Roy Buskirk has been one of our favorite County Council members. A lot of candidates talk a good “tax watchdog” game, but he has actually delivered, always on the lookout for ways to save money and make sure taxpayers get value for their money. It's not a criticism to call him a penny pincher.
But a strong case has to be made to unseat an incumbent of your own party in the primary, and Buskirk has not been convincing enough that Linda Bloom should be denied her spot on the fall ballot in the District 3 commissioner's race. He just says that perhaps Bloom doesn't have quite the energy level she once did and that “it's time for a change.”
But Bloom at less than full speed is better than most at breakneck speed.
Her experience at the county level is unequaled, giving her a breadth and depth of knowledge of local government hard to match. She served two terms as auditor and two terms as treasurer before joining the commission, which she has been on since 1994, a combined total of 35 years of experience.
And she's still effective after all these years. She has been instrumental in her five terms for a great deal of the county's infrastructure, including last term the expansion of local trails and the important Maplecrest Road extension.
Also seeking the office is Michael Mills, an Allen County sheriff's deputy for 14 years who has had training as a teacher. He pledges to “follow the money and open up the books” and would like to make meetings and officials more accessible to the public.
Buskirk should not quit politics if he loses this race. We can think of a certain City Council that could certainly use the talents of a good penny pincher.
Richards once more
Karen Richards is seeking her fourth term as county prosecutor. She has more than earned it. Michael Loomis, chief deputy prosecutor for five years and loser to Richards in a primary fight in 2002, is a serious candidate with some good ideas, but he hasn't made the case against Richards.
The job is equal parts law enforcement and office management. The prosecutor has to parcel out the work of 40 lawyers who handle the enormous caseload – more than 30,000 misdemeanors a year as well as 30,000 child support cases and more than 2,000 felonies. It can be tricky knowing when it's appropriate to plea bargain and what cases need to go to trial.
Richards does her job superbly and keeps an eye not just on current crime trends but also on developing ones, such as the growing threat of identity theft and other financial crimes County residents will be well-served if she has another four years working with police to keep the predators at bay.