Category Archives: Uncategorized

Oak Park’s thieves on bicycycles — nailed by OP cops

Oak Park is handy to young thieves:

“Criminals can simply hop on a bicycle, cross the border to commit crimes and then flee back into a dense urban neighborhood,” said Police Chief Rick Tanksley. He described the situation as “among the disadvantages of sharing a border with [Chicago].” 

Wow. It’s a border. Used to be the city line. Border crossings are at the heart of this problem.

But cops are on the job. Crucial job it is.

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Abu-Taleb vs. Hedges: fiscal troubles

At the March 1 forum at the Carleton Hotel, village board presidential candidate Anan Abu-Taleb dropped info about Oak Park’s finances that deserved a response from candidate John Hedges. But the response was weak.

The village is $100 million in debt, said Abu-Taleb, and has a meager 58% funded of its $126 million in pension obligations, including fire and police pensions, whose shortfall last year rose from $105 million to $106 million.

Pension funds had negative balances in seven of the last 11 years, for what he called a structural deficit. Village staff tells him the village is planning on its funds earning an unrealistic 8% annually, he said.

Hedges, who has been a village trustee since 2007, implicitly conceded the accuracy of the figures, which are backed up aggressively by a Better Government Assn. report, but surprisingly dismissed them. “The big issue is the property tax,” he said. “Our finances are in fine shape.”

This was their first time on the hustings in this campaign, which ends April 9, and Hedges has time to recoup. But it was not a promising start for him.

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Blithe Spirit

Oak Park’s own Don Harmon, senator in Springfield, up and coming star of the Illinois senate and as township committeeman top dog in the Democratic (Progressive) Party of Oak Park, has a kink in his armor? 

Say it ain’t so.

Since bringing an influential state legislator on board as a partner in 2005, a small Chicago law firm has secured at least $6.3 million in legal work from state agencies that receive funding and oversight from the General Assembly, the Better Government Association has learned.

While that relationship smacks of a conflict of interest, it’s not the only curiosity involving the legislator, state Sen. Don Harmon, and the firm where he’s a partner, Burke Burns & Pinelli Ltd.

Oh my, and he looks so innocent.  No choir boy looks more so.

The BGA also found that Harmon – a Democrat from Oak Park who once served as deputy legal…

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