Month: July 2018

The candidates have appeared!

We are going to have an election in Cobourg. Two people want to be Deputy Mayor and nine people vying for three councillor spots . A smaller list than the historical past, but a list for you to choose from. In the absence of a Mayor’s race turnout maybe lower and interest will definitely be off. So back to basics for the candidates – getting the name out there and meeting voters.

Up until the last day of nomination there was only one candidate for DM – Suzanne Seguin, then a registered candidate for Council switched and filed for DM too. Randy Curtis was the fellow. So will it be a race or a walkover? I think it is a race – two basic unknowns for the job. Suzanne has been on Council for less than half a term and Randy has never been on Council but has followed the issues very closely and one of the declared candidates to watch Council in action on Mondays. Suzanne has been in Town for a few years but Randy has the hometown advantage, with deep family roots. So it looks like ‘campaigning 101’ for both of them.

In the race for the five councillor spots it appears to us at the BR that there is only one person who looks like a shoo-in – Brian Darling, who topped the polls last time will do it again. Aaron Burchat, another incumbent councillor has to overcome the problem that he has of public recognition. Only a councillor for two years he has failed to make his mark due to his anonymity whilst being on Council. Miriam Mutton definitely has name recognition, and a history of good public service but will the controversy of her boulevard garden surface again in the negative? Some comments have already been seen on facebook to this effect.

Some of the others have public recognition – Adam Bureau for one, he is a familiar sight to all who travel King St regularly, as he streetwatches and talks to passers-by outside his store. Nicole Beatty achieved some notice as the Chair of Cobourg 150, Emily Chorley has impressed by speaking before Council in a well organised and sensible way about a few issues. Johnny Percolides has made his opinion known on “Cobourg News” about the the marina expansion and Travis Hoover has made a name for himself by being Lou Rinaldi’s assistant and public face, as well as working on local Legion affairs. Karl Vom Dorf fits the bill of ‘mystery candidate’ to me.

Good luck to all of them and if they want a tip from an old campaigner – the one who bangs on the most doors and plants the most signs will advance. I know door-knocking is derided by some in this day of social media, but the voters in this Town may not be on all of the friends lists and be willing to share posts. But I guarantee that five minutes on a doorstep will make an impression and when the voter casts the ballot in order to fill five boxes the doorknocker will be remembered!

Where are the candidates?

Ok we know we are going to have an election in Cobourg. Six people wanting a space on a five member Council. Brian Darling finally stopped dithering and made up his mind to have another four years. Aaron Burchat was a given to be on the ballot,and so was Randy Curtis and Johnny Percolides. These last two are unknowns as they have made no or few public statements. And as to why they want to be  on Council has yet to be made public. We all know where Miriam Mutton stands as she has an extensive public history.

Having watched and participated in many elections over the past forty years in Cobourg, I can tell you the issues hardly ever change. Every election cycle we have the same major complaints – “Council doesn’t listen!” and “Everything is decided behind closed doors with secret meetings.” This year is no different.

The Harbour is a quadrennial issue. Years ago it was the coal piles and public ownership. Then it became what kind of development was wanted, now  it is what do we do with what we have and how to accommodate all of the interest groups. It never ends but the response by candidates is the same – “I will be transparent, I will listen, I will make decisions in the best interests of you”. But the public criticism still persists.

But having seen Councils in action I can honestly say very few Councillors or Mayors have impressed me with action and vision. We have been stuck with Mayors who just go along – press the flesh and then implement Staff decisions. As to the Councillors we have been stuck with ‘go-alongs’ who defer to the Mayor’s needs. Very few have struck me as being independent, and if they did they were soon isolated or co-opted. Miriam Mutton was an example of this. A very diligent councillor who appeared to irritate both colleagues and Staff with her rigourous qustions of policy and direction. Obviously she came to the conclusion that the only way to get her ideas across was to be Mayor, she failed and took an electorally imposed sabbatical. She is now back because  she either has ideas to be  implemented or she just missed the thrill of being a decisionmaker.

But back to the question, “where are the candidates?” The centrepiece of the election – the Mayor’s race is a shoo-in for the only candidate so far. But why doesn’t anybody have the burning ambition to be Mayor? Doesn’t anybody have any ideas to lead the Town? Sad. Historically the number of people wanting to be a councillor is in the double digits, why not this year?

The big question, with only four and half business days before nominations close is why we haven’t seen a slate from the Cobourg Taxpayers Association (CTA)? This voluble and persistent ginger group is absent so far. Perhaps it is a strategic decision to be late filers so that opponents cannot get on the ballot to knock them off.

So to all the “Progressives” in the Town put your name on the ballot now to stop regressive “taxfighters” getting a place on the board.