IS IT PREMATURE to urge Don Plusquellic to end the speculation and declare his candidacy for a seventh term in the mayor's office? Understandably, he's been fending off questions about his plans, if indeed he's even reached the point in committing himself to another round as Akron's chief executive. Life hasn't been that simple in the current term in his bouts with the police and firefighter unions as well as that misguided recall attempt led by his chronic enemies. And you do make some enemies when you've been in office for nearly a quarter century, including Alex Arshinkoff, the county Republican boss who has thought nothing of spreading rumors in past campaigns that the mayor would be indicted by the Feds for alleged offenses that even the FBI wasn't privy to.
Much has been made of Plusquellic's short fuse when it would have been better for him to turn the other cheek. But that's not something that he'll ever reel in. Still, it has yet to be shown that these minor skirmishes have affected his competence in serving the city's best interests to the fullest, from huge support for public education to downtown development. He can be as tightly wound in his goals to make Akron a better place for all as he is in snapping at somebody who questions his behavior. Yes, he is combative.
One example stands out from all others: When the city's new baseball stadium opened downtown to the delight the fans and other home-towners, he refused to attend the opening-night ceremonies because the club owner owed the city $1 million. Although he raised fears that the newly arrived Akron Aeros would leave town immediately, he argued that he would find another team to replace it. The issue was resolved when the city got its million. That took guts by Plusquellic, an attribute that has never failed him. Would that more politicians take the cue.
So, in short: With the economy in terrible shape, the city would suffer a great loss if Plusquellic weren't around to guide it for another four years. It would be an awful burden on him if he decided to run again, but it seems to me that his options have been reduced a single course: Four more years. As he himself has said, there is still much to do.