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Opinion: Bill Walton, Pondering the Slate

A Clean Slate: a record showing no marks of discredit.
20180929 ponder walton

I was out in the backyard, raking the few leaves that had fallen – practicing for the real fall defoliation – but all the recent rain meant all I was doing was raking up muck. This caused me to sit on the old stump and ponder the rumoured ‘slate’ of candidates in the upcoming municipal election.  You get the connection.

When I read the letter by the Kiwanis Five I immediately took exception to the first line. Not the title of the plea for good behaviour at council.  As honourable as the K-5 are, they do not speak for me. Maybe everyone in their strata of friends and associates, but I am quite capable of speaking for myself. (Sometimes saying too much, I heard in an aside from the other room). But yes, I agree with the K-5 that there should be a little more decorum in the Chambers. Playing nice is good.

However, when the K-5 took aim at the former Taxpayers Associations as being the cause of the problems, I wondered at their motives. If the former TA ruffled feathers there may have been some uncomfortable chickens sitting on the roost at City Hall. It became obvious to me that they are supporting the other slate – the ‘Slate for the Status Quo’ – the Incumbents.

Now one might agree that one of the former members of the TA could use a little more honey and less vinegar to catch those pesky flies at City Hall, but believe it or not, some of what the TA has been saying for years might have more than a little truth to it.

You have to give the ‘Slate for Change’ credit for putting their names forward this year. They have the courage of their convictions and despite what the K-5 might think, I do believe these people have the best interests of the City in mind. Perhaps their vision for the city will be a change from the vision that we dreamed of for the past 8 or 12 years. You know the old adage about doing the same thing and expecting different results . . .

All around the world people are looking for ‘change’ from the old politics – at all levels. And the shift is to the right, not the left. Not all of this has been positive and indeed there may be pangs of regret already in some people for voting Doug the Slug (via Vic) to be a leader. It was time for a change, make no mistake, but here’s the rub: how much change can we handle?

Can we have change without an exchange of words and expressed thoughts in Chambers or on the Fifth floor? Strongly held ideas and ideals can lead to verbal confrontations but surely the better argument should prevail. Or we like to believe so. There are very important items coming before council in the next year: another money-losing arena, the crumbling dock, the overflowing Cassellholme, the dying Downtown, the waterfront, and our aging infrastructure. Will Sports Tourism and Summer in the Parking Lot save the day?

The question is: will there be a change at City Hall after the election on October 22nd?  Not if the K-5 and the people they speak for – no more confrontations over new ideas, transparency, or demands for change in how we do things – vote on Election Day. The status quo slate will be fine. Well, there might be a couple of new candidates who propose cooperation as one of their planks who would be acceptable to the K-5. There are even a few of them that I have on my ‘slate’ – but I chose them all by myself.

In a footnote, if you need some comic relief from the electioneering, the Powassan Players presents “Interruptions” at 250 Clarke, October 16-19. I’m playing the pesky Homeowners Association Prez.

See related story: Rennick challenges Kiwanis Citizen letter writers to a public debate