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Municipal musings

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:34 -- Bernice Rade

The provincial Conservatives aren’t wasting any time implementing the promises made before they were elected.  It will be interesting to see what the audit reveals and exactly where the province stands financially.  The audit should provide information as to where adjustments must be made so that work can begin to get this province back on track.

On the municipal level, people have been registering as candidates for the October election.  Mayor Mike Bradley is seeking re-election which is good news for the people in Sarnia.  In spite of the council’s attempts to make the last term as difficult as possible for him to do his job, he persevered with his ongoing dedication to the city he represents.

Councillor Anne-Marie Gillis is running for mayor.  She says she is fed up with the toxic environment at city hall,  for which she blames the mayor.  She actually thinks she should replace him.  She and her council cohorts wanted to create a deputy mayor’s  position and attempted to oust the mayor from his office at city hall.  Gillis appeared determined to occupy his chair by hook or by crook.  Over the years, she has tried to further her political ambitions by running for the mayor’s seat and for the Liberal party unsuccessfully.  Hopefully, the October election will send her into political oblivion…in my opinion she needs to go.

Good news that councillor Scholten has decided not to run again.  Her chances of being re-elected  were not good.  She posted a long list of “HER” accomplishments while on Council.  She neglected to add to that list that she was experienced at rummaging through closets, having taken it upon herself to go through those in the mayor’s office.  For some reason, she felt ‘threatened’ and demanded more security at city hall.  Wonder if that was the reason for installing cameras?

As expected, councillors Andy Bruziewicz and Bev MacDougall want to keep their city/county positions.  They have been paid big bucks while their contributions have been negligible, if any.  By just attending meetings, they were paid well, regardless of any participation.  Both were instrumental in doing everything imaginable to make the mayor’s life miserable and for the over $400,000 cost to the taxpayers in doing so.  In the past, differences on council were resolved by discussion and compromise, not by paying an ‘integrity’ commissioner and expensive lawyers.  How can council even have a discussion as their right to speak or express an opinion has been muzzled by the code of conduct imposed .  This has to change.

At a meeting I attended on July 11th, the clerk and deputy clerk attempted to explain the online voting system to about twenty people who were there.  Judging by what they revealed, online  voting is not a simple procedure.  In fact, it was more complicated than I had imagined.  Answers to  questions asked about telephone voting showed that it could be compromised even with the method described as being ‘secure’. A point raised was that with the old system and paper ballots, one had to show photo ID but with people voting from inside their home, there is no assurance on who has opened the mail and who is entering the pin code, adding it could be a lodger who  knows the personal information enabling him or her to answer the identifier questions.

The clerk was asked by a computer expert in the audience if the city asked for a copy of Intelivote’s latest audit.  The reply was negative.  He asked several questions which the clerk and deputy were unable to answer and which indicated that the system proposed is not as safe and secure as they would have people believe.  A woman in the audience said she was in favour of online voting as it enabled her to vote with her feet up, having a cup of coffee while sitting on the couch in her living room.  How sad to think having to go out to vote is such an inconvenience.  People fought for this right!

At the July 16th Sarnia Council meeting, council voted to have the Sarnia Bayside boat launch named after Andy Brandt.  Each councillor agreed to the change and praised Brandt for his contributions.  However, although he was in attendance and undoubtedly  expecting to speak, he was not invited to do so.  Councillor Scholten who chaired the meeting neglected to extend him this courtesy.

I expect many more names will come forward, including some who ran but were rejected by the voters.  Hopefully, there will be qualified candidates motivated to work in the best interests of the city and who will not simply rubber stamp what is put before them by the administration.

(Final count on candidates: City 28, City/County 12)

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