One Last Look At Some of the Candidates Who Should Be Hired or Re-Hired, and Some Who Should be FIRED in these Municipal Elections

This Monday, October 22nd, Vote for Candidates who will Stand Up for the Common Good in our Niagara Region

From Doug Draper, reporter/publisher, Niagara At Large

Posted October 21st, 2018 on Niagara At Large

“Throw them all out and elect new people.”

St. Catharines regional councillor Brian Heit. One of the heroes on Niagara Region’s council that we need to keep.

I have heard that line over and over again from fellow residents across this Niagara region as these Monday, October 22nd municipal elections draw near.

And it is a sentiment that almost makes sense given the ugly mess we have suffered through at the regional council level with Caslin and his cabal, and at some of the local councils in Niagara .

Almost makes sense. But not quite.

It would be a huge and harmful mistake to “throw them all out” because there are some very good, solid and principled people who have served on the Region’s council and our local councils in Niagara over the past four years who deserve to be re-elected and, just as importantly, we need their knowledge and experience to get our councils off to the hit-the-ground-running, productive start our region needs.

And there is something else very dangerous about his “throw them all out” idea/

You would not only be throwing good people out with all of the bad ones, you  could  be making the mistake of replacing them with people that are just as willing to bidding of  rogues in the development industry and other special interests as Caslin and his cabal were.

St. Catharines regional councillor Kelly Edgar. We need him back on the Region’s council to help lead the cleanup

In other words, before you vote, make sure you have done your homework and know what is behind Door #Two folks! If you replace twiddle dee with twiddle dum, we will be right back in the same sludge pond we’ve been stuck in the last four years. And to make matters worse, all of the good councillors who took a lot of abuse trying to get us out of that pond will be gone.

In that spirit, let me begin by repeating my endorsement of two incumbents running in St. Catharines for another term on the Region’s council who, if there were enough like them on the council, former NPCA CAO Carmen D’Angelo never would have been hired to the CAO’s job at the Region in the first place.

Those two incumbents are Brian Heit and Kelly Edgar, who should not get lost in what is an extraordinarily large field of candidates running for six regional council seats in St. Catharines, because they were also among a handful of others on the Region’s council who have been fighting for more openness and accountable. And in their case, they were also targets of a lawsuit from one special interest that was eventually dropped.

Please, St. Catharines voters. Re-elect them!

Welland regional councillor George Marshall is among the incumbents running for another term on the Region’s council that I urge  voters of the city to re-elect. Marshall has repeatedly voted on the side of the common good, against all odds.

Others, running in other parts of Niagara,  who fall into the same category of fighting for decency, responsibility and accountability, that deserve to be – relected are George Marshall, who is running in Welland for another term on the Region’s council.

Before I leave Welland, as someone who has followed the bad circus at the Region over the past four years, I urge Welland voters support anyone other than incumbent Paul Grenier for the only other regional council seat you have to fill. What appear to be two worthy candidates for that seat are Pat Chiocchio and Leanna Villella.

Just try not to slit the vote in ways that pushes Marshall out and leaves Grenier in. Please don’t do that.

Thorold regional councillor Henry D’Angela has been one of a handful on the Region’s council who hammered for months for an independent Ombudsman’s prove of the 2016 CAO hiring. He is not running for Thorold’s mayor and deserves that city’s support for the courage he has shown at the regional council level alone.


In Grimsby, voters Monday, October 22nd are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to vote for two quality candidates there – Jeff Jordan for mayor and Wayne Fertich for the town’s one and only regional council seat. For your sake and for the sake of all of us who live in this Niagara region, do us all a huge favour and fire the current Grimsby regional councillor Tony Quirk

The past four years of Quirk, who has also worked his ways as a member of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board,  has been far more than enough! It is time to see the back of him.

In Port Colborne, where David Barrick has mercifully decided not to run for another regional council term and the current mayor, John Mahoney, has done the same, people in that city are fortunate to have Barb Butters , a veteran Port Colborne councillor who has shown guts and principle, and who served on the NPCA’s board way back when it was a real conservation authority, running for regional councillor.

Port Colborne city councilor Barbara Butters is now running in Port Colborne for a regional council seat. What a breath of fresh air she would be after David Barrick, who decided not to take another run at a seat on the Region’s council.

Port Colborne is also fortunate to have Betty Konc, who has served on the neighbouring Wainfleet township council and who stood up for openness and accountability there, running for mayor of the city.

