ENTRY #001: What if the current city council is in fact the worst one ever? The citizens of London might be best served to look away from a series of scandals and missteps and focus on the fact that there are no competing interests ... only OUR interests.
Wednesday, Jun. 12, 2013
THE FONTANA 8: A broad impact despite being possibly narrow minded.
As I write this there are only 503 days remaining until London's next municipal election on October 27, 2014. Of course, I don’t mean to sound flippant or diminishing as it is well understood that for many here that date cannot some quick enough.
The current council were sworn into office in December, 2010 innocently enough with an eclectic group in almost every facet imaginable – experience, political leanings, background ... the list goes on. Little did we know what we were in for - the ‘Fontana 8’ really began to have a deep and lasting impact on not only our current city, but also our future, thanks to a slim, but in their minds omnipotent, council majority. Sure, it appears to have fallen apart as of late with little hopes of reforming, but let us not forget Dale Henderson’s assessment as recently as December 2012: “I’m one of the eight people who is running this city and leading it ahead. (We) are doing a great job.”
Ah the glory days! Back when our Mayor appeared to get the support he needed for any idea with apparent ease. Those days now passed, this council has gone from one making decisions that seemingly no one was happy with – to making no decisions at all. Of course, that suits many just fine. Nathan Smith recently wrote in response to the assertion that council must have more important things, to discuss “Yes, there are - this just isn't the group we need overseeing the discussion.” Touché my friend, touché.
Among former politicians and long-time observers, a near-consensus is crystallizing: This may be the worst city council in London’s modern era, and perhaps the worst in Forest City history. It seems an incredible assertion to make, but has been reaffirmed by people who have watched a lot and know better than I of which they speak. Even friend of this column Phil McLeod called it “the strangest council [he] can recall” adding “dysfunction is probably as bad as I’ve seen it.”
While tempting, I have decided not to list the many trials and tribulations of current city council. Needless to say they are varied, numerous and as a list awe-inspiring. You can be sure that there are many who will be around in the fall of 2014 to remind you of this information if required. While I will certainly agree that our current council has been underperforming at times, I simply cannot support the idea that they are in fact the worst council ever. My reasoning, after almost two centuries of existence I must believe that simply the number of council necessitates that at least one was worse. I’ll even go a bit farther and offer the honest if somewhat tepid defence of them. I believe that some of our current city councillors are actually amongst the best we have ever had. I believe that the job is as thankless as it is poorly salaried. And finally (and this one may surprise you) I believe that each and every one of our current city council members is doing what they believe to be right thing for our city – they truly believe in their decisions and work hard to make London better.
Well London, you’ve been officially served your 503 days notice until the 2014 municipal election – what, if anything, do you plan to do about it?