Park Village Trustee David Pope offers His Platform in his run for Village President.
Thoughtful Leadership. Inspired Service.
My wife and I made a very conscious decision to return to Oak Park, to
a home that is only a dozen blocks from my own childhood home on North
Cuyler. We were drawn by the Village’s continuing commitment to
values that we share, and we remain deeply invested in the future of
this community. Oak Park is a very special place.
It is far more than just another bedroom community, a quick El
ride from the Loop. Oak Park is really a mindset, and a way of
As a current Trustee, I understand only too well how this way of
life will be impacted for decades to come by decisions that will be
taken by the Village Board over the next four years.
Real leadership, thoughtful leadership, unifying leadership, will be
required to help us reach our brightest future without undermining the
vital cornerstones from our past. I commit to you that, as
Village President, I will bring that type of leadership back to Oak
Park. The word “trust” is embedded in the word “trustee”, and I
am humbled by the trust that you have already placed in me. I
come before you today, asking you to extend that trust, and to support
my candidacy for Village President on April 5th.
for Action – Envisioning Our Future
Many possible paths lay ahead of us. I
believe that if we remain true to our community’s values, and we build
upon our strengths, we can realize our brightest future. A number
of key elements will require our focus.
Financial Responsibility that Supports Diversity: Costs of
providing services across all governing bodies are increasing at
5% each year. Unchecked, this will present a real threat to our
community’s character as we inevitably begin to tax increasing numbers
of residents out of Oak Park, decreasing our level of economic
diversity, forcing out longtime residents and business owners, and
disproportionately negatively impacting our elderly
and lower income populations. We might even get to a point
where we see a steady and significant erosion of property values
themselves, if prospective home buyers and business owners begin to
choose other communities over Oak Park because of our higher tax
The steps that we can take to guard against this scenario include:
Work with other
governing bodies (School Districts, Park District, Township, and
Library) to facilitate coordinated five-year operational, capital, and
Adopt a disciplined and consistent financial review process for all
Fully implement performance measurement to increase efficiency in
Village delivery of services
Establish a Financial Advisory Committee to support strong financial
Smart Sustainable Growth and Development: Handled appropriately,
we can capture significant benefits from combined public and private
investment that balances our social, environmental, and economic
needs. We can do this in an environment that encourages openness
and communication, and in
a way that enables us to actually get appropriate projects underway
sooner and built faster, without the gridlock, frustration, and anger
that we’ve come to see as inevitable.
outcome objectives, strong corresponding plans and relevant measurement
indicators that guide the evaluation of development alternatives
Ensure that Quality of Life impacts and Economic implications are well
understood before decisions are made
Emphasize basic principles of “Smart Growth” including: Walkable
Neighborhoods, Parks and Open Space, Architectural Heritage, a Mix of
Residential and Retail, Convenient Public Transit, strong Cultural
Institutions, and a defined process that is predictable, fair, and
Cooperation for Educational Excellence: Performance pressures,
tax caps, and funding constraints place very real challenges upon
our schools. But why am I, as a Village President candidate,
addressing this issue? Because educational quality is a
fundamental pillar of our community. As a Village, we must
cooperate with our school districts to ensure that they can meet our
community’s high expectations.
payouts to District 97and District 200 from an enhanced TIF Carve-out
schedule – based on the
Downtown Master Plan’s increased development and investment
projections, thus reducing tax pressures on residents and property
owners over time.
Support Early Childhood Care and Education as an investment in our
future that benefits the most vulnerable among us, and that pays us all
back. Work with D97, D200, the Park
District and The Collaborative for Early Childhood Care and Education,
as no group can do this alone.
Thriving Small Businesses: Independent local businesses are the
backbone of our neighborhood business districts, adding uniqueness and
character to our community.
priority objectives to assist small independent businesses, and work
with Oak Park Development Corporation to strengthen and execute
Return to Fundamental Principles of Good
The Board must reestablish its policy-making role, taking back the
direction-setting responsibility too often left to others, while
stepping back from its inclination to micromanage.
Work with the
community to chart direction and determine priorities, then allocate
resources and evaluate results.
Move beyond the “politics of four votes” and partisanship, to return to
fact-based, transparent decision making
Reject back-room politics and reach across the partisan divide
to actively bring people together in an environment
of openness, honesty, and respect, both at the Board table and with
Our Modern Heritage
The Oak Park of my youth was a community that was not afraid
to confront important issues and challenges head on.
Forward-thinking leadership guided adoption of the Council-
Manager form of government, separating day-to-day municipal service
delivery from the rough and tumble of partisan politics and
smoke-filled rooms. In the 1960’s and 70’s, the open housing
movement was spearheaded by courageous and visionary leaders who, in
confronting racism and economic fear-mongering, helped
the community to see diversity as a core strength and
non-discrimination as a moral imperative. These efforts, and
other since, have set the Village on a strong path that is reflected
in the character, core values, and desirability of our community.
Current Challenges. Real Opportunities.
As Village President, I will offer a return to a different kind of
leadership, unifying our community and bridging gaps that have
developed in recent years. I know the importance of hearing
diverse opinions, and I will treat residents, commission members, and
my Board colleagues with respect. At the same time, I will
help return us to efficient, fact-based, transparent decision-making,
the kind of decision-making that residents and business-owners
alike tell me that they want to see. And I will help us as a
Board return our focus to policy leadership, and avoid political
We face real issues today. The strong path of our past is not a
guarantee for our future. At the same time, we have tremendous
opportunities ahead of us. With thoughtful leadership, our future
will be bright.
To contact our campaign please call 708-802-1212 or email