Chip Martin of the London Free Press broke a story tonight about Mayor Joe Fontana using a federal cheque to pay for his son’s wedding back in 2005. If these allegations are true, it’s another scandal London City Council and the city as a whole does not need.
Many questions still need to be answered but in light of these allegations is it surprising people are cynical about politics? We will will wait and see what happens with this in the days and weeks ahead.
Other people have blogged about how council got to the point of not wanting to have a community meeting about the backyard chicken issues.
My main concern was the opinion of some members of council in this issue. Many of those on council realized that this issue was not about chickens but it was more about citizen engagement.
Mayor Fontana and Councilor’s Swan and Van Meerbergen spoke against the meeting. I have no problem with them being honest as it is one of the things I’ve said a politician should do. My concerns are some of the things being said. All three spoke about priorities but the question is who defines the priorities. The mayor has pointed out that citizen engagement is important but tonight’s meeting seems to show that it only matters when it fits in with “priorities”. Several people have already left the Community Engagement Task Force because of this issue and frankly I’m wondering If I should continue as council seems to play lip service to community engagement.
During his speech Councilor Swan also lifted tonight’s council agenda and attachments, it was in the 100’s of pages if one counts the minutes and agendas of the three subcommittee’s. Perhaps if the workload is that heavy and priorities must be made, the issue of full time councilors should be looked at again.
Councilor Van Meerbergen comments seemed very out of line and to him the whole matter seemed almost a joke. Based on his comments last week it appears he knows very little about the matter and would not take the time to learn.
I hope those council members who attend the meeting at least do so with an open mind, unlike some who’s minds are already made up. Hopefully the voters mind won’t be as made up next election time.
On Saturday morning 150 others and myself attended the kickoff meeting for the Community Engagement Task Force. Council asked city staff to create this group “to develop and recommend to Council a policy on community engagement.". In this way it is hoped that more citizens will want to involve themselves and feel more engaged on what happens at city hall.
The first meeting mainly served as an chance for people to meet each other and go over some group exercises to break the ice and demonstrate the even with a diverse group common opinions can be reached.
Although quite a few of the usual faces were there it was nice to see and hear from a large group of people that for them was their first time being involved in something like this. Hopefully this will continue as the task force goes forward.