We are not the only City who has been plagued with this kind of alleged corruption, scandal and lack of vision. The political scandals that had plagued the City of Montreal, London, Ontario and now Toronto are all to common. There is little doubt that our city deserves better from our Mayor and our councilors. Below is a list of characteristics from the Montreal Board of Trade found in journalist Phillip McLeod’s blog called the McLeod Report:
1) Honest – A spotless past, strong ethics, transparent.
2) A leader – Charismatic, a mobilizing force, able to make unpopular decisions.
3) A person of action – Results driven, pragmatic, adopts a transformation strategy, quickly implements priority initiatives.
4) Effective manager – Efficient, realistic, knows how to surround him or herself with the right people.
5) Focused on economic development – Can articulate a clear vision, convincing, gets involved in structuring flagship projects for the city.
So where does our Mayor Katz, the EPC and City Council stack-up using this criteria.
1) Honesty, a spotless past, transparency (F)
Without a doubt the recent scandals, the dubious business connections as well as the failure to adopt City Plans to guide development has placed our politicians where their recent actions make a failing grade in this section easy to score.
See the CBC news feature called ‘Competing Interests’ to get just a flavour of deals that puts in to question not only our Mayor’s honesty and certainly indicates the lack of transparency by our Mayor and City Council.
2) Charismatic, a mobilizing force, able to make unpopular decisions (F)
This one is a little more difficult to score as for whatever reason despite political and business scandals that have surrounded Mayor Katz he continues to be re-elected. However, the recent scandals, the evidence that is mounting in regards to hiring of friends to manage the City of Winnipeg’s business affairs and either being so disinterested in the happenings of our city, or so disinterested in the business dealing occurring in Winnipeg or so aware of the connections to close business and personal friends that seem to have benefited him personally but hurt our city has removed any ‘Charisma’ our Mayor may have had. Every decision that is made at City Hall one must question if the thinking around the table is “What’s in it for me” rather than the best and long-term benefit to our city.
3) A person of action – Results driven, pragmatic, adopts a transformation strategy, quickly implements priority initiatives. (F)
There has been a lot of construction in the City of Winnipeg. However, it lacks a plan. This has resulted in high-cost housing developments that requires a huge committment to infrastructure development, transit difficulties and environmental problems. The new Boutique Hotel on Waterfront Drive will serve as a multicoloured beacon to what city-planning looks like when no parameters or guidelines are in place on development. Development although happening is done project by project without and end in mind; without a vision, guidelines or any regard for long-term fiscal responsibility.
Development of this kind is inexcusable and has resulted in projects that are over-budget, poorly thought out and in the end put our city in a position where they want to cut workers, raise taxes or both.
The Mayor and Council have transformed our city but not in a good way.
4) Effective manager – Efficient, realistic, knows how to surround him or herself with the right people (F)
5) Focused on economic development – Can articulate a clear vision, convincing, gets involved in structuring flagship projects for the city. (F)
There is no doubt we have had flagship projects like MTS Centre, Investors Field, Condo Development, the new Fire Halls but development is without a plan. Development is haphazard and for the most part fiscally irresponsible to sustainable economic growth for our city.
On August 7th the Winnipeg Free Press indicated the proposed development of a 24 storey high-rise on Waterfront Drive where the historic pumphouse is located. This is prime Waterfront Real-Estate. It describes this development as “A Bold New Plan” rather than yet another plan that seems covered in secrecy without identifying the developers, without regard to current architectural design that makes the Exchange District popular with film makers, theatre goers, artisans and those seeking to enjoy the charm of the area through the many restaurants. Certainly none of the Residents of the exchange that I speak to are against development. They are against development that is not transparent, not part of an overall vision to create a strong vibrant community that takes into account the unique needs for design of this historic part of Winnipeg. If past history is any indication construction of this building complete with the required zoning variances will begin before the rest of us know what is happening and we will have yet another example to add to our list of poorly planned and most likely costly to the tax payer developments.
Visit the Pumphouse blog for more information and an alternate vision as to what development can look like.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if our political leaders could take responsiblity for their decisions. From the Senate Scandal to our own issues in Winnipeg with our Municipal Government it seems everyone is quick to blame, find a scape goat, distance themselves from the blatantly obvious mistakes made, actually anything rather than take ownership of their piece of the troubles that plague our governments and more specifically politicians.Yes Winnipeg as Menno Zacharias said in his blog “Policing, Politics and Public Policy” our Mayor is more than deserving of Rick Mercer’s Disgrace Mayor Serving Set.
- 5 ways to fix Winnipeg City Hall (metronews.ca)
- Audit finds City of Winnipeg’s fire hall process fraught with failings (metronews.ca)
- Ford vs. Katz vs. Nenshi, And the Winner is… (thepunditryofzach.wordpress.com)
- City of Winnipeg top bureaucrat Phil Sheegl quits (cbc.ca)