Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Oak Park's architectural integrity (cough, cough)

"Oak Park is losing its architectural integrity," laments a letter to the editor of the Wednesday Journal (11/24/15).

Nonsense! Just take a look at the architectural splendor that Oak Park has to offer.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

R.I.P. Tasty Dog

As Oak Parkites contemplate what the village micromanagers should do with the Tasty Dog site, we thought we'd throw a few ideas of our own into the lukewarm hot dog water ...

First, the obvious: another hot dog stand, but with a twist: vegan, cage-free, gluten-free tofu dogs.

In the interim before the new joint opens, how about a seasonal shop? Perhaps a holiday boutique with holiday decorations -- nothing Christmas-specific, mind you, so as not to offend the natives.

But why limit ourselves to the conventional? Let's go for something bold and different. A clothing shop, perhaps. Not another Lane Bryant, but maybe clothes for pets (no, wait; we've got one of those already). Or Unamerican Apparel. Or No-Men's Wearhouse. A hemp formalwear shop. Or a resale shop specializing in agender and gender-fluid articles.

A movie theatre, featuring foreign art films with foreign-language subtitles.

An e-book stand.

Wait, I've got it: Smug Shop, with everything the prototypical Oak Parker needs. "My other car is a Prius, too" bumper stickers. "Bernie 2020" campaign buttons. TVs and radios that receive only PBS and NPR. Bullhorns for drowning out unsafe speech.

The one thing we don't need? A gas station for our electric cars.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Oak Park bans mason jars, sparking hipster revolt

OK, Oak Park hasn't yet banned mason jars, but it wouldn't surprise us given the village's penchant for regulation.

Trends: Mason Jars (, 4/12/11)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Oak Park jumps the shark

From the Chicago Tribune (March 6, 2015):
A Black History Month event at Oak Park and River Forest High School may have kick-started a schoolwide discussion on race — but not in the way school officials intended.

Several white parents, none of whom would speak on the record, expressed confusion and dismay that their children were prevented from participating in a "Black Lives Matter" event Feb. 27 that was limited to black students only....

The white parents reported that their students were turned away when they tried to attend the Black Lives Matter event. The parents said they were offended that in a school and community that prides itself on diversity and inclusion that students who wanted to attend would be excluded.

[Principal Nathaniel] Rouse, who has been principal at the school for seven years, said the decision to allow only black students was based in an idea known as affinity grouping. In an affinity group, the philosophy is that students of one racial persuasion are able to express themselves fully and safely....

Though the affinity groups began with black students, Rouse said he hopes to have similar groups in the near future for white, Latino and Asian students. And once the students have had their say in the individual groups, he hopes to culminate the effort with a school-wide event that lets all students talk about race together.

A statement on the school's website is consistent with the Tribune article, although it doesn't mention that white students were turned away from the event, and it doesn't commit to holding a future "affinity group" meeting just for white students:
On a final note, some students and parents expressed confusion and concern about the event being for Black students only. Information about the event lacked clarity about this aspect of the conversation, and the high school is committed to improving communications in the future. Further conversations among and across other racial affinity groups shall take place at the high school in the coming months and into next year.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Forest Park snubs Oak Park

OPRF High School recently floated the idea of using nearby Forest Park's vacant Altenheim property for its sports programs. Forest Park's mayor promptly quashed the idea, presumably because the sale wouldn't do anything to benefit Forest Park residents, and the property would be exempt from real estate taxes.

It's bad enough that Oak Park overtaxes its own residents; now it wants to cut into neighboring communities' tax bases, too. Of course, if Oak Park would finally stop blocking the long-delayed expansion of the Eisenhower Expressway, perhaps Forest Park would be willing to sit down and talk.