Posted October 31, 2013
There are two methods of communication that city hall practises. Ten staffers in the communications department generate the carefully controlled information.
Their communiqués tell us what they want us to know. They never communicate what we need to know.
This has been the pattern of the Farbridge administration since it was elected in 2006. The current catch phrase in politics is “openness and transparency” in conducting the business of the people.
Have you noticed that when an Election Day approaches, there is a scramble to identify those in power with being “open and transparent” in its deliberations and decisions?
It’s happening in Ottawa where the Conservatives are scrambling to prevent a meltdown in confidence of the Prime Minister and his office before the Calgary Conservative convention. Premier Kathleen Wynne recently announced measures to open the dialogue regarding her administration’s decisions.
Here in Guelph, the Farbridge administration, in its zeal to lead up to the 2014 October election, has hired a Toronto firm to develop a “an open and transparent” plan for her administration to follow.
Two things are important here: One, why is it costing $100,000 in taxpayer money to state the obvious? Two, why do they need such guidance now after seven years in office?
The answer my friends is because the GrassRoots Guelph (GRG) petition requested an audit of the city finances and operations by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH).
The rumours are flying around city hall about who knew what and when about the GRG initiative to obtain an independent study on what the petition has carefully outlined to warrant such a procedure.
The administration is in full denial mode, as to be expected.
But the evidence is there that this administration did not consult with city taxpayers about spending $53 million on solid waste collection and management. Even now, the city will not reveal the operating costs of this wasteful adventure.
There are two reasons: Either they cannot determine the costs, or the costs are so far out of line that they do not want to reveal any details. If you challenge the Mayor on consulting the public she will always bring up the many public consultations related to city spending that the administration has conducted.
The trouble is citizen committees; boards and public advisory groups are heavily larded with Farbridge supporters. This may be politically expedient but the taxpayers are mostly shut out.
In a gathering of adherents to the Farbridge initiative referred to as Community Wellbeing, held in the River Run centre, it was revealed that most of the crowd attending were city employees. Further, the Mayor admonished the audience that although the consultants were there, there would be no questions.
For more on this, check out the GRG Journal newsletter at GrassRootsGuelph.com.
The four basic anchors in the GrassRoots Guelph playbook are clear and concise: Over spending, Taxation, Student rentals, Waste management.
Just as important are the GRG goals to bring transparency and clarity to all city operations, bring fiscal responsibility and create programs to attract businesses to the Royal City.
Given the experience of the past seven years, this is not hard to understand.
And the Farbridge administration goes down the rabbit hole, denying the charges and complaints.
How do you feel about how Guelph taxpayers have been treated? Make your voice heard by joining GrassRoots Guelph and join the hundreds who have already made that choice. Send your name, full address, email address and telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org.