Posted September 9, 2014
Last Saturday, Mayor Karen Farbridge launched her re-election campaign downtown with a laundry list of her administration’s accomplishments. Ah! Looking back is often 20-20 and seen through rose-coloured glasses.
What else can she do but defend her administration’s stewardship to tax, tax, tax citizens to pay for her vision of sustainability, a vibrant downtown, job creation, and the wellbeing of citizens?
In Guelph, in her self-serving socialist nirvana with world-class bragging rights, she mentions her admiration of former NDP B.C. premier Michael Harcourt and environmentalist David Suzuki, whose gift to scare the heck out of people, has made him very wealthy.
The truth strayed in the Mayor’s windy dissertation about what a great job she has done being Mayor three times and now shooting for a fourth term.
During her address to the small band of committed, she gestured around her about what a great downtown she has created and wonderful transit system, including an almost empty bus that rumbled by as she spoke..
It was classic Farbridge rhetoric telling the crowd what she wanted them to hear and they joyously ate it up.
But the truth about her record as Mayor never came up. Oh! There was a smidge of mention about making mistakes, without the pertinent details and how quickly her administration reacted to correct them.
She tore into her opponent, Cam Guthrie, for using the term “The Guelph Factor” that criticized the Farbridge administration’s dismal record of failing to increase the industrial/commercial assessment in eight years. It also refers to the difficulty businesses and developers have dealing with the city bureaucracy.
Essentially, the fallout of this misguided adventure is the burden of paying for her failed policies. It falls on residential property owners who represent 84 per cent of all property assessment in Guelph and provide the cash cow for the Farbridge misadventures. .
That’s why our property taxes are among the highest of the 444 Ontario municipalities. The Farbridge supporters fall into line when the Mayor asserts that paying high taxes is a good thing that brings the city closer to her vision of a world-class city.
There is one thing, regardless of political stripe or feelings, on which people agree. Predictably, this election is the most important in the history of this city.
By supporting Mayor Farbridge and her 12 council candidates October 27, citizens are guaranteeing a continuation of policies, including higher taxes, costly errors in judgment, increasing debt, compounded increasing costs of city staff, secrecy of operations, and further betrayal of the public trust.
It’s simple really, re-electing this crowd when the record shows that the minority of city voters have been ideologically served, but the vast majority have been artfully fleeced.
But there is a revolution occurring. Already there are a number of excellent candidates for council who recognize the Farbridge Failure Factor for what it is. A failure to build an economic base that supports natural growth, creates jobs and halts the willful spending on legacy projects that benefit the minority.
Yes, this election is about whether or not to support:
* Building more bicycle lanes on major routes;
* Drilling down for the true operating costs of the $100 million waste management system,
* Continuing to pay bonuses to developers to build condos downtown,
* Rebuilding an underpass on Wyndham Street that prevents large commercial vehicles from using, because the height clearance was misjudged,
* Stopping the soaring costs of legal and consultant fees,
* Controlling the debt including the multi-million dollar damages awarded in the Urbacon lawsuit,
* Cancelling the $34 million police headquarters project and start over again,
* Scrapping the Baker Street redevelopment plan until city finances are reconciled,
* Stopping the closed-door meetings of council except for reasons outlined in the Ontario Municipal Act,
* Cutting property taxes to not exceed the Consumer Price Index, excluding the increases in city assessment.
This is now your turn. Your voice is important to bring change to Guelph. The buck stops with you.