Sunday, June 25, 2006

Peterson's Gubernatorial Ambitions Bad For Indy

The Star's Matt Tully discusses in his column today the prospects of Mayor Bart Peterson (D) seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in 2008. Peterson tells Tully:

I'm consciously trying not to focus on that -- not even think about that -- so I can focus on the things we need to work on," he said.

"There will come a day when it's time to think about" whether to run for governor.

While Democrats no doubt consider a Peterson gubernatorial bid a good thing, it is probably the worst thing that can happen to the people of Indianapolis. Back in the 90s Peterson's predecessor, Steve Goldsmith, was similarly situated. The Indiana GOP was anxious to see Goldsmith take on then Lt. Governor Frank O'Bannon for governor. Goldsmith also had to decide whether to seek re-election as mayor in 1995, which he chose to do. His mayoral re-election turned out okay, though his winning percentage, less than 55% of the vote, was less than impressive in a 3-way race where the Democrats did not seriously contest the race. He went on to lose to Lt. Gov. Frank O'Bannon by more than 100,000 votes, losing badly in his own Marion County.

Pre-occupied with running for governor, Goldsmith ignored finding solutions for long-term problems such as under-funded police and fire pensions, jail over-crowding, an inadequate public transportation system and poorly performing public schools. Guess what? Indianapolis has still not found a solution to any of these same problems more than 7 years after Peterson first took office. And you can bet Mayor Peterson won't be looking for solutions to these problems as he focuses on becoming governor. Another politically amibitious mayor is the last thing Indianapolis needs right now.

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