I do not know who I will be voting for

electionBut I do know who I will not be voting for. If we hear any body else intone “wasteful spending”, “taxes are too high” (without the explanation of a solution), “I am for the people” and other useless election phrases we hear every four years from candidates without imagination or the brains to offer solutions, we will, as a commenter once put here “puke”.

Hands up all those voters who have seen a candidate with a new idea, we have, but mainly it is an idea based on using somebody else’s money. There have been a couple of good ideas about sustainability and how to use the Tannery Lands, but are they realistic?

But we save our criticism for the fearmongers. One candidate for Deputy Mayor is spouting vitriol about Cobourg’s next year’s tax increase. “Cobourg is going to raise taxes by 19%” he wails. But this information is from a budget projection. An email from City Hall explains the process: “The bulk of this increase is reflected in the “Capital Levy” line near the bottom of the page.  For 2014 this line was $545,700 and for 2015 it is showing as $3,450,900 or an increase of $2,905,200.  This by itself would be an increase of 14%.When we come to review the 2015 budget with the new Council, the capital portion of the budget will almost certainly change significantly.  As well, there will be other sources of funding such as federal gas tax and development charges that would come into play to reduce the impact on the tax base.” Last years projection for this was a big one too, but as we know this wishlist gets hacked to pieces and brought into reality, the decision to build a $4million dollar works yard (which covers off most of the increase) will be brought into line, by debenturing and the use of the revenue tools mentioned in the email) or else it will not happen.

Cobourg, unlike Port Hope, is a place of stability, here we bitch about the people on Council not what Council does, although occasionally the public does get riled up, consequently all we will be voting for are new players not new directions. So who do we toss off? We have to remove before considering replacement. I am going to remove the incumbents who I feel have not explained themselves well in the past term, do we really know what some of them think – they haven’t uttered a thought in public for years ……. Placeholders! We need imaginative and thoughtful people, that rules out those who haven’t said much in the campaign that is different from the incumbents. We need a mix of ages on the new Council and we need a gender balance. In other words no more a preponderance of “dead white guys” who are available because they are retired and want something to do. Council work is not  a retirement project!

So it’s up to you Cobourg, let’s meet the new world on Monday evening.

One of the Questions at the ACM

cdci-wWas, “What do you think will be some of the upcoming issues in the next term of Council will be?” A very perceptive question and of course, from our point of view as we look at things from a different angle, one not fully answered by any of the respondents. Platitudes about the Harbour and Downtown revitalisation abounded and yet none about the Biggie, in our view – the redevelopment of the West High School site.

As we know this building will become empty in a couple of years (in the middle of the next term of Council) and there will be cries from all for the Council to do something about a Heritage site and a protected building in the middle of it. Former Mayor Delanty, in a bio of the the late Col G King, a former and celebrated Principal of the School, said that Col King presided over five expansions of the school. As we can see when we look at the image in this post the original building, in the pic, is hidden by the 60s expansion on the West East side – not shown.

Despite the opinions of from many who all have different opinions about the future use of this site one clear fact cannot be forgotten – this site is in the middle of the Heritage District and as such Heritage rules apply. But as we have seen in the rezoning application for the “Legion project” Heritage rules can be flouted and ignored and Staff reports slanted to give the impression that all is well when a developer wants to do business in or near the Heritage District. But it is not! With the trumpeting of a new Heritage Guidelines Study, which we predict will either lie on a shelf after adoption or be completely ignored, and its design and use being a big part of the new Councils’ work we can expect this issue to be big and will need a lot of time spent on it by the new Council.

So the question is why didn’t any of the putative Councillors identify this a one of the issues that they would have to deal with?

Probably because the two incumbents have never publicly been supportive of strong Heritage measures and protection and the new people have had little to do with the issue and are obviously ignorant. But the issue cannot be ignored. We do believe, readers correct us if we are wrong, that a closed school has to be offered to the Municipality as a public use before disposition on the open market can take place. If that is the case then we are back to the debate that ensued when the former Thomas Gilbard public school was closed. The Town said we have no money to buy and besides we have no real use for it anyway, a group of locals (Citizen Brocanier was involved in this effort, we recollect) tried to establish a Community Centre but failed to find the money and a local developer bought it and converted it to condos.

Whatever the final use is we know one thing this will be a project for the new Council – even if they vote not to get involved – just a heads-up for those on the podium last Thursday night.

First Impressions

pano2Went to an All Candidates Meeting (ACM) Thursday night and came away with the feeling that on the surface anybody on the platform could do the job of being on Council. But how does one filter out the ‘remainder’ and and leave behind the ‘winners’?

The first thing the BR did was to pick up a copy of every pamphlet in the house, these were to be looked at after the fact. Next we stayed to watch the performances and to find out who could think on their feet, who could answer a question after listening carefully to the somewhat vague collection of mashup questions and also to have one’s perceptions confirmed.

With only an interest in the Councillors, having watched the candidates for higher office many times over the years, with the exception of Mr Pagnuelo, that’s all we stayed for. So if one thinks that all could do the job how do we pick a Council?

