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.

  4 comments for “Where are the candidates?

  1. Paul Pagnuelo
    July 24, 2018 at 11:50 am

     
    I’m surprised and disappointed that the issue of left/right politics has even entered the debate of the municipal election. 
     
    Lower tier municipal government is about delivering hard municipal services such as policing, fire, roads, water/sewer, parks, planning, etc.  Perhaps I’m just being naïve but how one can make services such as road maintenance or fire protection “progressive” escapes me.   
     
    I would think that regardless of what side of the political spectrum one is on, the common goal should be honesty, transparency, fiscal prudence, avoiding duplication of services, representing the public, strong stewardship and management of our assets.  There is nothing politically left or right about it.
     
     
     

    • Ben Burd
      July 24, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      “I would think that regardless of what side of the political spectrum one is on, the common goal should be honesty, transparency, fiscal prudence, avoiding duplication of services, representing the public, strong stewardship and management of our assets.  There is nothing politically left or right about it.”

      I agree with 90% of this statement, but there is absolutely everything politically left/right about it. If one is a taxfighter to the exclusion of social responsibility then there is a problem for the progressives. One can be an adherent to the philosophy espoused above but if one doesn’t use the tools of government for the remedy of social issues then what kind of society will we we be building?

      Lower Tier Governments have as much responsibility to the social issues as any other tier. If that means having to pay for it then we will have to debate how to and how much.

      • mike wladyka
        July 30, 2018 at 12:09 pm

        All levels of government share a responsibility for its

        citizens, but it should be one based on the fairness

        of a graduated income tax to pay for it , and not one on

        a regressive municipal system that is sorely burdened

        by rising community maintenance costs.

         

         

    • Wally Keeler
      September 9, 2018 at 12:07 pm

      The left/right spectrum is nothing more than political mediocrity for the simple-minded. Complex problems are diminished to a binary. Both sides of the spectrum have their dogma and we all know that dogma is undynamic. I prefer free-thinking regardless of political ideology, or adherence to any political ideology/dogma.

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