New councillors were elected to do
what they're doing
Letters to the Editor - Wednesday, April 18, 2007 Updated @ 9:40:32 AM
I am writing in response to Tony Houghton's column "Council is burning its bridges before it even builds them" (April 13).
Houghton seems to be jumping on the "blame the new councillors" bandwagon. He wasn't very clear, but he seems to feel they aren't "doers," while the mayor is a "doer."The new councillors are just "talkers," he writes.
I disagree. I have no doubt that the new councillors are doers, but unfortunately, with the financial catastrophe they inherited, they are also required to be thinkers. Thinkers and realists.
I'm sure Houghton would agree that reality must dictate action. He expresses doubt that the new councillors speak for a majority of Kingstonians. Well, I know they do. Before last November's municipal election, I went door to door. I talked and listened to people in almost every part of this city. I can assure you that the new councillors are doing what they were elected to do.
Houghton couldn't have meant his suggestion that the voters who didn't vote
in the election were "quite satisfied" to be taken seriously. In my travels, I
found that nobody was satisfied.
As far as Councillor Leonore Foster's "made for television" laments about a third crossing of the Cataraqui River, I have to wonder why she wasn't distressed over the failure to get it started during the previous six years. When council "nixed" it in 2006, didn't she agree? She has been Mayor Harvey Rosen's leading cheerleader in his big money agenda, and now she wants the people in Pittsburgh district to blame the new councillors. Shame.
The new councillors have also been blamed for Kingston's unsuccessful Memorial Cup bid (how ridiculous is that?), for the difficulty in attracting donations for the Market Square project and for picking on city hall staff. They have been called "naive," "parochial" and, obliquely, anti-Semitic. There has been despicable namecalling going on by people who should know better. All in print, of course. The new councillors have had the class not to answer in kind.
Why was there so much venom because the new councillors insisted on seeing the September, 2006 report on the downtown sports and entertainment centre project - a report that, shamefully, had been held back? Why have they been criticized for showing disgust over the renaming of Market Square and the arrogance that is still being exhibited over this matter? Why are they being criticized for wanting more accountability from city staff regarding money paid out and the arena?
It's sad that anybody would criticize these people for trying to protect our interests rather than special interests. Every time they attempt to get information from city hall, though, I read about the dire consequences predicted by chief administrative officer Glen Laubenstein. It makes me wonder what he's afraid of.
Yes, I am a doer. I spent a lot of time last year "doing." I was going over reports and information I had accessed from city hall. I found that discrepancies were the norm. A business would be bankrupt if it operated as city hall has. Before people make judgments, they should read a little more.
Yes, I'm a doer (just like my councillor), and I'm also a writer and a talker. Sometimes I'm even a thinker - and I think we need these new councillors to keep up the good work. When people in positions of trust try to discredit anyone who disagrees with them, they end up discrediting themselves. At least among thinking people.