The waltz of the Farbridge dancing trolls begins

Posted January 18, 2014

In just 15 days, the Farbridge trolls have emerged from their pre-election hibernation to attack the credibility of guelphspeaks and a number of other citizens who understand the city is a financial basket case.

The attacks come in waves with twisting and bending the facts to suit the troll agenda.

Most use pseudonyms or first names only.  They fiercely support the Farbridge administration with some, piously, claiming they are not affiliated. They’re all from the same barrel spouting the same party line. It’s organized and orchestrated by a minority group of Farbridge supporters, determined to ensure her re-election.

It’s as if nothing bad has happened since former Mayor Kate Quarrie was defeated in 2006. That’s when this same bunch launched personal attacks on Quarrie and destroyed her credibility with lies and misrepresentation.

This year it is a little different. The Farbridge gang has to defend a shaky and misguided administration that is old and tired. Even the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing officials admitted that the numbers, showing financial mismanagement, contained in the GrassRoots Guelph’s four-page petition, were accurate.

This petition was developed by expert financial analysts and vetted by legal counsel. It is interesting that the contents were flatly denied by the Mayor within hours of the release. Perhaps a trifle premature?

The message from the Farbridge trolls is that the cost of an independent audit will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. A statement carrying no basis of fact. When more than $100 million has been spent or wasted by this administration, depending on your point of view, spending money to fix it seems penny-ante in comparison. It’s also necessary.

Then the credibility of those opposed to the administration policies is attacked with name calling, accusations of lying, not knowing the facts, not qualified to comment or not being reliable sources of information.

It’s a technique well-honed over time. History, as we know, repeats itself. Prior to and during World War II, the fascists bent the truth so well, by exploiting their agenda, that millions of people died because of it. When the iron curtain came down, the Soviet communists worked the same gig, selling their determination to control the world with central planning,  brute force, and lies.

Is this starting to ring a bell?

The technique is to gain complete control of the people, their systems and their governance. Then, exploit the people’s resources to carry out costly programs that reflect the idealism of the party’s central control.

This is why in the past seven years the Farbridge administration has retained absolute control over our civic government. While political control is a necessity, it also requires a non-elected coterie to support its exclusive franchise to “tax and spend.”

It has resulted in an abuse of democracy in which a minority gains power over the majority that were lulled by manicured propaganda.

Here are some samples on how the truth gets trampled by doctrinaire ideology.

Let’s play truth or consequences

Truth: The $34 million compost processing plant was built to a capacity that is three times the needs of the city for the next 20 years.

Consequences: Guelph taxpayers are paying for a plant that is not operating to planned capacity. The cost of operation has never been revealed. Its only customer, The Region of Waterloo, cannot meet its contracted target of 20,000 tonnes of wet waste annually. Guelph Waste Management brags that the Region must pay for 20,000 tonnes a year whether they use it or not. Then Guelph announces they are going to sell the Region’s capacity to other municipalities. Isn’t there something morally wrong here? But can they explain why the taxpayers of Guelph are underwriting the costs of this operation built to service other municipalities? Morality has been a stranger with this administration.

Truth: In 2012, an independent study said Guelph shipped 48,000 tonnes of waste to the landfill or about 47 per cent of all collected waste.

Consequences: To suggest that the administration is operating under provincial mandate to divert waste from the landfill is a lie. Why did the city waste management sign a new deal with Waste Management Corp to send its landfill waste to a site 180 kms away? The city refuses to collect garbage from some 6,400 Guelph households. More condo units are coming on stream. This only increases the volume of unsorted garbage flowing to the landfill.

Not True: The province mandated that Guelph had to install a $15 million cart-based collection system. One of the better outright lies.

Consequences:  Originally, the province did ban plastic bags going into the organics plant. Then it announced that biodegradable plastic bags were permissible and then available. Council ignored this and bought the cart system when all it had to do was convert to the biodegradable plastic bags at little or no cost. Perhaps the cart-system salesmen were more persuasive.

How can the Farbridge trolls keep a straight face defending the administration’s record of mistakes, secrecy, lying, and loading up city debt by paying too much for too little?

The elephant in the room the Farbridge people don’t want to talk about is the high cost of city employees. Does it take more than 2,065 employees (2012) to run a city of 127,000 residents? Should rapidly rising employee costs consume 80 per cent of total revenues? The growing employee pension and benefit liability to taxpayers will be staggering for your children, their children and their children, and beyond.

Do you really think Guelph is on the right track?

That’s what the trolls would like you to believe.

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. This is the end of the rainbow.



Filed under Between the Lines

8 responses to “The waltz of the Farbridge dancing trolls begins

  1. paul

    Sure wish Farbridge and her band of no mind followers would go to Kansas…..follow the yellow brick road Farbridge…….

  2. ”When Council made the decision to go to carts plastic bags were still banned. It was a few years later that the province decided to allow compostable bags. Council didn’t ignore anything, they decided based on the current regulations.” — Jeff

    Jeff, I was at the December 5, 2011 council meeting.

