Posted October 2, 2014
Lately, the heat has been turned up to discredit GrassRoots Guelph (GRG). The sources are varied, some surprising, some expected. Collectively, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy GRG’s credibility. There are repeated descriptions of GRG citizens as rightwing, American style, tea partiers determined to slash and destroy the record of the Farbridge administration.
Well, this isn’t who we are. We are a collective of growing numbers of diverse citizens who have been informing the greater population of the transgressions of the Farbridge administration for the past eight years.
GRG and guelphspeaks.ca (GS) have been the only opposition to the Farbridge administration. For the past seven years, Guelph resident Gerry Barker has written columns in the Mercury and published more than 540 posts on the guelphspeaks blog site. His audience has grown since the beginning of this year as more and more people visit the site.
GRG and its GS partner have exposed serious financial mismanagement by the current regime including details of the Urbacon $15 million debacle long before the traditional media became engaged.
In 2012, dealing only with the facts, GRG produced a four-page petition detailing financial mismanagement of the city finances. It was presented to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The minister’s officials analyzed the contents and confirmed the petition figures were accurate. Yet the minister turned down our request for an independent audit of the city’s finances and operations.
Nothing has changed in the GRG petition; it is as accurate today as it was in 2012.
GRG has exposed many examples of poor city financial management. The juggling of accounts is a common practice by the Farbridge administration. It takes from reserve funds unrelated to its needs. Or it takes money from a budgeted project and spends it on another. Starting to ring a bell? That’s how they’re going to pay for the Urbacon lawsuit settlement.
The required annual city financial reporting to the Province, is a 400-page document that is impenetrable to the average citizen. However, GRG has a financial analyst who exposes the way the city manipulates your money to cover up the truth.
This leads to abuse of the public trust. And this is not coming from some “right-wing American tea-partier,” as the Farbridge brain trust would like you believe. It’s the result of due diligence, city generated information and investigation.
In eight years, this administration has operated virtually in secret, has lied by omission, and has spent millions on such projects as the Waste Resources Innovation Centre (WRIC) on Dunlop Drive.
Here is some new information that voters may want to consider before voting for the Farbridge bloc again.
Item: Guelph citizens paid $35 million for an organic waste facility, triple its needs for 20 years, located in the WRIC. If organic waste dumped at the plant has any non-organic material, the entire load is sent to the landfill.Including such materials as plastic, glass etc.
Item: The plant has yet to operate at full capacity after three years of operation.
Item: The special trucks ordered to collect the bins have had many breakdowns of the arms used to pick up the bins. The city has been paying $8,000 per truck for repairs for a job that can be done for $2,500.
GRG is the only organization in the city that is bringing this kind information to the attention of the citizens.
The Farbridge name-callers have had a free ride for eight years but now they face a citizens group that challenges the management of the city.
It is GRG that keeps reporting the performance of the city administration. Unfortunately, the Guelph Mercury and to some extent the Guelph Tribune, both owned by TorStar, often do not question city press releases or dig to get the other side of the story.
There has been a recent shift by both papers in digging into stories and commenting in editorials that is more questioning in nature.
The Farbridge supporters realize the threat to their cause and resort to labeling and name-calling to discredit GRG, and its determined team, to create change in the way the city is being administered.
GRG is not running for office. But we are recommending some good people for voter consideration who will create change. (See our ad in the October 2 issue of the Guelph Tribune). We are open and transparent. We have broad support across the city from citizens who realize that there must be change at city hall.
But, if you don’t vote for change, then you don’t count.
GRG is working to increase the number of voters in the October 27 election.
This is the greatest fear of the Farbridge hardcore supporters. It will be the awakening of the great silent majority. Its time has come.