Council Meeting tonight will discuss the election procedure and move to secure ballots in light of previous election problems. A friend provided the following quote:
"Those who cast the votes decide nothing.
Those who count the votes decide everything."
- Josef Stalin
We hear around town that many candidates are being asked specifically what they plan to do with regard to Jim Thibert of the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corporation and, by extension, the funding for the Fort Erie Race Track.
A noticeable change in the opinion of mayoral and regional candidates about town funding for the horse track was apparent at the meeting last week sponsored by the Kinettes in Stevensville. A couple of candidates were adamant that the town does not need to be funding the race track; the track must be able to stand on its own financially. However, without the close to $8 million from the province each year, the track cannot sustain itself. Jim Thibert, who also holds the title of head of the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium and has convinced a few that he can wear both hats while looking out for the interests of the business community, begged council last March to provide emergency funding to the tune of $500,000. to pay for the lease on the track. Council held an emergency meeting and the funding was provided. As it turns out, there was no need for the emergency meeting or the rush to provide the money. Some feel that the FELRC/EDTC misled the council into believing that the racing season was in jeopardy without the funding from the town. Months later, the money wasn't yet claimed. At the end of the season, the FELRC/EDTC requested the money for "operating expenses." The emergency request for the half million of taxpayer money from the town was not an emergency, yet the local newspapers touted the town's action as a last minute saving of the race track. Which made Jim Thibert look like a hero when it appears that he misrepresented the track's situation.
Many in town are used to Jimmy's tactics and behaviour, yet he goes on as though it's others' fault who take offence to his crude language and side show performances. Many are suggesting that the arm's length corporation be returned to town hall as a regular department and that Jim be forced to choose between the FELRC and the EDTC. It seems to work in other communities including nearby Port Colborne.
Those who are canvassing for various candidates and the candidates themselves are encountering people who are fed up with the constant infusions of taxpayer money (yes, the money from the province is also taxpayer generated) to run a short season racing venue while other small businesses are allowed to fail because of lack of support by the track-centric EDTC.
Ask yourself: do you want to see well over a million dollars of taxpayer money going to prop up the race track when there is no real job growth or business support offered by the EDTC for other businesses?
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