Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Council's Confused Vote!---And they say the plebiscite question wasn't confusing

At the council meeting of April 10, 2007, Oshawa City Council voted on the motion "That the 2007 Partnership Grant request from VOTES of $25,000 as outlined in Report ABCS-07-95 be denied as it does not meet all the criteria established within the Partnership Grant Policy."

The motion was "LOST" meaning that the Partnership Grant should be provided to VOTES.

Supporting the motion (voting YES) were Councillors Kolodzie, Lutczyk, Marimpietri, Pidwerbecki and Mayor Gray...These councillors voted to deny funding!

Against the motion (voting NO) were Councillors Cullen, Henry, Neal, Nicholson, Parkes and Sholdra...These councillors voted to provide funding!

Confusing isn't it!

This was the same kind of question confronting voters on the plebiscite, a question that some council members have said was so easy to understand that no one could be confused by it. Guess they were wrong. Four councillors got confused and voted the wrong way---at least they voted opposite to the usual way they have been voting on the ward/general vote issue in the past.

Hey...that's 36.4% of the "expert voters" of council that got confused. Is it possible that at least that percentage of "inexperienced" plebiscite voters got confused and voted contrary to their wishes?

On this "easy to understand motion" that "couldn't confuse anyone"---as Councillor Kolodzie and Pidwerbecki have exclaimed numerous times in council when the issue of the plebiscite question being confusing was brought up, they would exclaim, "Are you calling the people stupid?"

On the confusing question council voted on above, they would have had to vote "YES" to deny VOTES the funding and "NO" to deny it. This is similar to voters who had to vote "NO" to keep ward voting and "YES" to reject it. In both cases the answer upon close examination and analysis was opposite to the expected.

So Councillors Henry, Sholdra, and Parkes who have voted on council not to provide a city hall produced brochure with background information on the ward/general vote issue have now supported providing funds to VOTES so that a brochure could be produced and distributed by VOTES independent of city hall input. Hardly likely! Go figure!

Surely they couldn't have been confused by a question similar to the plebiscite question could they? After all they are experienced voters doing so dozens of times a night. The simple plebescite voter only gets to cast a vote a few dozen times in a lifetime! So I understand citizen voters could get confused...but those smart guys on council...never!

Councillor Lutczyk, whom I observe to be one of the more astute, reasoned, thoughtful and intelligent councillors, also got confused as he has supported ward voting on every single question coming before council. But this time he voted contrary to his past record.

If councillors got confused, I'm sure that many citizens who do not have English as their first language also got confused. After all, councillors whose first language is English have shown that a convoluted question is confusing to them.

Maybe those councillors who got confused on the convoluted "plebiscite-like" question will now be called "stupid" by Councillors Pidwerbecki and Kolodzie who liked to use the term to deride fellow councillors who argued the plebiscite question was complicated, convoluted and difficult by exclaiming, "Are you calling the people stupid?"

Of course, that is the way council designed the question to get the plebiscite answer they wanted.

In Oshawa, democracy means Council starts out with an objective...and then designs a strategy to manipulate the public to "trick" them into voting to show "apparent" support for the outcome council wants.

In the case of voting on partnership funding for VOTES, Council got caught in its own petard.

Council, when they realized they made an error and because they make the rules, referred the whole issue back to the committee to give it a second look in preparation for a second vote at council. Now the general vote leaders will have all of the councillors "practice", "discuss", and "debate" their votes to make sure they get it right the next time.

Too bad they are not considering the same "second chance" for all of Oshawa's voters who got confused by the same kind of question that confused the seasoned voters of city council.

Without a vibrant Oshawa press though, council can hide behind this hypocrisy unbeknownst to the general public.

You will never see this "IMPORTANT" story covered in depth and with the attention it deserves in the local media. City Hall's $120,000 advertising budget provided by your tax dollars to Oshawa's weekly newspaper is just "too rich" to jeopardize.

It appears that these advertising dollars control the news we get and are an important ally in allowing city council to carry out its self-serving electoral reforms.

And you thought that press control only happened in places with authoritarian and despotic governments--Hey maybe that's Oshawa!

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