Were you there?
There was a candidates evening October 8 at 7:30 at the gym in Wolfville School. It was moderated
by Acadia University political science professor, Greg Pyrcz.
The following is flavoured by my take on addresses by the candidates
and their answers to questions.
A link to candidates posters, thanks Wolfville Watch
List of candidates and polling information.
Who is running for Mayor of Wolfville ????
Wendy Elliot got me curious about matching policy platforms to names
The following is just a second stab that documents information at hand.
I include links where possible.
In summary, we have Robert Stead who stands for "more of the same"
and three candidates who want to stand for substantial change.
On the key financial issues George Townsend and Garry Balcom
aim to reduce Council expenditure by subjecting it to detailed
scrutiny. George Townsend promotes a very public "opening of the books"
whereas Garry Balcom will establish a task-oriented "Finance Committee".
Jeff Cantwell is less inclined to getting into the details
but wishes to achieve similar goals by better controlling
the broader objectives. All three of these candidates expressed
an intention to focus on the sorts of things that
most of us would call core municipal business.
One has to worry that the vote for real fiscal responsibility
will be split 3 ways and we'll get "more of the same" by default.
I wish we could get all three of these guys on council... even if they can't
all be Mayor.
Candidates for the position of Councillor, Town of Wolfville
- Robert Wrye email@example.com is another incumbent (Deputy Mayor)
Check him out here
You will notice that Rob has been busy squeezing the province
for a bigger grant in lieu of taxes for Acadia University residences.
(Where would we all be without Acadia U?)
Here's what Rob thinks about the "Welcome to Wolfville Tax":
The Deed Transfer tax is one that is widely used across not only our
Province but the country. If you move to HRM you will need to pay the
same tax as you will in other (but not all) communities. It is one of
the few areas that we can raise revenue other than through property
taxation. It has been suggested more than once at both the provincial
(and not only in Nova Scotia) and federal levels that if we are not
using the taxing powers that we have we ought not to be looking to
others to pay our bills.
Look, I know I have been somewhat unfair to Rob Wrye.
Rob has engaged in serious debate with his biggest critics --- in this
regard, and others, I admire him and believe he has clearly
differentiated himself from Bob.
I accept that Rob knows a few things about leveraging money from
the other levels of government and is the sort of guy that could
find a rusty needle in a hay stack. If Rob can be
turned from the Dark Side of the Force, he will make a powerful ally.
- Leaders on fair-trade and other bandwagons
- Blaggards and hypocrites when it comes to fair-tax
- Fancy that --- the "Welcome to Wolfville Tax" isn't a property tax. Malarcky!
- Bob Stead (Mayor) and Rob Wrye (Deputy Mayor). Rob and Bob, twins, only their mother could tell them apart.
- Keith Irving states his reasons for running for a position as a Councillor of the Town of Wolfville.
Keith has all the hallmarks of a seriously hard worker.
He looks like a good bet if we want someone who will work to
fix the fiscal mess we are in now. He seems to know a thing or two
about architecture and might be able to help straighten
out the MPS! Here is a pdf of his brochure.
- Eric Hughes firstname.lastname@example.org has a
(pdf of brochure) stating 4 things he will do to help us bring out the best in ourselves
At the debate, Eric was quick to quip that he's not old.
I must say, he makes me feel a bit like a fossil.
Eric on specific issues
- neighbourhood meet-ups
- answer the phone
- quarterly newsletter
- facebook and blog
- Jim Laceby is owner of the Blomidon Inn and
is cognisant of the high business taxes in Wolfville. Another good thing about Jim Laceby is that he resigned from the Sustainability Task Force.
(Remember, it was those clowns on the Sustainability Task Force that
almost caused a riot with their attempt to rezone residential properties.)
Perhaps he shares
my view of the sustainability task force?
Or perhaps he, like me, found the
See a brochure for Jim Laceby here or
get the pdf of his brochure here.
Heck, now I've had the chance to hear what Jim has to say --- I'm impressed.
Jim is as stately as an old-Wolfville home. Jim actually made sense of
"sustainability"... That comes close to walking on water!
- Ann Henderson. Ann is a relatively new arrival to town
and was, for me, an unknown quantity before the meeting --- remaining so.
Missing in action on the taxation debate but likes our walking trails
(so do I, right down to my arthritic knee).
Ann is more than 30 year old (sorry Eric) but still energetic and fleet of foot.
Says she is a wo-person so you should elect her.
Do so at your own peril, I think she might be one of
these and, by default, a closet
supporter of the Darth Lord Stead Empire of taxation.
- Peter Drummond gets a mention in
Council minutes. Peter looks like he
has the right stuff for the right type of CHANGE.
Here is a focused candidate that can stick to the point!
Download a pdf of his brochure here.
- David Mangle email@example.com is a Peace activist and seems like another nice guy. But he was on Council when
property taxes took a nice turn towards outer space!
He dropped off a brochure with the following ideas:
That's an impressive list.
Historically "fiscally responsible Wolfville" has ment higher taxes --- don't
say I didn't warn you.
As for Community Circles, that's last century.
How about doing something innovative --- like stick stuff on
a Council blog-site so we can
all blog our ideas/opinions for all to see BEFORE Council votes?
