Thursday, 2 January 2014

Read my Lips: No More Rats

In 2003 I unsuccessfully ran for city council.  I came in fourth out of four - dead last place, having had my ass handed to me by the two incumbents and the one other candidate.  I was the first candidate to register for the municipal elections in all of Ontario, as soon as the doors to City Hall opened on January 2nd.  It was a long and grueling, and rewarding 10 months until a disappointing election day.

One of the reasons I lost was my platform.  While most of the other 25+ candidates across 5 wards campaigned on a "no new taxes" mantra, I never promised not to raise taxes.  If I was to run again I wouldn't promise zero tax increases, and I would probably face defeat again.

I have no issue with raising taxes for the right reason.  I have no issue paying increased taxes for the right reasons.

If I ran, it would be on a campaign of  "no more rats".  NO rats.  Total eradication of the disgusting creatures in the city of Windsor.  This isn't the only issue, but it's one of the biggest issues threatening our city.

Our city is infested and has been for decades, and yet no politician will speak of it.  It's a quality of life issue.  It's a health and safety issue.  It's preventable by enforcing property standards, and regulating garbage pick up and back alley food sources, just for a start. 

If the city could rid your neighbourhood of rats by increasing your property taxes by just $5 a month, would you go for it or stick to the "no tax increases" party line?  What if it was $5 a year?

That's the problem with focusing on taxes only. 

  • It places value on taxpayers, not citizens.  Not all citizens are municipal taxpayers.  Children, for example, are not taxpayers.  The next politician who says (s)he is working for the taxpayer should be made to go and spend some quality time with a homeless person (also not a taxpayer but no less a citizen).
  • It doesn't speak to quality of life.  
  • It isn't even a vision for the future.  It's short sighted, and unfortunately while we will be "enjoying" the sixth straight year of zero tax increases in 2014, we will also be "enjoying" another year of rats, homelessness in the downtown core, abandoned houses, decreased services and a declining quality of life.

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