Whichever Way The Wind Blows
What qualities should we be looking for in our next mayor -- when the next municipal election is held in November 2010 ?
Citizen Ellie would like to see someone in the job who's had experience running a business and meeting a payroll. Someone who can make a decision and live with it, not changing their mind whenever some group comes along which doesn't like it. Someone who's prepared to put the interests of property taxpayers first, not kowtowing to special interest groups. Someone who recognizes that not every property taxpayer in Ottawa enjoys the comfort and security of a well-paid government job replete with a rich benefit package. Someone who recognizes that senior citizens on pension have seen their incomes drop by 20% since last September, that 19,000 Nortel pensioners living in the area may soon have no pensions. Someone who understands the difference between "must haves" such as snow removal, storm and sanitary sewers, garbage collection, police and fire protection, road and infrastructure maintenance and "nice to haves" such as city-funded community gardens, city-funded museoparks, city-fundedconcert halls etc. Someone who is prepared to say "No".
There's a lot of politicking going on at City Hall right now even though council is hiatus for the summer. The politically ambitious, sensing they might get a leg up on opponents, are angling to fill the mayor's chair on an interim basis should Mayor Larry get bad news on August 12.
In Citizen Ellie's view, councillors who have made the decision to seek the mayor's chair in November 2010, should declare themselves now and step aside -- letting someone else take on the interim role. The playing field should be level, going into the next election. Occupying the seat on an interim basis creates an unfair advantage.
And do you really want someone in this post -- even for a short period of time -- who makes decisions based on whichever way the wind is blowing ?
Take Councillor Cullen, for example. As chair of the city's Transportation Committee -- the committee which oversees all things OC Transpo -- he voted in favor of raising the price of student bus passes. There was some flak from U of O President Alan Rock and some student agitation -- particularly on behalf of aging post-graduate students. Apparently one can be in one's 40s and still qualify for a student bus pass if one is attending uni. (Citizen Ellie must look into this. Are student passes cheaper than seniors ? If so, Citizen Ellie will immediately register to pursue her Spanish conversation classes at the university level rather than continue them at a city facility.)
Then there was Councillor Cullen, on TV, wearing a cycling suit, stating that he'd experienced an epiphany and would move reconsideration at the next council meeting. Was the cycling suit for real or was he wearing it to show support for the five who were seriously injured in the March Road incident only days earlier ? Citizen Ellie thought Councillor Clive Doucet had the cycling fraternity in the palm of his hand.
These epiphanies are frequent at city hall and Councillor Cullen is not the only one who "sees the light" from time to time. Problem is that said epiphanies tend to end up costing us taxpayers money.
There's also been talk of bringing back someone with experience -- such as former Mayor Bob Chiarelli to fill in on an interim basis. Personally Citizen Ellie would prefer it if former Nepean reeve/mayor Andy Haydon would step in should it become necessary to fill Mayor Larry's shoes.
Summer posts usually on Mondays