Sunday, May 30, 2010

Reading between the lines of those interviews....

I just love political campaign rhetoric. I've been voraciously reading the wannabes as they reel off all the reasons about why John Q. Public should slap down their big 'ol X right behind their name on the ballot and send them off up to Old Church Road. Over my morning Columbian Supremo I went back and re-read the Enterprise interviews with the Ward 5 candidates. What a way to start off a sunny Sunday morning.

There are some classic lines in these interviews. Trudy Valier, area councillor hopeful, referred to herself as a triple threat. First off describing ones self as a threat, especially in light of the fact that our Mayor is still under DecCon 5 security levels, is something Ms. Valier might want to rethink. Hey Trudy in the entertainment industry a triple threat is someone who can sing, dance & act. So does this mean that you want to be the Ward 5 council thespian who can tap dance and organize Karaoke Kouncil for those really tense moments and you need an ice breaker? Can't you just see it now, Trudy teaching them how to sing "My Way". I'd buy a ticket for a front row seat for that show.

I howled over the comments from Amanda Squires who thinks she needs to date her voters, buy a house with them and live together before we all say "I do". Ok. Well hey Ms. Squires, "I don't". She doesn't actually think we are buying that tripe, does she?

The two dudes in the race, Kevin Junor for area and Mark Pavilons for regional council seem to think that council is a sandbox and council needs to learn to play nicely in it together. C'mon people, share your pails and shovels and no kicking sand at the weakling councillors. It almost prompted me to send Mark and email and ask him if that sandbox sand would be the same sand used in mixing up cement for the concrete to be poured into the ground for development by his former employer. Let's read between the lines on Mr. Pee's comment about why he's decided to run. "Well the timing is right in my career." Which really means I'm looking for a job. That one was right up there with a Facebook posting by Ms. Squires that said something to the effect of "love helping people with let's get me elected so I can get paid for this....". Lovely sentiment don't you think. Speaks volumes about her character, or rather, lack of it.

"When I did well I heard it never. When I did ill I heard it ever." That truthful little adage is on the side of a cookie tin that used to belong to my Grandmother. Very wise insight for a cookie tin, don't you think? Apparently nothing, absolutely nothing works right out at the town. With the exception of only one of the interviews with area candidate, Patti Foley, every other candidate had nary a good word to say about the council. There was lots of finger pointing about the divisions, lack of leadership, lack of vision, and of course the biggie....the inability to bring the council to work together blah...blah....blah. Here's a myriad of their quotes: "I think Bolton needs a stronger voice. It’s been lacking." "We need clear and better representation at the council table.” "I want to bring hope back to Bolton, positives back to Bolton." Maybe this group of messiahs should just bypass council and go right to the middle east, Afghanistan or the U.N. where their skills could really do some good. What I find really interesting is that most of the wannabes talked about having a stronger voice for Ward 5. So are they really saying that our Ward 5 councillors actually didn't do a good job? That's sure what it sounds like to me. So let's take stock here, we've had weak representation by our Ward 5 councillor for the past four years and now that very same councillor wants the mayoral job. Hmmmmm. Now I'm confused.

When asked about the infighting, mayoral candidate, Annette Groves responded with "I will end it by realizing that there are different needs in both rural and urban Caledon and I think we need to recognize those needs." She will end it, just like that. Maybe we ought to ask her why she didn't end it long before now? There were plenty of chances when Ms. Groves could have shown some good judgement and could have been a major galvanizing force for the council but instead she chose to throw fuel on the bonfire. I'm not buying what she's selling. Leopards just don't change their spots that quickly. Annie Groves has been the eye of the council storm for the past four years and she damn well knows it. Countless times I've asked her what the hell was going on and her response to me would be "I'm telling you Christine...if you knew the truth...." I'd ask her what that truth was, please tell me, I want to know, help me to understand. No answer ever came.

