Grading Kingston’s City Council

Grading City Council, Kingston City Council report cardThis being the second year of their term in office, Councillors and Mayor Gerretsen are increasingly making their mark, for better or worse, on the Limestone City. City Council has passed motions that have relocated the International Hockey Hall of Fame, opened the door to the possibility of a casino, and furthered a host of strategic initiatives that will shape the future of education, transportation and health care in Kingston. Even for disconnected citizens and infrequent political observers, the business that’s being driven by city hall has caught our attention, and sparked lively discussions about how our respective district representatives are fairing. Accordingly, this week’s poll question asks:

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In many respects it is unfortunate that we can’t provide our political leaders with mid-term report cards, grading everything from how they vote to how well they work with one another and how effective they are representing their constituents. That said, many of us have direct and unprecedented access to our elected officials and their after hour musings thanks to the proliferation of social media. Nearly half a dozen Councillors as well as the Mayor, tweet and/or engage Kingstonians via regular Facebook updates. This has not only improved discourse regarding municipal affairs, but it’s also given us greater insight regarding the Mayor and Councillor’s priorities.

The last time we asked our readers to grade the performance of the Mayor and City Council, 45 percent of respondents generously granted them a B, while 48 percent of our readers would have awarded a C or lower.  If you believe the Mayor and City Council are doing a bang-up or miserable job, please take a moment to jot down what influenced your vote.  In terms of the issues, how has City Council impressed you or otherwise let you down?

Thanks to albertogp123 for today’s photo.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

6 thoughts on “Grading Kingston’s City Council

  • I voted C due to the severe mishandling of the casiNO! Too many Councilors and the Mayor are blinded by the dollar signs and have totally ignored the seriousness of the social and economic problems this sort of facility would attract. I considered voting D, however Council at least supported keeping the casiNO away from downtown and my councilor, Rob Hutchison, voted against the pro-casino block. The legacy of our previous council is the K-Rock Centre. I cringe that this council's legacy may be a casino.

    • Thanks for taking the time to actually explain why you voted the way you did. Looks as though a lot of people are dissatisfied with City Council, their Councilor or the Mayor. Hard to tell where the problem is exactly without people weighing in and providing a bit more insight.

  • I voted D because I believe that council is quite dysfunctional. There's a small group, including Rob Hutchison, Jim Neill, and (usually) Lisa Osanic, supporting progressive causes, but most of the time the right-wing faction blocks them. I agree with Duke about the casino issue being a major problem. Other issues include secondary suites, and the unhealthy support of developers by many councillors.

    • Hutchison, Neil and Glover are the ones that lowered the rating for me. Having a different view is one thing, but taking shots at the others and staff with ridiculous conspiracy theories is another. Also the ones that often appear unprepared, unknowledgable, and cause procedural problems are clustered on the left.

      Its a bit early for a rating as a key for me will be to see if votes follow the talk about wanting lower tax increases. And if its votes for real savings vs just putting it off for a year. .

      For sure overall its been a huge improvement over the 06-10 disaster. The coming district realignment with historical voting tendencies points to likely having better councils going forward too.

      • unprepared, unknowledgeable?? Really? Rob Hutchison and Jim Neill are two of the most organized councillors we have. Where do you get that? By contrast, councillors like Kevin George and Bryan Reitzel know nothing and are bullies. And what do you mean by "taking shots at the others"? Do you mean Bill Glover's accusations about other councillors being too tied to local developers? He was dead right about that one.

  • I voted D for many reasons… Number 1, we need the Mayor and Council to be cheerleaders for our city, I'm not hearing very much cheerleading from them. Number 2, bullying! The Mayor is a bully, so are many Councillors, both to each other and members of the public who choose to stand up for their city. I expect elected officials to 'take the high ground' when it comes to differences of opinion, not very many of them do. Number 3, public consultation. I'm not sure why we spend any tax dollars consulting the public, the existing public consultation process appears to be a make work project for staff, rather than a real effort of listening to he public's concerns. One of many examples of this, the CasiNO. Number 4, blissful ignorance. Even when presented with evidence that a developer was being 'economical with the truth' and that Planning Committee was allowing that behaviour, Council voted unanimously for a particular development and belittled the neighbourhood's concerns. Number 5, the Pillars of Sustainability. Where'd they go? Number 6, The Tragically Hip Way. Bylaws ignored, and public process fast tracked, all for what? I have yet to see the droves of new tourists we were promised, but I did see the process and effort for this trump effort needed for more important issues. Number 7, inconstancy. In the same meeting you can watch Councillors voting for something based on particular arguments and against things based on the opposite argument. Number 8, twisted statistics. As a mathematician I "love" hearing statistics being twisted to support / oppose particular arguments. Recent case in point, the Mayor's twist of support for The Tragically Hip Way and against the public opinion regarding the CasiNO.

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