From Pic Press, September 2004
by Jamie Swift
If you want learn about some of the interests that have funded Kingston’s city councillors and the friendships or family connections that pervade the corridors of power, you just have to take a stroll over to City Hall. That’s where the decisions being taken in our names get made. The people at the Clerk’s office right off Market Street will be happy to set you up with the files.
It seems that Harvey Rosen raised over $51,000 in his mayoralty bid, well over double what incumbent Isobel Turner pulled in. Rosen’s donor list is a who’s who of hotel, retail and especially real estate interests – Dacon, Braebury, and, yes, Block D developer Homestead. His biggest donors included commercial realtor J.J. Barnicke, whose local vice-president Martin Skolnick served on the task force that recommended the Big Rink be located on the inner harbour waterfront right beside the proposed Wellington Street Extension.
According to Barnicke’s website, Skolnick has acted as agent for the Woolen Mill ever since that property was renovated. It sits on the path of the Wellington Extension. So does property occupied by Rosen Heating and Cooling.
Another donor to the mayor’s campaign was Windmills Café, whose owner Ed Smith was elected to council last year. Smith’s campaign received the same amount from Rosen Fuels that Rosen’s campaign got from Windmills. Smith is a member of the new advisory committee on the next stage of the Big Rink process. Rosen also got $500 from one Kenneth Wong. Ken Wong, who was also a task force member, has been one of the Big Rink’s big spokesmen. Campaign donors to councillor and deputy mayor Leonore Foster, another Big Rink enthusiast and task force member, included Ken Wong and Rosen Heating and Cooling.
Mayor Rosen, former counsel to the family business, said in an interview that he has no financial connection with the firm. It is apparently owned by his sister.
There’s no conspiracy afoot here. Just the normal interplay of money and politics. (The Labour Council made donations to candidates it figured were worker-friendly – Beth Pater, Steve Garrison, Rick Downes.) But the commercial and real estate connections do seem relevant to the ongoing debate about the Big Rink.
Last updated 30.9.2004