Saturday, March 3, 2007

City Council’s “Mushroom Strategy"

Just like a mushroom--you’ve heard it before; ”Feed us sh-t and keep us in the dark!”

So last night, I attended the opening of the marvelous new South Oshawa Recreation Centre, the birth of which is in large part due to the fact that South Oshawa has some strong ward representation on Oshawa City Council. “South Oshawa has finally received its due after too many years of neglect,” uttered a few of the politicians in remarks at the opening celebrations.

Other projects are also planned, approved, or underway for the South Oshawa communities. A wellness centre on the site of the former Conant School will host an ambulance center, health facilities, and a new seniors center to supplement the three others already existent in central and north Oshawa. As well, a new library is underway also to supplement the three already existent in central and north Oshawa. The south end has finally arrived. And this is in no small measure the result of effective political representation for South Oshawa.

These new developments are tribute to the ward system that determines that no part of Oshawa can be neglected if it elects councillors that are able to effectively articulate the aspirations and desires of the community.

If council has its way, this is about to change. Council wants to take away the local ward representation from all communities in Oshawa and replace it with the “at large" or general vote so that no politician is elected by or accountable to any specific community.

They want to replace local representation with the general vote system making all politicians, they say, responsible for all areas of Oshawa. Now think about that. In a system where everyone is responsible for everything, no one is responsible for anything. And that is the way city council wants it. Politicians obviously don’t want to be held responsible to residents in any part of Oshawa to handle problems or concerns of the area. They want to retire from the burden of constituency problems. After all, that takes a lot of time, effort and energy.

Of course, the politicians were out in full flight taking credit for this well deserved recreational facility that is so handy for South Oshawa residents. They patronized those gathered there with honey coated words so characteristic of politicians, but it was what they didn’t tell the people that was probably the most relevant and important message they could bring.

Counsellor Kolodzie pointed out that he represented South Oshawa for 12 years as its ward councillor and stated, “Today marks the realization of one of my dreams.” As a former teacher of G. L. Roberts CI which is attached to the new rec centre and shares its site, he knows how important it is for kids to have facilities such as this. He didn’t say, however, that he is one of the council leaders in the move to abandon ward voting so that the people listening to his patronizing words would have the ward representation that brought this facility yanked from the community. Just like a mushroom Joe, feed us sh-t and keep us in the dark!

Counsellor Sholdra took the podium and told the people how proud and happy she was to have been the ward counselor for the South end wards. Of course, she also offered an extensive menu of platitudes to accompany her fine words. What she didn’t say was that she also is a firm supporter of yanking the ward representation away from the South End. She has been voting on council to do away with the ward system that has given the south end residents a voice on council that resulted in this recreation centre she was celebrating. Just like a mushroom, Maryanne, feed us sh-t and keep us in the dark!

Even Councillor Henry was there basking in the glory. I guess he was there to work on his recognition profile in the south end in preparation for general vote elections that he has been supporting strongly on council. He too wants to yank ward representation from the citizens that elected him. Too bad he didn’t get a chance to speak to tell the south end people that he wants to pull their ward representation. No doubt, though, Councillor Henry tells his own ward residents as often that he can that he wants to yank ward representation from them--or does he.

Council…just remember your modus operandi—the mushroom principle; “Feed them sh-t and keep them in the dark!

After all—“The Mushroom Strategy”--that has worked so far in all your scheming to revert to the past with the general vote, a system that does nothing for Oshawa but guarantee your re-election!.

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