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A contrast in style

Two new Mayors two different styles. Obviously one is male and one female, one is brash, self described as ‘outspoken’, the other just does the job. One is in the news for what is said the other one toils in the background. A quick search on Google reveals that there are more articles about the Mayor of Cobourg (MC) than the Mayor of Port Hope (MPH). Score one for better publicity, not all of it good, for the Mayor of Cobourg.

Both have newsletters, the Mayor of Port Hope publishes once a week – The Mayor’s Corner, Cobourg’s Mayor publishes once a month – index here. Two similar publications very different styles. One is basically a narrative (Port Hope’s), the other more self-centered. If you don’t believe me go to each one and count the times personal pronouns appear. Very few in Port Hope, Cobourg is peppered with them. A search of the only Mainstream Media outlet in Northumberland reveals that ink-wise the Mayor of Cobourg comes ahead by twice as many column inches. Literary note: “The Irish writer Brendan Behan (1923-1964) added a memorable variation of  “There isn’t any such thing as bad publicity” when he said in 1960, “There’s no bad publicity except an obituary notice.””  Something the Mayor of Cobourg describes as “Asking the hard questions”

The reason this post is being written is because this week at a County Councill meeting the two Mayors appeared to be taking different approaches to the same problem. Cobourg is in the middle of what is being described as some, as an epidemic of gargantuan problems – an invasion of drug addled street people. Others describe the situation as a social problem that affects some of the population caused by the addicted, homeless and mentally ill. Whatever side you are on is the wrong side as far as the other side is concerned.

The issue reached a head, in Cobourg, when a group of locals aided by a group from Peterborough decided to setup, on private property, an unsanctioned ‘Overdose Prevention Site’ (OPS). This was a place supervised by volunteers to watch over drug users taking drugs in a safe place as opposed the normally unsafe places they usually used. Overdoses are common in Cobourg and this group thought if they setup a ‘safe place’ lives would be saved. This effort was quickly squashed by By-Law officers using an obscure zoning bylaw infraction to threaten the owner with hefty fines.

Listening to a presentation on the harm-reduction efforts of  the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit the obvious differences between the two Mayors were revealing. Read a story written by local journalist Cecilia Naismith about the presentation and subsequent discussion here. One Mayor was sympathetic and pledged to take the issue back to her Council and the other decided to question the presenter in an unfriendly tone, in fact that ‘tone’ caused the Warden of the County to cut off further questions from the other Mayor – of Cobourg.

The Mayor of Cobourg backfilled his remarks with this comment ““My concern today, and one that may come across in the wrong tone, is that we are allowing individuals to push what they want to happen without following the proper procedures and/or processes by which we as elected officials have sworn to follow.””

SO the difference is well formed one Mayor will try to work using all the tools available and probably find more, and the other is hidebound by only using the legal tools not available in the County. We at the BurdReport ask – which effort will save lives and which effort will hinder the process of saving lives?


Note: it should be noted that the BurdReport has not spoken to either of the Mayors, as have the majority of Citizens not done. All of the observations have been taken from the public domain.


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