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The process of elimination

Apparently Maria McRae is going to be running again for City Councilor in River Ward. (She’s the incumbent.)

During the last municipal election I emailed both candidates with questions, and based my vote on their responses. I wasn’t particularly impressed with either of them, but I voted for Blake Batson, the guy who lost.

I won’t be voting for Ms. McRae this time round either. I contacted her a few times during the last few years, about different issues, and found her to be disinterested in me except while campaigning. She did not return calls. She did not answer emails.

In fact, last November she sent around a letter asking for volunteers for a working group about The Oaks (the new Shepherds of Good Hope housing on Merivale), so I volunteered. A month or so later, I followed up with a phone call and was told by a staffer that they’d be in touch early in the new year. Some time after that I emailed Ms. McRae about the proposed Nuisance Noise bylaw, and while I was at it, I reminded her that I’d never been contacted regarding the working group.

No response.

Two weeks later I followed up again.

One of her staff called and apologized profusely on my answering machine, blaming a former employee for the fact that I’d never been contacted about the working group. She said the working group had only met once so far, and I would be contacted for the second meeting, probably in May. She apologized too for the fact that my email about the nuisance bylaw had somehow slipped through the cracks, but said there would be another debate in Council, and Ms. McRae would be made aware of my opinion.

I never heard from anybody ever again. Not about the working group, not about the nuisance bylaw.

So that’s it. I’ve written her off.

That leaves Michael Kostiuk and Nadia Willard.

I’m familiar with Kostiuk, and won’t be voting for him.

Hopefully Nadia Willard is good, because it looks like she’s getting my vote. From what I can tell so far, she does sound promising. She’s a nurse who grew up in a low-income family, and she has been active in poverty, labour and disability issues.

As for the mayoralty race, I haven’t decided who to vote for yet. But I can say that the process of elimination began four years ago.

16 comments to The process of elimination

  • Gillian

    I agree that Maria is not nearly as accessible or responsive as she used to be. I’ll be interested in reading your comments as Nov. approaches; it’ll keep me thinking.

  • Thanks Zoom, both for your vote in 2006 and for your blog posting. I shared this link with my readers and I have added your site to my LINKS page.

    My mantra this election is that you can change the mayor all you want, real change starts by changing your councillor. Let’s hope it sticks!

    All the best…

  • XUP

    I think I’m going to have to move in order to find someone I respect enough to vote for.

  • Gillian, I remember you telling me, four years ago, that she was responsive, so I’m glad you’ve noticed a difference too – now I know she’s not just ignoring me!

    Blake, you’re welcome. I’m sorry you didn’t get elected. Thank you for the link, but it’s spelled wrong – there’s an extra K in there. (Mine is

    XUP – Have you thought of running?

  • Blake B

    Yes XUP, have you ever thought of running? I read your blogs too and you could be a good candidate. But it would have to be for the 2014 election.

    And I apologize for the name misspelling. All fixed!!!

  • Blake, it’s still wrong. It should be NOT

  • Okay…I have fixed everything and tested everything. They all go to the right place now.

  • I would like to thank you for writing this blog. I assure you when elected I will not dismiss the residents of River Ward or put them on hold. I will respond and will encourage meaningful dialog with people who have issues and concerns. I believe in transparency and working together to create healthy vibrant neighborhoods and communities. My life has taught me that so much can be accomplished when we develop solutions together. I look forward to your continued support.
    Nadia Willard

  • I hope that blogs and Twitter etc will make elected officials act more responsibly towards their electorate. The word can get around so much faster now when they treat us poorly.

    And Anyone But Larry gets my vote for mayor so far. I think I owe Xup a beverage if he wins.

  • Is it coincidental or what?

    I received yesterday afternoon a response from MM’s assistant telling me that she thought some of the items were closed and that she will follow-up on the rest.

    But here is the strange part. She copied everyone in city hall EXCEPT Maria McRae. It was as if my email question was to the assistant and not the councillor.

    My email header:

    From: “Blake Batson”
    Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 11:58:58 -0400
    Subject: Outstanding items

    Her assistant’s reply header:

    From: Hoover-Bienasz, Nichole []
    Sent: August-04-10 5:15 PM
    Cc: Harder, Jan; Schepers, Nancy; O’Connor, M. Rick; Donnelly, Leslie; Clubb, Barbara; Burry, Aaron; Chenier, Dan; Manconi, John; Helie, Josee; Landry, Paul; Swail, Chris
    Subject: RE: Outstanding items

    Strange office…

  • Thanks for fixing the link, Blake.

    And thanks for stopping by, Nadia. Good luck in the election. By the way, since you’re here…it seems that ‘transparency’ is the big buzzword in all the elections lately. That, and accountability. Do they even mean anything?

    Finola, I agree absolutely. Social media is a double-edged sword for politicians – they can reach more people more easily using it, but it can be used against them just as easily when they screw up. I sincerely hope you win that bet with XUP, by the way.

    Blake, who was in the “To” field in the original message sent by you? (If I hear from either MM or her assistant on my outstanding matters, I’ll announce it here too.)

  • Arden

    I have no idea whom I’ll be voting for locally. We’ve got a useless councilor, but last time I ended up voting for him, because the other candidate was even worse. I’m hoping we’ll have a better option, but I doubt it. My favourite councilor is running for mayor, but he’s unlikely to win. I’m afraid we’re going to go back in history and have a previous mayor, but then, anything’s better than Larry.

  • grace

    True confession time: when I saw the title of this post I thought you’d be talking about poop . . . .

  • Nat

    Sort of slim pickings over all politically in Canada. I just hope we can get Larry out of office.

  • Regarding the The Oaks (the new Shepherds of Good Hope housing on Merivale Road) this was something that was sprung onto the entire community. The Community Association was not informed of it either, and the lack of communication between the city (Councillor) and our community association has been a long-term problem.

    Our association helped organize a public meeting about this project last year, and for some reason a few people in the community were angry with us since we were communicating and working with all of the parties in question.

    As for the site site itself, the current zoning ALLOWED for it to be converted to a group home.

    There was nothing the community association could do about this.

    What was not publicly known, was that the former Cardinal Suites was used for prostitution. That is WHY the City of Ottawa and the Police were so keen in having the building use changed to what it is now.

    It was one way to get those people out of the building.

    Anyone must admit that the current use is better than what it was, but some people just hate everything about the Oaks and anyone who is associated with it in any form.

    That is too bad for them.

    On the other hand, while the City used the Main Street Designation and the zoning to allow this change, the very same City does not allow a Community Design Plan (CDP) for Merivale Road even though it is both allowed and needed, and the Official Plan allows for such a CDP when a street is designated as a Traditional Main Street.

    So this inconsistent use of zoning and main street designation and the lack of communication with the community is what causes problems in our community, in the Ward and in this City.

    If elected I will NEVER exclude the community from city affairs.

    I know too well what it feels like myself.

    Michael Kostiuk

  • Michael, when you say there was nothing the community association could do about it, it sounds like you would have stopped The Oaks project if you could have, but it was beyond your power. Is that correct?