Time for good ideas, not absurd promises

Prior to the 2003 municipal vote, this corner checked in with the author of a citizen’s guide to electing better public officials who encouraged voters to maximize the impact of their decision when they cast ballots.
Charles Bens has consulted more than 200 public sector organizations in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Latin America, and he advocates a process he calls “quality voting.”
In the aldermanic race, voters can cast up to a maximum of seven votes, but Bens stresses there is no requirement to endorse that number of candidates.
The goal, argues Bens, is to only support those candidates “who will make good decisions on behalf of the community.”
If a voter feels they have accomplished that by supporting less than the maximum allowed seven candidates, then they should not feel obligated to cast the remainder of their votes.
He pointed out just filling up the ballot “can sometimes send irresponsible and unethical people to public office.”
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Poverty is more than a ‘whole bunch of little problems’


Close to 50 individuals gathered Thursday in the YWCA gym for a municipal all-candidates meeting hosted by the Bridges out of Poverty program.
In a campaign dominated by seemingly endless debate over a home for the police service, those enjoying a simple lunch at the Y were seeking any sign of hope from candidates on grass-roots issues like poverty, homelessness and low-paying jobs.
For the most part, they had to chew on simplistic campaign fodder.
In fact, a couple of the candidates put forth an embarrassingly feeble effort as they attempted to answer the question, “How do you address poverty in St. Thomas?”
One individual spent most of his allotted time pushing his over-inflated bio on those in attendance and then dropped this clinker, “poverty is a whole bunch of little problems.”
Nice to know whether you can afford to pay the rent or buy food when there is too much month at the end of the money is one of those “little problems.”
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There’s no video to see here people, so just move along


Last week in this corner we tabelled the first of a two-part thumbnail summary of each aldermanic candidate’s presentation at a meeting held Oct. 1 at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

Each candidate was allotted five minutes in which to introduce themselves and their platform to about 150 people in attendance.

Here are the remaining individuals who appear in the order established by the organizers.

Ald. Jeff Kohler, Mark Burgess, Walter H. Green and Mike Manary were not present.

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‘We need a team of eight people with vision’ – aldermanic candidate Joan Rymal

Joan Rymal forwarded these thoughts for consideration as the Oct. 27 municipal election approaches . . .

“We have the money. Can we find a team of 8 people with vision to positively promote St.Thomas and make informed decisions with all the facts?

The police station issue has clearly identified the need to ensure we are not making decisions before all the facts are in.

Aldermanic candidate Joan Rymal.

Aldermanic candidate Joan Rymal.

The Class A & B Estimates for the New Police Station, that will give a final and complete cost, will be received by Council in February 2015.

The exact time when the Part 1 capital budget will be presented. This is a change to the usual budget process for 2015 because of the Election in 2014. This only happens once every 4 years.
What an opportunity for like minded individuals to sit down with all the facts and make an informed decision regarding this issue!

The Asset Management Plan gives direction to the city to follow and recommends spending $7,000,000 on capital projects for rehabilitation and replacement for 2015. Can that be enough for departmental capital projects to allow for council to focus budget efforts on the police issue?

We have the money to do this project the right way, the first time, making an informed decision and closely looking at budget numbers to see just how much money we can allocate. We have the potential to minimize tax increases and minimize adding more long term debt. And it will not involve any Staff layoffs or Service levels in the operating budget. The focus is on the capital budget.

What is the risk to wait and make the right decision in February 2015? Speculation is nothing but talk and only adds to citizen concerns about the future of St.Thomas.

The Police Services have been waiting 10 long years, waiting for the city to take care of their needs while they have taken care of the safety of this city without complaint about their workplace.

I think it’s time we do it.

Then, for 2016 – we’ll focus our efforts on another project.

How innovative! Imagine us taking care of ourselves and not waiting for some industry to come to town and save us!

We can do it. It is possible. Count me in to be part of this team.”

Very Sincerely,
Joan Rymal

Council candidates and whose credibility?

With 19 hopefuls in the running to fill seven seats on St. Thomas council, it’s difficult to get a read on all of the candidates when there are few opportunities to gather them in one venue.
The first all-candidates meeting for the Oct. 27 municipal vote was held Wednesday at the Knights of Columbus Hall and it afforded the 150 or so in attendance an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the individuals seeking to represent St. Thomas residents for the next four-year term of council.
The five minutes allotted to present their sales pitch affords little in the way of meaningful insight into how each of the candidates intends to serve their constituents.
As a recap — and for those unable or uninterested in attending the meeting — here is the first of a two-part thumbnail summary of each candidate’s presentation. They appear in the order established by organizers of Wednesday’s event.
Ken Boe: He stressed the need to work strategically with all stakeholders in the city and tourism is an economic opportunity that needs to be capitalized upon. Council and city staff have to focus on customer service and St. Thomas needs to benchmark itself against other municipalities.
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