Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another Entry in Fayetteville Mayor's Race?

Today's surprising news is that Steve Clark is considering running for Fayetteville mayor. He would join Republican businessman Jeff Koenig, consultant Walt Eilers, and Alderman Lioneld Jordan, who have already announced. I don't know Mr. Clark, but I think anyone who wants to run for any public office should be able to do so as easily as possible, without high filing fees or overly burdensome signature requirements. The voters can usually sift the more qualified from the less so.

Steve Clark moved to Fayetteville in the 1960s, was a member of the law school faculty, and lived here until he left to work in state government in 1976. Anyone asking to be elected mayor should have lived here long enough to understand the city's past as well as to have a vision for our future. He said he moved back to Fayetteville in 2006 to live closer to his children and grandchildren. That's a longer period of residence and a more legitimate excuse than a candidate from Goshen who moves to an expensive condo in town just in time to run for mayor.

The newspapers make a big deal about Steve Clark having been convicted of a felony and having been pardoned by Mike Huckabee. However, he is a registered voter and is eligible to run for mayor. Clark blamed his lack of judgment on alcohol and hubris. At least he admitted it and didn't try to hide his past financial transgressions. The law has forgiven him, and so should the newspapers. That doesn't mean he should be elected mayor or anything else. A person who files a false expense claim and steals money from the people or from their employer does not deserve to be trusted with taxpayer dollars, ever again.

We deserve a mayor we can trust.

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