Let them eat chocolate almonds at the Cutten club

If you ever wonder how our elected officials use public money to entertain themselves and their guests, look no farther than the Mayor’s office.

Seems the Cutten Club is the watering hole for politicians and senior staff. Apparently it is a favourite of Mayor Karen Farbridge whose favoured treat are chocolate almonds.

Didn’t Marie Antoinette spout the famous phrase that led to her ignominious end during the French revolution: “Let them eat cake!”

Here we are three centuries later with a Mayor who exercises her power to the extent that voters are treated with disdain while she munches on chocolate almonds.

But I digress.

Recently Mark Amorosi, Executive Director of Human Resources and Legal Services, notified a Guelph blogger that the city would no longer respond to requests for information from “any personal blog website.”

Amorosi went on to say that the city interacts with “legitimate media outlets” that follow the Ethics Guidelines of the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ).

So now Mark Amorosi is the propaganda minister of Guelph. He decides what and who will have access to the public record. He is judge, jury and executioner of the public’s right to know.

It appears that while Amorosi used the CAJ as the benchmark of who should have right of access to public information, he couldn’t have read the Ethics Guidelines. If he had he would have read the following:

“News organizations- including newspapers, websites, magazines, radio and television – provide forums for the free interchange of information and opinion. As such we (CAJ) seek to include views from all segments of the population.”

“Personal online activity, including emails and social networking should generally be regarded as public and not private.”

Gerry Barker edits guelphspeaks. I am a taxpaying resident of Guelph who has spent most of my life as a professional journalist.

Now I wonder if Judge Amorosi will approve my blog as a “legitimate media outlet” and have access to the public records.

Not that I would ask Mark Amorosi for anything given his track record of stonewalling, lying by omission and bending the facts.

This all started with a simple request from a fellow blogger for the travel expenses incurred by Coun. Maggie Laidlaw on a trip to Italy allegedly on behalf of the city.

You already know the outcome of that request.

Judge Amorosi has spoken. The city will not respond to any request for information unless you are on the  “legitimate outlet “ list.

What are they afraid of? Why this ham-handed attempt to muzzle legitimate commentary about a publicly funded city government?

So much for the Farbridge promise of transparency in her administration. That promise went off the rails five years ago.

This not the end of the beginning, it is the beginning of the end.

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3 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

3 responses to “Let them eat chocolate almonds at the Cutten club

  1. Craig Chamberlain

    I think Council itself should weigh in on this direction by Mr. Amorosi. Some on Council may want to avoid being caught in something that can only be a damaging election issue.

  2. tonyt

    where did you find out that the cutten club was the place to be?

  3. Craig Chamberlain

    Not to direct folks away from your site, Gerry, but Councillor Guthrie has indicated on his Ward 4 News website that he intends to bring a motion forward in support of transparency and accountability regarding Council members’ expenses.

    http://ward4news.ca/absView.php?id=223

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