Forget slamming and trashing, get out and vote


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He is the first to admit when people hear Dave Warden will not seek re-election this fall there will be no shortage of fists pumping the air in jubilation — those of ratepayers and several peers on council.

Citing a loss of passion and the desire to spend more time with family, Warden made the announcement Friday after serious deliberation.

“I’ve lost the passion for politics and, basically, I want my life back,” Warden advised. “I’m leaving politics with my head held high. And, I’m leaving on my terms.”

The story on page 3 of today’s Times-Journal fills in the details so we’ll get to the candid stuff.

Regarding Ald. Mark Cosens’ alluding to corrupt dealings in the council chamber, Warden says don’t go there.

“Don’t accuse me of things I was accused of the other day. But I won’t lower myself to his level. Instead, I am very grateful to the people who supported me. And, it’s been an honour for me to serve the people of St. Thomas.

“To turn around and resort to this mud-slinging bullshit, I’m sorry. Municipal politics has changed. You think St. Thomas is immune to this? You wait until this election heats up. It’s started already.”
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Legitimate option or a case of sour grapes?


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A possible third option as a home for the St. Thomas Police Service was rejected — sight unseen — by city council back in April and a Times-Journal article Wednesday indicated there was no appetite at city hall to pursue the Silver St. location, the temporary home leased by the province for the courts in St. Thomas.

Ald. Dave Warden, chairman of the police building committee, said the decision by council in April was unanimous.

“Council was adamant the building be close to downtown,” advised Warden. “And to do the renovations (at Silver St.) you would easily be pushing $10 million.”

The owner of the building — H.D. Palmer & Associates of Windsor — has offered it to the city for $8 million and this would include “all cost required to bring the building up to today’s standard as to post-disaster construction, replace the (exterior) siding, fill in the depressed loading dock on the south side and add any minor changes to the building.”
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Could this be the new police HQ?


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It’s a question on the minds of many city ratepayers: Could the Silver St. temporary courthouse serve as the new home for St. Thomas police?

However, without even touring the one-level building that has served the province for four years, city council has flatly rejected what could be the least expensive option to house the St. Thomas Police Service well into the future.

In fact, in a letter to the building owner — H.D. Palmer & Associates of Windsor — St. Thomas CAO Wendell Graves stressed the intention of council is to pursue a new facility.

During a tour of the 38,000 sq. ft. building Tuesday, company spokesman Jon Palmer said his firm submitted a proposal to the city four years ago but withdrew it when approached by Ontario Realty Corp. (now Infrastructure Ontario) which wanted to lease the entire structure as a temporary courthouse during construction of the Elgin Consolidated Courthouse on Wellington St.

The province pumped $5.5 million into the Silver St. building to serve as a court facility, with the lease expiring on Dec. 31.
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Out-spoken activist sparks homeless dialogue


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After a short time-out in St. Thomas, homeless advocate Jason McComb is back on the road — continuing his Walking in the Free World cross-Canada trek.
On his lay-over, he met with MP Joe Preston, MPP Jeff Yurek and St. Thomas Mayor Heather Jackson to draw attention to the plight of the homeless in order to get them back contributing to society.
He was encouraged to approach all candidates in the upcoming municipal vote to peg them down on homeless initiatives.
During a similar round table discussion back in January, Jason made the following observation about the city’s seasonal shelter, Inn out of the Cold.
“Get them in, get them fed, get them showered, get them to bed. Then it’s here’s your breakfast and now out you go.
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Beware of guys with carnations in their lapels


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A municipal election campaign that had all the excitement of watching paint dry exploded into life Tuesday with Cliff Barwick’s announcement he is seeking a return to the mayor’s office at city hall.
That pits the two primary combatants in the 2010 mayoral showdown — Mayor Heather Jackson and Barwick — in a rematch on Oct. 27.
But, it is going to get better.
Over the next week or so, expect either Ald. Jeff Kohler or Ald. Mark Cosens to join the fray.
If it’s the former, that sets up a tantalizing scenario pitting the last three St. Thomas mayors in a winner-take-all smackdown.
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Candidates, be prepared to talk homelessness


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Homeless advocate Jason McComb has been in St. Thomas for much of the week as he wends his way westward across Canada.

On his Walking In The Free World trek for homelessness, he has met with Prince Charles and Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes and hung out with the Trailer Park Boys.

Perhaps his most productive meeting to date was Monday when he sat down with MP Joe Preston, MPP Jeff Yurek and St. Thomas Mayor Heather Jackson.

It allowed Preston to assert, “It’s time to get outside the same box we’ve been in,” when dealing with the homeless in St. Thomas and Elgin.

Preston continued, “It’s not easy to fix but it is easy to take steps.”
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