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December 16, 2012 / jeffnward

Nine terms? That ain’t right!

Personally, I like Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke and the fact that we sometimes choose different political friends has absolutely no bearing on this contention. It’s all part of life’s rich pageant.

With that caveat issued, the truth is no mayor or village president should serve more than three four-year terms. Even Venezuela blinked at the prospect of putting Hugo Chavez in office for life.   schielke

There are the obvious problems, not the least of which include a tendency towards corruption borne of an encroaching entitlement mentality and a sense of ruling by divine right. Look no further than the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley who fell prey to all of the above.

Dixon, Illinois is another prime example of what we’re talking about.

Thankfully, Schielke seems to have avoided these pitfalls and I’d even go as far as saying he’s a pretty good mayor.

But then there are the more subtle concerns like the staleness of a long-held vision. To wit, Schielke told the DH, “I don’t like to leave things in the middle, and we started the streetscape program and I would really like to see that through.”

In the middle? Does that mean he plans on running for another eight terms?

Because if you can’t accomplish what you set out to do in 32 long years, then isn’t that a really good reason to step down? Batavia, which has always harbored a serious case of Geneva envy, is pretty much the same city it was when I used to come out here to visit a friend in the late 80′s.

Not only do downtown businesses continue to come and mostly go, but the city is trying to put what businesses they have out of business with constant construction. Despite some high-end west and south side growth, property taxes continue to skyrocket with no apparent real benefit to the average Batavian.

Even the best and most earnest mayor will fall prey to the the Municipal Mindset if you give him or her enough rope. And Batavians have given their mayor all the rope anyone could ask for. When you consider his journalistic origins, Mayor Schielke really oughtta know better.

It’s time for new blood at that Batavia helm. And there’s still time for someone to step up and offer Batavians an alternative.

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