Monthly Archives: May 2013

Harmon’s restaurants that serve firewater

Sen. Don continues concerned about restaurant mayhem. Is this new with him, or has it been worrying him all along?

Harmon wanted a clear proposal banning handguns in all restaurants, but the version passed Friday allows guns to be carried into restaurants with no more than 50 percent of their sales from alcohol.

Harmon wanted the measure to prevent guns from being carried into any establishment where alcohol can be consumed. Restaurant owners, however, still have the prerogative to place signs stating that no guns are allowed on the premises.

And why hasn’t he been telling us? Has he got specific restaurants in mind? I don’t go out much, but am getting worried about this.


Eating with gang-bangers in Oak Park

Sen. Don Harmon about the proposed new gun law . . .

. . . supported the idea of banning guns in places that serve alcohol, especially in his hometown of Oak Park where many restaurants would fall into that category. “I don’t think I would want to be worrying about who is carrying a weapon while I’m at dinner,” he said.

I’d put it differently: I would not want to be worrying about who is ready to kill someone. And I would ask if the new bill would add to that # of people in Oak Park.

I would also reference this online comment from CGS, posted today at 9:32 a.m.:

The gang bangers on the streets of Oak Park and Chicago are already armed, illegally. Law abiding gun owners who go through rigorous back ground checks and training are not the problem in our society. law abiding gun owners are not breaking out shooting people. Carry Concealed has not caused the wild west in the 49 other states.

Doubling down on that last, asking how it’s going in the 49 other states.

Oh to be in Oak Park, New South Wales

This Australian Oak Park has a certain flavor that has escaped our Illinois version:

There are bookies and race clubs for and against closed [betting] rings. Oak Park . . . is adamant it doesnt wish to change the working relationship with the four bookies they have given exclusive rights to operate.

Yes, we have no bookies here. That we know of.

Kiss his ass, he said

“It’s a grand old 50-meter pool,” says Jack Crowe today in Wed Jnl, referring to Ridgeland. Yes, but not as old as we who played touchball and hit fungoes to each other in the late ’40s on the grassy flatland that was there pre-pool.

Where a guy named Duffy once told the lot of us to kiss his Irish ass. First time I’d heard it. Was a nice touch, I thought then. He said it confidently, facing us, got away with it easily.

Upon what meat do these commenters feed?

Much ado about something in the 50-plus comments about meatless Mondays, the prize for which goes to the prolific initiator of this string, John Butch Murtagh, whose weekly meatless days go back so many years for him as a Catholic as to gain him a waiver on same until 2033.

Two things:

1. What the article said about our own Berkeley on the Prairie in the apparent dead seriousness of the unannounced co-conspirators who spoke up for meatless Mondays, three minutes each at public comment time at the village lawmakers’ meeting, and in the lawmakers’ willingness to give it time afterward.

Later came the dutiful reading by the president of a proclamation of a week dedicated to public works! Thank God. The public works people, contractors and the like, needed that, feeling out of sorts as they have been by news of sequester and the rest from Washington.

Which leads to the second thing,

2. How such items nibble away at lawmaking time, becoming a deterrent to public interest in the public interest.

Indeed, the above-mentioned JB Murtagh gave kudos (Greek word for honor and praise, same for singular and plural, NOT plural of kudo, which is a sound signaling nothing) to newly hatched trustee Peter Barber, who demonstrated wisdom beyond his years or days on the board by wondering whether he and the other trustees ought to “leave it up to the board of health and not be overly involved since he didn’t see it as a high priority for the village,” as reported by Wed. Journal’s Anna Lothson.

Let us now praise this new trustee Barber for his willingness to prioritize items for consideration. Ever in my mind at such moments is the unwillingness to do this years ago by an OPRFHS parent in a 20-person round-table discussion of how to allocate money for this or that, who rejected the suggestion (mine) that it was time for triage (battlefield hospital-tent term for treating only the treatable). Not on your life, said this parent, a zealous adherent to one of the allocation possibilities before us.

Not saying this board would be so foolish. But honestly, does it want to be snookered by yet another pressure group eager to hijack its prestige and gravitas and high-profile news coverage? Egad, the meatless commenters had been to the Board of Health and would be returning to it, but were seeking lawmakers’ support! Full-court press, people. Pay attention.

GOP here, now

Oak Park GOP rising.

May 20 Village Board: Order in the village

At one point in the May 20 village board meeting, Village President Anan Abu-Taleb described three Oak Park business strips as each unique — Oak Park Avenue from Van Buren to Garfield, OP Ave. south of South Boulevard, and Lake Street. This in a general discussion of zoning variances and how to give them.

This gave pause to Trustee Ray Johnson, sitting to his immediate right. “Does this mean applying different standards to each?” he asked.

Abu-Taleb paused a fraction, then asked, “Why not?”

To which, Johnson, taken aback, replied, “That would cause confusion.”

Here, in businessman Abu-Taleb’s first full board meeting as president, was the evening’s stark contrast between and entrepreneurial mentalities.