Port Colborne voters can do a great deal to help get the Region’s council back on the track to putting the public’s business first by electing Butters and Konc this Monday.

The same is true in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, where voters have the opportunity this Monday to vote for NOTL councillor Betty Disero for the town’s lord mayor, and elect town councillor Gary Zalepa to regional council. At the same time, voters can fire the current lord mayor, Patrick Darte, who at the regional council level, has dutifully gone along with the Caslin and the don’t-ask-any-more-questions-about-the-hiring-of-the-CAO’ agenda.

Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn, whois now running in Pelham for a regional council seat, has been the target of relentless attacks from supporters of Caslin’s cabal on the Region’s council for standing up for openess and accountability. Don’t let them win. Vote for him.

Give Darte the boot in Niagara-on-the-Lake then , while you are voting for Disero and Zalepa, do yourselves another favour by voting for Gary Burroughs, one of the town’s further lord mayors and outgoing regional councillor, and once the Region’s chair, to another term on NOTL’s council.

In the City of Niagara Falls, Bart Maves decided not to run for another term on regional council but Selina Volpatti and Bob Gale (just in time for Halloween) are haunting us with run for another term, but this Monday Niagara Falls voters can help spare us from another four years of spooks by supporting regional council candidates Barbara Greenwood, Dave Eke and Dianne Munro.

While Niagara Falls voters are at it, they can fire the city’s current mayor, Jim Diodatti, and hire Kim Craitor, a city councillor and former Niagara Falls MPP, for the mayor’s job. While they are doing that, I urge you to return Carolynn Ioannoni to another term on Niagara Falls city council, who deserves it for her efforts in the fight to save Thundering Waters Forest and clean up the mess at the NPCA alone.

In Grimsby, you not only have someone you can feel good about voting against – the current regional councillor Tony Quirk – you have someone you can feel good about voting for – this quality person who is running for regonal council, Wayne Fertich.

In Fort Erie, I cover Niagara’s regional council and not the town’s council, so I’m not in a position to judge Ford Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop’s record on the local front. However, I would say that at the Region, Redekop has been more apart of trying to keep council business on a sound and civil track, than part of the chaos and controversy over the past four years.

As for Fort Erie’s current regional councillor Sandy Annunziata, who is also now serving as chair on the board of the NPCA, by all means, Fort Erie voters, do yourselves and the rest of Niagara a favour and vote for the candidate you feel is best positioned to beat him.

Another four years of Annunziata on the Region’s council would be too much to bear.

Before I leave Fort Erie, I want to put a good word in for one of the candidates running for the town’s local council, although Niagara At Large has not really had the time and resources we wish we had to cover local council races in these elections.

That Fort Erie candidate is Pati Habermann, who is running in Ward 4 in Fort Erie, and who appears to be the one and only candidate in the town that the local newspaper, the Fort Erie Post, saw fit not to run a profile on.

In Fort Erie’s Ward 4, vote for Pati Habermann for town council.

Habermann is also one of the very few candidates running in Fort Erie that has received an endorsement from ‘A Better Niagara’, a region-side citizen’s organization working to engage voters in these municipal elections. A Better Niagara also happens to be an organization where the executive director is Ed Smith, a St. Catharines citizen activist who successfully defeated in the Ontario courts a lawsuit filed against him by the NPCA where, that’s right, Sandy Annunziata now serves as chair on the agency’s board.

St. Catharines City Councillor Carlos Garcia, running again for the Port Dalhousie ward. One of the very good ones. Give him your support


So if you are a Fort Erie voter in Ward 4, you can vote for Pati habermann for two reasons. First, she is eager to do a good job for you on the town council and, second, it is another way of letting Sandy Annunziata know how you feel about is conduct on the Region’s council and the NPCA.

Now I am going to finish where I began, in St. Catharines, with thumbs up for a few more incumbents on the city’s council who were strong this past four years in demanding accountability from the Region and Conservation Authority, including calls on the Ontario government to audit the NPCA and install new administrators and board members..

Vote for this man. St. Catharines city councilor Bruce Williamson was one of the very first municipal politicians in Niagara to champion a motion to audit the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and has been a long-time advocate for safeguarding Port Dalhousie’s heritage where he is running in the Port Dalhousie Ward.

Those St. Catharines city councillors, all deserving of another term, are Bruce Williamson and Carlos Garcia from the Port Dalhousie, Joe Kushner from the St. Andrew’s Ward and Bill Phillips from the Grantham Ward.

