re not better than other municipalities. We need to say, ‘Oak Park is open for business.’”

. . . .

Abu-Taleb estimated Oak Park has “spent close to $150 million over the years on business development and look what we have on Madison Street. Empty store fronts.”

Running alone, he’s not alone, he says.

He scoffed at suggestions his inexperience and outsider status hampers him.

“Don’t tell me that I can’t bring six people together to benefit the community.”

He added that he does have support among the current village board. “Two trustees urged me to run for this office too,” he said.

Two other incumbent trustees are running unopposed, as is a non-incumbent for trustee and the incumbent village clerk, all with Village Manager Assn. (VMA) endorsement.

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