To that end, what about the optics of voting for her for mayor while her husband is still involved in a lawsuit with the incumbent mayor. What's wrong with this picture? Ms. Groves made a reference in her interview about getting spending under control So, here's my question to the town. How many taxpayers dollars have gone to legal costs for the Mayor to defend her in the lawsuit against Ms. Groves husband? Doesn't this all seem rather Monty Python'ish to anyone else?

In the end, I'd like to see if I could actually find one municipal council anywhere that actually gets along. Damn if I could find one. Not in Mississauga, where Queen Hazel is under siege with the likes of rogue councillor Carolyn Parrish. Not in Toronto where buffoons like Rob Ford & George Mammolitti abound and most certainly not over in Vaughan where local politics is like a blood bath. There will always be discension in councils, there is supposed to be discension in councils. I'd worry if a council were always like minded and agreed on every single thing. How our councillors conduct themselves during that process is really what the issue is here.

Finally, I would just like to give some props to area candidate Patti Foley, whose interview in the Enterprise focused on the positives. She was the first candidate who left me feeling like Bolton wasn't going to hell in a hand basket. What a refreshing change to hear someone focus on something other than the armageddon that is Caledon council. I get the feeling that Patti believes that you don't make yourself look better by pointing out the short comings of others. It speaks loudly to her credibility and her character. Finally a local candidate with some substance. Let's hope John Q. Public has enough common sense to elect this gal to office. A girl can be hopeful.

The campaign continues. Things are just getting warmed up. Time to put some ice in the martini shaker, it's just about the cocktail hour. The bar is open.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is today that day?

A few weeks back I predicted that our favorite bobbleheaded cupcake of a regional councillor would declare her intentions for a mayoral run on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and it never materialized. I ain't a gambling kinda chiquita but my instincts tell me that today could be that day. I figured that perhaps that our little prima donna passed on a Cinco de Mayo announcement because I called her out but I don't know that I'm going to take any credit here for the blackjack bluffing that is going on. Here's why.....

There has been a spate of regional newsletters that have popped up over the past week from a couple of other regional councillors, neither of whom have yet to declare their electoral intentions. The spring/summer newsletters have been produced and put together by the Region of Peel which means these politicians got some really good quality, well laid out and strong visual materials put together for them courtesy of the region and the taxpayers. So here's the thing, if you are an incumbent who had declared your candidacy the region would not be permitted to produce said newsletter. Once a candidate declares it changes the parameters. So it goes without saying that the bulk of the regional councillors will wait for the release of the spring/summer newsletter that will hail all their wonderful work and achievements before making their intentions for re-election official. It's basically a very prudent and smart move because it is pre-emptive strike to a campaign without the costs having to be paid for through the campaign. Makes sense, right?

What do you think is gonna turn up in my mailbox today? Oh gee, me wonders. Could it be a paid non political announcement on the virtues of my regional councillor? Any takers on this bet?

So here's what I think the strategy for a mayoral kick at the can by a regional cupcake might look like. She'll count on every single vote out of Bolton. Automatically assuming that because she's Bolton based everyone here will support her and be anti-Morrison. Well that thinking is a mistake. Let's look at the numbers from the 2006 election. Garry Moore, also a Bolton based mayoral candidate basically took about 2,200 votes and Mayor Morrison took around 1,750 votes. That really isn't all that much of a difference. Ms. Groves, in total, had 3,233 votes casted in her reelection bid. Across the town Mayor Morrison had a total of 7,150 votes so even if Councillor Groves still grabbed up all her 3,200 votes she's basically got to find another 4,000 votes elsewhere in Caledon. This is going to be interesting.

