After an enjoyable Christmas and New Year’s hiatus, City Scope returns with a tradition dating back to 2005, when we welcomed the incoming year by casting a final glance back to focus on the wit and wisdom served up by some of those individuals who graced this corner over the previous 365 days.
Since that debut, we have broadened our horizon to include quotes from a variety of sources, including Times-Journal readers.
As an unabashed collector of quotes, this flashback is an enviable task that neatly ties the preceding 12 months into a compact package to open and savor at the demise of another year.
And, as American writer and editor Daniel Okrent deftly observed, “I’m afraid we’ll see reporters stop chasing quotes around the same time dogs stop chasing cars.”
It’s still a work in progress, however there now is the very distinct possibility late next year Elgin residents will be represented for the first time by a female MP.
The announcement Saturday of Karen Vecchio as the riding’s federal Conservative nominee sets up a showdown with former city alderman Lori Baldwin-Sands, acclaimed last month as the Liberal nominee in Elgin-Middlesex-London.
Fred Sinclair is seeking the nomination for EML NDP candidate.
Still on a high from Saturday’s victory over five other very qualified individuals, Vecchio noted the male-dominated federal playing field here is already in transformation.
“Look at our nomination, there were four women and two men,” Vecchio pointed out in an interview Friday.
“My campaign team is fifty-fifty. I find the party itself has become much more family oriented where it’s about moms and dads and grand-parents. Having a woman doesn’t change things.”
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.
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.
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.
So, what exactly is the art of ‘gentle persuasion’ as practiced by St. Thomas developer Bob McCaig?
That strategy to oppose construction of a new police station and the petition he is circulating around the city prompted this corner to call McCaig for clarification.
“We don’t need it, we can’t afford it and our community is in trouble financially,” Bob stresses.
While the petition surely will garner hundreds if not a couple thousand signatures, McCaig admits it likely will have little impact at city hall.
“There is nothing that will come of it (the petition) that will force anybody to do anything. It’s all about gentle persuasion. The time for tough talk is over. It’s time to lay the information on in terms of facts.”
And for Bob, the information points to renovation of the existing police station in the Colin McGregor Justice Building.
“This concept of a new police station should be dropped and the current one renovated. They should put off a new station for 20 years.”
Launch into a debate last Monday on a proposed code of conduct for city council and those involved are poetry in motion. Best behaviour all and let courtesy prevail over controversy.
Why, anyone tuning in for the first time would swear a code of conduct would simply be superfluous.
Well, call up the track record of the past three councils – and several current members have sat on all three – and you’ll discover a litany of indiscretions.
How about a bogus address for at least two aldermen who were not residents of the city. At least two aldermen never declared a conflict of interest on numerous items of council business dealing with hockey and a local industry.
Then there’s the matter of hockey tickets as compensation for sitting as a board director and the current squabble involving aldermen Lori Baldwin-Sands and Cliff Barwick.
And speaking of the latter, the deft puck-handling that allowed the former mayor to assume the seat held by the departed Sam Yusuf a year ago will not be forgotten by many of the electorate come the October municipal election.
By the time the closing prayer is uttered Monday, council may well have adopted a code of conduct, not only for themselves, but for appointed boards and committees.
A sad commentary on how questionable the behaviour of some elected representatives has become over the past few terms of council.
“It’s a shame in this day and age this is a necessity,” bemoaned Mayor Heather Jackson on Friday.
However, the continual leaking of information discussed in closed session and the verbal sparring between aldermen Cliff Barwick and Lori Baldwin-Sands are but two factors that lift the proposed code of conduct into the urgently required category.
The mayor’s frustration was evident last December.
“Even this week there’s been another piece of information given to somebody . . . and they’re not even leaking the right information.”
Don’t fall for this scam. Someone insists they know the true cost of a new police station and they’re willing to share the figure with you.
The information doesn’t exist and it never has. Oh, there have been estimates attached to various consultant reports, but they are nothing more than that — rough costing based on a conceptual plan that has no bearing on the final reality.
That was the message driven home Thursday at the initial meeting of the police building committee. A body whose mandate is to do just that — come up with a firm price based on a concrete design.
So, who sits on the committee?
It is chaired by Ald. David Warden and includes aldermen Mark Cosens and Tom Johnston, CAO Wendell Graves, treasurer Bill Day, director of engineering John Dewancker and St. Thomas Police Chief Darryl Pinnell.