Municipal politics is ‘liberating’ says St. Thomas mayor-elect Joe Preston, the city’s unabashed official cheerleader


city_scope_logo-cmykIn announcing his entry into the St. Thomas mayor’s race back in July, Joe Preston stressed municipal politics is “where rubber hits the road.”
Three months later as mayor-elect, after a 550-vote win over incumbent Heather Jackson, Preston isn’t waiting until the Dec. 3 swearing-in ceremony to get the gears in motion.
In a lengthy conversation with Preston yesterday (Oct. 26), he chuckled, “They’ve already started.”
Noting the increased demands on his schedule this week, Preston continued, “The election is over, now let’s get going. I’ve got a fantastic elected council, so I’m already talking to most of them. I already had a great meeting with (city manager) Wendell Graves about where we are and what I need to know. And with a lot of different community groups who want my ear at the moment.”

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Lack of police communication cited in acquittal of Aylmer Express journalists charged with obstruction


city_scope_logo-cmykLittle did a father-and-son team of journalists realize attempting to communicate to their readers the details at a possible crime scene would haunt their lives for an agonizing 16 months – and possibly impact them forever – due to a lack of communication on the part of police.
On June 24 of last year, Aylmer Express publisher John Hueston and his son Brett navigated around a road-closed barrier on Springfield Road at Nova Scotia Line in Malahide in an attempt to gather details relating to information received via an Elgin OPP media release of a car driven over the cliff edge and into Lake Erie the previous day.
As they headed down the short stretch of road near to where emergency workers were preparing to lift the vehicle – with a deceased person inside – out of the water, they were intercepted and a tense exchange followed between members of the Elgin OPP and the Huestons.

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2018 St. Thomas municipal election unoffical results


Here are the unoffical results in the Oct. 22 St. Thomas municipal election:

MAYOR

Joe Preston 3,731
Heather Jackson 3,189
Steve Wookey 2,949
Malichi Male 338

COUNCILLOR

Steve Peters 8,197
Jeff Kohler 5,888
Gary Clarke 5,032
Lori Baldwin-Sands 5,019
Linda Stevenson 4,080
Mark Tinlin 3,939
Joan Rymal 3,477
Jim Herbert 3,417

John Laverty 3,036
Rose Gibson 2,927
Lesley Buchanan 2,607
Dave Mathers 2,423
Serge Lavoie 2,296
Petrusia Hontar 1,995
Timothy Hedden 1,711
Greg Graham 1,496
Kevin Smith 1,190
James Murray 842
Michael Manary 785

The voter turnout was 36.07 per cent. It was 35.79 per cent in 2014.

The new council will be sworn in Dec. 3.

Are advance polling numbers an indication St. Thomas voters are engaged?


city_scope_logo-cmykThe municipal vote is Monday and for the first time in St. Thomas, advance polling is available via internet and telephone. As of 11 a.m. Friday, 12.73 per cent of the 28,034 eligible voters in the city had cast their ballot, with 3,300 voting via the internet and 268 by telephone.
By comparison, 9.67 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballot through in-person advance voting in the 2014 municipal election.
The total voter turnout that year was 37 per cent.
Tim Hedden, one of 19 candidates running for councillor, asked the obvious question in response to a City Scope Tweet on this year’s advance polling system.
“Curious to see if it drives voter turnout up or just made it more convenient for those that already vote.”

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City of St. Thomas named in $7.8 million lawsuit over decision to wind down Ascent Renewables


city_scope_logo-cmykThe recent merger of Ascent/St. Thomas Energy and Entegrus Powerlines appears to have done little to unplug the city from controversial business decisions previously undertaken by the utility.
As a case in point, on Monday (Oct. 15), the city was named in a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
The City of St. Thomas, Ascent Renewables, Ascent Group Inc, Ascent Energy Services and a numbered company, 2154310 Ontario Inc., are being sued for general damages in the amount of $7,850,000 by a numbered company, 1787868, operating as Focus Group based in London.
The statement of claim was filed at the Elgin County Courthouse.
All of the defendants are ultimately owned and controlled by the city.
According to the claim, nearly 20 years ago the city undertook an initiative identified as “Partners in Power.” Through its ownership and funding provided by St. Thomas Energy Inc., the city created a series of corporations to allow it to attempt to capitalize on growth opportunities and become more involved in the growing renewable energy sector.
These corporations included Ascent Energy Services Inc. (formerly known as St. Thomas Energy Services Inc., STESI) and Ascent Group Inc. (formerly known as St. Thomas Holding Inc., STHI). These companies operated under the name Ascent Group, with all shares controlled by the city.

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Countdown to election day in St. Thomas: ‘We need to work as a team to move forward’


ballot-boxWith time ticking down until the Oct. 22 municipal vote, 17 of the 19 individuals seeking one of eight councillor seats in St. Thomas strutted their stuff Oct. 11 in front of approximately 100 in attendance at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
Sandwiched between a meet-and-greet before and after the event, the candidates were given a mere two minutes to pitch their case.
With a random selection process, the proceedings stumbled out of the gate when the first candidate drawn – James Murray – proved a no-show.
The task of opening up proceedings fell to Coun. Mark Tinlin, who vows to “continue working on your behalf.” His vision is to transform the city into “a tourist magnet.”
However St. Thomas also needs to invest in infrastructure, the transit system and increase the supply of affordable housing.
Tinlin’s mandate is to listen, to be accountable and to be informed.

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Is it correct to say St. Thomas mayoral race now features just three contenders?



city_scope_logo-cmykThe St. Thomas mayoral contest was a four-way race, however at the all-candidates meeting Thursday (Oct. 11) you couldn’t help but feel one of the hopefuls had all but conceded.
In front of a gathering numbering about 100 at the Knights of Columbus hall, Malichi Male used his allotted five minutes to talk not about himself but, instead, praised his three opponents.
“The rest of the candidates are amazing,” he observed.
“Heather (Jackson) has stood strong,” he added.
Turning his attention to Joe Preston, Male noted “Joe creates something out of nothing. Joe cares.” Continue reading