Political Analyst and Observer, Bill Longworth's, Weekly "Eye on City Hall" Columns, as published in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada's Oshawa Central Newspaper

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Election of the Returning Council Members Can’t be Just a Co-incidence

“Eye on City Hall”

A column of Information, Analysis, Comment, and unfiltered opinion
Bill Longworth, City Hall Reporter
November 15, 2010

In looking over the results of the recent election, I note that only four members of the last inept city council survived while seven members are no longer on council.

All this change is good and a key objective of my mayoral campaign. As the public memory is short, part of my campaign strategy was to incessantly focus public attention on the missteps, mistakes, and misdeeds of the John Gray led city council to foster the public mood for change.

I also had to focus public attention on the misrepresentations of council veteran Louise Parkes whom I saw as a disaster for Oshawa should she get elected. Her campaign platform calling for “Fair Taxation” seemed to grossly misrepresent her personal spending habits while on council, a fact that I exposed at every opportunity.

I ran for the position of mayor as that is the only office where any attention is paid to what the candidates have to say and is the one office which guarantees most face time with the media…a necessity if you have an important message that you want to get out.

Getting my message out resulting in a huge turnover on council was much more important to me than any ambitions I had for the Mayoralty.

Since the election, I have had some opportunity to analyze and reflect on the results and one of my observations has become quite telling because it has distinct and important consequences for the city.

I had always insisted that Mayor Elect John Henry had access to the Colin Carrie Sign list as his signs got erected very quickly once he declared his Mayoral Candidacy.

Securing sign locations is a time consuming activity and was something that could not be done prior to Henry’s declaration as a mayor candidate without the secret getting out of the bag.

Also his sign campaign was far stronger in the east side of the city (Carrie’s riding) rather than on the west side of the city which is in Jim Flaherty’s Federal Riding.

Henry also likely had access to Colin Carrie’s election machine which has developed over three successful elections since 2004. There is no other explanation of his “running away” with the election. He certainly did not perform as a “superstar” councillor, being rather unremarkable at the best of times.

Colin Carrie has been in regular and frequent public disputes with outgoing Mayor John Gray and thus would have sufficient desire to see him replaced.

This would provide Carrie motivation to seek out and “appoint” a candidate to succeed Gray. Thus Carrie is likely at the very beginning to have convinced Henry to seek the Mayoralty offering help from his Federal Campaign Team as the bait.

Running for Mayor without Carrie’s help and intervention would have been unlikely since the general consensus by council observers was that Henry’s run for Mayor was premature. Even one of Henry’s friends indicated this to me at the first Mayoral Debate.

In the CAW retirees Mayor Debate, for example, John Henry, in answer to the question on how he’d attract industry and jobs to the city, stated that we have a deepwater port, a major highway, a main rail line, an airport, a skilled work force---we can built anything and ship it anywhere in the world. He failed to see that we’ve had these attributes for the last 50 years and still experienced a net loss of industrial jobs.

Not recognizing that the city has the highest industrial/commercial tax rates in the GTA making us uncompetitive even with Whitby, Ajax, and Pickering and that downward adjustment of these rates was imperative to attract industrial investment and jobs to this city, you’d think would be basic information and insight necessary to lead this city.

It is unlikely Henry would have sought the Mayor’s chair on his own volition without intervention from Carrie. His $100,000 salary as a Regional Councillor would have made profits from his small office products retailing business seem redundant and been a major loss to him.

A vital question then, is what Carrie might have offered Henry in the way of lucrative Federal Appointments to replace his $100,000 Regional salary had his quest for the Mayor position been unsuccessful.

So now you’re probably beginning to think that my suggestion of Carrie’s meddling in city politics is slightly delusional, schizophrenic or mad.

So how else would you explain that three of the four returnees to city council were also the three city councillors invited by Carrie to Ottawa, in May, 2009, to meet with the Government Leaders over the harbour, and even at the time get an introduction to the Prime Minister. You will recall that Henry, Neal, and Marimpietri were criticized by John Gray as “stooges” at the time.

Funny that all three were elected when we had such a major turnover on council.

Is this just co-coincidence, or is the hand of Carrie, and his election machinery, behind the re-election of all three.

Pidwerbecki, the fourth returning council member is, of course, popular within the NDP community as manager of former MP, Ed Broadbent’s, Oshawa Office.

Interestingly, Henry, Neal, and Marimpietri do not sit on Carrie’s Riding Executive, although Local politicians typically try to conceal their political leanings and associations in any case.

Doug Hawkins, a candidate for Regional and City Councillor, sits on Jim Flaherty’s Riding Executive. He finished well out of the race, placing 15 out of 26 Regional Council Candidates, and didn’t appear to get any significant or “official” help from the Flaherty election machine.

There are consequences to the re-election of Henry, Neal, and Marimpietri.

These are three of the six votes needed to insure that there are no glitches in the Federal/City Waterfront Agreement that support the continuing industrialization of the East Wharf, the construction of the Ethanol Plant, and the building of a rail spur to the waterfront industrialization zone.

Of course, this increasing industrialization makes the waterfront less attractive for condo and commercial development, such as fine dining establishments, as the pollutants, dispersants, dirt and grime and odours will discourage top developers with their financing from coming to Oshawa to develop our prime lakefront resource.

I guess my dream of a world class waterfront will not come to fruition and the marina will not be as impressive as I’d envisioned.

The Shwa will have increased industrialization guaranteed at our waterfront while other places like Toronto, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and even Buffalo, have been busy reducing lakefront industrialization and working at transforming their lakefronts into people places.

Maybe the next thing we’ll see at our waterfront, along with the ethanol plant and the railway spur line, will be giant cranes and a cargo container storage facility leveling some of our treed areas on the east port as the present bulk cargo facilities at our harbour get replaced by cargo container handling facilities in general worldwide use today.

Too bad….but the Oshawa people….and Colin Carrie have spoken.

Late footnote---I've just been informed that Colin Carrie was at Henry's election headquarters the whole night as returns were coming in and even attended Henry's victory celebration party on election night looking over him like a mother hen, I'm told---even accompanied Henry to the private feast at Sopprafino's following. Interesting that Sopprafino's is owned by Tito Dante Marimpietri's wife's family! I wonder whether Marimpietri and Neal also attended this feast---and which other elected politicians attended which may give an indication that Carrie's hand extended far greater than we have so far surmised.

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  1. You are right, Bill, "The People Have Spoken".

  2. That's right Dave. The people have spoken...and the people are always right thought they don't always get it right. In the recent election Maryanne Sholdra who couldn't seem to stay alert through meetings narrowly missed getting re-elected and left two guys with MBA's (one a UOIT/Trent/York Business Professor) distantly distantly her dust. In a democracy, particularly with Oshawa's 70 candidate General Vote, voters are not often informed. The worst I've seen was in a Federal Conservative nomination meeting in Eglinton Centre some years ago, lightweight CBC TV announcer, Rob Parker, later of Cigarette Lobbyist Assoc. fame, told a few jokes and beat out 3rd place finisher, the founder of Toronto French Schools, an absolutely briliant guy who won international awards for contributions to humanity. Bill Longworth