2pm today officially marks the start of the 2014 municipal election campaign. It is also the cut off for any new candidates to throw their hat in the ring. After that time what you see is what you get.
Until 3 weeks ago I was on the fence on who I intended to support as Mayor, Chris Carrier or Joe Gardhouse. Today prior to the official kick off of the campaign I would like to announce that I am supporting Chris Carrier for Mayor of Collingwood.
I have not always been very kind to Chris in this space. I have to admit though one of the things that I respect about him is he did not meekly accept my drive by attacks, he confronted me head on. Over a few meetings for coffee and some email conversations, he has enlightened me on some misconceptions that I had about him and his previous tenure as Mayor of Collingwood. I will deal with that later, first though I want to deal with why I am not supporting or voting for Joe Gardhouse.
In this current term Joe has impressed me with his measured intelligent approach to a number of issues. I haven’t always agreed with him but he has been his own person and he and Keith Hull have been the only two councillors, on a consistent basis, to stand up for the people of Collingwood against the voting bloc of five. If Joe were running for a council position I would vote for and support him in a heartbeat but the mayors chair? I have some serious misgivings about his capacity in that roll. The first is the fact that back in 2004-05 Joe caused a ruckus in town by quitting his council position in the Geddes council. I voted for Joe and that sat very badly with me at the time. I did a question and answer session with Joe here:
When I asked Joe about this situation his answer to me was “I resigned in 2005 due to irreconcilable differences with the head of council. I did it for ethical and governance reasons that I will not rehash.” You know what Joe? You are running as Chief Magistrate of our town, if ever there was a time to “rehash” this issue it was then when you declared your intention to run for the highest political office in town. I’m sure your opponent’s will. How do we know that half way through your tenure as Mayor a few council members will piss you off and you end up throwing your toys out the stroller and quit as Mayor this time around. It is a question of character. My other issue with Joe is; as many of you know I have been doing a “What the candidates say about…….” series of posts. Which judging by the views was very popular with you my readers. Around half way through that series Joe stopped responding to the questions. No explanation, no other communication with me. So if that is an example of Joes engagement with members of the public now what will he be like as Mayor of our town? I got the impression that Joe just got bored with the whole thing. My last comment on Joe is; I do not think that Joe has the kind of support that it will take to beat the incumbent Mayor Cooper, he will split the vote and drain much needed votes away from Chris Carrier. So a vote for Joe is basically a vote for the incumbent ribbon cutting Mayor (or her puppeteer Rick Lloyd).
Back to Chris. I suggest that if you have any reservations about him and his last tenure as Mayor you should email him at firstname.lastname@example.org unlike others in council and running for various positions he answers all emails and will engage in dialog with you.
The following puts the record straight on some common misconceptions about Chris Carriers tenure as Mayor of Collingwood:
1. He wanted the patios next to curb downtown. He actually voted for them to be next to the buildings in a 4 – 5 vote Carrier, Cooper, Chadwick, Edwards For – Sandberg, Foley, McNabb, Jeffery, Labelle Against.
2. He initiated and instigated the reversal of the decision to allow a 6 story building at Admiral Collingwood Place. VOTE appealed the previous councils decision to ignore the Heritage Height Assessment to the OMB. Carrier fast tracked the project with a negotiated settlement between both parties with a 5 story compromise.
3. He and his council racked up unprecedented amounts of debt during its tenure. That council completed a huge amount of infrastructure work that needed to be done. Including upgrades to water sewer mains at various locations around town. Downtown and First Street rehabilitation projects. New Library (I didn’t agree with this one but apparently I was in a minority). Carriers council also took advantage of various grants that were available with a net benefit to the town of $20M.
4. Carrier as Mayor presided over the most dysfunctional Collingwood town council in decades. That council actually got a lot accomplished considering the 2008 recession and the backstabbing. It is also the only town council in the past eleven years that has not been investigated by the OPP. Another factor is that after Carrier indorsed Helena Guergis instead of Cooper’s brother Paul Bonwick in the 2006 Federal election the gloves were off. Deputy Mayor Cooper and Chadwick behind the scenes did there level best to undermine Carrier throughout his tenure as Mayor.
I know that some of my regular readers still dislike Chris Carrier with a passion. I am also sure some of you have some items that you can add to the above list. Chris is a regular reader of this blog, if you have anything that you want to add please leave it in the comment section below, if you are uncomfortable emailing him directly. Unlike others that are running in this election, he will deal with your issues head on, I am quite sure.