Friday, March 16, 2007

My Pledge to the People of Oshawa

City politicians will not be able to hide anonymously behind their votes in regards to a change to the general vote.

This site will publish the names of those voting for the general vote bylaw as a staple every day until the next election so that voters will become very familiar with the self-serving Councillors undeserving of voter support, and the site will "marshall" and “excite” voter opinion to insure the defeat of those who feel that serving their own interest is more important than serving the city’s interest.

Without a daily newspaper, politicians may have thought they were going to keep their votes secret from the public. They were successful in keeping the plebiscite to return to the general vote secret even from those, like myself, who follow City Council actions quite closely. Unfortunately, I also relied on the local press to keep me informed. I missed the extremely minimal coverage of the proposed change that was immersed in the overloads of advertising flyers accompanying the paper.

Council’s strategy in refusing to inform the public by a professionally prepared brochure sent to all houses in Oshawa, as I suggested to Council before the vote, demonstrated the fact that Council did not want to arouse any public interest or debate about the issue prior to the vote and thus were able to catch the public “cold” in the voting booth never before considering the question. An informed public is the most basic requirement of democracy…yet Council kept us uninformed! Why?

Further voters were confronted with a question that Council “gerrymandered” several times until they refined the question that they thought would “trick” the public with a question where they had to vote “NO” to retain the ward system. Beyond the convoluted difficulty of the question, they knew that the majority of people naturally vote “YES” rather than “NO” on ballot questions, and a ”YES” response would result in an “apparent” but “not real” support for turning to the general vote. Why did Council want to confuse the public with a convoluted question that they had kept secret from the public? Why?

The General Vote in the past had devastating results in Oshawa. It protected incumbent’s council seats from the threat of real competition. It resulted in an aging council with no new ideas where all change took place through death or resignation. It produced an unproductive and very fractious city council where all politicians had to fight for name recognition with their peers which they did by backbiting, bitching, bickering, and grandstanding at the expense of real leadership for the city and its people. General Vote politicians were even reluctant to support “brilliant” ideas arising from their peers out of fear that their politician competitor would grab the press with the good idea. It resulted in a council where all of the politicians came from a few of the wealthier areas of Oshawa leaving many areas unrepresented at council over the entire history of the general vote councils. How could this be a system that is best for Oshawa? If the General Vote was a better system, wouldn’t it be used by municipalities everywhere? Well, wouldn’t it?

So which of your council members want the general vote? Councillors Pidwerbecki, Kolodzie, Parkes, and Henry, the "Gang of Four," are unwavering in their support for the change. They have voted to support the change in every way from limiting information to the public, to voting against hearing presentations from the VOTES Chairman, to voting to limit public meetings to get citizen input re the change to the general vote, to voting to retain present wards while moving to the general vote simply to avoid any appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board which would take an independent and impartial second look at the change to insure it was in Oshawa’s interests---This “Gang of Four” have their minds made up and have to go with the next election if they are successful in bringing in the general vote.

Mayor Gray and Councillors Sholdra and Marimpietri have voted to uphold the plebiscite result even though they have stated they don’t believe it to be best for Oshawa. I believe Oshawa voters want politicians who vote for what they know to be best for Oshawa. Don’t you?

Councillors Nicholson, Neal, Cullen, and Lutczk have been steadfastly against the change to the general vote and have voted this way in all motions related to the question.

Councillors will not be able to hide behind any anonymous votes due to the lack of a daily press in Oshawa. Once the vote is held on the general vote permitting bylaw, this vote will be highlighted on this site daily for the duration of the council term leading all the way to the next municipal elections.

Our Pledge to You---We will insure that the public is fully aware of politician’s voting records and that self-serving politicians will pay the price at the next election.

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