Oak Park Chronicles

Among differences expressed by village board president candidates Anan Abu-Taleb and John Hedges at the March 1 forum at the Carleton Hotel was to what extent villagers are keyed into village-government matters.

Very little, says Abu-Taleb, who speaks of “disengagement of citizens from the governing process” as a major issue and wants to “bring people to the table.” (He’s a restaurateur, is he not?) He would be “a face for Oak Park,” engaging citizens in various ways, including in a monthly “open forum.”

To this Hedges played the (strong) commission card, in fact 26 of them, consisting of volunteers in many areas of public interest including issues to be voted on by trustees. They are almost all advisory — zoning has its own authority, to name one — and turn up periodically on board agenda, where they have their say as privileged sitters at a figurative board table, whether ignored…

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Wheeling Jesuit U., new JESUIT president

Here’s the guy and what they say about him (and in effect the whole WJU situation).

There’s a whole background on this here. If you are interested.

Suffice it to say, this looks like a happy ending to a very messy story.

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Am sorting through this latest from Wheeling, will have more later. Meanwhile, interest is obvious and widespread, to judge by views of this and other Wheeling Jesuit items. Later. 

Oak Park Chronicles

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…

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