As for cosmetic pesticides, I never use them myself --- but I'd
defend to the death your right to use a deodorant
and exercise other fundamental liberties
- promoting active transportation
- increase participatory democracy by using Community Circles for important issues
- develop and utilize ideas to attract young families to Wolfville
- support various festivals and organisations so Wolfville will continue to be the cultural centre of Annapolis Valley
- continue to promote a vibrant downtown
- encourage creation of more affordable housing
- continue to work with Acadia University on mutually beneficial programs and projects contributing to the sustainability of Wolfville and Acadia.
- complete Rotary Park project
- support Wolfville School Improvement projects
- ban cosmetic pesticides in Wolfville
- improve Reservoir Park and Wolfville trail systems
- continue to work for a fiscally responsible Wolfville
- continue to work for Town and University harmony.
- Hugh Simpson is an incumbent who
fought the good fight against terrible odds.
See a brochure here
or download the pdf version here.
Hugh Simpson is the guy who stood up, often alone,
against the Dark Side of the Force. He's still standing.
If you want real fiscal responsibility and are sick of nonsense, stand by
- Carl P. Oldham (Manager of Save Easy)
See a brochure here
or download the pdf version here.
Look, this guy is not a natural-born public speaker --- but he
has that most rare of commodities, common sense.
- William (Bill) Zimmerman is another incumbent.
When citizens revolted against yet another annual 13% rate hike,
Bill lamented the loss of a full-time planning position. Heck, if we
already paying for such a bloated bureaucracy, we might
actually be able to fund some community infrastructure... like
bicycle paths or whatever!
Bill says he is big on asking the Province to allow Zen cars into Nova Scotia.
I say, Bill, why not run at the Provincial Elections and give Council
a rest? One thing is for sure --- given our taxes --- if Zen cars happen,
Wolfvillians will be purchasing them from a dealership in New Minas and
getting them serviced at some new Irvings venture just out of town.
- Sheila G. Richardson Sheilarich60@hotmail.com wants uranium mining banned and promotes
midwifery and universal peace. Sheila is also hot on
women/children issues. Apparently Sheila does not like crop spraying.
See a brochure for Sheila Richardson here
Shelia says she is a wo-person so you should elect her.
Do so at your own peril, I think she might be one of
Missing in action on the taxation debate, we have to
assume the worst.
A Final Thought
I'm sure all the candidates and incumbents are nice.
Some of them seem to be running for office on the premise that it's
a popularity contest. I say we need some hard-headed analytical
representatives who are also nice to our wealth and our infrastructure.
Not running for Mayor, but looks interesting
- What is your plan for getting property tax under control?
- Do you think it is reasonable for the Town to tax some businesses and subsidize their competitors? (ie the outrageous proposal to spend a quarter of a million tax dollars on the Farmers Market).
- Do you have a website where you outline your position on the major issues (there are many)?
From View message header detail Eric Hughes
Sent Thursday, October 2, 2008 11:15 pm
Subject RE: Information
Since we're living in a democracy, once elected I intend to represent the voices of the majority of the towns people not just my own. My intension is to get as much feedback as I can from public forums, meetups, opinion polls, internet surveys, stats (Stats Canada) and internet blogs to get the towns people like yourself involved in creating policies and change. Based on that, only then would I be able to specifically tell you my stance on taxes.
Making a statement about my stance on taxes before collecting this information would be defeating the very platform / mandate I hope to achieve. The way I see it what is currently lacking on the board right now is that councilors are making decisions based on their own opinions without taking into account the voices, opinions’ and needs of the towns people like yourself. In terms of future planning, once elected I intend to work very closely with the other counselors to combine their planning experience with my fresh perspective and diplomatic stance bringing to the table the very essence of what the towns people want.
However speaking from a perspective of a young family with two young children and a small business owner/self employed wife living in Wolfville, taxes are of course a priority.
I hope I can count on your support as I will be looking for people to get involved as you have by writing to me your concerns.
I see Eric has a firm grasp of the issues...
Look, much as I complain, I can afford my tax bill.
That can't be said for everyone.
wonders how he can stay in his house in Wolfville when he retires.
Everyone in the Wolfville School Hall could feel his pain.
The MPS solution --- adopted by the outgoing Council --- is to build
high-density low-cost housing. That's not a dignified solution
Indeed, it would be a cruel joke.
Forced, by high taxes, to sell his home.
The likes of Zimmerman, Stead, Wrye, and Mangle would siphon
off a Deed Transfer tax. Then, when he bought his new home
they would, like engorged leeches, drain another pint of blood.
(And we should be wary: Henderson, Hughs, and Richardson have yet to
take a position on this morally bankrupt tax.)
Getting taxes down to a sustainable level will help Harold.
It can't happen overnight because the town has saddle-bags
full of debt and has hired an excessive top-tier of staff that
would be more befitting a community of 30,000 than 3,000.
Most importantly, every inch taxes come down is another degree
of freedom for growing businesses and jobs in Wolfville.
As Eric says, how come everyone here is retired --- where
is the 30-something generation?
Small differences can make big differences.
Honestly, I see Health Services as a rising industry in Wolfville.
One new business opens up a niche for another.
Wolfville will be the Restaurant Capital of the Valley --- with a dinner
theatre and a bakery, no less!
Each new niche is another
opportunity for a young and energetic 30-something year old.
Wolfville will have young adults who will
be the bridge to the exuberant youth of
Acadia University. Once upon a time, before he was consumed by the Dark Side
of the Force, there was an impressive young
university student who was also on Council --- then his name was Robert Wrye.
I foresee a new day, a better day, when
we rise above the tax-until-you drop mentality
of Darth Lord Stead and his clone army.