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Rich James: Scheub, Dominguez battle poised to be intense

Rich James

Rich James

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Updated: November 29, 2011 8:22AM



Don’t look for Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub and former Sheriff Roy Dominguez to be exchanging Christmas cards anytime soon.

Nope, those two don’t like each other so good. And as of a few days ago, that animosity got a bit worse.

Dominguez who left the sheriff’s office at the end of last year, announced that he will challenge Scheub in the 2012 Democratic primary for county commissioner.

Scheub will be seeking a fifth term. According to state statute, Dominguez couldn’t seek a third consecutive term as sheriff.

This could be fun, folks.

You know, politics like it used to be in the olden days when the last man standing was the winner.

The ink was barely dry on Dominguez’s announcement and we already had a humdinger of an issue forming.

Scheub on Tuesday was at a public forum where the future of the Illiana Expressway was being discussed. It wasn’t so much whether the highway should be built, but where it will be located.

Scheub was pretty much opposed, saying he thinks the intent is to provide a link to the proposed Peotone airport in Illinois, a project that has been hanging around since before Scheub became commissioner.

He thinks it will hurt the Gary/Chicago International Airport and not provide an economic boost for Indiana.

But, don’t tell that to Dominguez, who thinks the Illiana will relieve traffic congestion, provide an economic boost and create a plethora of jobs while the new highway is being built.

You can bet that won’t be the only point of contention.

If one says the sun is shining the other will say it’s raining. And don’t look for a rainbow.

Although I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in it, this could be one of those campaigns that features issues, rather than generalities.

We don’t need drivel about being for economic development, more jobs and a chicken in every pot. Shoot, those things rank right behind motherhood and apple pie.

There are a host of issues they ought to address, because virtually every issue at some point comes across the desk of a county commissioner. For instance:

Do you support adoption of a local option income tax to get the state to lift the levy freeze on virtually all taxing units in Lake County?

Do you favor continuation of the Regional Bus Authority? What tax would you back as a local funding source?

Do you favor commuter rail expansion from Chicago across west Lake County to Lowell? What local tax would you support as a local funding source?

Do you favor construction of a convention center in Lake County? Where should it be located and how should it be paid for?

Would you favor the election of a single county administator and elimination of the three county commissioners? It’s among the recommendations in the Kernan/Shepard report on streamlining local government.

Many roads under the jurisdiction of the county commissioners are in woeful condition. How would you raise money for the improvement of those roads?

Do you favor the closing of the satellite county courthouses in Gary, Hammond and East Chicago? Where would you put the courts that are in those buildings?

Before we go about assuming Scheub or Dominguez will be the next commissioner, let’s look at the makeup of the district after new lines are drawn based on the 2010 census.

Dan Dumezich of Schererville and the Republican-controlled State Election Commission will have the final say.

Word is that the south-county district will look close to this description:

Draw a line from the stateline along 45th Street to Cline Avenue. At Cline, go south to U.S. 30 and then east to the Lake/Porter county line.

With the balance of Lake County south of that line you have a district that includes part of Highland, all of Dyer and most of Schererville. It also includes all of St. John and unincorporated St. John Township.

A bit of Merrillville, all of Winfield, Crown Point, Cedar Lake and Lowell also are included, as well as the unincorporated part of south county. It also is home to the tea party.

Can a Republican win that district? Sure.

The only problem is that Republicans haven’t groomed someone to step up and run.

Rich James’ column appears on Friday.



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