E-voting must be reversed and replaced with paper ballots
Sir: Paper election ballots have been permanently removed from Sarnia’s municipal elections.
This is a done deal, enforced by the city, without our input and against Mayor Mike Bradley’s suggestions.
We must remove this council. Pushing something through, very quickly and without public involvement, means there is a hidden agenda, always.
Electronic votes are too risky because the results can be manipulated and there’s no ability to check afterwards. It poses huge security and safety concerns and puts all our confidential information and votes at risk, as indicated by the federal government which still use paper ballots.
For housebound residents without access to computers and cell phones, the city proposes to input their information for them, posing an even greater risk, in my opinion, of coercion and intimidation.
Council must be dissolved before any more decisions are made, dictatorially, without our input. And we need to ask the federal government to step in and save Sarnia – a city that is now in crisis!
Meetings have already taken place with politicians, and I’ve sent a detailed communication to the Federal Committee for Electoral Reform (consisting of 12 MP’s from all the different parties) asking them to step in, urgently, to reverse e-voting and bring back the more safe and secure paper-ballot system.
Municipalities come under provincial jurisdiction, but when it comes to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the right to vote and know that our votes count, legally, there is huge national interest to make sure the Canadian Constitution is upheld.
Sarnia is being watched nationally and internationally, so we do not want our city to set a sad precedent of a dictatorship!
Please write to council and city management about the loss of our democracy and freedoms and demand that they reinstate the paper ballot system.
Selling hospital land to develops is a bad deal for taxpayers
Sir: On July 10, I made a presentation to city council proposing a solution for the former Sarnia General Hospital lands. I had never presented at a council meeting before.
First, I want to make it clear that all council members were elected to work with our mayor, not against him, as they’ve been doing the past 18 months, and to do what is in the best interests of Sarnia and its citizens.
They were elected to do that for us, not for certain private individuals.
Coun. Brian White went on and on about how he and other city councillors — Gillis, MacDougall, Scholten and Mitro — were doing us, the citizens of Sarnia, a tremendous favour by saving us over $2.5 million by giving away about $5.4 million or our tax dollars to five private individuals.
I found that very disturbing.
Coun. White talked about what a great opportunity it was that the company GFIVE Inc. was willing to buy the hospital site, which is almost eight acres of prime land in a core area in Sarnia, for the token sum of $1,000.
The company is doing this on the condition the people of Sarnia pay them over $5 million.
I, as a resident of Sarnia, do not support this, nor do I want my city taxes increased again in 2018, 2019, and 2020. We’ve already had an 8% increase in the last year and a half alone.
Coun. White neglected to mention in his glowing remarks about GFIVE that by selling the site to them he was denying the people of Sarnia the opportunity build a Senior Living Facility, to have their City Taxes lowered, and to generate revenue of $4 million to $6 million ever year.
I would like to hear from the people on how they feel about the FAB5 on council wanting to benefit GGIVE Inc. instead of the citizens of Sarnia?
About those two letters
Sir: Re: Two letters to the editor, July 13th edition.
1 – Jim McMurray’s five-point solution to the very tiring and ongoing unrest at City Hall. Jim is not backwards about forwards.
I first met him when he presented two awards at the YMCA Celebration of Youth Awards to some very deserving students.
When he spoke to all of us assembled in the gym that night he recalled his somewhat ‘turbulent’ relationship with the principal at the time at SCITS. I think Jim’s suggestions for City Hall have merit.
2 – I would like to also add my own appreciation for the artistry of Journal photographer Glenn Ogilvie. George Allan’s letter spoke to his talent.
We have on our fridge a picture of my three-year-old grand daughter (now almost 22) and I as we filled a wagon with horse chestnuts.
Thank you Glenn, for capturing that moment. And thank you for the good news articles and pictures we all need these days.
Crosswalk needed for trail users trying to cross Exmouth Street
Sir: As a daily user of the Howard Watson Trail I feel I should weigh in on the trail crossing at Exmouth Street.
My use of the trail covers from Blackwell Sideroad to London Road. Crossing Modeland Road is no problem at all, and Michigan Avenue has slightly more traffic than Modeland but is still quite easy to cross.
However, Exmouth Street is never easy! You can wait five to 10 minutes for a break in the traffic, and you can’t waste any time getting across to the other side.
I lived in the area of Indian Road and Cathcart for many years, and every time there was an accident at the intersection there was a public outcry to install stoplights. The reply of the city was always that there weren’t enough accidents or any fatalities to warrant stoplights.
Well, I can guarantee the first accident at the trail crossing on Exmouth will be a fatality. Walkers, runners, and cyclists don’t fare too well when they come in contact with a speeding car or truck.
When the daily car count at this crossing far exceeds the provincial requirements for a crosswalk installation, and the count of trail users using the crossing on a daily basis far exceeds the provincial requirements, why is there a holdup on the city’s part?
Come on City Hall, do something right and get a crosswalk installed at the Exmouth Street trail crossing before someone gets killed.
A button-operated crosswalk is all that is required. They work fine in Florida without a stoplight.
Please council, don’t mess up hospital land development again
Sir: It is with more than a little concern that I see city council again delaying a decision on the current (and only) viable offer for the old Sarnia General Hospital site.
Much to my relief, the taxpayers of Sarnia have been given a second chance at revitalizing an area that, quite frankly, is becoming more and more rundown.
Sadly, this deal isn’t as good for the city as the original offer, but council has an opportunity to soften the blow to the city coffers caused by their mishandling of the first proposal.
Mayor Bradley said last September the city needed to find a way to resolve the problem, get on with demolition of the building and restore the land to a greenfield site.
Now he and councillors Kelch and Boushy are once again throwing an obstacle in the path of progress. It’s no small wonder there is a lack of interest on the part of businesses to locate or develop here in Sarnia.
Council made a huge mistake the first time, and it was an expensive one. Back in 2010, when the decommissioning of the site was first discussed by the mayor, we were told the cost of demolition and remediation would be around $3 million. The most recent figure tossed around is $8.8 million.
In view of the rapidly escalating cost the city would incur to remediate the site itself, we would be foolish to take the risk of turning away a fair proposal that will benefit the area and the city.
Let’s please just move ahead!
Sticks and stones can either make you or break you
Sir: I am responding to the recent article about the lawyer offering a $1,000 reward to expose those behind a social media account saying bad things about local politicians.
The big problem isn’t people talking about politics on social media or in local coffee shops, the problem is the silent majority who does nothing but enjoy the fruit of those who fought for free speech and democracy. Saying what is on your mind, even if it isn’t popular or politically correct, is what democracy is all about.
The old adage is sticks and stones will break my bones, but names won’t hurt me.
Take it from a person with cerebral palsy, names will either make you or break you.