I ran into an acquaintance while shopping today who sought out my opinion about political candidates and was trying to get what he considered an inside tract on the issues and where the candidates stand from someone he considered might have more in depth knowledge than the average citizen. This was an affable young man, college educated, and very concerned about making a difference for the betterment of the city with his vote. He had voted in the primaries and wanted my opinion on his selections. I told him that if he understood the issues and where the candidates stand it was not my place to tell him how to vote but that he should just vote according to his conscience and his due diligence.
He indicated to me that he had voted against Bob Ford but that he was not sure what the candidate he voted for stood for. I asked him then why did you vote against Bob Ford? He told me he had watched a news report where the mayor had indicated that there were council members interfering with the day to day operation of the city and running off our employees. He also said he read in the news where it was intimated that Bob Ford was the culprit along with a group of radical citizen activists. He wanted to know what my take was on all this.
I asked him first, what his biggest pet peeves were in city governance and what he would like to change in city politics. He told me that he would like to see the end of the Allen Green political regime and that he was a big advocate of open and transparent governance and eschewed special interest cronyism. He also said he was not happy about the TIFF subsidization of Buddy Lacoure’s Riverwalk project and that he would like to see a citizens referendum vote on this. Coincidentally representatives of Buddy Lacour were putting pressure on the interim city manager on the read file today to circumvent the process of verification of repayment of obligations from the bond company in order to seal the deal before a new council is seated and open and transparent governance can make the determination whether our taxpayers subsidize this millionaires risk to the tune of $10,000,000.
I told him that if this is truly his position than he just inadvertently voted against the wrong man because if the mayor is to be neutered and if the TIFF subsidization has any chance of going to a citizens vote than he would probably want to vote for Bob Ford and Scott Stiltner who were advocates of open governance and supported by many of the activists that uncovered the malfeasance that the Alan Green regime supports and protects. I also explained to him that the employees that left the city left for different reasons.
Alan Green’s beloved city manager Greg Kisela compelled the purchasing manager to resign or be fired. This city manager historically has run off a number of administrators before that. The public utility administrator officially resigned with allusions that this was due to the overspending of a meter contract, but in reality there was a review from the union wrapping up which was representing blue collar and mid-management employees that alleged that he was creating a hostile work environment which targeted certain employees on a blacklist and imploding the department in the midst of what was considered an administrative whitewashing and a lack of administrative accountability. This has yet to be responded to as promised by city administrators responsible for investigation and the administration of justice according to civil service rules concerning this matter. Namely, the administrative services director Donna Steinebach who has summarily showed disdain and demagogic disregard for civil service rules, justice, and her fiduciary responsibility in matters that are potentially litigious for the city.
I also mentioned that the only person on the council known to visit city hall and circumvent the city manager and go directly to employees and communicate directives is the mayor himself. He has been considered by many to be an active puppet master who inserts himself into day to day operations and has been known to even circumvent the manager. He knew about the Parker/Shelley deal and many things without the city council even being informed. Many people believe that the mayor has been instrumental in making or breaking an employees career and either blacklisting or expediting them commensurate to how much an employee is willing to be one of his puppets.
I also indicated to him that the Fire Chief’s resignation was ambiguous and that the city manager and assistant city manager left for other jobs which they cut extremely good deals for their career moves leaving behind their responsibility and accountability for the present distress all with the mayor’s blessing. The comptroller left under many negative financial disclosures and with the glee of many mid level and supervisory employees who did not like her. In essence none of this was directly related to Bob Ford but it was more of a systemic implosion that was a long time in the making which the mayor blamed on Bob Ford as a political ploy.
‘I asked him then why did he come to the conclusion that all this was attributable to Bob Ford? He said to me because he read and watched it on the news and this is what the mayor had disclosed to the investigative reporter. I asked him if he observed the reporter giving the mayor concurrence on this. He said he did not see that, however there was no one there to dispute or rebut what the mayor in the interview had said, so he simply took this on face value. After our conversation he thanked me and said that he would be voting for Bob Ford and Scott Stiltner in the final election and that he would question his due diligence going forward.
The sad thing about this is that without even making an effort I redirected this young man’s vote with a little objective education that has not been properly provided in this political campaign. I predict that 5% to 10% of the candidates that either voted for Sonya Laney or John Junco voted for the same uninformed reason in the primaries that this young man did. I also believe that with proper message exposure, political debates, and clarification of where the candidates stand the primaries would have been different. I really believe that a support group and think tank needs to get behind Bob Ford and Scott Stiltner and figure out how to educate the uninformed voters before the election and do it fast. If I could have replicated the conversation I had today with this young man on a one to one basis with all the potential voters that are not tied into special interest I know that Bob Ford and Scott Stiltner would definitely be elected. I do not know if I can figure this out alone but all of us that are advocates of open and transparent governance need to figure out how to get this very individual message and information out there to the majority of uninformed and deceived potential voters.