The editorial puts comments in Gord Henderson's column yesterday in a very different perspective:
There is a tendency in politics for longtime leaders to confuse their interests with the interests of the jurisdictions they govern. There is also a tendency to view dissenting opinions as attacks rather than expressions of legitimate opinions. Unanimity, though, is anathema to vibrant democracies, which thrive on the cut and thrust of debate, the clashing of ideas and the ability of representatives to speak their mind and vote their conscience.
Francis must be careful not to confuse debate and democratic dissent with disloyalty to the city. And councillors must ensure they are advancing the interests of their constituents and not their own political aspirations. Councillors are elected neither to serve the mayor nor run for mayor.
Mayor FrancisMy favourite line from the Mayor:
"There's plenty of time for them to crank it up," said Francis, but right now council needs to stay focused on job-related issues. "I'm begging you as a council to be leaders for this community," he pleaded. "Park the campaigns to the sidelines right now. We should look at everything we do from the perspective of attracting more jobs to this community."
Ward Two Councillor Ron Jones
The Ward 2 councillor is appalled by the nitpicking and showboating he's seeing from councillors who place personal ambition ahead of city interests. "The way some people have been acting, I expect to see lawn signs up any day now."
Ward Two Councillor Caroline Postma
His ward mate, Caroline Postma, told me she's sickened by a dysfunctional, backstabbing, clique-ridden, media-hogging council which she compared to a Grade 9 class at her old school, Forster Collegiate. This council, said Postma, has been poisoned by misleading, two-faced blogs and by third-party associations and influence. "There are so many conflicting personalities around this table," she sighed.
And the final straw, it appears, was media spin which suggested a Windsor auditor general was the personal brainwave of Marra and Halberstadt when in reality the mayor and nearly every councillor endorsed it and asked a committee headed by Marra to flesh out details.As far as the Auditor-General position goes, the entire City Council should hang it's head in shame. The law was passed in 2006 and came into force on January 1st, 2007. We are still studying whether or not to establish the position. At our current pace it will be at least another year before any decision is made, if we're lucky.
Edit: I would hope in the future that Councillor Postma would identify exactly which blogs she considers to be "mis-leading" and "two-faced", whether it be citizens or her fellow Councillor. I would especially be interested in knowing of any of my own blog posts which might be considered by her to be in this category. Blogging and other forms of electronic interaction are not going away, they're growing. Here's a list of blogging municipal officials in Canada:
Councillor Shelley Carroll
Jasper Municipal Library
Kim Richter (Langley Free Press)
Mayor Fred Eisenberger
Olds Municipal Library
Red Deer - Election Forum 2007
Red Deer Public Library
Ted Salci - Hizzoner
The Mayor's Blog
The Mumpsimus Blog
Ward 2 Guelph
Ward 3 Brighton
Ward 4 Guelph