Saturday, April 14, 2007

Stumblers, Fumblers, Mumblers, Bumblers, Blatherers...and Stars of Oshawa City Hall!

So who wants to take your vote and your local representation away from you?

Mayor John Gray. He says ward voting is best…and yet he is voting to take it away from you. Can we support a guy who votes opposite to what he knows and says is best for Oshawa? Are there other issues where he votes to support things he knows not to be best for Oshawa? This is hardly a principled thing to do. We depend on our leaders to do what is best for the city and best for the people. We thought they were “experts” on these things. That’s why we depend on their judgment. But our mayor voting contrary to know what he says is right and best…and then admit it…that’s amazing!

Councillor Maryanne Sholdra says she believes that ward voting is best. But she wants to take it away from everyone including our many residents whose ancestors, including Maryanne’s, came from Eastern Europe for the freedoms characterized by the “real” vote where people have a “real” say in determining their political leaders and their political destiny. Maryanne has always been a strong supporter of the ethnic community and its values, even chairing Oshawa’s “great” Folk Arts Council for many years. Why is she now turning her back on this The Eastern European community and taking away their meaningful vote that they came here to cherish? Shame Maryanne!

Councillor John Henry thinks the plebiscite question should never have been asked. I guess that means he thought the ward system was working well. It certainly worked well for him because he defeated an incumbent politician who took positions unfavorable to her constituents. They were able to use their “real” votes to replace her…something that would be impossible under the general vote. He says he is voting for the general vote to uphold the public desires expressed on the plebiscite. Come on John…I thought you were a smart guy. You have to realize that the plebiscite process was completely flawed by the “trick” question and council’s denial of public information on the issue. These flaws completely invalidated the process! Are you sure that you don’t now want the general vote to isolate you from competition for the ward seat by the incumbent you unseated? After all, in ward politics, people have the power to turf you out…not so under the general vote! I’m sure that when John Henry’s constituents elected him, they didn’t expect that he would want to deprive them of their ward politician accountable to them to represent their interests at city hall. He is taking from them the power to remove their local councilllor who takes positions unpopular with the area residents as they did in the last election. This is why Councillor Henry got elected. If Councillor Henry has his way, they won't be able to do that again! He can take the same position as the defeated councillor and they won't be able to do a damn thing about it!

Councillor Tito Dante Marimpietri says he’s supporting the plebiscite result. He says he’s a supporter of the ward system and thinks that system is best. Didn’t his ward voters elect him to make wise decisions and vote for what he thought was right and best for Oshawa? They certainly didn’t elect him to vote for something he knows is not good for Oshawa. In any case, if he was half-wise, he’d realize he was not supporting public opinion at all. Rather he is supporting is a seriously flawed plebiscite process. Maybe he doesn’t realize that a democracy cannot function without an informed public. He was part of the council that refused to provide information and part of the group that devised the “trick” question. Maybe as a young guy, Tito Dante Marimpietri feels the political system in Oshawa should have as its main function, giving him a lifetime career on Oshawa’s municipal council. With the general vote, he could have a seat for the next 50 years without any serious competition. He could even holiday in Florida like past general vote politicians and still get elected! For sure his constituents had no idea that he would take their local councillor away from them when they gave him their vote. With the general vote, Councillor Marimpietri will not have to look after any of their constituency problems again because he won’t be responsible and accountable to anyone. Like other political leaders in history, he’ll be able to do anything he wants with impunity. I think this is something Tito’s ancestors came here to escape!

Councillor Louise Parkes is another politician that believes ward voting is best for the city. She also was one of the architects of the flawed plebiscite process and the “trick” question and she, too, must be aware that such a flawed system is not representative of public sentiment on the issue. She knows this and is using the plebiscite result to justify her vote. This will not “wash” with the public who are smarter than she thinks. They will not tolerate politicians maneuvering to get a result and then stretching to justify their support of that result. Oshawa people expect all of our politicians to support what they know and feel to be best for Oshawa. She cannot sit on the fence on this issue. I know her constituents didn’t expect that she would work to deprive them of a community politician that represents their interest on council. Does she want to promote her name city-wide in hopes of another run at that Federal Liberal seat? If she was a smart politician, she would know that promoting her name in Federal or Provincial Politics is not important at all. It accounts for 4% of the vote. People vote federally and provincially for parties and their leaders, not the local candidate. In any case, a politician who votes contrary to what they have stated they know to be best for the city is not deserving of support at any level. We vote for our politicians expecting that they are hoping to make right decisions for us…not consciously making decisions they say to be "not best" on our behalf. An occasional mistake is acceptable…a conscious mistake is completely unacceptable in any endeavor…except maybe in crime!

Councillors Pidwerbecki and Kolodzie are both write-offs. These dinosaurs have their axles stuck so far in the mud that even their minds have calcified. Pidwerbecki introduced the idea of the plebiscite question because he thought it was just about time the question was asked. Can you imagine our leaders having such a shallow rationale for their actions? He further carried on that Oshawa was just too large for the ward vote…a rationale that is exactly opposite to the reality of the situation since the general vote is only useful in small jurisdictions of perhaps 20,000 people---or about the size of an average ward. When his mind was more nimble in his younger days in 1985, he exclaimed that getting the ward vote was just about the best thing that ever happened in Oshawa. He exclaimed that the ward system was the end of the country club and that it would bring new faces to council. He was right. The first ward vote saw half of council turfed out of office. I wonder if both of these characters are just getting a mite too old for ward political campaigns and constituency work and are just having a tough time keeping up. With the general vote, they could both go into semi retirement and still go on collecting their handsome benefits at the public trough. They just gotta go!

It is fortunate that Oshawa has a few “stars”—bright lights upholding the more democratic and accountable ward vote. They know that it is important to have a city council whose members represent all communities and constituencies in the city…a system that is inclusive of all demographics of the city…not just the rich that would rise under the general vote!

So kudos go to Councillors Lutczyk, Neal, Cullen, and Nicholson. Perhaps you’ll be joined by others who will cross the common sense divide to preserve the democratic and accountable ward vote for the people of Oshawa.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Well The question was asked and the people voted. As much as I am for the ward system, I was out voted. The public spoke. So Current Council had the Duty to support the general vote as requested by the public. Had they turned it down, it would have caused further erosion of the democratic process.