This will be a vicious campaign,not only here in Bolton, but especially on the western side of Caledon where I suspect Ms. Groves is not particularly welcome or liked. Nor is she associated to a major party as Garry Moore was (can you say Liberal red). Western Caledon will be tough sledding and everyone knows that a campaign is won at the doors and on the street. They will be hard at work to try and discredit Marolyn Morrison. I am of a mind that the Groves machinery will focus in on the Valleywood settlement. Valleywood is by six degrees of separation associated to the Bolton Wanderers Soccer club, in which Ms. Groves is well ensconced. Hard to say how well this will serve her. Not all members of the soccer community are Italian and I suspect that the Groves campaign will be hoping to cash in on their popularity in the Italian community although I've never quite understood that logic. I just don't buy in to that fuggedaboutit way of thinking. I also believe trying to play that Italian cultural card is a lame assed move on any candidate's part. I actually laughed aloud upon hearing someone tell me that Terry Groves is claiming italian heritage. Budda boom budda bing. Too funny.

Anyone who is familiar with the dogsled team that drives the Groves campaign knows that the lead pack dog for this group is her husband, Terry. He's a pedal to the metal kind of guy and last time I saw him I couldn't help but to notice he's slim, trim and in fighting shape. He's a walking UFC machine looking to bring the big smackdown against his nemesis and arch enemy, Mayor Morrison, against whom he is still embroiled in some over the top, absolutely ridiculous lawsuit. Not good for the street cred, none the less T-Groves will turn this race into an Iditarod run. He is a force to be reckoned with, no question, but to that end I say never under estimate the voting smarts of the western Caledonites. He'll find himself in farm country and after that stupidness with lawsuits, in particular his bad behaviour against one of their own, westerner & respected farmer, Anne Livingston, he won't be warmly embraced. His rep for having a loud mouth and big attitude won't wash well with the other side of town which is why I'm convinced they'll anchor a western strategy out of Valleywood.

Have you noticed how glued to the hip of Tony "Always a bridesmaid, never an elected bride" Viola that Ms. Groves is? This has always been a great concern for me. Ms. Groves eats way too much Italian food down in the four corners of Bolton and that over priced eatery with its mediocre food has become her regular haunt to hold her wine and dine location for potential supporters. I suspect if Mister Vee gets behind this mayoral candidate she'll be hoping to reign in the votes he managed to garner in his non election election from 2006. I have wondered aloud about TV's election intentions especially knowing his distaste for Miz Nancy Jean. If he campaigns in Wards 3&4, creating a tandem campaign for himself & the cupcake, it could add another 1,500 votes to her bottom line.

All this speculation and we haven't even talked about the senior citizens and the youth vote. I also think we'll see the emergence of the viral campaign which could become an interesting part of this election too. Oh by the way, I called it right on the Marky Mark "beam me up Scotty" Pavillons declaration. It's a regional run for the former Caledon Citizen editor. Betcha that's got Ms. Amanda Squires squirming on her wobbly little pedestal. By the way, neither Mark or Amanda is Italian although Mark was employed by a certain, high profile developer, with Bolton in his view finder, who is Italian. Does that immediately give him "la familia" cred? One wonders. I'll definitely be having a look at Mr. Pee's post electoral donation list.

I think the May Vic weekend is the cornerstone date for this year's election potentials. Stay tuned for the next installment of "As the Town of Caledon Turns"

That's it for me. Happy Hump Day peeps and may your long weekend be filled with sunshine, good food, lotsa fireworks and of course....a drop 'o the grape! Peace out.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is Caledon having a seat sale?

Cinco de Mayo has come and gone. For you gringos that would be the 5th of May which coincidentally is the day I predicted that my local councillor would announce her candidancy for the holy grail of the Caledon council, the mayoral seat. As I understand it that announcement didn't materialize...yet. Can't say I'm totally surprised about this nugget of news. Me thinks that there is some bet hedging going on as I write this and small side game of cat and mouse. I do know that my regional rep has been making the rounds of the local bizzie's looking for some doh-ray-me to bank her mayoral run. She's been glad handing since the middle of last year. It's gonna take a fair amount of g&c-notes to hold up the end of a town wide mayoral campaign. This should be really interesting. It's too bad that we don't get full disclosure of campaign deniros until after the election.

