Friday, July 27, 2007

Not an Oshawa Politician to be found!

As reported in the post below, Mayor Gray and Councillors April Cullen, Tito Dante Marimpietri, Nester Pidwerbecki, Joe Kolodzie and Robert Lutczyk were all in Calgary attending the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities recently. I happened to be in Calgary at the same time and so thought I'd say hello to some of those attending.

I checked McDonald's at lunch Oshawa politicians there. I checked Wendy' Oshawa politicians there. I checked Burger Oshawa politicians there. Getting frustrated, I checked Swiss Chalet but no Oshawa politicians there. Even though there were lots of municipal politicians from across the country hanging out on 8th Avenue (the Downtown Walking Mall and center location for the conference) I just couldn't find our politicians anywhere.

I knew they'd love to see me to chat and say I continued looking.

I stayed at the Econo Lodge in the Motel Village of Calgary and didn't see any of our politicians there or indeed in the other dozen or so motels on the strip. This would have been a great location because the Banff Trail Station for the Calgary Light Rail Transit System is right there and stops at the back door of the conference center hotel.

Not finding our politicians anywhere, I checked the posh Hyatt Regency Downtown which was the central conference location but didn't see any politicians in the posh lobby of this hotel where the rooms ranged from $309 to $1500 (plux tax) per night.

If our politicians stayed at this "regal" hotel, I know they would have doubled up on these rooms to save our precious tax dollars for valuable Oshawa projects.

They wouldn't take advantage of bellying up to the trough and ordering from the right hand (price) column in restaurants and hotels would they?....Not our politicians who have recently voted to implement the general vote so that they can guarantee their council seats. They wouldn't want to enjoy millionaire-type hospitality at our expense, would they?

While I couldn't find any of our politicians, I doubt whether they would be spending their time with city charge cards in the fancy restaurants or inebriating in an Oshawa hospitality suite sharing the fruits of our tax dollars with politicians across the country.

Hopefully none of our politicians took the liberty of using those city charge cards to rent a car for the hour or so drive to feast at Banff or Lake Louise at our expense...and more importantly by so doing missing valuable conference sessions.

After all, they had a big fight to keep our tax increase this year at JUST 3.9%. So obviously they are VERY CONCERNED about any frivolous spending.

Maybe I'll try to get the Oshawa politicians expense records for this conference just to prove to you, loyal reader, how frugal and responsible our politicians are with our hard earned tax dollars.

I am also anxious to read the "conference reports" submitted from our politicians so that they can share all they learned with the public and with the five councillors who did not attend this conference. I expect that these reports will be tabled at the next council meeting.

And by the way, I would assume our politicians flew economy rather than business class, wouldn't you?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Request for Expense Reports

Mr. B. Duignan,
Oshawa City Manager,
Oshawa City Hall

Dear Sir:

Mayor Gray and Councillors Cullen, Marimpietri, Pidwerbecki, Kolodzie, and Lutczyk all attended the recent 70th Annual Conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities held in Calgary in early June.

I am interested in securing the individual expense records of those who attended including air fare, accommodation expense, food expense, entertainment expense, hospitality expense, car rental expense, city charge card expense, and any general hospitality and/or miscellaneous expense accruing to the city in general as a result of this conference.

Please advise how I might secure these records.

Bill Longworth,
Chairman/Founder VOTES,
159 Spirea Court,

Sunday, July 22, 2007

So What’s Next?

Councilor Sholdra asked me, “So what are you going to do now Bill?” as a question following my presentation to Oshawa City Council on April 30, 2007...

A good question! So here is my analysis of what actions will be taken by both city council and by the VOTES group as a result of Oshawa City Council adopting a move to the general vote at their April 30th meeting.

Actions by Oshawa City Council

1) In short order Oshawa politicians will claim that their workload has increased now that they are responsible for the entire city under the general vote and will demand a significant salary increase more in line with the pay and perks of our provincial and federal politicians.

2) Because of their claims of increased workload, they will demand more staff to handle the demands of their city hall political office.

3) City Hall has been revamped in recent years to provide palatial office space for city council members. They will demand more space now to house their increased staff and office space and furnishings more in line with their new “executive” responsibilities.

4) City politicians will demand more in the way of “communication” budgets to keep citizens informed city-wide. These communications will help ward politicians raise their city-wide profiles at taxpayer expense to insure their election under the general vote system.

5) In short order, politicians will recognize that they are all competitors for the same city-wide vote and thus council will become very fractious and unproductive.

6) Oshawa municipal politicians will be quite unresponsive to community concerns devoting their efforts to the needs of large groups and organizations in the city that have the capacity to deliver bloc votes city-wide and of course developers who will fund their campaigns.

The result? Higher costs to the taxpayer...less productivity on the part of politicians...and real estate loses to all homeowners as a "do-nothing" council makes Oshawa a "less desirable place to live. As a less desireable community, developers of high level development will avoid Oshawa like the plague, thus compounding the problems. The resultant stagnated real estate market will result in market losses to all homeowners!

Actions by the VOTES Group

1) We will continue to look at the possibility of court challenges to Oshawa City Council’s irresponsible and undemocratic plebiscite strategy in minimizing information to voters before the question was asked.

2) We will immediately start recruiting candidates to represent the VOTES party in the next municipal election. Those recruited will have campaign responsibility starting immediately. Anyone who feels strongly that the ward system must be retained in Oshawa and wants to volunteer time to our efforts is encouraged to contact Bill Longworth using the email contact link on the right sidebar.

3) We shall continue to monitor the actions of council and to communicate our findings to the electorate via the site

4) We shall promote through the distribution of business cards in the local plazas.

5) We shall prepare information flyers for door-to-door distribution. These communications will bring voter’s attention to the loss of their local council representation and name those members of council who have supported the change.

6) We shall work to undermine the voter support for Mayor Gray and Councilors Pidwerbecki, Kolodzie, Henry, Parkes, Sholdra, and Marimpietri for their self-serving votes to implement the general vote. Our flyer distribution will target the constituencies of these politicians.

7) We shall communicate Oshawa politicians’ irresponsible actions in an information letter to the mayor and council of all member municipalities of the Canada Association of Municipal Politicians to which Oshawa belongs with the intent of embarrassing them as anti-democratic in the plebiscite process they followed. In this letter, we shall include a link to our video “We Got Da Smarter Council Dan You Got!”

8) We shall continue to pressure council to provide funds to the VOTES group to communicate details of the electoral change to Oshawa citizens. Up to this point, the politicians named in item 6 above have shown their disrespect and despise for Oshawa voters by continually voting to refuse to provide information. These politicians must be defeated in the next election. You must incessantly continue to communicate to them your displeasure with their actions in regard to the general vote and tell them they have lost your support and that you will communicate this information to everyone you know in Oshawa.

9) We shall forward a copy of this letter to all donors to the political campaigns of those politicians who have voted to reject ward voting in favour of the self-serving general vote. Click here to see a listing of the campaign donors for the various candidates.

The result? With increasing voter disenchantment with the self-serving and expensive actions of council coupled with VOTES determined actions to return ward voting and local community representation to Oshawa ratepayers, Mayor Gray, and councillors Pidwerbecki, Kolodzie, Parkes, Henry, Sholdra, and Marimpietri who all supported taking away local political representation from Oshawa taxpayers will be turfed out of office in favour of representatives of the VOTES group who will return ward voting as the first piece of business.