New alderman brings change & continuity

President's Message | By Greg Nagel 

This spring brings transformation to East Village, but also many reassuring constants.

First, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the contribution of the East Village Association's outgoing two-term president, John Scheer. I served as John's vice president for two years and was always impressed with his diplomacy and ability to form consensus among the group. I'm going to strive to emulate John that way. John did a great job and I think we owe him gratitude for his dedication and contribution to our community.

As I'm sure you have heard, Mayor Daley has appointed a new 1st Ward alderman, Joe Moreno. Some of you might be familiar with Joe from 2008, when he ran unsuccessfully for Illinois' 2nd District seat as state senator. There were eight challengers for the state senate and all of them lost to their incumbents.

I got a chance to talk with Joe after his appointment as alderman. "I will be looking to the community groups for their advice and counsel," he said. "Also, I plan to continue what Alderman Flores has started."

Joe also mentioned that Raymond Valadez would be staying on as ward chief of staff, and that Manny Flores would be advising him and providing support. This was welcome news to the EVA board, as we have had an excellent working relationship with Raymond over the years. Lastly, Joe mentioned that he has some new ideas and ways of doing things. Joe and Raymond were the two people Manny recommended to Mayor Daley.

Joe will not be officially sworn in until April 14, and 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno will be EVA's keynote speaker at our May 3 meeting.

More change: We have a new EVA officer group elected. Neal McKnight as VP and Nicole Semple as treasurer are welcome additions to our leadership. Dana Palmer continues as secretary and my move to president from vice president represent stability.

I'm forming the rest of the board and hope to have this finalized by the next general meeting. As in any volunteer organization, having people willing to donate their time and energy is critical for its survival so I'm very thankful to the people who have stepped forward.

As we move forward this year, I'm very hopeful our neighborhood will come together as one community. I've always felt that united we stand and divided we fall. We agree with each other far more than we disagree, and only once in awhile a contentious issue comes up. When that happens, I will use my position to ensure that everyone's voice is heard, but in a respectful and neighborly way.

At our first meeting we welcome arborist Mark Duntemann, and our discussion will include the prospects for planting trees on Augusta between Ashland and Western. I look forward to seeing you there.
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