Hitting the home stretch of another year, it’s the obvious time to take stock of what has transpired over the past 365 days, and this corner will undertake that in a couple of weeks.
However, as we hover on the doorstep of 2010, it is a sense of anticipation that greets us in the form of the municipal vote looming in October.
With 10 months remaining in the term of city council, it is unlikely the members will be fondly recalled as a take-charge body whose motto was, “Git ‘er done.”
So, time for a little City Scope speculation as to who is on board for another kick at the cat.
At the top, health issues are likely to influence Mayor Cliff Barwick’s decision to step aside, again, and relinquish the steering wheel to …. ?
Not likely Ald. Tom Johnston. He has a young family and quality time will surely prevail, resulting in another run at council before a shot at mayor in 2014.
Having said that, Johnston may very well encourage Barwick to keep the mayor’s seat warm in the interim, as the two share more in common than table mates at St. Thomas Energy board dinners.
The time couldn’t be better for Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman to step forward and campaign on a time for change in the old boys club of the past three mayoral terms.
If she plays her cards right, she could be a formidable force who could garner plenty of female votes.
Ald. Terry Shackelton is a long shot for a mayor’s challenge, dealing with the city’s finances has been taxing enough. However he has dropped hints in the past he has aspirations to drive the bus.
Plenty of rumblings of an outsider stepping forth in the form of Mark Cosens. Guidance from the camp of MPP Steve Peters could go a long way to erase the memory of downtown battles.
Would former mayor Jeff Kohler consider a return to the public spotlight? A possibility, but a higher office may be more of an allure.
On the aldermanic front, a sure certainty is the departure of Bill Aarts. Stepping down as chairman of the community service committee tipped his hand at an early stage.
On-going concerns at the Timken Centre are a good enough reason to wrap up anyone’s political career.
Is Gord Campbell up for another four years of patience-testing servitude? If so, he’s a brave soul indeed.
David Warden has his ponies under control and isn’t afraid to trade barbs with any cohort, which would tend to point to another term of office.
Leaving Lori Baldwin-Sands as the great unknown. As she rarely says much, who knows where her future lies?
THE FLAME OF HOPE
Good news has been in short supply this year for St. Thomas and Elgin, so the arrival Tuesday of the Olympic Torch will hopefully portend a brighter tomorrow.
We can all do our part by jamming the downtown core, and in particular the area in front of the CASO station, to welcome the Olympic flame as it wends its way ever closer to a final destination in Vancouver.
That afternoon will not be the time to feel the least bit intimidated by an enthusiastic show of patriotism. This may very well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it couldn’t materialize at a more opportune time.
So, it’s quite all right to experience a lump in the throat and feel a tear or two well up in your eyes.
This country has taken an undeserved bashing in Copenhagen, and an outpouring of pride, flag waving and a spontaneous outburst of O Canada would do us all a world of good.
It’s still a damn fine place to call home.
A CHRISTMAS WISH FOR YOU
As this is the last get together before Christmas, this corner would love to pass along appropriate gifts to loyal readers.
Material goods are so quickly taken for granted or fall out of favour, so we put together this gift list as our wish to you for a very Merry Christmas.
To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
And to all faithful City Scope readers, especially those with birthdays at this hectic time of year when their special day too often is lost in the hustle and bustle of the season — may this Christmas bring you peace, health and happiness.
City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.