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.”
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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..
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 – – https://www.abetterniagara.com/endorsements .
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 – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/10/18/with-six-seats-in-the-mix-st-catharines-voters-can-play-a-major-role-in-cleaning-up-the-mess-at-niagara-region/
To read a commentary Niagara At Large recently posted on Pelham candidates, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/10/18/heres-hoping-for-a-big-win-win-for-dave-augustyn-and-diana-huson-in-pelham/ .
To read a commentary Niagara At Large recently posted on Niagara Falls candidates, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/10/19/hey-niagara-falls-heres-your-chance-to-send-three-people-you-can-be-proud-of-to-niagara-regional-council/ .
To read a commentary Niagara At Large recently posted on Niagara-on-the-Lake candidates, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/10/17/niagara-on-the-lake-voters-can-send-two-good-people-to-regions-council/ .
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!
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders