Letters, week of May 18

Time for city council to tackle more important issues

Re: Coun. Scholten letter being ‘tired of constant disrespect” of May 4.

Why is it that Mayor Mike Bradley and Coun. Dave Boushy must be held accountable to the Code of Conduct when it seems to not apply to Coun. Cindy Scholten?

I refer to her actions at the City Hall rally and her interview on London television news that day last fall. Does she feel those actions do not reflect poorly on the citizens of Sarnia?

Did anyone on city council talk to Mayor Bradley regarding their concerns about his actions? Perhaps discussing the problem calmly might have resolved it without the cost or publicity!

Is this how the future municipal council will conduct business?

I honestly believe that council needs to put this situation to rest once and for all and move on to more important issues facing our fair city, such as unemployment, infrastructure and the completion of the project at Centennial Park!

Anne McGowan
Sarnia



Scholten-Holt should wait for election before offering thanks

Sir: Coun. Cindy Scholten-Holt just doesn’t get it!

She doesn’t, obviously, realize that to get ‘respect’ one has to EARN it, and you don’t earn it by poking around in the mayor’s closets, calling in police to remove meeting attendees who want to make their opinions heard, or by criticizing a fellow councillor who has shown dedication to the city of Sarnia and loyalty to the mayor who represents it.

Nor does one win ‘respect’ and support from one’s constituents by spending over $300,000 of taxpayers’ money in an effort to diminish the role of the mayor, or more than $75,000 to build a wall, creating a fortress-like City Hall rather than the friendly, welcoming place that it was before she and others, unfortunately, were elected or hired.

Coun. Scholten-Holt wrote: “The culture of change, innovation and growth is here.” Yes, there has certainly been a change since the last election, albeit not necessarily for the better.

Roads are still in deplorable condition and other projects are incomplete due to lack of funding, but they did manage to spend over $300,000 on their ‘project.’

Yes, they have implemented a ‘code of conduct,’ which pretty well muzzles everyone and, in my not so humble opinion, could be illegal, as I think we still enjoy freedom of speech in this county.

Yes, they have hired a firm, without consulting the public, to implement online voting in the upcoming election.

Yes, they have established a committee to look into the appointment of a deputy mayor, again without consulting the public.

It almost looks like they don’t give a hill of beans what the public wants by refusing them the ability to voice their opinion on matters of such importance.

Scholten-Holt writes, “Hang in there Sarnia, and thank you for your support and patience along the way.”

Unfortunately, Sarnia has to wait until the upcoming election to let Scholten-Holt, and others, know whether she should be thanking them in advance.
Bernice Rade
Forest



Are councillors hoping older voters will stop voting?

Sir: I am writing this because of what I read in the May 4 Journal.

I, as well as many others that I have spoken to, are getting tired of Coun. Cindy Scholten bringing up the situation with Mayor Mike Bradley.

She just doesn’t seem to be able to let this go. She is beginning to look like someone flogging a dead horse. Now, she has added Coun. Dave Boushy to her hit list.

Dave has done nothing but good during his time working on council for the city. Is he now a target because he is a friend of our mayor? What is her problem?

Let’s put this to bed and get on with working for the good of the city.

Also, I am a Veteran and served Canada for 21 years to protect our freedom and right to a democratic government. Thousands of our citizens have fought and died to protect this right.

This includes the right of the people to a free vote, the right to go to the poles and mark their X on a paper ballot to select our leaders.

It seems that our some of our council members have now taken this right away from us. Do they not realize that a lot of our seniors and Vets are not able to understand, let alone use, electronic devices to cast their vote during the next election?

This is a real insult to a lot of seniors and veterans, basically taking away our right to vote.

Don’t say that you will assign people to help those who don’t understand this new concept to cast their vote. It is supposed to be a secret ballot, and who is to say that these volunteers will cast the vote desired by the person they are assigned to?

Maybe this is what they are hoping for, that we won’t vote, and they will finally eliminate the ‘dinosaurs’ on council?

R. Stennett
Sarnia



Statistics on sidewalk cycling didn’t tell the whole story

Sir: l am writing not to change council’s mind about allowing people to use sidewalks for bike riding, which is unlikely given it has reviewed the situation and came to a conclusion to leave the bylaws as they are.

I write rather to explain to the public who see those of us who are using the sidewalks that we understand the information presented in the statistical report, that indicated the frequency of vehicle collisions is higher for those who ride on sidewalks.

What was not reported, though, is that the report ignored the severity of accidents of those riding on streets compared with those riding on sidewalks.

As Sarnia’s data is limited, I turned to a report by the city of Toronto coroner’s office (2003), which compared level of injury, including death, for bike riders on sidewalks vs. those on roads. From Jan. 1, 1997 to Dec. 31, 1998 there were 627 sidewalk riders who were injured, and 1,531 (more than double) riders injured who were on the road.

As well, the report states there was one fatality among sidewalk riders and nine on roads.

