Saturday, March 17, 2007

The People Need Information!!!

To the Mayor and Council
c/o Oshawa City Clerk

Request for Funding and to Address Oshawa City Council

Council has approved a “Corporate Communications and Marketing Strategy (CM-07-07) with a number of stated goals. Goal “C” of this document has to do with “Establishing effective communication in response to key issues”.

The change to the general vote is a key issue and yet council has failed to provide effective communication either before the plebiscite question or after and continues to deny the public adequate information leading up to the public meeting to be called for public input on the bylaw to be drafted on this question. At its February 5, 2007 meeting, Council turned down motions to provide background information about this issue beyond simply providing the date and time of the "public input" meeting. At the very least the public should be informed that the council intends to implement the general vote but maintain the wards simply to prevent a second "sober look" by the OMB to judge in fact whether the change is in Oshawa's interest.

Holding such a meeting without the circulation of appropriate background information and what this change will mean for Oshawa is undemocratic and irresponsible as democracy requires an informed public. The “flyer” approved by council listing time, date, purpose, and location of the meeting is inadequate in informing the public with the necessary background information and thus will not attract enough attention.

You will recall that the limited information distributed in regards to the public meeting having to do with placing the plebiscite on the ballot in the first place only attracted 2 people...hardly enough to gauge the public attitude about the issue.

Oshawa has recently seen fit to approve expenditures for a professionally prepared “Inside Oshawa—Annual Report to Citizens” 8 page “high quality” 11 X 16 brochure with photos, graphics, and information to be distributed by Canada Post to every household in Oshawa at an estimated cost of $16,000 (CM-07-06). As well, they have voted to distribute information to every household re the discontinuance of collecting returnable containers as part of its residential waste program (CS-07-47). I believe at least equally informative communications need to be distributed to all Oshawa households in regards to any change to the system of electing council which has a far greater long term impact than either of the above.

Oshawa does have a practice of funding community initiatives like Autofest 2007 ($30,000), Block Parent Association ($28,300 request—PBCS-07-39), Downtown Banners and Floral Program ($29,200—CS-07-33), Partnership Grant Request for $5000 from Driftwood Theatre Group, etc.

In light of the fact that the City of Oshawa has not seen fit to provide adequate information to the people of Oshawa, in respect of the change to the general vote, I would request funding of $20,000 to prepare, print, and distribute a brochure to all Oshawa households and request to address council in respect of this request.

Bill Longworth,

Feb. 26, 2007

Cc: Hon. J. Garretson, Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Letters to Editor, Oshawa This Week & Oshawa Express

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