All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Friday, June 21st, 2024

Lesson Number One in County Politics

In my first column, I talked about how Canada has become a nation of whiners and complainers who, in the absence of real problems like wars and natural disasters, choose to be horrified that someone has placed the Bay Leaves over by the Marjoram on the spice rack, instead of its proper alphabetical placement between Basil and Cajun spice.
In the second column, we found that major disruptive construction on Main Street, with nobody going anywhere, was simply a prelude to another busy tourist season in Picton.
Now (and you knew this would happen), I would like to get a jump on County Politics, with only six months left until the municipal election.
I count the days until elections the way most people count the days to Christmas. Except at the end of Christmas Day, you’re usually drunk and happy, instead of just drunk.
[Editor’s note: If you have voted for any of the Premiers or Prime Ministers we have had in the last ten years, you have probably already developed a pretty severe drinking problem. That’s okay. You can write off all of your booze expenditures on your income tax, thanks to the new Article 1515: The “What Was I Thinking?” clause. Besides, Dalton and Stephen would like you to be in a constant state of drunken stupour, so you don’t watch what they’re doing. Also, they get the tax money from all your booze.]
So, back to the local scene.
It’s difficult to talk about local politics, because I live and work with all of our Council reps, so I don’t want to offend any of them. I know they all try really, really hard to make the right decisions, while spending money they don’t have yet.
I actually admire one of them. (And they can drive themselves crazy trying to figure out which one it is.)
Without doing the extensive fact-checking, attendance at Council meetings, and careful attention to detail that Rick Conroy does in The Wellington Times, I would like to flash back over the last few years, counting only on my memory, and what I read in the papers.
Some councillors have been in the press all the time, and sometimes they have something to say. Some councillors have never appeared in print at all, and their names would be unrecognizable to you.
This could mean a few things:
A) The Mouthy Councillors get all the press, because they’re mouthy;
B) The press always goes to the Mouthy Councillors, because they know they will get a Good Quote, which will hopefully make the councillor look like a fool, and the Press look like Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes;
C) The Councillor who is not quoted, has nothing to say;
D) The Councillor who is not quoted is not actually at the Council meetings, because he/she’s happy to stay at home, draw their paycheck, and watch American Idol.
As you can see, I’m trying to examine the fundamentals of our municipal system. Because I have a sneaking suspicion it’s messed up.
I went onto the County of Prince Edward website, to find out who our councillors are, so I could be at least as well-informed as Rick Conroy’s dog.
I have to say, there’s a big picture of the entire Council on the site. How they ever got them together at one time for a photo, I have no idea. It was probably just after the election. Also, some of the Councillors may have been ‘photoshopped’ into place, using their high-school yearbook photos.
I know it’s been a long time since you marched into an election booth to exert your individual right to enforce democracy in The County, and voted for somebody.
You probably don’t remember it, because you were drunk, and you only remember making big Xs on the tabletop with a magic marker, which the Cherry Valley UCW is still trying to remove.
So here they are, in no particular order (except it’s the way they were lined up in the photo): Sandy Latchford, Dianne O’Brien, Brian Marisett, Peter Mertens, Lori Slik, Ray Best, Keith MacDonald, Peggy Burris, Monica Alyea, Richard Parks, Barry Turpin, Laverne Bailey, Bev Campbell, Kevin Gale, John Thompson; Leo Finnegan, mayor.
C’mon, you had to go “Huh?” at some of those.
Okay, Spot Quiz:
Do you remember who you voted for last time? Do you remember why?
You get extra points if you can name the councillor(s) who represent your Ward. I will even award five bonus points if you know your Ward Number.
Five extra points if you know what a ‘Ward’ is. Because, frankly, I’d like to know.
In order to avoid offending people, and also to avoid late night obscene phone calls from irate Councillors, let me do a quick analysis using a convenient Pie Chart.
Sadly, I don’t know how to create a Pie Chart, so let me just run the figures past you, and you can build your Own Pie in your head. If you’re smart enough to vote, you can do it.
Total number of Councillors: 15
Total # of Mouthy Councillors: 7
# of Councillors who are Sometimes Mouthy, depending on the topic: 3
# of Councillors I could not recall the names of, even if it were the Million Dollar Question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire: 4
# of Councillors who wish they had never run, so they wouldn’t have to take crap from people like me: 15
# of Councillors who thought they would make a difference going in, but ended up answering phone calls about why their roads aren’t ploughed at 5 a.m., and who is responsible for picking up doggy-doo in the local parks: 11
# of Councillors who have forgotten they were councillors and, on the rare occasion they show up at a meeting, just throw their hands into the air whenever a vote is called, because they’re distracted by watching American Idol on their cellphones: 4
I know when you add all these up, you get more than 15.
This is the same way our Budget System works.
You add up the County Income, and you get a Number. Then you add up Expenses, and you get a number about twice that. Then you add in about that much again, and then ask the staff to cut their expenses by 3.5%.
Then send the balance to the taxpayer.
See? It’s simple Math!

Filed Under: Steve Campbell


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  1. Rastas says:

    Great column Steve. Great to see you writing here. This is a great new (annuder Pineapple Bellini please hic) site to have stumbled upon from our west coast perch. Thanks for all the endearing Countyisms.

  2. jac zylstra says:

    Having read your brilliant little article, I’ve gleaned that not much has seemed to have changed in the political scene since I left the County back in the 70s.

  3. dale miller says:

    Its always a pleasure reading any of your stories. Good to see you are part of this ‘very’ cool site!

  4. Thomas says:

    Hello, Mr. Campbell!

    I hadn’t the faintest idea you were blogging here until I visited the County Live offices for myself. You may not remember me, but I’ve attended your Quarter Moon events many times in the past (I would have been the younger blond fellow) and have thoroughly enjoyed myself. The same goes for your blog, might I add. While I am not a long-time resident of the County and have thus not had the privilege of being blind drunk on elections day, I hope I might get the chance.

    Excellent entry, Mr. Campbell. Here’s to many more.

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