What has changed since that time is an increase in the number of distracted drivers, which tells me a current study would be even more convincing that riding on roads is flirting with major injury. The highest incidence of injury and death was cars and trucks overtaking bike riders.

My wife and I moved form Burlington when we retired a year ago. That city allows riding on sidewalks, so we have avoided road traffic for over 11 years.

We give way to pedestrians, watch for people backing out of driveways, make eye contact with drivers who are turning the corner in front of us, and absolutely enjoy our rides through this beautiful city.

So please, don’t think less of us who use the sidewalks as individuals who are ignoring the statistics. We are just aware that the statistics presented to council did not tell the whole story.

Rick Victor
Sarnia



Mentally ill need to start fighting for systemic change

Sir: I’ve been to a couple of events lately that centered on support for people with mental disabilities.

I’ve been to Sarnia Sings, which was a fundraiser for suicide prevention, and to Sarnia Speaks, which provides a forum for people with mental disabilities to tell their stories.

Support is very important and it’s good that it’s getting the attention it needs. Unfortunately, what isn’t getting the attention it needs is the fight for systemic change. Very little is said or done about that.

I’m talking about the fight against discrimination by the systems that govern our lives: the government, the health-care system, the media and business.

There is a reason why there’s so little talk or action against discrimination by these systems: people are afraid. People are afraid to speak out against these systems because they’re so powerful, and mentally disabled people are especially afraid because their illnesses carry with them exceptionally high levels of anxiety.

That’s why we don’t get our rights. We don’t get the right to freedom from discrimination in the workplace, even though the Human Rights Code of Ontario says we’re supposed to.

We don’t get the right to quality health care, even though the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Canada says we’re supposed to.

We don’t get unbiased coverage of our issues by the press. This is because the mentally disabled don’t fight for their rights due to their disability.

Instead, we leave it up to government-paid advocacy groups to fight for us. Unfortunately, these advocacy groups don’t fight very hard. How hard would you fight against the government if the government was funding you?

The only answer is for us to stand up and start fighting for ourselves. Blacks didn’t get their rights by leaving it up to whites to fight for them. Women didn’t get their rights by leaving it up to men. Gays didn’t get their rights by leaving it up to heterosexuals.

Of course we deserve our rights, but in life you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you fight for.


Gary Roach

Sarnia



City should build a senior living facility on hospital site

Sir: As a taxpayer, living in Sarnia since 1974, I believe the City of Sarnia should keep the Sarnia General Hospital site.

It would be well worth the investment to have the building torn down, the asbestos or any other toxic materials in the ground removed, and the site rebuilt as a Senior Living Facility, with all the units rented out (geared to income), not sold.

This would be the biggest investment the City of Sarnia has ever made, but it would also be the best investment the City of Sarnia has ever made.

The province is crying for senior living facilities. There is a wait list of thousands. With all the new funding being made available right now, it’s the perfect time for Sarnia to do this.

This investment would generate revenue of approximately $300,000 to $500,000 a month.

Those monies would not only pay off all the debts the city has, but would eventually benefit all the citizens of Sarnia. It would pay for much-needed sewer and drainage repair and replacement, new roads and lower taxes. The benefits are mind-boggling.

Not only would it create local jobs, it would generate more money spent locally lifting the economy out of its current state.

The investment would be beneficial for us now, our children and our grandchildren into perpetuity.

Sincerely,

Sandi Compagnion
Sarnia


 

Away-from-home daughter celebrates mom for Mother’s Day

Sir: Her eyes sparkle with pure love, a smile contagious, and a heart filled with unconditional love. Her loving embrace warms my heart and gives me the strength to keep persevering.

As the wind beneath me, she has taught me how to spread my wings and fly.

When one asks me about my mother I tell them all of her wonderful qualities that I aspire to have. One day I hope to have her passion, strength, pureness, and a positive outlook on life.

Her work in the community, in the classroom, and as a health advocate inspires me and I realize the immense impact she has on the lives of those around her.

As a teacher, she is passionate and enthusiastic and continually motivates her students to work to their potential and develop a love of learning.

As an athlete, she is hard working and driven to make and attain goals, as well as share her competitive edge with her friends.

As a believer of a healthy mind and body, she portrays the optimal healthy active lifestyle and illustrates what is means to be active, whether through yoga, pilates, paddle boarding or golf.

As a mother, she has taught me to appreciate the little things, reach for the big things, and keep believing in myself no matter what obstacles I must overcome.

Despite going to university in another country, I believe that the distance only strengthened our relationship and truly made me realize how much I appreciate what she has taught me.

On this Mother’s Day, I hope all mothers were celebrated and reminded by their daughters and sons how much they are loved and cherished.

I take any opportunity I can get to talk about my mother because she is truly an inspiration and everyone should know the vast impact she has had on my life.

I hope that one day I can be half the mother she is.

Danielle Quinn
Indiana University