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LOL @ Bruce ... nothing. My criticism of Laird is well established and longstanding. I am glad to see Laird go because of the way I think she has mismanaged waste in this city. Perhaps you are unaware Bruce, but when the new compost facility came on line, there were noxious emissions that stunk up the area. As was widely reported, Laird insisted the odours were coming from other sources. It wasn't until the Ministry of the Environment came in, confirmed what everyone except Laird seemed to know (or was willing to admit), that indeed the plant was emitting noxious odours, and ordered the City to clean up its act, that Laird finally accepted responsibility. That, coupled with an uncooperative attitude towards local residents who for years insisted on further water quality and environmental testing at that and the former Subbor sites, signalled to many folks in town that she had become seemingly secretive and unaccountable. To this day, nobody really knows what sort of toxic soup lays beneath that site. That Karen Farbridge was voted out of office by a majority of the people of Guelph and now that Janet Laird has been a victim of corporate restructuring, isn't because they are women, Bruce. It is because they made mistakes, and their arrogant and dismissive attitude towards the public when questioned about those mistakes.
Christmas came early. I am very pleased to see Janet Laird gone!
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2014 on Reorganization at Guelph City Hall at 59 Carden St.
Stephen, there are many areas in town where the trees are so plentiful it is impossible to mulch all the leaves with a lawnmower. I have several very large, 60+ year old trees and even though I mow/mulch long after the grass stops growing, I simply cannot keep up and have no choice but to rake them to the curb. If I were to quantify the amounts, my yard easily receives 40 extra-large yardwaste bags of leaves, I mulch at least 25 bags worth, and rake the other 15 to the curb. Besides, it's almost impossible to mow/mulch wet leaves, they need to be raked. No responsible property owner should just leave them all there to rot over the winter. Your comment might hold true in new neighbourhoods with few trees, but in older ones, there is an absolute need for leaf removal. I'll gladly bag them up if that's what the City wants instead of raking to the curb, but for many, this issue is more about volume than desire to be environmentally conscious and/or attitude.
I quite like the new space and appreciate the effort made to preserve the beautiful, old stone facade. The pool/rink has already become a focal point downtown. It's an inviting space that is being well used and one that is indeed worthy of this award. Im anxious to hear more about Susan Ratcliffe's fundraising efforts to help save another downtown landmark, the Petrie Building.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2014 on Market Square wins another award at 59 Carden St.
TM, I would suggest that if you think the value of a library is measured by its square footage, then it is you caught in a time warp.
This is unfortunate. I actually use the calendar and find it has a lot of useful information.
I would agree that most folks are concerned about costs, and rightfully so. But the discussion should focus on much more than just costs, or how to build cheaper. The entire process will necessarily have to include a very critical look at what the actual purpose of the new library is supposed to be, and what sorts of services it is intended to provide, and who will likely use it. The old style library as a repository of reading materials is outdated and inefficient. Library staff seem to understand this, and I am confident they will move towards a library that will become a modern, useful, smart facility. Modern, public meeting spaces and city-wide, wireless access to electronic materials, for example, should trump purchase of hard copy books and construction of hallowed hallways and steel bookcases. The folks who actually work in the library seem to understand the reality of the evolution. I fear that those in the city's administrative wings, however, who may be considering the project as a little mega-project that will spur economic activity in the core, revitalize the downtown, and eventually serve as a community focal point may be getting us all in over our collective heads. Build it for what it should be, in and of itself. Looking beyond the project itself is problematic, especially here in Guelph where we tend to be a little more idealistic than we should. Fundamentally, the project faces one large barrier, though. The downtown location is inconvenient for a large proportion of city residents. If the facility is to serve the whole city, it's raison d'etre will need to be critically reassessed, or else it might result in just another over-budget, wrongly purposed, white elephant.
Wow, that really is despicable. Apologies to Marilyn for doubting her and to the candidate herself. Marilyn is absolutely right, this candidate did have the courage to run and should be very proud of that. Thank you for the references, Andy and S.E.
Ah, and therein lies the rub, Fred ... "what is perceived as sexist behaviour". Exactly what "behaviour" are you referring to? When pressed to provide evidence of this campaign of misogyny and bullying, all they could show was a doll in Ray's window. A poster here did suggest unknown feces on an election sign was evidence of misogyny, as was widespread opposition to the former mayor. Nonsense, neither her ouster nor the mystery poop had anything to do with the former mayor's sex. As much as anyone can cry and shout that martians are attacking the earth - and I think we can all agree that would be bad - it doesn't make it true. So, please Fred, if the allegations are true, provide the evidence to support it. That's all people are asking for. Prove your case. The former mayor was simply unable to do so, looked foolish, and has now divided the community. To be clear, sexist behaviour is unacceptable. But frankly, the former mayor and her supporters' unsubstantiated allegations of widespread misogyny have done a great deal of harm to our community. Surely you do not believe that the 63% of Guelph who did not vote for Farbridge hate women, or do you Fred?
