I think that Halloween came earlier this week for some of us. Scary thought that three of our best were sent packing in Monday's election. Certainly no treat for many of us..
It's one thing to win an election by presenting a better platform and ideas. Another thing altogether when some win by way of a well-financed hit campaign that has gone on for years.
By this time next year, this will all have been forgotten - except by a few. The promises of a bright future for Fort Erie will be tarnished by the reality that governing, even in a small town, is a difficult thing to do and those who are elected to the task must be responsive, knowledgeable and accountable. The Four were held accountable for their every action; they were judged harshly by certain groups in the community; but they did not have the whereforall (™Rick Shular) to tell their side of the story. They did not have the money to put up a couple of billboards; they did not have the money to put out a slanderous flyer; they didn't have the money to file frivolous and vexatious lawsuits and they certainly didn't have the clout to turn the local press in their favour.
So the victors can enjoy their victories and promise that they will "work together" to bring jobs and revenue to the town through aggressive development and help to business. Good for them. They certainly have the Chamber of Commerce on their side. We can only hope that they will keep their lofty promises.
Let's see what they do with their mandate. Let's see if they are able to keep the next tax increase at a record low. Let's see if they deliver a 0% water bill increase. Let's see if they care enough about the people to protect the shoreline. You see, they have a tough act to follow. The voters didn't realize the good points of this council because they were misinformed and influenced by a very well-orchestrated campaign against The Four. But this council achieved a lot and they were met with resistance from the mayor and his flunkies every step of the way.
Meanwhile, we can take comfort in the fact that one of The Four made it through and the new mayor will not tolerate the kind of behaviour that has marked many a council meeting. We can also smile that Stephen Passero's dream of domination of the town has been derailed and his mentor, Doug Martin will finally go off the stage.
The three who lost will be fine. At some point, they will feel relieved that others will now feel the heat from a demanding electorate who never seem satisfied.
And, for the people of Fort Erie: let's hope that the new council lives up to its hype.
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