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Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Email and Confidentiality

A story in this week’s Connection titled “Private talk with CAO leads to Collingwood integrity commissioner complaint” sparked the following comment. No, this is not about what strikes me as the unethical and secretive behaviour of the councillor in question and his defending that behaviour in the media as if the town’s Code of Conduct did not […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Why Elvis Matters to Collingwood

There are some things that are pointless to argue, it seems. Creationism with a fundamentalist. Anti-vaccination with a New Age wingnut. Reason and logic with local bloggers. The value of the Elvis Festival to Collingwood with a closed-minded resident. I recently heard complaints about the cost of the 2014 festival: $74,000. More than double what […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Councils and Their CAO

A good relationship between a municipal council and their town’s CAO is crucial to smooth, effective and efficient governance. The CAO is the liaison between council and staff, responsible for directing staff to implement council’s direction and overseeing internal personnel issues. If the relationship is rocky, then governance and Council’s interactions with staff – and therefore the […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Collingwood council’s committee system is broken

Last term, council approved a recommendation from the CAO to dump its traditional structure of council and public committees, to an internal system of standing committees filled only with politicians. The structure is used in several other – mostly larger – communities. It sounded intriguing, bold and exciting, so council said yes, let’s try it. […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The tail wags the dog again

In January, the CAO coupled a ‘sky-is-falling’ presentation about the town’s debt with a proposed 5.11 percent tax increase. * Councillor Kevin Lloyd made a motion to have staff bring back two options for council to consider: a one and two percent increase to the general tax levy, with comments on how these would affect […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Whitewash

In early January, Council was presented with a report by outside consultants on the state of the shared service agreement between Collus/Powerstream and the town. The report, however, was rejected by council as flawed – wisely, it turns out – and the following motion was made (emphasis added) that night: THAT the motion be deferred for […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Open for Business, But Not For Your Input

Did you happen to read the town ad on the inside page in the Enterprise Bulletin this weekend? February 6, top of page D7? I’m betting you didn’t because no one I’ve spoken to seems to have read it. And since you can’t find the ad on the EB’s website, you won’t have read it online, […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Hypocrisy Starts

It didn’t long for the hypocrisy to start at council. Monday night, council approved a five-year contract for an unsolicited proposal from the town’s only (monopoly) taxi service without going to an open bid process. Yes that’s right: this council approved a sole-source contract in its first two months of this term. No tender. No RFP. […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Professional Politicians? Not Here…

There’s an editorial in the January 29 edition of the Collingwood Connection that underscores how little the local media really understand local politics, and how biased it remains. Which is unfortunate, because buried within this vitriolic screed was a nugget of wisdom; a salient point about local politics.* First, it begins with an essential error by […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: My Goodbye to Local Politics (for now)

I had meant to read a statement at last night’s final meeting of Collingwood Council, but I misplaced my printout between the time I left home and the meeting’s start. I remembered most of it, but may have missed a few words. Here’s an edited version of what I said with some notes from what […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Before You Become a Politician

No, this isn’t about me. This is about federal politics. I never had an inclination for higher levels of politics, those other arenas, other battles, nor the lofty separation of politician from the electorate such roles entail. But some of it is relevant to those who want to enter municipal politics; indeed to all levels of […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Thank you for your support

Thank you everyone who voted for me this election. I am delighted and honoured that you once again gave me your confidence and trust to represent you for another term in office. Unfortunately, although there were a lot of you, it wasn’t quite enough. I will not be returning for the upcoming term, but perhaps I […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Collingwood in the Top Ten

There’s a story in today’s Financial Post that is headlined, “Collingwood’s debut in top 10 on ranking of business friendly cities is no accident.” No accident at all, as anyone on council, in staff or who follows local politics knows. We’ve worked hard to get to this. We deserve it. We told you during the […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The mote and the beam

“Hide witch hide, the good folks come to burn thee; Their keen enjoyment hid behind a Gothic mask of duty.” Jefferson Starship: Mau Mau (Blows Against the Empire, 1970) I was thinking about those lines recently. They seemed appropriate given the events in town since last spring. I was also thinking about what Gord Hume […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Best of Times

I was overcome this weekend with an urge to re-read Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, A Tale of Two Cities. I suspect it’s because of its brilliant, powerful opening. That opening epitomizes for me Collingwood’s municipal election and the dichotomy between the two camps: positive versus negative. It was the best of times, it was the worst […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lessons From the Campaign Trail

I always learn something new, something valuable from every municipal election campaign. I learn from talking to people, I learn from community meetings. I learn from comments and emails I receive. I learn from other candidates, too – there are often good ideas proposed that can be developed by council later. Each election campaign has been a […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Carrier’s Attack Ad

Former mayor Chris Carrier has a big, nasty attack ad in the Connection this weekend. He promises “facts” and attacks the current mayor’s “spin.” But any reader who has followed the debate over the real figures for the town debt knows it’s quite the opposite. You weren’t fooled, were you, dear reader? I didn’t think […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Promising What Can’t be Done

There’s a wrap up in the Connection this weekend with candidates’ comments on “accountability” I want to address. One deputy-mayoral candidate, Brian Saunderson, wrote, he would, “Strengthen the current council code of conduct to include dealing with siblings as a defined conflict and impose consequences for council members who breach the code.” Council cannot make a […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Swimmer Comments on the New Pool

Here are some comments from a pool user emailed to me this week, slightly edited. I asked for and received permission to post these. Apparently some local people who don’t swim or use any of these pools – including our own – have been posting on social media that our facility can’t live up to […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Real Facility Costs

Another misleading statement was made during one of the all-candidates’ meetings last week: that our new recreational facilities – the Central Park Arena and the Centennial Aquatic Centre – cost $20 million and that the pool was 30% over budget. Neither is correct. According to our treasurer, Marjory Leonard, who replied to my emails this week, […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Your Election Choices

As the ballots start to trickle in, the campaigns wind down. The Collingwood election is essentially over – we’re just waiting for the results now. But if you haven’t cast your ballot yet, here are some things to consider before you make your choices. This municipal election has been polarized along several lines, but your basic choices […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Clarifying Municipal Taxes

Some candidates seem confused about municipal taxes this election. I thought I’d clear up a few facts about property taxes for your (and their) benefit. Property taxes are made up of three components: the municipal portion (roughly 60%), the county portion (24%) and the education portion (16%). The rate (also called the mill rate) for each portion is set […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Myth of Block Voting

I was amused by a recent comment I had voted “95%” the same as others on council. This was followed by the inevitable accusation of “block voting.” The complainer apparently wants everyone to vote in some helter-skelter manner. God forbid we should all agree on anything. It’s a tired old campaign tactic: to accuse your opponents of being […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Their Shoddy Potemkin Villages

In 1787, the Empress Catherine II took a long trip to the Crimea along the Dnieper River. She wanted to see how her subjects lived. Not wanting her to see the actual poverty and hardships of the peasants, her lover – and the region’s governor – Grigory Potemkin, had pretty, fake villages of canvas and […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Promising to do What’s Already Done

It’s good for councillors to know we’ve already accomplished so much that everyone wants to emulate us. Listening to the all-candidates’ speeches and reading the campaign literature is a real boost to the ego. A lot of new people are promising to do what’s already been done. Incumbents can comfortably sit back and say, “been there, […]