Posted May 28, 2012
When the local media reports city council action it gives the impression of unanimous agreement. The truth is the five-member opposition rarely votes with the majority on most issues.
Only five you say?
For almost six years city council has been dominated by a majority of Farbridge supporters whose agenda blindly stumbles on, regardless of the cost or unintended consequences.
The result is a virtual dictatorship by a majority of councillors who doggedly vote as a bloc supporting the Farbridge agenda. This unbalanced council has caused a huge disservice to taxpayers.
There is no way this Farbridge led-juggernaut can be stopped with its wooly ideas on how to make this city into their image and legacy.
But perhaps in October 2014, election day.
Hard as they might, the five councillors who do not share the spendthrift ways of this council cannot stop the majority from doing almost whatever it pleases.
Until the Guelph electorate has decided it has had enough of the Farbridge focus on the downtown, heritage, the environment, legal litigation, waste management, growing the debt and committing future council to unfunded projects, it will not change in October 2014.
Municipal politics is the bottom feeders of politics. Voter turnout is abysmally low. In the 2010 Guelph election only 38 per cent of those eligible to vote turned up to vote.
The city rumour mill is speculating that Mayor Farbridge is stepping down. Also Coun. Maggie Laidlaw is reported to be calling it a day. Two supporters of the Farbridge dynasty, Todd Dennis and Karl Wettstein, are vulnerable in ward six, Ian Findlay the Farbridge downtown supporter will be a target in ward two.
Further the rumour mill has Coun. Leanne Piper running for mayor.
If true, the invincible Farbridge majority could crumble as fresh faces would create a new, more responsible administration.
Lurking in the background is a movement among the Farbridge majority to amend council representation in the 2014 election. In the works is a proposal to cut the ward-elected councillors to one, elect two at large councillors and a Mayor. This would result Guelph having nine full-time elected representatives. In contrast, only the Mayor is fulltime while the ward representatives are treated as part-timers.
This would increase the workload on all councillors but members would be compensated being paid as fulltime representatives.
The benefits include the secrecy policies of the Farbridge administration would evaporate bringing city business into the sunshine.
The cost of such an administration would increase but the payback would mean Guelph would have an elected body of fulltime employees. This will undoubtedly translate into attracting quality candidates who would not normally consider serving the city under the present organization.
Until that happens, citizens must endure the current oppressive administration.