First off, go with the comfort factor. Who came across the best, or at least amongst the five best? Age had no bearing on this bunch, the youngest, if you were a blind person, sounded as accomplished as the oldest. The oldest did not sound as though he was past his ‘best-before date’. The people that were the last names on the ballot and unknown to the majority did not seem out of place. So we are left with the usual way – toss out the people that you disagree with and then look at what they say they want to do. Unfortunately you will only find out the candidates positions in their literature and most of that was pretty skimpy, certainly all were devoid of policy and full of platitudes – I guess if you want more go to their websites. Then go with first impressions, psychologists will tell us that it only takes a few seconds into the interview to determine success. After that read between the lines and try to estimate just what they want to do and how they will do it. We were looking for individuals not ‘team-players’ – after all the best hockey team is not made up of six Centres. We need position players and a good coach. And finally we are looking for screw-ups and blown lines to see if they were really mistakes or a trend.

The ability to tell the truth, as blunt as it is is a good thing but anybody promising to hold the line on taxes, or even reduce them, without telling us how is in cuckoo land. Anybody promising to deliver lower costs without telling us how present services will be cut is not to be listened to and finally anybody promising to do things differently doesn’t understand the process of governing and casts aspersions on the work of previous Councils – unfairly too.

So you ask are we going to tell you our preferences – maybe. But with so many good candidates it might be interesting to juggle the lines a bit and make up different teams.

Here are a few ideas:

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fun2

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Some lighthearted pics from last night

The candidates on stage
I wonder what they are going to say about me tonight?
I wonder which of these bozos they will saddle me with?
The lonliness of the long distance runner
A slice of the audience
Guy in the red shirt - You do not want to know what I am thinking!
I really am a good listener
I have to get this - it might be an angry condo owner
The candidates' tables

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE

A Guest Post by Anonymous

From time to time we get unsolicited work, this is one of them and it poses a very serious question to all of the Candidates in this Municipal Election. We ask that they watch and then answer the question in the last frame.

This question – “How do we clean up downtown?” was asked last night,

Another pertinent Guest Post

October 2, 2014

Dear Member of Parliament, Rick Norlock;

I stand strongly beside Canada’s robust defence of Israel. I stand as strongly behind Canada’s vocal defence of Ukraine. I also appreciate all of the assorted adjectives and adverbs used to describe the jihadi turbulence in the Middle East.

I depart from any proposal that Canada take up a combat role in that part of the world.

Caught in time travel

In the previous post Wally Keeler started a fine thread about the dust and dirt from the rehabbing of the facade of the brick building at King and Division. The comments did not appear so here is what he sent to me for publication.

The thread starts with the action from the Mayor and Wally’s letter is at the bottom of the thread.

It’s that time of the year – again!

spainWith the election campaign being played out by other people and the Burd’s itchy feet atwitchin’ we will be on vacation for a couple of weeks.

That’s a challenge to all of the readers to fill this post with comments about anything you want to say. Anybody with lots to say will get to be a guest poster. Email info@burdreport.ca and it will get put up for all to comment on.

There is a travel blog on the travel page feel free to check it out, it may not be a regular thing so don’t expect too much it will be a very hectic 17 days but it is hoped that one can get the flavour.

42 days to go before election day

indexAnd we ask if the candidates are ready. Knowing the answer we can say with authority, that most are not. You would have thought that with just over a month to go that little (big really) things would be ready. For instance, how many candidates are banging on doors with the most essential part of their kit – a pamphlet? Not many! How many candidates have their pamphlets? Not many!

Taxfighter 2.0

PaulPag_IMG_1500When Stan Frost, the sitting Deputy Mayor came to Council a couple of terms ago he called himself “the taxfighter”. He didn’t exactly earn the title after this term overseeing a period of high spending and dedication to debt financing, and we still had tax increases instead of tax decreases. Obviously he learned very quickly that it is easy to talk about a tax decrease than to really enforce one.

We are being taken for granted – again

Photo-71-150x150With the news that a parachute candidate is going to be nominated for the upcoming vacancy in the new Riding of Northumberland Peterborough South (NPS) one must notice that the Riding has been shopped around as a ‘safe seat’ by the Conservative Party brass.

Mayor Brocanier should take a holiday

kirkupWhen the news that Don Kirkup, a man of many talents and vocations, hit Mayor Brocanier’s desk yesterday we bet the smile on his face was from ear to ear. This is the best political news that he could have for his campaign to be reelected as Mayor of Cobourg.

And he’s off

The Mayor that is – on his election campaign.

Gil Brocanier kicked off his campaign by standing in front of twenty-one people, five of whom were from the media, and read a statement, click here to read it Vowing to stay the course of his political life – that is to have a job-centred Mayoralty. He does pledge to work with all to make Cobourg a great place to live.

Was it good for you?……

vicparkfood…….The disruption of Cobourg’s mainstreet for many hours in order to shoot an opening scene to a movie that we bet will fizzle, there can’t be that many Adam Sandler fans out there, or are there? But leaving aside the way that the traffic behaved, in total ignorance of the shoot, what was the economic impact to the Town?

Another Roadblock for Mr Sofer to climb over

soferMr Amit Sofer, the Principal of the TVM Group, website here will be gnashing his teeth this morning. His project to build a residential condominium block and new Legion Clubroom will just have to wait a few more weeks for the final approval. Just when he thought it was clear sailing, a request to review the OMB decision has been placed on the desk of the Executive Chair of the OMB.