The decision to pay $25,000 for a five-minute infomercial about Guelph was a perpetuation of the view held by Mayor Karen Farbridge that she is doing a great job running the city.
The weird part was selecting former Pittsburg Steeler quarterback Terry Bradshaw as the spokesmen in the five-minute video.
The native of Louisiana has transformed himself from football star to TV sports broadcasting. He is an entertaining and opinionated football analyst but what in hell is he doing touting Guelph?
I’ll bet that Bradshaw was never in the city to proclaim its wonders. His part was done in a studio somewhere in another country.
There was one little slip in the presentation in which Bradshaw refers to the Guelph edition of the video as being part of this “nation of ours. “ He wasn’t referring to Canada, folks.
No wonder the Mayor is so proud of the video. She was the supporting star and without a smidge of deprecation, did her patented number that Guelph is one of the top ten cities in the Country.
Her mistake was giving the impression that this was an initiative of the city’s development department. In fact it was an American production company that put it together. The pregnant question remains: How many city staffers contributed to the shooting of the video and at what cost?
The production is classic Farbridge. A person of power, she has come to believe that she is omnipotent as our Mayor. She actually believes this promotion is real journalism. It points to her weakness in believing her own propaganda created at the public expense about what a great job she is doing.
Isn’t ego a wonderful attribute? If only the Mayor would see herself as others see her.
One does not have to look much farther back than last fall when a senior manager resigned and blew the whistle on how Guelph was unfriendly to business both existing and prospective. It caused a stir in the staff ranks as shortly after, his boss Chief Planner James Riddell, resigned to take a position in St. Catharines.
This and other resignations and the dismissal last year of Chief Financial Officer Margaret Neubaur have created a malaise within the staff causing uncertainty and a lack of leadership. Six senior staff positions remain unfilled.
Oh, there is leadership but it has become focused in the office of Mayor. Guelph has been molded and fashioned in Mayor Farbridge’s version of what she envisions as a great community.
Our city was great and has tremendous potential to become a city of all the people and not just the playpen of a minority of politically left activists.
In her blog the mayor quotes a saying from India: “That leaders need to be like elephants. The dogs can bark all they want, they need to keep moving.”
I would hope that the Mayor was not singling me out because my name is Barker.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill: “Some elephant. So many dogs.”
By Gerry Barker
Editor of guelphspeaks.ca