I felt like the late Mike Wallace chasing down a bad guy on 60 Minutes.
Rumours have been circulating since last August about the residency of Councillor Cindy Scholten-Holt.
The suspicion is she has moved.
And yet there she is as big as life not only on Council but heading a procedural bylaw committee that would distance her from the taxpayers who elected her.
Scholten-Holt certainly hasn’t done anything to dispel speculation. Aside from showing up at Council with her usual bravado she is rarely seen in public. She claims since selling her house on Shepherd Street last summer that her stepfather and mother’s residence at 1321 Sweden Street is her residence.
Which prompted me to ask the question at a recent Council meeting. “Where do you live?” I even used my best indoor voice.
She blurted out the Sweden Street address, stomped across the Council chambers leaving me trailing behind, and turned to announce “that is all you are getting from me Mr. Cooke”. Of course that was unnecessary since all she had to do was show me her driver’s license and not make a scene.
But that isn’t Scholten-Holt. That’s not how she rolls.
This is the same woman who stood among protestors at City Hall wearing a long pink coat and brown boots holding a homemade anti bullying sign.
She has a tendency to be dramatic and along the way forgets who elected her, what she has put them through and how much it has cost.
What she and her Council colleagues have put us through cost $411,000.00.
That’s the amount paid to Mississauga harassment lawyer Lauren Bernardi and Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze. I think the nickname in the legal community for people like this is ambulance chasers.
The City’s investment in Swayze ballooned to $102,000.00 after he dealt with the matter of our overly sensitive Clerk Dianne Gould-Brown. If you remember she accused Mayor Mike Bradley of harassing her last February after she withheld a public letter from the public at a public meeting.
Swayze refused to reveal how much he charged Sarnia taxpayers to dispense with Gould-Brown’s complaint claiming it was none of my business.
Now, we know why.
Apparently it is our business and turned out to be very expensive business. Swayze just didn’t want us to know. But the $20,000.00 figured showed up as a one liner in December’s municipal budget.
Scholten-Holt wouldn’t dispel rumours about her residency and Swayze apparently hoped his milking of Sarnia taxpayers would go unnoticed.
Oh, the sorted web these people weave.
Which brings me to bullying. While Scholten-Holt whips out her anti bullying sign at every opportunity she doesn’t mind bullying the public who elected her.
She and our overly sensitive Clerk have been busy trying to put teeth in the City’s procedural bylaw so that taxpayers have to work to be heard at Sarnia City Hall.
If you want to speak to Scholten-Holt, Dianne Gould-Brown, the Mayor or any member of Council or the administration you will have to register as a delegation, provide details of the subject, speak only on the approved subject and stick to the script.
By the way leave the placards and signs at home.
There isn’t to be any show of personality, agitation or crankiness. Think it. Don’t say it.
Since late November when Ken Swirsky and Margaret Bird weren’t allowed to speak because they weren’t registered and weren’t approved Scholten-Holt has felt threatened.
Her perception of reality differs dramatically from video and witness accounts of the incident.
And so here we are.
Sometime later this month Scholten-Holt and her procedural bylaw pals will become tone deaf shutting the public out of City Hall. Her musings on social media attest to her desire to control public input. “Don’t shout in my Council Chambers” are the operative words for anyone who challenges her and her distorted view of reality.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is we only have 10 more months left of this nonsense.
In spite of the Clerk’s attempt to control this October’s election by forcing electronic voting on baby boomers and seniors the smart money predicts Scholten-Holt, Matt Mitro, Brian White, Anne Marie Gillis and Bev MacDougall will be gone whether they seek re – election or not.
Mike Kelch isn’t running leaving at least six positions to be filled by people with some semblance of common sense and for that matter business sense.
The result could be a smarter, wiser Council made up of business savvy people who are taxpayer friendly. They will pack up the circus that is Sarnia City Hall and rid Sarnians of trouble making bureaucrats the likes of Margaret Misek-Evans and Dianne Gould-Brown.
With NOVA Chemicals spending $2.2 billion creating 1550 construction and full time jobs now is the time to rid ourselves of short sighted Councillors who can’t see beyond a procedural bylaw.