Marilyn, do you know what was written on the sign and whose sign it was? Please share. I certainly do not condone such behaviour either, but "belittled as a political failure and criticized personally and professionally" leaves open for a great deal of interpretation. Maybe it is indeed particularly disturbing, maybe not. I am sure I am not the only person interested in exactly what it said so we can judge for ourselves ... especially in light of the intentional campaign of distortion waged by the former mayor and her supporters, including unsubstantiated claims of misogyny and bullying, and most importantly, the former mayor's own anonymous attack ad on her opponent in the press.
I wonder what the former mayor's supporters think now that she was so soundly defeated. Do they still think that, despite a lack of evidence, there was a conservative and misogynistic campaign against Farbridge because she is a woman ... or have they come to their senses and accepted the idea that the former mayor lost because the majority of people in town were just tired of the wasteful spending, costly mistakes, and unaccountability that came to dominate the Farbridge administration near its end? Perhaps some of the former mayor's supporters indeed knew this during the campaign - they seem like intelligent folks - and that the allegations of political bullying and misogyny were little more than a desperate, political 'hail mary' pass. And perhaps they simply continued to dutifully play their roles of good little political workers, all the while knowing they were spreading dangerous distortions. I have to further wonder about Sean Yo, Farbridge's campaign manager. Does she regret bringing him on board now? Does she now understand that whatever chance she may have still had to win near the end, was forfeited by the strategic blunder of levelling such silly, paranoid accusations ... and especially the headline grabbing, anonymous, attack ad? Where, oh where, have all the Farbridge supporters gone? Certainly, Farbridge has done a lot of good for Guelph over the years, but her campaign this year brought dishonour to our city.
Hats off to everyone who worked so hard to make this election possible, including city staff and technical consultants, polling station volunteers and ALL of the candidates and their spirited supporters. I was particularly struck by how many people voted online, as well as how quickly results were posted on election night. Yes, of course, there were issues and mistakes do seem to have been made, just like with any other election. And hopefully, we will learn from them. Overall, well done, Guelph. I look forward to seeing what this new mix of elected leaders will accomplish. Re: Ward 3 recount. Yes, I also hope the City does undertake a recount and investigates reports that some people were prevented from voting because of inaccuracies in the voters list. I trust current Council will do the right thing and support calls for a recount.
LOL @ Susan Watson. No, Susan, I do not know of any examples of feces being smeared all over the signs of male candidates. Not sure why you think I would know that, you seem to know a lot more about it than anyone else here. As much as you want to find it unbelievable, I do not really pay much attention to the sex of the candidates when I see their signs. And I think most folks in town feel the same way. Perhaps you should have the feces of unknown origin that you discovered tested for DNA. I am confident we can count on you to get to the bottom of this coordinated campaign of misogyny and bullying. Im sure the police look forward to continuing to work with you on this very important case of the "unknown feces".
Steve, come on now. The Mayor alleged a campaign of misogyny and bullying and claimed a conservative conspiracy against her. When pressed for actual examples, she could only point to a wooden artist doll in Ray's window that has since been proven to be little more than common, albeit in poor taste, political statement - the screwing of the taxpayer and small business owner, and disillusionment with the political process as a whole. The Mayor has failed to provide any evidence of a conservative conspiracy. The Mayor has failed to provide any evidence of bullying. The Mayor has failed to provide any evidence of misogyny. The Mayor's supporters have insanely alleged that any and all criticism of her performance in office is based on her sex. They have suckered well-intentioned individuals and groups to blindly lead the charge of righting wrongs that never existed in the first place. Karen Farbridge's poor leadership and bad decisions have wasted a great deal of money while in office, she has broken her promise of transparency and accountability, and now seems to be desperately screaming she has been wronged to anyone who will listen. It was embarrassing to read one incredibly ignorant post that suggested Ray's doll is somehow responsible for women being called sluts. And it is equally disturbing that a women's group has been conned into defending a bad mayor simply because she is a woman. The whole thing is patently ridiculous, and you know it. If anyone has been wronged here, it is Ray and he has every right to defend himself against the baseless, politically-motivated charges levelled by this increasingly dirty Farbridge campaign team. Come on now.
