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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.
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 yesterday 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.
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 6 days ago on Another election sign flap at 59 Carden St.
Whose signs were removed?
Toggle Commented 6 days ago 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.
Shouldn't there also be a cartoon of Mayor Farbridge sitting cross-legged on her not-so-green, imported bamboo floors, weed flowers in her hair, laughing maniacally while she's burning our money? Or would that sort of satirically exaggerated yet equally distorted depiction upset her fanatical disciples, resulting in a plethora of well-written but entitled and self-righteous protests to the editor? ... Dear Editor, I will have you know that the Mayor does NOT wear weed flowers in her hair, nor does she use patchouli incense sticks to ignite and burn money. It is egregiously irresponsible for you to have published ... blah blah blah ... as a longtime resident of Guelph, I demand a retraction ... blah blah blah ... you are ruining my city ... blah blah blah ... ... Farbridge is running scared. Now her camp is having to resort to name-calling and stirring up paranoia. Im surprised they haven't claimed Guelph will get swallowed up by a giant sinkhole when Guthrie is elected ... but there's still time. Looking forward to more shameful distortion from them. It's starting to get fun.
LOL ... and now Farbridge supporters want to control the press. What's next? Demanding to escort voters into the booth and marking their Xs for them? Running scared, those Farbridge supporters are.
Normally, the lawns in my area in Ward 5 are dominated by Farbridge signs. This year there are noticeably fewer. There also seem to be many Cam Guthrie signs on lawns that previously supported Farbridge. If lawn signs are any indication, it sure would seem that the Mayor has lost a considerable amount of support in this traditional stronghold area of town. That does not bode well for her.
Thanks Susan Watson. Do you or Susan Ratcliffe know of any fund raising initiatives in Guelph that will help to lessen the financial impact on property owners by these heritage and preservation restrictions? Or, is that of no concern to you?
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2014 on Petrie Building an election issue? at 59 Carden St.
I don't see this as an election issue either, mostly because no candidate would dare put it on their platform. Given the tens of millions of dollars wasted by inefficiency and wrongful decision-making by the City, under the leadership of this Mayor and those under her charge, there simply is little city money available to pay to maintain these sorts of privately owned heritage buildings. That's a shame. The costs associated with the Urbacon wrongful dismissal could probably have paid for 10 downtown building preservations, including the Petrie Building, but that is no longer an option. It is disappointing that Heritage Guelph does not fund raise. I would have thought it only fair that if an organization fights to place restrictions on the rights of private property owners in the name of preservation, that same organization would actively seek out avenues to make those restrictions less financially painful, like fund raising. Perhaps Susan Ratcliffe is aware of ways that Heritage Guelph helps out private property owners financially and can share that with us. Im sure Ms. Ratcliffe is well aware that the owners of the Petrie Building simply cannot afford to invest the money required to renovate and bring it up to current safety standards as much as they might want to. New stairways, and likely elevators, would need to be constructed, as well as new floors and structuring. Surely Heritage Guelph could adopt this as a pet project and help raise the million dollars necessary to preserve this architecturally important building rather than just expecting the current owners to pay for it all. Im sure Farbridge supporters could raise that much money quite easily and quite rightfully feel good about their personal, financial contributions to the heritage of our downtown.
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2014 on Petrie Building an election issue? at 59 Carden St.
Thanks Andy and Joanne.
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2014 on Chamber of Commerce hosting debates at 59 Carden St.
Does this mean there are 6 candidates in Ward 5 now? Four people registered in the last week? Wow. How do we see who is running? Thanks.
Toggle Commented Sep 16, 2014 on Chamber of Commerce hosting debates at 59 Carden St.
Susan, Im sure you see the value in voting Green, but realistically, that vote generally serves no purpose in deciding the winner of an election. A lot of people would argue that voting Green, certainly a decade ago and even today in most places across Canada, is just as much "throwing a vote away" as is voting for this philosopher candidate. Throwing away a vote is a metaphor for deciding specifically not to vote for and support the conventional, status quo options ... in other words, a protest vote. I would think you would see some value in that. Resigning oneself to vote only for election frontrunners (i.e., "winnable" candidates) will likely never lead to genuine social change because it will never lead to important overall changes in the political landscape. In June of this year, over 10,000 voters in Guelph threw away their vote by supporting the Green candidate. Another 9,000 similarly threw their votes away by casting theirs for the NDP. Neither Mike Schreiner nor James Gordon had any realistic chance of winning that election, so were all of those votes also an "ultimate expression of first-world decadence"? ps, "first-world" is now viewed by many as a comparatively pejorative term.
City Hall will now cost in excess of $66M, including the costs associated not only with this ENTIRELY AVOIDABLE wrongful dismissal lawsuit but also with additional construction and general contractor replacement costs. That's a whopping $24M over the initial $42M budget ... more than 50% over budget. And some people here consider such outrageous mismanagement some sort of victory?! As Mayor, Karen Farbridge is responsible for this crisis. Not Hans Loewig, not Murray McCrae, not Lois Payne. Karen Farbridge can scapegoat as many people as she wants but ultimately, it is Karen Farbridge who dropped the ball on this and cost us all $24M. She allowed this project to spiral out of control and then actually had the gaul to praise her CAO when he wrongfully fired Urbacon. I hope she finds it in her heart to admit that one day.
