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"Ever wonder if City Council is as contentious and chaotic as it is sometimes portrayed? Here you can get a progressive perspective on some of the issues from someone who spent four years in the trenches. Totally unbiased, though! Feel free to comment but keep it respectful, just like they do at council."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Last Council

Final thoughts on my four years on Board of Control.

Monday was the last council of the term and the last one for me. Although I came close, I lost by 212 votes. It is clear that the appeal of "lower taxes" was strong. An analysis of the poll by poll results indicates that my support was largely in the older, established neighbourhoods and fell off quite sharply in the more affluent, newer subdivisions.

Since I will no longer be able to provide first hand accounts, this may be my last posting on this blog (It is possible that I will write one more). However, I plan to continue to monitor developments on the new council and get some inside observations as well. My new blog will begin with the new term of council.

In the meantime, I will provide the text from my end of term remarks at council.

"Nobody was more shocked than I was when I learned that I had lost the last election. For the previous four months, everyone I had canvassed had told me they wanted more opportunities to turn left! How was I to know they were venting their traffic issues? Mr. Leckie, please take note.

"I was delighted when I learned that rather than having someone say nice things about me, I could say them myself. Rather like giving your own eulogy. I may need a time extension.

"David Letterman is known for his top ten. I tried to use his formula but, being unlucky, had to settle for 13. So here are the top 13 things I would never have done if I hadn’t been on council:

1. Flown to Regina for an overnight stop to accept an award recognizing London’s initiatives in cultural and ethnic diversity. Thank you Madame Mayor for giving me that opportunity.

2. Written a Shakespearean soliloquy in response to a Free Press opinion piece telling me to stick to potholes rather than worrying about handguns in private homes. My poem began with the line: “Potshots or potholes; is that really the question?”

3. Led an initiative that resulted in London becoming the first Canadian city to be accepted into the WHO’s global network of age-friendly cities. Thank you Gord Hume, Jeff Fielding, Robin Armistead and Ross Fair for recognizing the potential and to all the members of the working group.

4. Written a Dr Seuss book entitled “Spelling Bee” to read to contestants at the regional spelling championships. I’m still looking for an illustrator to complete that.

5. Conducted the Fanshawe Chorus and Fagan Singers as a celebrity conductor for their annual fundraisers at White Oaks mall. Thank you Gerald and Marlene.

6. Led a team of out of town seventh graders to a second place finish at TechAlliance’s BIOlympics. Unfortunately, the prize for second place was the same as that in the recent municipal election.

7. Designed and distributed thousands of postcards as part of a public awareness campaign to keep London Hydro public known as “Keep London Glowing”. I want to thank Jim Mackinnon for being the inspiration for that. And the Deputy Mayor, too.

8. Designed and decorated “faery garden chairs” for the International Children’s Festival in Joni Baechler’s backyard along with Joni, Judy, Nancy, and Susan.

9. Together with Councillor Branscombe, won the 2008 Canadian Library Association Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada. I want to recognize and thank David Winninger for his important contribution to that effort.

10. Created two London streetscapes which together generated over $700 for the Arts Project celebrity auction. I have to admit that much of the value (aesthetic and monetary) was probably due to the professional framing.

11. Helped to bring to London our wildly successful first Carfree Sunday which brought thousands of people downtown on April 11th. Thanks to Jay Stanford, Allison Cook, and Ryan Craven and some incredibly fabulous weather.

12. Brought resolutions on animal welfare, environmental protection and climate change to regional, provincial, national and international attention. Thank you Jay Stanford and Grant Hopcroft for your assistance and counsel.

13. Been part of a group known as the “Killer Bees” which became the subject of controversy and cartoons and eventually led to sales of Killer Bee mugs and stationary. Not knowing who to thank for the moniker, I will thank planning staff for their professional recommendations which I usually supported and my husband Ted for providing the appropriate initial.
"So that’s it. I have loved being on Council. I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it. And it’s the people that made it what it was. Thanks to all of you, controllers, councillors, clerks, administration and staff. I will miss you."

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