Many people have asked this question. When Nester Pidwerbecki was asked, he simply said, "I think it was about time the question was asked." Ridiculous! It would be equally intelligent to ask the people whether Simcoe Street should be renamed!
It is clear though that Pidwerbecki had been working for some time behind the scenes to drum up interest in putting this question to the voters.
It is unfortunate that he was able to get enough support in the last council to get the question on the ballot and that he has been able to get consistent and unwavering support from the "Gang of Four"--himself, Kolodzie, Parkes, and Henry, on every vote on this council concerning implementing the general vote. But then...a move to the general vote is "self-serving" for the incumbent politicians!
Pidwerbecki has received intermittant support from Councillors Sholdra and Mariempietri and Mayor Gray for implementation of the general vote. Their support usually results in a 7-4 victory on many votes.
The present opponents of the general vote on most questions are Councillors Cullen, Nicholson, Neal, and Lutczyk who are usually outspoken opponents of the change. On one occasion, Councillor Cullen left the room thus avoiding a recorded vote on the issue.
Therefore two of the seven must be convinced to change their mind on the issue. I believe Mayor Gray and Councillors Sholdra and Mariempietri are possible converts but they need calls and letters from you.
While the real rationale for the plebescite question is unclear since none has been publicly expressed and no justification can be advanced by any knowledgeable person on this being the better system for electing a municipal council, we can only look to some of the reasons following, all of which have been advanced by those close to the action
1) Some councillors are getting too old to campaign in ward elections which requires a lot of door-to-door contact and also are getting too old to exert the energy required for demanding constituency work. Both of these could be avoided with the general vote.
2) The theory has been advanced that the prime "general" behind the move is an "agent" of a defeated prominent politician who feels chances of re-election under a general vote are excellent but are negligible under ward voting.
3) The idea has been expressed that some council members have outside alliances with past politicians who are still working to exert control and pull the council strings.
4) Petty politics among council members who believe that the general vote will engineer defeat for a present ward councillor who is a strong advocate for his community that the less effective general vote backers don't want on council.
5) Anger being expressed by a prime supporter of the general vote because of the competition he faced from a fellow council member in the last election.
6) One of the councillors got knocked on the head and has not been the same since the accident a few years ago....actually expressed and described to me!
7) Testosterone infighting on council for dominance!!!
8) Hatred and anger at not receiving some councillor's support for favourite projects and this is the payback.
9) Jealousy being expressed because some councillors are far more effective at getting things for their ward...and a need to get rid of this high achiever. Maybe council feels they all have to drop to the lowest common denominator!
10) Some council members want to go into semi-retirement and this is not possible under the demanding ward system.
11) Petty beefs and petty politics among council members.
12) Some members who have Mayoralty, Provincial or Federal ambitions want to test and promote their city-wide vote.
13) Some council members want their council work to be part-time and this is difficult under the ward system.
14) Probably any and all of the above
There are strange things done neath the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold...Many of these ideas seem strange to me but I have heard all of them from those close to the action.
Politics breeds strange bedfellows and oftentimes outlandish almost schizophrenic schemings. Believe Me!
It's unfortunate that some politicians will put the city in turmoil simply to satisfy their childish and churlish agendas...all at the expense of Oshawa's health.