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Candidate Seeks Two Public Mandates in D200 Election on April 9, 2013. The Wednesday Journal Censors Candidate

Should D200: 1) Repeal and Refund its 2002 Referendum; 2) Use a small portion of its ~$133 million cash hoard to fund a public, indoor, year-round aquatics and fitness center for all D200 residents?

A candidate in the race for the Oak Park-River Forest High School (OPRFHS) District 200 (D200) Board of Education (BOE), Barb Langer, seeks to create two public mandates in D200’s April 9, 2013 election. 

First, Langer is running for the BOE in part to help create a public mandate for the newly elected BOE to vote to Repeal and Refund D200’s 2002 Referendum.  That Referendum enables D200 to levy more than double the tax revenue it needs to break even each year.  Since the Referendum passed in 2002 and as of 20Dec2012, D200 said it accumulated $133 million in cash and investments.  D200’s wealth from the 2002 Referendum already exceeds the endowment of the University of Illinois at Chicago and should be worth $0.5 billion by 2031.  D200 thus operates as a for-profit business, which violates public policy and severely harms property taxpayers. 

Despite its cash hoard and taxpayer protests, D200 levied another 2.5% increase on 20Dec2012.  D200 doesn’t need taxpayer approval for these unnecessary annual levies so long as its 2002 Referendum remains in effect, which it will do forever, unless D200’s BOE votes to Repeal it.  On 28Feb2013, the D200 BOE passed a derisory “abatement”, in an apparent attempt to placate voters and support the reelection of an incumbent BOE member, Terry Finnegan, who angered many voters by advocating for D200's 20Dec2012 levy. 

If elected to D200’s BOE, the greater Langer’s margin of victory over other candidates, the greater the public mandate will be for the new BOE to Repeal and Refund D200’s 2002 Referendum.

Second, passage of Langer’s Advisory Question referendum would create another public mandate.  The Advisory Question asks if D200 should fund a public, indoor, year-round aquatics and fitness center for all D200 residents.  Langer urges voters to register their preference, for or against, by voting on April 9.  If elected, she would only work to implement the Advisory Question if it passes.

Voters are urged to carefully review the Handout for Voters, which explains how to stop D200 from raising our taxes every year and Langer's other goals for D200, including how to close the achievement gap at OPRFHS and reopen in-house remedial education, intensive tutoring and vocational training. The Handout is available free online at http://www.scribd.com/doc/132264862/Handout-for-Voters

After reading the Handout, voters are urged to register their preferences (for or against) each mandate by voting on April 9:

  • A vote FOR LANGER is a vote for the Repeal and Refund mandate and closing the achievement gap
  • A vote for any other D200 candidate would seem to be a vote for the status quo, i.e., for D200 to keep increasing taxes every year without voter approval.  
  • A vote for the D200 Advisory Question is a vote for the Aquatics and Fitness Center mandate. 
  • A vote against the D200 Advisory Question is a vote against the Aquatics and Fitness Center mandate. 

Voters can approve or disapprove either mandate without affecting their vote on the other mandate.

Apparent Censorship

The Wednesday Journal, a local newspaper serving Oak Park and River Forest (i.e., the two villages within School District 200), notified a candidate in the race for the D200 Board of Education, Dr. Barb Langer, on 26Mar2013, that it is excluding her from its web site where it lists the names and photos of the other candidates in that race:  i.e., http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/1-22-2013/A-look-at-who's-running-in-the-District-200-race/

The Wednesday Journal refused to publish Langer’s name and photo with those of the other candidates and refused to link her name and photo to her official “Candidate Statement”, which she submitted in response to the paper’s candidate survey.  Langer’s official Candidate Statement is the same “Handout for Voters” that she sent to Patch yesterday. 

Langer believes that the Wednesday Journal’s actions amount to censorship of her candidacy and her official Candidate Statement from its aforementioned D200 candidate website.  The Wednesday Journal posted the name, photo and often-less responsive Candidate Statements from all of the other candidates who submitted them, and the paper continues to do so for a candidate who withdrew from the race, i.e., David Perkovich.

Langer added the following notice about the Wednesday Journal’s censorship to the Summary Page of her attached Handout for Voters, since otherwise, voters who rely on the above oakpark.com website will not be aware that Langer is a candidate and what her goals for D200 are:

"CENSORED: The Wednesday Journal declined in writing to: 1) accept this Handout for Voters as Langer’s official “Candidate Statement”, which it is, 2) list Langer along with the other candidates for the D200 BOE and 3) link Langer’s name and photo to this Handout For Voters at http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/1-22-2013/A-look-at-who's-running-in-the-District-200-race/"

The Wednesday Journal censored a Viewpoints article Langer submitted last year, after first accepting it for publication.  The article, which opposed D200’s unnecessary new levy on 20Dec2012, called for volunteers to become candidates for the D200 BOE and to run on a platform to Repeal and Refund D200’s 2002 Referendum.  Taxpayers United of America subsequently published Langer’s article:   http://www.taxpayersunitedofamerica.org/uncategorized/stop-oak-park-and-river-forest-high-school-district-200-from-raising-our-property-taxes-on-december-20

Thank you.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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