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Rome wasn't built in a day...and neither was your street

One day last week, I was waiting at the bus stop with my son before school when we heard that sound. You know the one. Crunching plastic and metal that is characteristic of a crash. When we looked down the street, a sporty make/model had been trying to make a left turn out of the alley with parked cars blocking the view. This is exactly the situation we've been trying to prevent with the new traffic light which is due for installation any day (supposedly) at the next intersection down where we were standing.

But it was a long, winding process from the time our local business association asked that the Right Turn Only restriction be removed to the approval of the new traffic light. That initial meeting predates my almost-three years on the Transportation Commission. There's been fighting with the state over the design and funding. The the lowest bid was double what was expected at the time of approval. And my sinking feeling as I watched the drivers sort out their information …
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Why I March for Science

It would be too easy to say "for my kids" and leave it at that. When thousands gather to March for Science in Chicago on Saturday, we're marching for progress for humanity that only science can bring. It seems fairly obvious that nearly every aspect of modern life is deeply influenced by our past investment in evidence-based policy, education, and research. From the cell phone in your pocket to the moon landing, America does science better than anyone. And many (most?) of our best accomplishments in science came via government support. If we expand our vision slightly, science has also given us our national parks, preserves our history, and keeps our economy thriving.

But there are cracks in America's science program.

There are those willing to sacrifice our clean water and air. They deny climate change. They deny that vaccines are one of our best medical techniques for saving lives. They wish to lower the amount of research dollars given to important studies. They …

How to find the right people to hire

As I've written about previously here on the blog, I'm looking for work now that my kids will both be back in school next fall. I started in January and have had fairly wide-ranging experience so far. I've had interviews, seen a few scams, joined a few offbeat websites, and found my favorite places (and keywords) to browse. I've had contact with a few jobs where the details s-l-o-w-l-y trickle out and I have to politely decline because the fit wasn't right. That wastes both my time and theirs.

And I've developed a few pet peeves.

Employers, I'm sure you have just as many complaints about employees. I don't want to turn this post into me just griping. So, instead, I thought I'd offer a few helpful pieces of advice on how to attract better candidates. If you want to hire somebody amazing, you need to know what appeals to that kind of worker.

In no particular order, 10 suggestions for employers about what potential employees want to see in your job ads…

Quit infantilizing children!

My hometown in Ohio had what I thought was a heartwarming story about preschoolers who were upset with fracking in the state's only national forest. So they sent drawings to officials involved with the process to be included in the public record. (A chilling testimony for the future, if you ask me.) It was a great piece on young minds caring about the world.

Then I read the comments.

I wasn't surprised that many of the people leaving messages blamed the parents for brainwashing. Or worse. They painted the preschoolers in the story as innocents who could not possibly understand the complicated economics of natural gas extraction. To the internet, these idealistic kids were being used by adults for political purposes. It never occurred to these cynics that a 5 year old could have their own moral compass or their own ideas.

I'd seen it during the campaign to pass our local school referenda. When students organized to march and hold a rally asking voters to protect their favor…

Who I'm backing in the Oak Park local elections (April 4, 2017)

We're very lucky in Oak Park to have a deep bench. Our community is involved, smart, and progressive. In many instances, with multiple candidates vying for a handful of seats, you can't go wrong in who you select in the voting booth.

These are simply my selections and a few were difficult choices. I've even been swapping a few names in my last edit as I have one-on-one conversations and rethink some candidate positions. Consider these suggestions. But they've risen to the top in my mind for their views on everything from Oak Park transportation issues to their vision for keeping student needs first in long-term school planning. I hope they reflect our diversity and commitment to good governance.

(Candidates, if you feel like you'd like a chance to make me reconsider I'm happy to have a conversation about why I'm voting the way I am for a given position. Feel free to reach out.) 
Oak Park Village Board: Peter Barber (incumbent)
Glenn Brewer (incumbent) Deno …

Saving Oak Park schools

I understand the frustration of Oak Park taxpayers who are being asked to again raise their own taxes for the benefit of our schools. We have to do something about Oak Park's affordability. But there are right and wrong ways to tackle our high taxes. I wanted to share our family's story of why you should vote Yes on April 4 for District 97's referenda.

I moved to Oak Park 10 years ago for the exact same reasons everyone else does. The values, the diversity, the quality of life were all desirable. I've gotten involved and am a volunteer member of the Transportation Commission. We regularly socialize with neighbors. When my son was born in 2010, the excellent schools looked appealing as well. We wanted to stay here to raise a family. When he was younger and had a speech delay, he aged into the school district's Early Childhood program (at the time it was at Holmes) and we started meeting some of the families and teachers we're friends with to this day. He also sp…

The fight over the Democratic Party explained

For those who kept close eyes on the insides of the Democratic Party since a year ago, the battles over the weekend are familiar. A far left, populist wing of liberals tries to subvert the mainstream of the party in a hostile takeover attempt. Last year it was Bernie Sanders allies. Right up into the convention they made noise about the direction of things. Many consider this weekend's leadership struggle to be a proxy-war rematch of the two sides. Again, the Bernie wing lost and now many on the far left are complaining...even threatening to leave the party.

In my opinion, it was never really about "how Democrats will win." In 2018 or 2020 or at the local level. Though that's what the battle for party leadership is supposed to be about. No, the question is really about how we govern when we get our turn again. I'm not going to return to the arguments here about the need to embrace a more radical, hard left agenda. There are plenty of true believers who think Bern…