RICH JAMES: Uran's success is from challenging status quo

2013-10-30T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: Uran's success is from challenging status quoBy Rich James nwitimes.com
October 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Have you been to Crown Point lately?

That’s the county seat where the grandest courthouse in the state is the focal point of the downtown square.

That’s the courthouse some folks wanted to tear down 30-plus years ago to make way for a parking lot. Those folks probably would like to see Wrigley Field razed because there are weeds growing on the outfield walls.

I’ve never been in favor of law enforcement officers being mayors. Cops are there to serve and protect, not plan and build and grow.

Mayor David Uran, formerly a Crown Point police officer, has been one of the exceptions. Now in his second term, Uran is making things happen.

A news article a couple days ago reinforced what I had been thinking about Crown Point and Uran.

The article was about plans for a private sector retail facility in the middle of the mushrooming sports complex that is quickly becoming the envy of Northwest Indiana.

The sports complex isn’t the only thing going on. There are plans for the city to build an entertainment facility just off the square on former school property.

While the Broadway corridor just east of downtown is growing quickly, the city is taking steps to help the downtown businesses.

And there are the little things such as stoplights and road enhancements and flood control that can make huge differences.

Buy why, I have wondered, is Crown Point blossoming under a guy who used to patrol the streets looking for drunken drivers and kids out later than they should be.

I think it is in part an attitude that ran roughshod over old-time politics.

Since its incorporation in the 1800s, Crown Point had been a bastion of Republicanism. That’s not necessarily bad.

Richard Collins and Jim Forsythe were the last two Republican mayors before Democrat Jim Metros was elected in 1991.

Collins and Forsythe were wonderful men who loved their city.

And, like all the Republican mayors before them, they did nothing to jeopardize their city. They embraced the status quo and won election after election.

So snug were they that when the old guard nominated James Searson to replace Forsythe, he felt somewhat anointed, campaigned little and lost to Metros.

Metros had a progressive agenda but fell into disfavor during his third term and moved out of town.

After Metros, any Republican could have won. It turned out to be Dan Klein, who foolishly tried to micromanage the Police and Fire departments.

Is the era of Republican domination gone forever in Crown Point?

You’ve got to think so. The way things are going now, Uran could be mayor for life, not because he embraced the status quo, but because he refused to do so.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjames@219.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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