Endorsements: Yusuf, Manzo, Tiesenga for Oak Brook board
Village board politics in Oak Brook have settled down considerably in the past few years, but voters still will be asked to sort through a field of six candidates to elect three trustees on April 7. It won't be an easy choice.
Residents happy with the village's improved direction would do well to return the two incumbents in the race, Asif Yusuf and Michael Manzo, to the village board.
Yusuf, who is involved in real estate and farming, served on the board from 2003 to 2007 and again since 2011. He's a no-nonsense trustee who's a good listener and can cut to the chase of difficult issues. Manzo, who owns an insurance and financial services company, was a school board member before joining the village board. Like Yusuf, he has an excellent handle on issues and is a passionate advocate for its residents. Both have realistic views about ways to address the pension issues that face all DuPage communities and both have looked for ways to reduce costs while maintaining the level of services Oak Brook residents expect. Both Yusuf and Manzo are endorsed.
That leaves a choice from among four political newcomers, Edward Tiesenga, Michael Wencel, Charles Thompson and Elisa Templeton, for the final available trustee seat. Templeton did not participate in the Daily Herald's endorsement process. Of the remaining candidates, Tiesenga and Wencel are the most intriguing. Like the incumbents, both speak strongly against any potential tax increases and, like the incumbents, both say they're interested in maintaining the character and charm of Oak Brook and in doing what they can to attract younger families. Tiesenga, an attorney, grew up in Oak Brook and has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of its history. Wencel, a commercial real estate broker, touts his relative youth (he's 44) and energy along with a desire to find ways to help bring residents together.
It's a pleasant dilemma for voters, who can't go wrong with either choice, but we give the edge to Tiesenga who, at this point, appears the best prepared to hit the ground running.