For other endorsements of candidates for Niagara’s regional and local councils, here is one that Niagara At Large may not always have put together, name for name. But it was produced by A Better Niagara, following a good deal of work and thought and you can review it by clicking on – – .

Niagara At Large also urges you to click on the screen of the following video produced by A Better Niagara, of Niagara regional council incumbent, and city and town mayoers who should be voted out of office this Monday.

And with respect to this list which includes; Fort Erie regional councillor Sandy Annunziata, Pelham regional councillor Brian Baty, St. Catharines regional chair and regional councillor Al Caslin and Bruce Timms, Grimsby regional councillor Tony Quirk, Welland regional councillor Paul Grenier, Niagara Falls regional councillors Selina Volpatti and Bob Gale, Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, Niagara-on-the-Lake Lord Mayor Patrick Darte and West Lincoln Mayor Doug Joyner.

We the people, can vote this Monday, October 22nd to get our Region’s council back, working for us, by firing them all!

Now please click on the video –

To read a commentary Niagara At Large recently posted on St. Catharines candidates, click on –

To read a commentary Niagara At Large recently posted on Pelham candidates, click on – .

To read a commentary Niagara At Large recently posted on Niagara Falls candidates, click on – .

To read a commentary Niagara At Large recently posted on Niagara-on-the-Lake candidates, click on – .

A Brief Footnote from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

In the almost 40 years this journalist has been following municipal politics in this Niagara region, I believe these October 22nd municipal elections are the most important ones we have had in terms of what is at stake for our lives, jobs and communities.

We have never had a Niagara regional council with as many bullies and uncivil characters on it, carrying on in ways that are an embarrassment and disservice to all of us. Some of their scandalous antics have generated headlines that have disgraced our region from cost to coast.

I’ve covered this council and I believe that A Better Niagara’s lists of who to vote for and who to boot out are on the mark.

Please review them careful and for the sake of yourselves, your families and your neighbours, GO OUT AND VOTE!

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


5 responses to “One Last Look At Some of the Candidates Who Should Be Hired or Re-Hired, and Some Who Should be FIRED in these Municipal Elections

  1. Mr. Draper, thank you very much for your support and for recognizing our efforts on Regional Council this term. For some of us, this current session of Council was a trying and stressful adventure in attempting to navigate through the “dark side” and there is finally light to be seen at the end of the tunnel.

    Thanks very much for making the journey with us! You have been welcome company!

    (A Brief Note from Niagara At Large – Kelly Edgar is a St. Catharines regional councillor who is running for another term on the Region’s council. He is one of the heroic few who stood up to Al Caslin and his cabal and he deserves the support of St. Catharines voters.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks Doug, It’s unfortunate that the past term of Regional Council has been marred by the actions of the current Chair and his voting block(the “Cabal”) . As you stated, I was one of the few councillors willing to stand up and speak out against them. Let’s hope the voters will choose those of us who are independent thinkers, representatives with integrity that will act in the best interests of all Niagara residents. Goodbye “Cabal”. Thanks Doug for ensuring that your readers had the facts. Regards, Brian

    A Footnote from Niagara At Large – Brian Heit is running for another term as a St. Catharines regional councillor, and is another one of a handful on the Region’s council who repeatedly spoke out for something better.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another thank you Doug for shining some light on Pati Habermann and her efforts. I find it unconscionable that she was omitted from the Post profiles. People see a face and profile in a publication deposited on every door step and they remember. To exclude one is unfair and undemocratic.

    She is highly qualified and a real go-getter. I know for a fact that she visited every home in Ward 4 except, out of respect, those with opposing candidates’ signs. Laudable since it is a very large and scattered area. She personally listened to complaints and suggestions and took notes from anyone who presented problems and ideas.

    Every candidate puts considerable effort, time, money and heart into their campaigns and it is astonishing that she was not provided the same exposure.


  4. Now that we elected or re-elected mostly some decent people … let’s hope the region starts on a fresh path. Congratulations, Brian Heit, Jim, Bradley, Tim Rigby, Laura Ip, Sandie Bellows and George Darte. I know all of you (other than Mr. Darte who I would look forward to meeting) and am sure we are going to see good change.


  5. I agree that the result of this election is actually not bad … I look forward to seeing the work of our new as well as re-elected councillors of this region.


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