From the report ... "It looks like the controversies of her administration have caught up with her, and Karen Farbridge may have to surrender her chain of office. Cam Guthrie has obviously tapped into a vein of conservative-leaning support that sees big money city-building projects as unnecessary," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff. Indeed, the Mayor's legacy of secrecy, unaccountability, broken promises and wasteful over-spending has caught up with her. This has now become Cam Guthrie's race to lose. I eagerly await the desperate spin from the Mayor's supporters. I suggest they begin attacking Cam, and not continue to attack anyone and everyone else who has criticized the Mayor.
My gosh, Susan, the internet can be a dangerous thing ... I offer some information that may help you to better understand what you are actually referencing. 1) Guelph's AA+ rating is good, but not great. It is better for example than Windsor and Wellington County's AA rating; the same as Brantford and Ottawa, but; not as good as Brampton's AAA. Yes, S&P says Brampton has a better credit rating than Guelph (gasp!). 2) S&P reports are dry to read and generally contain boiler plate passages. For example, the report for Brampton indicates, "In our view, the city demonstrates good financial management, which has a positive impact on its credit profile. It has a robust set of financial policies and annual financial statements are audited and unqualified. It provides transparent, easy-to-access disclosure to pertinent information and prepares detailed operating and capital budgets." Hmmm, did that actually say Brampton has good financial management practices and that it provides transparent reporting? Really? Brampton? Isn't that the same city currently undergoing a criminal investigation over financing as the result of its recent investigative audit? Gasp! Makes one wonder how much faith one should place in the passage you quoted about Guelph, Susan. It's literally the same text. 3) Many people blame the big three credit rating agencies for the financial collapse in 2007. I won't bore folks with the details, but the point is that S&P is not universally respected. 4) Most importantly, S&P is not an evaluation of fiscal responsibility or planning, it is a credit rating. It simply indicates if the City can cover it's debts. Usually used to reflect market confidence in bond investment, it's basically just an indicator that the City will or will not go bankrupt in the future. I will give you that, Susan, we are in pretty good shape and thankfully not even Mayor Farbridge could easily bankrupt the City of Guelph. Wasting $20M or more through a series of mismanagement and legal blunders over City Hall or paying $32M to help subsidize Waterloo Region's waste costs won't immediately cause us to default on our other financial obligations. I hope this helps people to better understand what that report is actually saying. And given what is happening in Brampton now and how wrong S&P seems to have been there, I would further suggest that this Guelph S&P report is not necessarily at odds with the criticisms raised by Grassroots Guelph.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2014 on Too long an election campaign? at 59 Carden St.
Susan, I cannot speak to what Grassroots Guelph does or does not know. What I can say is that their petition is clearly a request for an investigation into various financial decisions made within the City. Let's be clear, a forensic examination need not be called that, it need only investigate allegations of mismanagement or wrong-doing ... and that is exactly what this petition asked for. You are free to call it a potato, but it is still a request for an investigative audit. That the group's representative was unprepared for her interview does not change anything. But rather than critiquing the efficiency of the Mayor's critics and levelling silly charges of revisionism, perhaps her supporters should explain why tens of millions of dollars have been wasted on the new City Hall and justify its devastating impact on local merchants; provide actual costs for the Museum renovation project; explain why Guelph is subsidizing waste costs for Waterloo Region; explain why the Southend Community Centre keeps getting shelved; tell us why staff costs have skyrocketed (including specific reference to the shocking turnover on so many senior administrative positions), and; most importantly, explain why so many decisions at City Hall are so cloaked in secrecy that a group like Grassroots Guelph would even feel a need to request an investigative audit. But this isn't about any local group, you know that, this is about the Mayor. Mayor Farbridge promised transparency and accountability. She has delivered neither.
Toggle Commented Aug 25, 2014 on Too long an election campaign? at 59 Carden St.
This is very unfortunate. Routledge would have gotten my vote.
Toggle Commented Aug 25, 2014 on Change on the Ward 5 ballot at 59 Carden St.
Susan, come on now. By any standard, that IS a petition for a forensic audit. Note that not only is the word "forensic" in the title of the petition document you linked, but the contents of the petition clearly request a directed, investigative audit well beyond a standard financial statements audit ... ie., a forensic audit. It contains allegations of mismanagement and wrongdoing and requests a much more thorough investigation of the City's finances than a simple statement audit. It also clearly references existing, standard financial statement audits and questions their validity. Perhaps it bothers supporters of the Mayor that anyone would request such an investigation, but given the lack of transparency at City Hall under her leadership in addition to well established, large scale, capital project budget overruns and various financial and legal blunders, it is hardly surprising. What are the Mayor's supporters afraid of? That the truth will come out?
Toggle Commented Aug 20, 2014 on Too long an election campaign? at 59 Carden St.
Susan, if everything is available at the link you provided, can you please tell the rest of us how much the new City Hall construction project cost? Perhaps you can further enlighten those of us fooled by this "campaign of misinformation" as to what the total cost of the Museum renovations was as well. And while you are at it, try to dig around in those public documents to let us know who on council voted to lock out the transit workers and shut down the public transit system in town. Ooops, that also wasn't made public ... intentionally so ... hmmmm. I will agree with you that "intentional misinformation does not enhance community discussion of civic issues, it diminishes the integrity of our democratic process." As to who is intentionally misinforming whom, well, that seems open to interpretation. PS, you do realize that a financial audit is different from a forensic audit, right?
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2014 on Too long an election campaign? at 59 Carden St.