As entrepreneur, you look for your opportunities and you seize them. As organizer, you bring order out of chaos or what looks like it. The one optimistically (some would say myopically) moves ahead. The other cautiously (some would say obsessively) holds back.

There will be more of this, Abu-Taleb injecting his perspective, others holding to what they feel is tried and true, keeping order in the village.

Meanwhile, much talk, phrases such as:

* “I’m where you are”

* “tighter parameters”

* “We need to do that”

* “pots of money”

* “matrix”

* “operationalize”

* “I hear what you’re saying”

Technical, complicated, mixed with standard meeting talk. Trustee Colette Lueck’s voice pitch rises at the end of declarative sentences. You can imagine her looking around a table, seeking real-time affirmation or signs of understanding, point by point. Habit bred of many hours (hundreds?) sitting at such tables, gauging acceptance.

She’s persistent. She seeks to “structure discussion,” requiring the explicit where others are satisfied with the implicit. At one point she protested, “We haven’t talked about” such and such. Very funny moment when Trustee Johnson turned, said, “I’ve been talking about it,” emphasis on “I’ve.”

The village manager, a cool head, seeks to help, clarifying. She sits with the lawyer, another cool one, at one end, the two of them speaking up periodically, the one to clarify, the other to specify requirements. The lawyer at one point stumps them all with a conundrum, including the two citizen chairs — Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals — who had brought ordinance language for trustee approval.

Abu-Taleb stumbled briefly on procedure. It didn’t matter that he called for vote without discussion on five candidates for citizen commissions, a formality in this case. But it did when he called one for motions from Plan Commission and Zoning board, to “accept” or “receive” language on zoning-variance matters referenced above.

Trustee Lueck, on Abu-Taleb’s left, gently reminded him sotto voce, offering something on the order of “You want short meetings but not this short.” Of course he didn’t. I chuckled if no one else did.

Later, when her objection had apparently been answered as to inadequate discussion of the planning and zoning issues, Anan turned and checked with her before calling the vote: “All right, Colette?” It seemed a fairly relaxed moment to me, if perhaps not to others.

Indeed, the meeting I attended — arriving at 8:10*, leaving at 9:45 with the Planning-Zoning matters completed — was characterized by an atmosphere of the “collegial and productive working relationship” called for by Trustee Adam Salzman at the May 6 meeting.

As for business-friendliness, Abu-Taleb made another reference to it during the zoning-variance discussion, asking if Chamber of Commerce people had been part of Plan Commission discussions. They had not, apparently. [Yes they were. See below.]


* Thus missing the meatless-Monday work of art, about which more later . . .

Blame it on the expressway, Pope tells Democrats revisited . . .

. . . at Wednesday Journal, FYI.

With early comment:

joe from south oak park

Posted: May 22nd, 2013 3:45 AM

So highways are responsible for the `white flight` of the 60`s. Folks here are incorrectly blaming the vehicle and not the person. Whites left the austin neighborhood in the 60`s because they didn’t want to live in an integrated neighborhood. This was likely influenced more by historical ideas about race among many whites, the race riots in Chicago and the fear of declining home values. Chicago and Oak Park would not be what they are today without I-290 and the railway.

‘Is Oak Park Hosting the Next Gosnell?’

Blithe Spirit

This Oak Park IL doctor will revive Kansas’ abortion practice.

OAK PARK, Ill., May 20, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — There’s only one abortion clinic in the state of Kansas, and Oak Park family doctor Cheryl Chastine owns it. The clinic, South Wind Women’s Center, recently opened in the same office in Wichita where notorious abortionist George Tiller operated. Like the recently convicted Kermit Gosnell, Tiller performed late term abortions on babies that were unquestionably old enough to survive outside the womb.

Kansas law requires that medical facilities be owned by a licensed doctor. When they couldn’t find a physician in the entire state of Kansas willing to take on ownership of South Wind, investors and abortion advocates seeking to re-open Tiller’s Wichita location tapped Oak Park’s Cheryl Chastine to put her name on the business and perform abortions there. Chastine agreed, and has signed herself onto the deadly…

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Spotlight on Anan: Reinstating Colt TIF

New village president Anan Abu-Taleb is ready to go ahead with Colt Building site completion, reinstating use of TIF money. He and outgoing President David Pope wrote school boards arguing that it’s good for all concerned. Does this contradict Anan’s campaign statements about TIF (tax increment financing of development)?

On March 19 at the Chamber of Commerce forum, Anan presented TIF as a procedural issue. The village had failed to file yearly TIF reports as required, effectively closing the TIF books to the high school board, he said. The high school subsequently had sued the village “with our money,” leading the village to defend itself also “with our money.” This TIF filing was an issue, he said. (Not an issue, said opponent Hedges.)

On March 21 at Irving School (SEOPCO forum), Anan again accused the incumbent board of TIF mismanagement, referring (a) to its reluctance to close a TIF down when it was not achieving its goals, returning the money to schools and other taxing bodies, and (b) to its failing to comply with reporting requirements, as he had said two days earlier.

Best I can verify, Anan did not condemn the use of TIF money while campaigning. His May 6 letter (with David Pope) seems not to contradict campaign statements.