With the announcement TO Star story here today that the Province is going to ban Corporate and Union donations to Municipal candidates some of Cobourg’s councillors should be worried. No more developer donations of the maximum $750. The candidates will now have to hustle their election money from individuals or pay for it themselves. It will be interesting to see how this legislation is worded because at the moment donors can give up to $750 to each candidate. If it follows present Federal legislation there will be a limit of how much an individual can give in total. So if you are thinking of running for Council after this legislation passes you had better be first in line to beg for money from Cobourg’s regular donors. On the other hand some of Cobourg’s developers will now save money and some prospective candidates left scrambling as the Mayor has scooped up all the available money.
With only one third of a term served and a replacement needed the Council of the day, unless they are swayed by arguments made over the weekend will anoint Aaron Burchat to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Theresa Rickerby. This Council, as all other Councils always do the expedient thing, not the right thing.
Citing the cost and a long whereas: “AND WHEREAS it is deemed expedient to appoint a person who received substantial citizen support based on the number of votes received in the previous (2014) Municipal Election, consents to fill the vacancy and is still qualified as an Eligible Elector;”
Let’s look at the “substantial electoral support”. There were 7,704 votes cast for the Mayor’s race the maximum number of votes cast in the 2014 election. Aaron received 2,022 less than a third of the available votes – somewhat less than substantial. In the Councillor’s race he placed two away from the last seat available with 2,022 votes. The highest number of votes in a Council race was 4,739 gained by Cllr. Darling. Aaron failed to even make 50% of the available votes – hardly a substantial number of votes!
So who is defining substantial?
Never the less the more people point out that this interim process, suggested for Monday evening debate the more people will have less respect for these people who have no respect for democracy.
It is passing strange that these people who will drop gobs of Municipal Money on consultants for any specious reason fail to understand that democracy costs money and as pointed out in the CTA’s press release the cost of this for every person in Town is less than a price of a latte at Timmies.
I am willing to buy my coffee and I will buy my friend’s coffee too, if it means that we can get a person on Council through the front door of an election rather than somebody appointed by a secret meeting.
Athens – where organised democracy and dissent evolved into a modern form. We are off to see it and explore Athens for the next two weeks. Armed with guides and electronic aids it will be a casual wander around the City.
Obviously we will be visiting the Acropolis, and Ben will be looking for the closed doors where all the real meetings take place – oops none here because the orators spoke in public something modern-day politicians should think about – elections and secret meetings!!
There will be a travel-log during this time, check in from time to time here
“Mayor John Tory moved to hold the byelection on July 25, the date recommended by city staff, saying it was the “right choice” with more than two years until the next general election. Council procedures would have also allowed members to appoint a replacement until the next election.”
Now will the Mayor of Cobourg do the right thing as well? We are talking about how to fill an empty Council seat. Rob Ford’s seat is empty so is Theresa Rickerby’s. Toronto has decided to replace the Councillor by means of a byelection. Cobourg has yet to make up its mind what to do.
It’s a no-brainer. Hold an election, we have only endured seventeen months of a forty-eight month term – less than a third of the total term. Municipal convention usually dictates that appointments for a replacement only take place in the last year of an Council term. For those of you who say we cannot afford to spend the money I would suggest we ban elections then – paying for an election is the price of democracy. Besides even if the last election cost $50,000 this byelection will not.
Election infrastructure, in Cobourg, is well established and paid for. The only major cost to having an election is the cost of mailing out a PIN number for the online voting. Setting up an accessible online and manual system, for those without computer access (heck we have a dozen in the library to use) would be easy, we are sure that a voting table could be setup in the foyer of Victoria Hall and we can find volunteers to man it.
In a quote from the Northumberland News the Mayor said, “We could ask interested people to submit applications and resumes or we could appoint someone we felt could fill in on a short term, because we’re almost half way through this term,” said Mayor Brocanier. “We could even go back to the last election to see who was next in line.” Where is the option of an election in those words? There will be a major failure in democracy, in Cobourg, if it (an election) is not considered!
People have been asking, since the news broke on Monday afternoon, is this all – referring to the news that as a mother of three and running two businesses and being on Council was too much activity to handle and something had to go. The Council job went. But what led to the decision?
Councillor Rickerby had too much to do, compared to her colleagues. The number of committees she sat on was double that of Cllrs Rowden and Sherwin, the responsibilities had just been shuffled and if the workload was noticably high why wasn’t she moved to another responsibility? The BR understands that this decision had been brewing for a while, we are sure that discussions had taken place with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor previously. The Mayor was surprised by the news, according to a local reporter that phoned him on Monday, WHY?
It has been acknowledged that Theresa is smart, bright and not stupid, that meant she understood the workload of a Councillor before she decide to become one. If she didn’t put it down to the lying, cheating predecessors of hers – previous Councillors who maintain the lie that being on Council is not a “full-time job”. Councillor Pam Jackson ten years ago spoke about his after announcing her decision not to run again.
So if she was mulling this problem of a big workload over for weeks what was the tipping point? Unfortunately we will never know. This Council will never discuss meaningful issues in public. All of the important stuff is conducted behind a closed door. That is why her defenders will tell you that she really spoke up and defended her position with Council in Council discussions. Well folks, we – Joe Q Public, Mr and Mrs Frontporch never saw that in open Council with one exception – the discussion to support the Dragon Boat Club’s position for a rebate on their fees. Perhaps that was a tipping point? Perhaps she realised after being the point person in a righteous cause that the obstruction was the Mayor, he was the lone opposition vote on that issue. Perhaps she just said like any sane person would – “WTF who needs this crap?”
Early on in the term we had heard that the Mayor was having problems with the women on his Council, they really needed to heel. But lately as the team gelled and the cracks started to ocurr he is now left looking like the stereotypical husband who is always the last to know. But if Theresa really does want “to spend more time with my family” – a political coded cliche, that can mean anything anybody wants to make of it then she deserves the break (she will be back- after all she did not burn any bridges on the way out). But if there are underlying problems in the backroom then she should explain what is wrong with the system so that other naive people who get elected don’t have to go through the same system as she did. We can change the system, but only if the power wielding people – the Mayor and Deputy Mayor – realise there is a problem and why should they, they have the power and if other Council members can’t handle that they should quit. Well one did and it cost us the brightest and most able Council member of the bunch – shame.
An item to be discussed on Monday, at the next Regular Council meeting in Cobourg has finally landed on their desks some sixteen years after the fact.
After three months of not posting. So what to post about now?
Starting with the newest news – the NDP convention and the leadership review of Tom Mulcair
Renewal will be the watchword but only after a three month break. We will be living the winter in another Country and a different lifestyle so this “normal” way of doing things will be suspended, even this online opinion page.
So as we depart for sunnier climes all the best to our faithful readers and a sense of renewal to you all.
We have all been bombarded with images and pleas on our face book feeds that border on absolute racism and xenophobia. A lot of this crap is shared from the UK where they have been dealing white ‘white-power’ for years.