Oak Park mayor against Chicago annexation proposal involving the village he loves
Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb said the village enjoys its small government and does not want to be part of Chicago, a move that Chicago mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy (D) has proposed.
"We are very proud of our community and Oak Park is a very desirable place to live," Abu-Taleb said in an interview with the West Cook News. "Even, if Mr. McCarthy’s proposal has any financial advantage for us, I don’t think that alone is enough."
Abu-Taleb said Oak Parkers like their voices to be heard and they do that through a small village government. In a big-city government, small-town voices could get lost, he said.
"We love our great schools, library, township and parks," Abu-Taleb said. "This community gives people a sense of belonging. I don’t think Oak Parkers would walk away from their autonomy, and they won’t hand over their public safety and other services to such large city government."
Abu-Taleb said he loves Oak Park: "I love the city of Chicago, but what I love more is the village of Oak Park and our sense of community."
McCarthy suggested annexing several suburbs of Chicago in order to help generate revenue to help pay pension payments, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The suburbs McCarthy suggested were Norridge, Oak Park, Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park, according to the article.
McCarthy spoke up about annexation during an endorsement session with the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board, according to the article, and he suggested that it would be a "double-barreled" solution because Chicago has suffered such a dramatic loss in population in recent years, as well as helping to pay pensions.
McCarthy called the annexation a "political football" and said that annexing the suburbs would expand Chicago's tax base.
Other suburbs, including Evergreen Park, have spoken out against annexation.