So, Mike Kelch has decided he doesn’t like the mood of the community and will not seek re-election this October.
He actually told me that last fall and was semi – critical after I reported on his decision saying he “hadn’t made up his mind but would likely not seek another term”. At the time, I suggested that would be wise in light of his tendency to waffle on the Mike Bradley harassment allegations. Allegations that saddled angry voters with more than $400,000.00 in unnecessary costs.
Kelch, an Imperial Oil retiree liked to portray himself as the good guy, a moderate in a sea of despair. He even reassured boisterous taxpayers that Mayor Mike was “my Mayor and our Mayor”.
It turned out in fact he was the opposite.
During angry confrontations at City Hall he would show his true colours.
Kelch’s pocket pen knife always turned out to be a butcher knife.
When it came to harassment allegations against the Mayor and the inept findings of an inept Integrity Commissioner whose only virtue was billable hours Kelch always sided with the majority at any cost.
Kelch was like a drunk who wanted to get sober but never could. He knew the charges against the Mayor were lame, lodged by disgruntled power-hungry bureaucrats desperate for control of municipal government.
He wanted to vote against an administration that had the majority of Council in its back pocket. Kelch would talk the good talk, walk the good walk but in the end, like a drunk couldn’t help himself and would always side with his weak Council colleagues and a brutual administration.
Twenty – one years of Kelch but the last four are the most notable.
The municipal debt is on the rise. The municipal budget at $139.6 million is $20 million higher than four years ago and the real tax rate year over year is five or six per cent, not the 1.89 per cent a blithering administration spews.
Sarnia’s savior is the County of Lambton which, unlike the City is well managed softening the financial blow to municipal taxpayers.
And through it all there was Kelch.
He signed on for the debt which is heading for $18 million. He approved $20 million in budget increases presented by the City Hall regime and his hand went up approving more than $400,000.00 for lawyers and an Integrity Commissioner against the Mayor.
Asked by The Observer if turmoil and division on Council influenced his decision Kelch indicated that they weren’t deciding factors.
Factors but not deciding factors.
The married father of two and grandfather of four was asked about standout accomplishments and couldn’t or wouldn’t name any.
How about higher debt, higher budgets and higher taxes? Oh, and how about an inability to stand up to weak Council colleagues who make inappropriate decisions.
Which brings me to the rest.
Cindy Scholten – Holt who indicated last fall that she would seek re-election told The Observer she is now “thinking about it”. The period of thinking should be rather short since she is less popular than Kelch, and Kelch figured out that he couldn’t win.
Andy Bruziewicz kept his name on the street by running in the Provincial election for the Trillium Party.
The what party?
Yea, that one.
However, as deputy Warden he was connected to Bev MacDougall when she was Warden of Lambton County. MacDougall was blown out in her quest for a second term because County officials don’t like controversy and the last thing they wanted was a Warden connected to a City mired in controversy.
Anne Marie Gillis is smart. She didn’t run for the Provincial Liberals this time knowing they and she would be blown out. She is showing up at every tea, social, service club and community event.
If she is really smart she won’t seek re-election this October but who am I to judge political intelligence.
Matt Mitro whose step son in law is the head of IT at City Hall and who has an uncanny knowledge of everything IT, everything security and the fortress that is City Hall shouldn’t run.
He should follow Kelch’s lead, ride off into the sunset and go back to installing garage doors.
Brian White is undecided. He need not be because he is viewed as a spender and endorses everything that makes it more difficult for the public to do business at City Hall.
The wall, the security cameras, the procedural bylaw, the Integrity Commissioner, the harassment lawyers, soaring municipal costs all have White’s finger prints on them.
He may be silly enough to run for Mayor. It pays a lousy $52,000.00 but White could use the work.
David Boushy will seek re-election. I suspect he is the only safe candidate due to his anti-administration stance and spend thrift political views.
Bradley will announce July 27 at the very last minute, the deadline for nominations. If he spends more than 38 cents on his campaign he will have overspent.
Should he get his wish and a more moderate, sensible, street smart Council emerges the wall will come down, security cameras will be ripped out of the Mayor’s office and the administration will be put on notice that the last four years were an anomaly.
Ratepayers are grumpy and this isn’t the year to be an incumbent in the City of Sarnia.
I could be wrong but I’m usually not.