On a small side note, I'm thinking that Ms. Groves isn't the only one hedging her bets. I'm thinking that perhaps another wannabe, a certain former newspaper dude is also in the market for some gainful employment but is waiting to see what cards Annie Groves lays down on the table. I'm thinking if she plays it safe and decided to stick to the regional chair, of which would be difficult to unseat her from, then he'd be tossing his hat into the area councillor ring. Mr. Editor has no room for error and is probably looking to what would be his safest choice. It's all a waiting game.

So, today I'm wondering are the seats on the Caledon council for sale?
Think about this peeps. If a developer wanted control of growth in Caledon he's gonna need 5 seats, right? Winning an election often comes down to who has the most greenbacks to afford the most high profile campaign, the slickest campaign material, the most mail outs, the most signage, the most newspaper ads and perhaps a viral campaign to ice the cake. So if a developer has millions of dollars tied up in lands that are being held up for development wouldn't the cost of bank rolling candidates be considered a small investment for millions upon millions of dollars in development? Hey, it's peanuts compared to the pot of gold at the end of the development rainbow.

Get out your abacus out and let's start counting. $50K for a Mayoral campaign and then maybe another $30K split up between potential regional/area candidates. $80K is chump change for the kind of development payback we are talking about here not to mention having control of the direction of council for the next four years. It's la dolce vita when you get to be the Kingmaker! Talk about leaving the gun and taking the cannoli. On top of it, masking campaigns donations is a cake walk. I suspect there are plenty of cousins named Guido or Luigi who will donate plenty.

So if a person(s) with vested interests in Caledon, who is ready & willing, with their built-in ATM machines all loaded and ready to pump out those pics of Sir Robert Borden, sidles up to candidates who are so ripe for the picking, who wouldn't flinch at getting into bed with the devil himself because they want to win no matter the cost, this could be a dangerous election for the community of Caledon. Think long and hard about your candidates folks. We've already got some dicey names on the ballots. (I'll come back to that comment in a future blog)

In the last election my regional councillor raised approximately $10,000. I should know, if you check her donation list you'll even see my name on it. Yeah, yeah, this was well before she turned in to Darth Vader in drag. Regardless, tell me how does a candidate go from raising $8K to raising at minimum $40-50K? Raising money for a campaign is an out and out drudgery, even for the most seasoned veteran politicians. Hell just ask the Federal Liberal team who are still trying to raise money to pay off left over debts from Steffi Dion's debauchery. It is most likely there will be little to no funds for her to suck out of the west side of Caledon so Councillor G. will basically have to raise all her moola here. Hence all her "hands in your pockets" visitations around town.

Days are quickly passing and time lines to make any sort of serious run for this council grow shorter. The election is in October this year which shortens up the time lines even more. Place in the dates of the advanced polls and the reality of a campaign is that candidates will have about five short weeks for the really big push. It is, as they say, all about the timing. This is the ultimate game of Battleship.

Finally I'll leave you with my morning thought/question. Will Tony "always a bridesmaid, never an elected bride" Viola toss his hat once again in the ring for a seat in Wards 3/4 against the incumbent, Richard Whitehead and former regional councillor and wannabe comeback councillor, the lovely Miz Nancy Jean Stewart? I get the feeling that Tony would put his name on the ballot just for the hell of it. His antics during the last election were akin to being in a sideshow with his rants and his no shows at debates. A move like that though would surely be a torpedo in the side of Miz Stewart's campaign and almost surely guarantee long time veteran councillor Richard Whitehead a return to council. Small tidbit of trivia, Richard Whitehead ran in his first election when I was in Grade 5 (1967).

TGIF peeps! Cocktails will be shakin on 'da Beava this evening. If you are looking for a libation the bar is open after 7 p.m.! We can imbibe and gab politics.

Next up.....meeting the candidates. :)

p.s. Be sure to check in on this weeks Loser of the Year Award....