The End of “here”

I have seen that the weekly local newspaper here magazine is now no more. Here is my little story of that zine.

We go back to March of 2004 the one and only time that I had visited the office of here. I went up all the stairs in the Miller Britain building on Princess Street. I do not recall who I met in the office at the time, but this was the first place that I dropped off my press release to in person after I had filed my papers in my run for Mayor. The guy asked me a few questions, then I left.

A few days after I received a call from one of the reporters. The were going to do a cover story on young candidates in that election for which there was eleven of us. They wanted to have a group picture and we arranged to all meet-up in front of Photography Flewwelling and taken by Tim Pfinder on a ladder. I remember the day was overcast and there was a very cold April wind.

So that is my story/memory of how I ended up on the cover of Here Magazine. Of the group Jay Young-Chang was the only one to get elected that time, and Donnie Snook was also in that photo sou would get elected in the following election.

Preventing Service Cuts, not a priority!

This seems to be a big promise by a lot of candidates this election. Let’s face the facts in the past 10 years this city’s spending has ballooned from about 90 million to 135 million.

It is time to reconsider what services that city should offer. To have a reasonable tax rate this city needs to reduce its spending very drastically. In most accounts, the number that results in a reasonable tax rate is about $105 million dollars.

Our fire service is one of the most costly in the country. Our transit services have increased in municipal funding from $250,000 to over $5 million dollars in the past 10 years. In addition, the biggest sources of revenue (the parking commission) and the biggest expenses (major facilities, pension fund, solid waste) are not under the city’s complete control and are hidden behind provincial legislation.

These bodies are also not required to be either open or accountable to the public. Several years ago the spring garbage collection was removed for costing half a million dollars in one week, but was it really required?

A truly responsible new council should take the necessary measures to remove Saint John from the ranks of the highest property taxes and water taxes in the country and instead promote measures to increase the tax base but offering a more advantageous tax rate to attack further development.

Saint John Road Conditions

We have all heard or experience the pot hole haven stories about this city. But, do the numbers support the claims that Saint John is too big for its population to support its roads properly. In fact Saint John has 4x the population per km of road than Bathurst. It would however be interesting to see how well Bathurst does at their own road maintenance.

Below is a table sourced from Statistics Canada 2011 census for population and NB Department of Transportation Road Mileage charts (2012) for the kilometres of road.

These numbers also include provincial designated highways that the cities get a grant to maintain.

City Population KM of Roads Population per KM of roads
Bathurst 4979 184 27.1
Miramichi 17811 325 54.8
Grand Bay-Westfield 5117 87 58.8
Rothesay 11947 149 80.2
Edmunston 16032 199 80.6
Ouispamsis 17886 203 88.1
Saint John 70063 718 97.6
Campbellton 7385 73 101.2
Moncton 69074 541 127.7
Fredericton 56224 429 131.1
Dieppe 23310 153 152.4

A Memorable Mass Transit Story

Remember that one time on the bus, when…? Share your mass transit stories.

One of my best memories on the bus was on an East bus headed to the mall on March 25th, 2004. I happened to run into my friend Tony, we were both heading to the mall. At this point I had my first batch of 25 names on the nomination papers. This was where Tony signed as the witness.

As soon as I got to the mall I instantly went to head back to the north end to file the papers. The first time 8 of my names were rejected as the people who signed were not actually registered to vote. Then the second time 45 minutes later I was 2 names short. Then 25 minutes later, I was officially on the ballot.

When it finally got approved, the first thing I did was to run to every media outlet that I could find and dropped off my Press Release.

Running for Mayor was one of the most interesting times of my life, and all the people and aspects of the community that you get exposed to is unreal.

Then six and a half weeks, and 448 votes later that part of my life was over. Thus leading the way for 2 days later when I left the province on my first vacation and train ride later.

And the travels continue…

Post-Election Post

So we all know how the election turned out. As every one that knows me knows I enjoy relating the statistics. This year 23,977 voted for a mayor candidate, 24,078  voted in total. Therefore, 101 voters did not vote a mayor. In 2004, 25,489 voted for a mayor, 448 voted for me. Between 2004-2008 Saint John has 1,618 (source: Statistics Canada) less people. Between 2004-2008, 1512 less people voted for a Mayor. Conclusion, most of the people who used to care are the people that are leaving.

Third Election Update

So, at this point I can’t be persuaded on a candidate because I already voted. I do believe in open transparency in politics, and since lynch mobs are so 1800’s I’m going to revile my votes.

Mayor of Saint John: Michael Richardson
At-Large: Danny Jardine and Chris Titus
Ward 4: Kevin Goggan and Ralph Landers

Okay, a second look at the election.

So now that I have looked into the election a little harder, I am changing some of the options.

Mayor:
Mike Richardson- I’m not quite sure what it is but Mike seems to have a well thought out plan, no dirt and the just has a personality that one would pay attention to as mayor.

Councillor At Large:

Danny Jardine- I remember Danny from the last election he was one of thise people that are deeply rooted in the social aspects of the community, like Donny Snook, that understanf the poverty aspect of the city but is that enough, I’m adding this name to my shortlist because the list of candidates that I get to choose from is so pathetic, I think ward 4 might just have the worst turnout than any other part of this city.

Mark LeBlanc- A maybe

Rick Mantle- I thinke this one could make council a little interesting.

Chris Titus- This one is a definate vote, many of my favourite memories of council involve this fellow, expecially back in the Shirly days. I like that Chris is involved in the community not affraid to expess new ideas, and knows the when a horse is being flogged too long.

Councillor Ward 4:

I don’t seem to think that any of these people would be benifitial at the moment on the council chamber, this is one of the reasons that I was so oposed to the entire ward sistem is that the east is the area where no one that matters seems to ever run.

District Education Council District 1

Sub District 9: No one is running

District Education Council District 8

Zone A: Acclaimed

It’s election time again!

As the signs start rising again leads to another dilemma again of who to vote for. Here are my options with names I’m not even considering crossed off:

Mayor:

Ivan Court

John P. Ferguson

Michelle Hooton

Norm McFarlane

Mike Richardson

Councillor At Large:

Stephen Chase

Susan E. Huestis-Toner

Danny Jardine

Mark LeBlanc

Rick Mantle

Anne-Marie Mullin

Chris Titus

Albert Vincen

Councillor Ward 4:

Bruce Court

Teresa Debly

Kevin Goggan

Carole Keddy

Ralph Landers

Joe Mott

James Whelly

District Education Council District 1

Sub District 9: No one is running

District Education Council District 8

Zone A: Acclaimed