Anything you say will be misquoted and used against you


As an ardent proponent of the written word, this time of year is particularly enjoyable because of the bumper crop of flashback features recalling the past 12 months in quotes.

It’s been a tradition in this corner to greet the incoming year by surveying the past 365 days to savour the wit and wisdom of our elected representatives.

Of course, when media scribes document a response or comment to the pages for posterity, they must be prepared for the inevitable charge of being taken out of context.

Or, as one anonymous wag noted, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.”
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Will pending CAO debate trigger a flip-flop frenzy?


Mark Dec. 13 on the calendar, because it should trigger the process that will witness the return of a CAO to city hall.

The position has been vacant since 2004, when council determined Roy Main just didn’t fit into the city’s plans.

City clerk Wendell Graves would sure fit the bill now, however.

In a chat this week with Times-Journal reporter Kyle Rea, incoming mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman said she fully expected a notice of motion would come forward on that date to initiate debate on a CAO.

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Good luck, good night and goodbye . . . Barwick bows out


The forty-fourth meeting of the one hundred and thirtieth council of the Corporation of the City of St. Thomas proved the last hurrah for out-going mayor Cliff Barwick.

Love him or leave him, Barwick had a way with words and could contort his face in a particular fashion to drive home a point or simply defuse a tense situation.

That’s a gift that comes from 23 years of service in an elected capacity.

In a night of tributes and remembrance, Ald. Gord Campbell perhaps summed it best, “We come to chamber as new recruits. We come to do what is right for the citizens of St. Thomas.”

Sage words of advice to be heeded long after Dec. 6, when the in-coming council is installed.
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Curbing debate now prescribed for health unit meetings?


It was quite the mugging this week over at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health. Attempts by Central Elgin Mayor Tom Marks to raise uncomfortable questions at Wednesday’s board meeting were hijacked at the pass by the city contingent on the seven-member board.

Although Marks didn’t follow the prescribed protocol for new business, silencing a fellow board member seeking answers to the same questions asked numerous times in this corner illustrates the depths to which the health unit has sunk.

So, to what exactly was Marks seeking clarification?
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Port Stanley harbour divestiture deal ‘provides everything we need’

Fishing tugs in Port Stanley harbour

News Release : September 8, 2010
Mayor Tom Marks says it’s time to believe in Port Stanley’s future

The transfer of Port Stanley Harbour lands to Central Elgin sets the stage for the village to become a premier upscale tourist destination, Mayor Tom Marks said today.

“We have a magnificent opportunity to develop the harbour properties in a way that guides economic development both in the community and in the municipality as a whole,” he said at a ceremony marking the land transfer from Transport Canada along with funding from the
federal government in the amount of $13,635,118.
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Health unit board meetings a hazard to your well-being?

We haven’t tuned into the Elgin St. Thomas Public Health soap opera in several weeks and so an impromptu visit by this corner to their September board meeting on Wednesday proved an eye-opener.

This is a body deeply divided along city-county lines and the animosity evident as the evening wore on shed considerable light on the dynamics involved in determining where the health unit will hang its shingle in years to come.

The stay-or-go tango has played out for more than two years and there was serious stepping on toes after Elgin County Warden Bonnie Vowel attempted to gain support for her motion to declare the board in a lame-duck position until after the October municipal vote.

In effect this would have stifled any action on determining whether the health unit will vacate 99 Edward St., where the landlord is the County of Elgin.
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Boil water advisory players caught betwixt and betweet

Put aside the finger pointing for a moment, here’s what really came down the pipe in the aftermath of last week’s boil water advisory.
Neither the city nor Elgin St. Thomas Public Health can keep up with today’s lightning-fast social networking.
If you remember, it was Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman first out of the gate late in the afternoon of Aug. 19 with her tweet advising all followers of the need to boil your drinking water.
This was fully two hours before the general advisory was made public on the city website. That’s because the city and the health unit have not bought into instant communications.

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The boil water advisory – the next step for Central Elgin

Central Elgin Mayor Tom Marks bristled each time St. Thomas Mayor Cliff Barwick referred to his municipality and Southwold as clients and not neighbours during Monday’s post water advisory media conference. Water wasn’t the only thing boiling during the 24 hours the advisory was in effect. Marks joins Barwick in calling for a review of procedures, most especially communication, in the wake of the largest boil water advisory ever issued in the area. Here are comments from Marks release on Aug. 25 Boil Water Advisory The Next Step

Time for Port Stanley to move forward says CE Mayor

Following Saturday’s decision by the Elgin Military Museum, Mayor Tom Marks says it’s time to move the vision forward. Full release Submarine Decision August 16, 2010