Just how smart is Oshawa’s mayor?
We’ll soon find out as Mayor John competes against 35 other Canadian Mayors on the CBC “Test the Nation” TV show on March 18.
We do know part of the answer. Mayor Gray has repeatedly stated that he knows the Ward System is best for electing members of Oshawa’s City Council but he has also repeatedly voted to replace it with the General Vote. So we do know that he is not smart enough to vote for what he knows to be best for the city.
To help Mayor Gray with the challenges of the televised IQ test, we thought we would provide the mayor with some questions he might consider in preparation for the test. (We have provided all answers at the end of this post so that Mayor Gray can study up and remember the answers in case any of the questions come up!)
1) Name one benefit to Oshawa from a change to the general vote.
2) How many council members lost their seat in the first election for council when Oshawa got ward voting in 1985?--- 0, 2, 4, 6, 8
3) How many council members residing south of King Street were elected for any of the 109 available seats in the 7 consecutive General Vote Councils prior to 1985?---0, 4, 8, 12
4) A polling subdivision has about 100 houses. The council before 1985 had 15 members. What was the greatest number of general vote politicians residing in a single polling subdivision in the last general vote council?---1, 2, 3
5) Of the 15 member council, prior to 1985, how many members resided in the old ward 6?---0, 2, 4, 6, 8
6) When the old Oshawa Arena burned down in 1953 disbanding the Oshawa Generals for 11 years, how much did the Oshawa General Vote City Council contribute to the building of the new Civic Auditorium which opened in 1964?---$0, $250,000, $500,000, $1,000,000?
7) When the old Oshawa Public Library burned down, how much did the general vote city politicians contribute to the construction of a new main library opened in 1954?---$0, $250,000, $500,000, $1,000,000
8) How can you avoid general vote politicians, all of whom reside in a few of the richer areas of Oshawa, from concentrating their attention only on their own neighborhoods at the same time as neglecting the rest of Oshawa?
9) If a general election costs in the neighborhood of $35,000-$40,000, how is it possible for people of limited means to run and get elected to represent the ordinary neighborhoods of Oshawa?
10) Incumbents will be able to raise significant funds from the development industry. Don’t those developers expect friendly votes on items of interest to them? How do you level the playing field for non-incumbents who cannot raise similar monies because they don’t have a hope in hell of winning?
1. This one has everyone stumped so sorry to start with the hardest question you’re likely to face Mayor Gray. Neither you nor any council member nor any other Canadian Mayor nor any expert on Municipal Government has a satisfactory answer for this question in a city of soon to be 180,000 or so by the next election in four years. So don’t worry about answering this as no one else will be able to answer it either so no one will have a “leg-up” on you over this question. There are no benefits…only disadvantages! But we won’t worry about that. The people have spoken on the plebiscite question that we kept secret from them before they entered the voting booth. We tricked the people! We don’t need to think about the long term consequences for Oshawa. Council got the result it wanted. That's the only thing thats important!
2. Eight members lost their seats---half of council forming a “lame-duck” council. These people had been protected for years under the general vote but couldn’t win when they had to meet head-to-head in ward battles with politicians that got out and met the people at their doorsteps and in their neighborhoods...when service to the community became more important than simply name recognition.
3. Zero…Zilch…Not one member of the 109 elected members over the seven general vote councils prior to 1985 lived south of King Street…but that doesn’t matter. We think it’s best that they weren’t represented on council because the wiser, smarter, and richer people of the North End will provide far better leadership for Oshawa.
4. Three members came from one polling subdivision at the end of Regent Drive in Ward Three. The people in this community were really lucky to have one fifth of council living in their little enclave…don’t you think? With that many council members living there, you’d think that there was nothing that those people couldn’t get. Every community should be so lucky!
5. Eight…More than half of the 15 Council Members lived in the old ward six. If these councillors voted as a block, their majority would carry the day on council on every question. They could easily protect their neighborhood from unwanted development. They could get their streets plowed and cleaned first. They could get improvements to their neighborhood parks. They could get virtually anything they wanted. Isn’t that great?
6. The city contributed $zero!---it was up to a number of community minded individuals to raise money through private donations with a campaign, “We’ll build it by ourselves for ourselves.” Well you gotta do what you gotta do if your “do-nothing” general vote council won’t contribute a cent. It didn’t matter that the Oshawa Generals that bring a lot of recognition to Oshawa had to fold for 10-12 years even playing out of Bowmanville and Whitby for a couple of years.
7. The city didn’t contribute to the arena. Why should they contribute to a library? Colonel Sam was disconcerted about this and called Mayor Christine Thomas up to Parkwood where he admonished the Mayor for the actions of the general vote council and offered to fund the replacement library if a giant window could be placed on the east end of the reading room such that library users could look out the window and see the steeple of his Church…St. Andrews on the east side of Simcoe Street south of the four corners. Christine Thomas told me this story herself so I pass it on to help you out Mayor Gray.
8. You can’t—It’s only human nature that the places that you walk, talk, shop, and play get most of your attention. Tough bananas for the unrepresented areas but this should be a lesson to these louts to get off their butts, run a candidate and elect him/her. I don’t know where the funding is going to come from but that is the neighbourhood's problem...not mine!
9. Maybe candidates from these areas could mortgage their house to fund a campaign. After all, we need council members with initiative to solve problems like this! If they can’t raise the funds, they don’t deserve to be on council. After all, we all know that brain power is directly related to the thickness of the wallet, don't we?
10. It’s true that donors will not fund non-incumbents…but hey…that’s life…that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I’m sure that some politicians have voted in a “friendly way” to developers…but I’ve never heard of it happening!
Mayor John…If you answered all of these questions right, you are the genius we thought you’d be and certainly head and shoulders above any other mayor in Canada. After all, who else could lead a council to reject the common sense representative democracy provided by ward voting for the idiocy of the general vote?