Prussing for mayor

Prussing for mayor

Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing has earned another term in office.

Spring elections don't attract much attention, so many aren't aware that voters will decide some big issues on April 9.

Nowhere is the decision bigger than in Urbana, where voters will choose between two-term Democratic mayoral incumbent Laurel Prussing and her Republican challenger Rex Bradfield.

The race is a replay of the contest four years ago, when Prussing handily defeated Bradfield. Then, The News-Gazette endorsed Prussing for a second term in office. Because we believe she has done a solid job under difficult circumstances, we now endorse her for a third term.

That's not to minimize either Bradfield's credentials and enthusiasm for the mayor's office or his grasp of the issues. His campaign this year is more low-key than it was four years ago, but, to his credit, he offers the same issue-oriented approach that provides voters a real choice on Election Day.

In a city as heavily Democratic as Urbana, no one could have blamed Bradfield, an engineer by profession, if he had chosen not to undertake a difficult campaign. Instead, he stepped up to the plate.

But there simply is no good reason to replace Prussing. She has managed the serious financial challenges the city has faced in a commendable fashion. Her administration has responded to crime problems in southeast Urbana in an aggressive manner. Despite her reputation for preferring to do things her way only, Prussing has developed a solid working relationship with a mostly Democratic city council and demonstrated a capacity to work collegially with council members to come up with solutions to problems.

What's most impressive about Prussing is her willingness and ability to take on difficult fights and come out on top. Exhibit A for that proposition is her ultimately successful effort, perceived by many to be futile, to keep the University of Illinois Police Training Institute here rather than allow it to move to Western Illinois University in Macomb.

The News-Gazette does not always see eye-to-eye with Prussing on state and local issues. But we do not question her integrity, her ability or her determination to do the best she can for the citizens she serves. She has earned another term.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion
Categories (2):Editorials, Opinions

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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on April 03, 2013 at 4:04 pm
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Perhaps it's fair to praise her integrity, apart from the obvious monetary bonuses she seeks and then accepts from city coffers.

 

But it's preposterous to say she "her ability or her determination to do the best she can for the citizens she serves." She doesn't serve people, not even her ostensible constituency.

She's not interested in learning about the needs of others. Her ideas,  her political rhetoric, were cemented 40 years ago.  The irony: she's now an establishment conservative.

 

The silliest portion of this opinion, however is: "managed the serious financial challenges the city has faced in a commendable fashion."  It's nonsense.

 

Urbana is a peopled by government employees & pensioners. We have no recession here. The direct deposits keep coming.

Yet Urbana's political establishment struggles to generate revenue from its residents.

A few regulatory changes could entice revenue generators to site here, rather than Champaign or Savoy, without ruining the environment or drowning kittens. But year after year, and election after election, we just don't get that government. Not here.

Our two recent, added revenue sources — those for which Prussing can rightly claim credit — are the gas tax & the influx of Section 8 residents, whose federal checks bring money to southeast Urbana's apartment complexes, and Home Run Pantries.

 

The best thing that could be said of her financial management is that she wants to grab $15 million from taxpayers in other, more responsible states — and give it to contractors, not necessarily local —  so you can have a six mile slab of concrete, somewhere north of town.