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The approval of the sky-rise building at Lake and Forest highlights the "lack of democracy" that I have been observing with Oak Park's one-party system. It was quite noticeable if you look at the current dynamic that occurred with the Oak Park Plan Commission.
For those who have watched this process, the plan commission voted 4- 4 for the Lake and Forest sky-rise development. So the village board had to override the vote. There were four commissioners who voted against the development. Susan Roberts, one of those commissioners, was not reappointed to the plan commission when her position was up for renewal. Gail Moran, another commissioner, who voted for the development and whose term was up at the same time, was reappointed for another term. This seemed strange to me. In re-reading some of the materials related to the development, it seemed relevant that Gail Moran made comments in the press supporting the village board's point of view about this project. In addition I found out that Gail Moran is a Village Managers Association (VMA) member. It appears that the village president and board want the plan commission to rubber-stamp what the trustees wanted and not to represent the positions of other citizens.
The two latest plan commission appointments Sonny Ginsberg (Ginsberg Jacobs LLC) and Jeremy Burton (a partner of Williams Montgomery & John Co.) both are lawyers whose firms represent developers and contractors. They are also members of the VMA and not from the community at large.
I noticed that the people who got up and spoke for the sky-rise at the board meeting did not represent the citizens of Oak Park. They represented their specific special interest groups.
As an immigrant from Russia to America and Oak Park, I believed that a good democratic society can do many positive things and that the elected government would look out for the best interests of all of the people and the community. I attended most of the meetings regarding the sky-rise. I have become deeply disappointed in what I have observed and do not feel I am seeing democracy in action. I do not live in the immediate area of the development, but I see Oak Park as a special place with many tourists from all over the world admiring our village and its great architecture, which makes us all proud.
I am disappointed that the sky-rise for Lake and Forest has been approved. Our government seems to be following an ideology that does not serve the citizens of Oak Park by filling the commission with one view, the view held by the VMA.