Shame on Karen Farbridge for dishonouring the entire City of Guelph. There truly seems to be no limit to the depths she will sink to. And now the rest of Canada knows that too. It completely escapes me how so many otherwise intelligent folks in town can continue to support this sort of person and her most dirty campaign. I have to wonder if any of her supporters can hold their heads up high and honestly say she ran an honourable campaign. This win-at-all costs philosophy of Karen Farbridge is truly a dark moment in the history of our city and it will take years to mend, regardless of who is elected.
What if Ray's point is that it is Farbridge who has been screwing "Joe Taxpayer" and "Jane Small Downtown Business Owner" for years now? What if his point is that it doesn't matter who we vote in as mayor because we get screwed anyway? That's very common political satire ... see By the way, Sean Yo, the good folks of Guelph are still waiting for all of the other occurrences of this supposed campaign of misogyny and bullying. Because if Ray's little artist doll is the only case, which so far it seems to be, then this is much ado about nothing and little more than yet one more divisive political distraction by an outgoing Mayor's dirty campaign team.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2014 on Press release from Team Farbridge at 59 Carden St.
Do we have any current poll numbers on voter intention? It's clear that a lot of folks in town are tired of her and just want Farbridge gone, but many are not certain whether to vote for Guthrie or Blokhuis. Personally, I do not like Guthrie and would prefer not to vote for him. But I like Farbridge even less. If Blokhuis has a realistic chance of winning, I would like to vote for him, but if he doesn't I will be obliged to vote strategically for Guthrie to prevent another four years of Farbridge insanity. I realize that the Merc is biased towards Farbridge (look at the multitude of topics in this blog that all seem to publize various wackjobs taking ridiculous swipes at Guthrie) but has the Merc commissioned an objective poll?
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2014 on More #Guelph mayoral polling at 59 Carden St.
Sean Yo, you've taken the time to post here, so I am sure you read this. Please provide specific examples of the misogyny and bullying you and the Mayor are complaining about. Ray has suggested his shop window was the only example of misogyny provided to the press by your campaign. Ive walked by Ray's window a few times and I am at a loss to see what prompted that charge. Surely, if there is a concerted campaign against the Mayor, there should be countless other examples. Please provide a few. I have a sneaky suspicion that Sean will be unable to give us legitimate examples, because they don't exist. Im wondering if perhaps the Mayor erroneously equates any criticism of her job as mayor with misogyny because she is a woman. I can assure Sean and the Mayor that my criticism of her has nothing to do with her being a woman, and it's disappointing that she may feel that way. My criticism of the hypocritically secretive nature of this administration, and costly mismanagement of city budgets and capital projects, would be the same were the mayor a man or a woman. It seems clear to me that the Farbridge camp, like the Mayor herself, is fabricating victimization and desperately pointing fingers at anyone and everyone else. Sadly, that seems to be her style nowadays. It seems convenient to allege a conservative conspiracy against her, and certainly, Guthrie's ties with less-than-savoury characters within the Conservative camp might lend some legitimacy to that sort of view, so a few folks in town might be fooled, but not many. What the Farbridge camp, and especially the Mayor herself, seem to have completely failed to recognize is that opposition to her is much wider than simply within local conservative ranks. Opposition to Karen Farbridge is widespread throughout the city. Ive lost count of the number of friends, colleagues and neighbours who have told me they supported her is the past but will not support her this time. I am Farbridge's demographic: good job and salary, educated, socially liberal, never voted Conservative, and more than willing and able to pay for parks, schools and arts programs in town. So too are those Ive spoken with; doctors, teachers, lawyers, skilled trades, drivers, even a couple of police officers. They will not be voting for Farbridge this year either. And if Sean Ho is doing a good job, he would know this now too, maybe that's why he's so scared. The attack ad itself isn't a big deal, but it sure does show what sort of characters have taken over the mayor's campaign. And even more telling is this silly press release, inventing a boogieman. Farbridge should not be concerned about Guthrie's conservative ties, she should be concerned about voters all around town, of all political stripes and backgrounds, especially her previous supporters who have lost faith in her ability to responsibly lead this city.
Toggle Commented Oct 20, 2014 on Press release from Team Farbridge at 59 Carden St.
Thanks Joanne. I used to replace signs in my neighbourhood that had been pulled out of the ground and were just laying there as we walked by with the dogs, regardless of whose signs they were. I just figured kids were having fun. Now, I don't dare touch any of them out of fear that I would be accused of tampering. I like elections, but I don't like election campaigns and what they do to us.
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2014 on Another election sign flap at 59 Carden St.
Whose signs were removed?
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2014 on Another election sign flap at 59 Carden St.
