Dr. John Crawford, escorted from public service by voters in the last city election, wants to come back, but he wants us to ask him first. In an open letter to Fort Wayne citizens published in both newspapers (see Page 4a of yesterday's JG or 5a of the N-S), he says his philosophy while serving on City Council was always "fiscal constraint and keeping government as small as possible," and he wants input on whether to run for an office in city government in 2011:
I think it'll give me some idea of whether there's overwhelming interest or underwhelming interest, whether I should run for mayor, city council, or anything."
The letter asks people to check one of five options: run for mayor, run for council, run for the hills and never come back -- will hate you forever for the smoking ordinance, want to help you run and will contribute now, want to help you by doing volunteer work.
Well. I couldn't fill out the form because it was missing the option I would want to check: Tell me more, please. The doctor obviously thinks his push for the smoking ordinance caused his defeat -- he mentions it twice in the letter, the only specific issue covered. That was a contributing factor, but there was one other controversial vote he made: approval of Franklin Square in the face of overwhelming opposition by the voters.
So I'd ask Dr. Crawford: Do you think the smoking ordinance and Franklin Square vote were consistent with your philosophy of fiscal restraint and small government? If so, how? If not, justify the exceptions you made in these cases.
I think the smoking ordinance is easier to explain (if not justify), because he's a physician who sees the effects of smoking (maybe that's why he included it in the letter). Franklin Square is a lot harder -- it is at odds with the conservatives' belief that government's main economic-development activity should be to keep taxes and regulation sufficiently business friendly to attract investment. There was no obvious reason (that I can see) for Crawford to embrace the activist view that a city should commit us all not only so supporting a partciular enterprise but dictate where it was placed.