    Here is an article reporting on that meeting:

  3. Jeff,
    Thanks for saying everything I wanted to say and saving me all that typing. However I would also like to touch on the organics plant issue. It’s true the facility is much larger than Guelph on its own needs right now. However building it larger allows Guelph’s use to increase as the city grows, and more importantly allows us to sell that excess capacity to Waterloo — or whoever – and therefore helps to offset operating costs.
    (If only Guelph was using it, we would be responsible for 100 per cent of the operating costs without any revenue to offset it.)
    As for selling the excess capacity not being used by Waterloo, there is nothing at all “morally wrong” with that. We sold the Region 20,000 tonnes of processing per year; we did not sell them 20,000 tonnes worth of space. As long as we are meeting our processing obligations, what the city does with its building is entirely up to the city.
    As someone who claims to be concerned about how the city spends money, I would think Mr. Barker would embrace such an approach. I suppose it’s just not convenient when the other side has a good idea.
    I also am not a troll for Farbridge or anyone else. But it irks me when lies and deliberate misunderstanding is used for political gain — which happens to be the same thing administrators of this blog are trying to pin on their political opponents.

    Scott Tracey

    • Scott Tracey: Welcome to the dance. First para. The Guelph taxpayers paid for that plant and I’m reasonably certain that most did not vote for it and do not agree that they should provide such a facility for another municipality. The problem is the lack of details of the contracts, operational costs and even the revenue the city gets selling the tones of compost to some nameless farmer.

      Second para: By your logic and that of your friend, the city made a good deal in selling it overbuilt capacity to another municipality. Many people question this $34 million “investment” in which the financial impact is not only the capital expense but the latest increase in waste processing to each household and business.

      Third Para: Again you guys use semantics to bolster a weak argument. What the city’s agent negotiated was the RIGHT for the Region to use the Guelph facility. You seem to agree that the Region is stuck with paying for 20,000 tones at $115 per. The Region is unable to meet the 20,000 tonne target. In fact, they not even using half of it. And you believe it is then okay to sell the right to use that capacity to others? Tell me, if that occurs and the Region starts sending additional material (under its agreement with the city and that it dutifully pays for) and the plant exceeds its approved capacity, what then?

      Fourth Para: Now that you have linked with a troll who is bent on bending the truth and spouting the Farbridge line, I guess all those years you reported city council, readers may assume you were a closet cheerleader for the Farbridge administration. Kinda shakes the reader’s confidence that you frequently failed to report both sides of the story. The six-part series on Waste Management in the local daily, was an example of puffball coverage and about as one-sided as I have witnessed in some time. My favorite quote you reported when the Mayor said, “I don’t think that waste management will be an issue in 2014.” That really set the tone for the rest of parts. Believe me that was wishful thinking on her part.

      Scott, regardless, I respect your ability as a journalist. But if you try using another Farbridge critic’s material to gain access to this blog, you will be denied access. We are not in the business of promoting the Farbridge follies, its errors in judgment and creating a fiscal mess that has already been challenged with more to come. I’m curious, why did you leave the paper after all those years?

  4. Glen N. Tolhurst

    Wow Craig, nice recall of the facts surrounding the waste mismanagement SNAFU. Nothing quite like a touch of purifying sunlight shining thru the dark cloud mumblings of the trolls, mayor, her like minded councilors, and hired hand administrators. Little wonder the mayor stated late last year something along the line of “capital budgeting is like a black box to her” when a hoped for saving of $460K was used to justify the $15 Million cart expenditure. Numerical illiteracy of amazing magnitude.

  5. James

    Gerry, just enter the race already, stop hiding behind the blog. As a conservative, I want a real leader. Cam is too PC for me.

    • James: Thanks for the compliment, I think. It’s not right to say that I’m hiding behind the blog. My name is on 98 per cent of the posts (now more than 417). I believe it is important to elect a mayor who has experience in municipal, provincial or federal fields. I count myself out on that score. But I have spent a lifetime covering and commenting on politics. As such I recognized seven years ago that the direction of Mayor Farbridge and her supporters were taking the city, foretold serious potential problems. Unfortunately, it turned out that way as the years rolled by. I am hoping that many dedicated and qualified candidates challenge the administration. This would return balance to the council, open debate, lots of common sense thinking and tighter controls over spending.

  6. geo

    Bottom Line
    The old blue box system diverted more waste from the dump at a fraction, that is a fraction, of the cost of this organic waste plant. A kijillion dollars spent trying to recycle garbage that will break down on it’s own because it’s organic!
    I wager that in three years this plant will be obsolete and they’ll be trying to convince us that its okay to spend six kijillion dollars on a new plant that will turn the garbage into works of art that can be displayed at the Wilson Farmhouse cause it will still be sitting there doing nothing but creating mould.
    Anyone but Farbridge!

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