Don't get me wrong, Susan, I am all for preserving important historical structures ... within reason. It's a shame so much money was wasted by this administration wrongfully firing Urbacon. There are a number of wonderful buildings in town that could have easily been saved with that much money, don't you agree? Surely, heritage proponents' time could have been better spent fundraising, for example, to help cover the costs of safeguarding the Petrie Building downtown than in taking on a private property owner on Alice St. who simply wanted to tear down his old shed in the Ward. Aside from lining lawyers' pockets, exactly what economic benefit to Guelph was there in that battle? Im curious if you or your friends offered to helped cover the owners legal expenses or any additional expenses involved in being forced to keep an old shed just because it used to be an old shoe repair shop. Does your group ever offer to help out private property owners financially? What is your group doing right now to save the Petrie Building? Anything? Have you even spoken with the owners and tried to help them save the building? Also, does it not worry your group that there are so many inaccuracies in the Burcher-Stokes inventory of historical buildings? Should it not require something more than a casual stroll past and an over-the-eyeglasses glance at the outside of a building to restrict the owner of that building from simply making renovations?
The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario Guelph-Wellington chapter is hardly "the public" .. it is a very narrowly defined special interest group which seeks to place costly restrictions on private property owners under the guise of conservation. Those who support the self-righteous and heavy-handed approach being taken by heritage advocates in town would not have voted for Guthrie anyway so why on earth would he have shown up to such a biased event filled with wilfully ignorant Farbridge disciples? Comparing him to the Ford brothers and Marty Burke was a nice touch as will be that sad, little empty chair symbolically placed beside Her Worship's big throne. Besides, those who resent these sorts of special interest groups are now probably more likely to vote for Guthrie given the arrogance of this press release. Oops.
Yes Susan, of course it bothers me that Cam Guthrie and Cathy Downer both chose to intentionally mislead and deceive people during the 2010 election. And yes, I believe neither Cam Guthrie nor Cathy Downer deserve my vote because of that ... but here's the thing ... elections are not just about who is best on this or that issue, they are sometimes about who is least bad overall. In Ward 5, I do not have to vote for Cathy Downer because there are other, much better candidates. Piper is a solid choice, and so too are some of the other candidates in Ward 5. Cathy Downer, however, demonstrated that she is not worthy of my vote. Period. I can make that choice because of the slate of other viable candidates. The mayoral race is a different matter altogether though. Yes, it is clear that I do not trust Cam Guthrie. But here’s where it gets tricky … I trust Mayor Farbridge even less. So, as much as I do not want to vote for Cam Gurthrie, I feel I have no option, and I think a very large proportion of folks in town feel the same way. Certainly my neighbours in Ward 5 feel that way. There are no other winnable candidates at the mayoral level, so it comes down to Guthrie or Farbridge and frankly, deciding who is least bad. And that is Guthrie. So yes, you are absolutely right Susan, both Guthrie and Cathy Downer chose to intentionally mislead and deceive people during the 2010 election. And on the surface it may indeed seem contradictory for me to vote for one and not the other. But given the waste, secrecy and shameless lack of accountability pervasive in Farbridge’s administration, the most effective voting decision that I can make is to get her out of office. And if that means voting for Cam Guthrie, then that means voting for Cam Guthrie. I also happen to think Guthrie will shake things up and City Hall and rid Carden Street of its current culture of entitlement and arrogance. And I think a lot of other folks in Guelph feel the same way. Cam Guthrie will not be voted into office, Karen Farbridge will be voted out of office. I think this point is lost on you, Susan.
I would agree with you about Piper, TM. Piper has been a productive and attentive representative of the people of Ward 5 and her re-election would serve the people well. But does the widely reported dishonest and deceptive behaviour practiced by Cathy Downer in her capacity as campaign manager for Mayor Farbridge last election not bother you, TM? Not even a little bit, when there are other viable candidates available? Given that problematic past, I cannot help but think that electing Downer would serve only to continue the worst of the secrecy and questionable practices at City Hall, especially if Farbridge is actually reelected. I believe Ward 5 deserves better than Cathy Downer and the sort of partisan, insider politics she seems to bring to the table.
I agree 100% with Mike Salisbury. The ward system is absolutely designed to create greater local representation. Candidates who choose to run in a ward other than the one in which they live undermine that. I'd like to know, Scott Tracey, why did you choose not to run in your own ward? Do you feel your ward's local issues are not worth representing? Did you feel you could not win in your own ward? Do you believe you are unable to represent the needs of people in your own ward? It's troubling that you argue you had a better chance of winning in Ward 4 because of the void created by two incumbents not running for re-election. That seems like a cheap, self-centred, decision ... and one that benefits Scott Tracey more than the people of Guelph. Sorry Scott Tracey, you are wrong here and Mike Salisbury is correct.