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.”
“When council members turn on each other, it’s bad. But if there’s going to be changes made and they get good people in there, great. Dave Warden will be the first to say that.”
But in the same breath, Warden issues a challenge to his supporters and detractors alike.
“Get out and vote. If you’re not happy, get out and vote. Quit going on Facebook and slamming and trashing. And then you get 30% turnout at the polls.”
What are the chances that comment will draw the ire of many on social media?
His detractors will hoist their drinks in celebration, but there are many others in the city like this individual on the T-J website who posted: “I didn’t always agree with Mr. Warden’s positions and statements, but he has more integrity and cares more about this community than anyone else at that table. He will be missed.”
It’s an odd document entitled St. Thomas Municipal Election Report and it comes to us courtesy of Bob McCaig, who commissioned Oraclepoll Research to poll 400 city residents over a five-day period earlier this month to ascertain public opinion on the municipal vote, the current council and the level of service at city hall.
While much weight is being afforded the 2:1 vote opposed to construction of a new police station, the key finding is the fact where the police will be housed didn’t even crack the Top 12 top-of-mind issues facing the St. Thomas electorate.
Jobs and employment are what register with voters, according to McCaig’s poll.
Respondents only mentioned the police situation when prompted by a question.
McCaig stressed the poll was in no way “an attempt to control council or the mayor’s office.”
In an email, McCaig reiterated, “We don’t need a new police station and the employment of consultants to obfuscate the facts and cost the citizens of our community additional taxes while long needed infrastructure work goes unfulfilled, is willful incompetence by the majority of council.
“I trust they are all defeated at the polls in the coming municipal election.”
Pretty much taken care of, Bob.
With Warden and Gord Campbell out of the running and either Heather Jackson or Cliff Barwick losing out in the mayoral race (perhaps both if a third candidate musters up the courage), the work is pretty much done.
When it returns to a regular meeting schedule on Tuesday, city council will have in front of it two reports dealing with the question of a home for the St. Thomas Police Service.
The first contains revised Class C estimates outline four options.
The cost of phased-in renovations to the Colin McGregor Justice Building: $13.8 million.
Renovations to the existing building with a move to a temporary location during construction: $10.9 million.
The second report outlines the cost of borrowing money from Infrastructure Ontario to pay for the approved option.
For information purposes only, treasurer David Aristone advises a $12 million debenture over 20 years, at 3.31% interest from Infrastructure Ontario, would require an annual payment of $830,000 for principal and interest.
That’s less than the annual payment required for the Timken Centre.
All eyes will be on council Tuesday evening.
If the question of what to do about a home for the St. Thomas Police Service is so important, why have so few aldermanic hopefuls made an appearance at building committee meetings and the recent open house at Memorial Arena?
With the exception of Joan Rymal, Linda Stevenson and Brett Bear, few if any of the other declared candidates have made an appearance.
Likewise, if this is such a compelling issue on the minds of so many who signed the petition opposing a new facility, how come only 37 ratepayers bothered to attend the public information session.
And only three took the time to comment — two being aldermanic candidates.
All of which reinforces McCaig’s poll results: it is not a top-of-mind issue with many city residents.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I had to come to grips and be honest with myself. Do you really want to do this for another four years?”
Ald. Dave Warden on his announcement Friday he will not seek re-election in the Oct. 27 municipal vote.
City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow @ianscityscope