Posted April 18, 2014
While the civic election is seven months away, already the battle lines are drawn.
The Farbridge supporters working to win a third election on October 27, are now attacking GrassRoots Guelph (GRG) and guelphspeaks.ca (GS) for just about any issue including lying, making stuff up, distorting the facts and damaging the city’s reputation.
At least that’s some confirmation that the city’s reputation has been damaged, but not by GRG or GS.
Here is a sampling of some the issues that guelphspeaks.ca never made up but is accused of.
* GS never made up details of the city’s’ financial mismanagement. Evidence was extrapolated from the administration’s Financial Information Report (FIR), submitted annually to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH).
* GS fully supported the GrassRoots Guelph petition to the MMAH. Despite the ministry staff admitting that the numbers and data in the petition were accurate, the Minister, who has since resigned, recommended it was a “local” issue to be resolved by the two parties. This issue is far from dead because sometimes the truth takes time to emerge.
* GS never created the Urbacon lawsuit mess in which the city now finds itself facing potentially millions in costs due to its own ineptitude.
* GS never created the lawsuit by the Farbridge administration to separate from the Guelph Wellington Dufferin Public Health organization. The city lost the case and had to pay costs plus $10 million as its legal obligation towards the new Public Health headquarters on Stone Road.
* GS never made up the $5,067,000 charges detected by the city’s own internal auditor for staff overtime and absenteeism in 2013. A 100 per cent increase over the previous year.
* GS never made up the rising costs of staff salaries, wages and total compensation in which 80 per cent of the total property tax revenue is spent on staff compensation.
* GS never made up the $330,000 cost over-run in the Farmer’s Market renovation.
* GS never made up the $33 million spent building an organic waste processing facility that was three times the capacity required by the city for the next 20 years.
* GS never made up spending $15 million on a cart-waste collection system that fails to service 13 per cent of the residences and businesses in the city.
* GS never made up the failure of the famed green living wall in city hall that keeps dying. Now it will cost $1,000 a month to keep it alive.
* GS never made up sending two city councillors to Edmonton to investigate how that city dealt with its downtown bar patrons using the streets as a toilet.
* GS never made up the proposal to save the Wilson Farmhouse using taxpayer funds to seed the project. Coun. Ian Findlay maintains it’s a good use of taxpayer funds despite the surrounding neighbours being 100 per cent in favour of tearing it down.
* GS never made up the proposal by the Guelph Police Services Board to have the city finance a $33 million renovation of police headquarters. Especially after the intial request was $13 million to renovate the building.
* GS never made up the annual property tax increases averaging more than 3.5 per cent for the past eight years. This exceeded the Consumer Price Index on average by more than 1.8 per cent.
* GS never made up the fact that since the Mayor’s election in 2006, we have had three Chief Administration Officers and five Chief Financial Officers.
* GS never made up the issue that the city took money from its brownfield development reserve and gave $11.7 million credits each to two developers engaged in building hi-rise condos in the downtown area.
* GS never made up the fact that the city staff has grown by more than 400 in eight years and that compensation costs have increased exponentially.
* GS never made up the occupation by urban terrorists of the Hanlon Business Park that cost more than $1.5 million and delayed completing the project for a year. City Council did nothing to stop this illegal act.
* GS never made up the political hatchet job executed by Coun. Leanne Piper on Coun. Gloria Kovach to remove her from the Guelph Police Services Board. Then, she took the job herself and the $5,000 annual stipend.
* GS never had anything to do with the Wyndham Street underpass construction that fails to allow large commercial vehicles to use the route because they hit the bridge, as some have.
Is it any wonder the friends of Farbridge (FOF’s) wanted to stifle any citizen criticisms of their leader and her cohorts?
For eight years, the Farbridge administration and its fellow travelers have dominated city politics and controlled the agenda with little opposition. During that time, there has been no shortage of issues, despite the controlling nature of the administration’s attempts to stifle any opposition to its pristine programs.
That became apparent in 2007 when heritage maven and rookie councillor, Leanne Piper, convinced the newly elected council to spend $12.7 million to renovate the vacant convent to create a new home for the Guelph Civic Museum.
No one questioned why the city would invest such a large sum on private lands owned by the Diocese of Hamilton. The staff did not perform a thorough engineering study of the building to assess its condition. It is a pre-Confederation building, more than 145 years old that had been empty for ten years. It didn’t take long to discover the structural damages and mechanical condition leading to escalating costly repairs including a crumbling foundation.
Regardless, with a $6 million Federal and Provincial government handouts, and an agreement with the Diocese of which the details have never been revealed, the price zoomed to more than $16 million. This set the stage for how Mayor Farbridge and her supporters on council intended to run the city using their personal playbook and your cheque book.
Armed with the ability to control the message, and having the unfettered power to raise taxes and user fees, with no opposition or checks and balances, the Farbridge ship of state eviscerated the public’s right to know details of their policies and actions. There was blatant disregard of public trust. Critical balance disappeared, much like many employees who were fired or resigned because they wouldn’t go along.
Recently I have been attacked by FOF’s who challenge my credibility and content. They complain that I am not interested in publishing FOF comments critical of the content guelphspeaks.ca. They got that right.
This is one citizen who recognizes that the empress has no clothes.
GrassRoots Guelph was created with a growing numbers of awakened citizens joining the hundreds of members who share the view that there must be change at City Hall.
This is why the work of GrassRoots Guelph is causing concern among the Farbridge supporters. More and more people understand the issues and recognize how damaging the Farbridge administration has been to our city.
The single issue citizens now face is a question of competence, and who not to vote for next October 27.