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August 28, 2013
Oak Park Public Library Veteran's Room Meeting

Village of Oak Park President Anan Abu-Taleb addresses the gathering of residents and Oak Park Village Trustee Robert Tucker is seated to the right.
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Introduction of the Speakers

The room soon became filled with people and all had opinions and many had topics to bring up.  Everything from young people riding bicycles on the sidewalks of downtown Lake Street and hitting elderly people to objections over the work being done by some of Village staff, concerning trees.

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The talks begin...

When will we get a livable wage in Oak Park for all workers?  When will it come to a vote?  Village of Oak Park President Anan Abu-Taleb and Oak Park Village Trustee Robert Tucker thought something could be done in month or so by the Board.

There were people who wanted to privatize everything and others that wanted good work and Unions to stay and even get better.  The majority of residents favored the idea of Unions. 

Residents wanted the existing Unions in the Village to get contracts, instead of working for many years without one. 
Anan Abu-Taleb said that it takes two side to come to an agreement.  The issues preventing an agreement did not come to the floor.

People wanted trees to be planted closer than 50 feet apart.  People wanted work done to Madison street, some would like it to be like Forest Park.  Forest Park won an award for their design.  Mr. Abu-Taleb thought that filling in 1.5 miles with mom and pop stores might be a bit much to ask for.

The Last part of the meeting...

A young African-American woman stands in the back of the room to pose a question, she begins by stating that she has comments about discrimination in Oak Park.  She has captured the attention of the room now and she goes on to explain that the discrimination she is concerned with is about dogs under 5 pounds, being prohibited from living in condos. She states that she has researched and spoken to many condo boards in the village and has found many of them prohibiting small dogs from being residents.

One person in the room objects, stating that he lives in a condo and small dogs are fine there and he knows of other condos where dogs are also permitted. 

A person objects to the high rate of taxes placed on Oak Park businesses and feels that these rates, discussed earlier at about nine dollars a square foot, are prohibitive of many small businesses.

Gerry Delaney has found herself with a handicapped permit for her car but very few places in Oak Park to her car and to be able to walk to a shopping destination. She states that she now often shops outside of Oak Park where handicapped parking is more accessible.

There were concerns about the Forest and Lake Street plans for construction, and the 20 story building that had been proposed for there. The Village stated that the original agreement had passed and the new company interested in the sight has only 30 to respond to the Villages request for a new dialog and a possible contract. 

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Many people were upset about artificial grass being used in Oak Park, though not controlled by the Village of Oak Park but rather District 97 and the Oak Park Parks Department, as well as District 200 (Oak Park and River Forest high school).

People also voiced opposition to any new construction from District 97 onto the parking lot of Village Hall.

A woman from the Galewood neighborhood of Chicago came to the meeting to complain about cigarettes being sold on North Avenue in Oak Park in a small mall area near Ridgeland, where cigarette tax had not been collected in Illinois.

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