Why I am running for Ward 5 Regional Councillor
By Ann Mulvale
It’s a good question; one being asked by many and one I asked myself many times.
It would be very easy to say ‘I did my bit, time to move on’; even some close friends suggested the latter.
Yet I hear how residents of Ward 5 are being treated; phone calls not returned, represented by unproductive, self-serving ‘group speak’ and leaders who serve first the mayor and fellow council members versus the people for whom they take an oath to represent.
I spoke to many people both familiar and new to me; they share my belief that there is a better, more inclusive way for people to be served. For issues to be discussed and solutions evolved in an open and transparent manner.
I started to gather the required 25 endorsement signatures to register for the October 22nd Municipal Election in the event I might decide to file; I secured more than 50 – almost all Ward 5 residents, eager to sign my registration. I purposefully approached residents in each neighbourhood of Ward 5, beyond the boundaries of my College Park neighbourhood, south of Upper Middle Road and west of Trafalgar Road, where I have lived for over 46 years. I walked the Ward, hearing again similar concerns to those shared in 2014. Little had changed; some things seemed to be worse, especially the perception of ‘group speak’, a self-congratulatory tone between members of council and the lack of belief that the Town’s numbers added up.
From what I was hearing, a destructive culture had become embedded at Town Hall. Elected representatives were representing Council’s interests to you; not your interests to Council.
Then I reviewed who signed the Nomination Papers of the incumbent Mayor and Ward 5 councillors. Surprise, they each signed each other’s. …or may be, not a surprise at all; nevertheless, I am not the only one in Ward 5 that this makes feel uneasy.
Both the Mayor and Ward 5 regional councillor served on the Halton Police Services Board. Prior to a meeting, members of that civilian oversight board both ‘encouraged’ members to sign nomination papers.
My decision was becoming clearer; I agreed with Ward 5 residents pressuring me to run; we all deserve better. They reminded me that silence rewards bad behaviour; bad things happen when good people remain silent.
Residents are being told property taxes have gone up at the rate of inflation yet the impact to their bottom line tax bill is much greater. I wonder: what is your experience? Some have made business and financial decisions and plans based on the Town’s numbers, and then those numbers just do not add up. Worse still, when compensation is sought the Town uses every legal means to drag out the process hoping that the person will go away empty handed. This is dishonourable. Ultimately, after many years of exhaustive delays and what is perceived as threats, the complainant settles. Is that any way for elected people to deal with the residents and business people they are supposed to be representing? Again I must ask, ‘what is your experience?’
I am told, residents know my track record for responding and helping. I have been a leader, whether in an elected position – five years as Regional and Local Council member followed by 18 years as Mayor - or not, for over 40 years in Ward 5. Residents still seek my insight regarding Committee of Adjustment matters, a registered letter from the Town, or a query of the Town’s numbers when they are puzzled.
Most days I power walk more than 10,000 steps in the Ward. Keeps me fit and connected with the people here. “I'll most likely walk every last street of Ward 5 in the coming election campaign. In fact, if you sit on your front doorstep, soon enough you’ll meet me - I look forward to hearing your experience.”
In the weeks leading up to the Advance Polls in early to mid-October and indeed Election Day itself on Monday October 22nd, I look forward to hearing more about your concerns and issues: what has been your experience? I pledge, as always, my voice will speak first for you; not for a fellow member of council, the mayor and/or a particular political party.
When a policy is proposed, changed, continued and/or implemented and it serves the interests of the people of Ward 5, well, I will speak in favour of that legislation – without first casting an eye to see what the Mayor is advocating. No matter what party advocates legislation, IF I sincerely believe it can be improved and/or should not be implemented because it will not serve the people of Ward 5, I will not hesitate to speak against that legislation.
You have my commitment that I am seeking your vote in the Municipal Election to represent you, to provide information that is comprehensive, not selective or tailored to secure your vote with no genuine intention of serving you first.
So I am asking you to please stay engaged in the renewal of democratic representation for the people of Ward 5 and Oakville as a whole. I am offering Leadership that stands first for you; Empowering & Transparent – I answer to you, and you alone.