Democratic rights

Recent Posts

Here is a chance to have a greater say in how Cobourg is run, says deputy mayor

Victoria Hall

The show:

The full interview with bonus material:

People have said local governments should be run like a business for many years. It should be efficient and cost-effective. And taxpayers should be treated like clients or customers, ensuring excellent service and accountability. Then ask anyone who has gone before a local council as a delegation to ask for something. You get 10 minutes to speak. Continue Reading →

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Governance model boon or bust for Port Hope

Normally, stories about restructuring governance models are boring and nobody really cares, except for political junkies. But, Port Hope is taking a bold step forward with its plans to rejig the town’s bureaucracy. No doubt, many smaller municipalities will be watching very carefully, as should local residents, since this could revolutionize municipal civil services. The position of chief administrative officer no longer exists. The management of the municipality is now being done by five directors, each responsible for one area of governance: finance, planning, parks, recreation and culture, works and engineering, and, finally, police and fire. Continue Reading →

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Listening to Northumberland commuters important to Via’s future

Change is never easy. But, the mismanaged communications by VIA Rail toward local commuters is unnecessary and insulting to those who depend on the service, demonstrating once more how disconnected the independent crown corporation can be from the public it suppose to serve. During a passionate plea to Cobourg council two weeks ago, Bill Pracwecki sought support as VIA Rail attempts to introduce an e-ticketing system, meant to streamline the system and save money. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Budget process must be open, not closed

The issue of transparency in local government dates back to the earliest days of Cobourg. In 1831 edition of the Cobourg Star, one of the first and longest serving newspapers for the community, a letter to the editor refers to the need for a more open council. Not much as changed in 180 years. Still, municipal councils appear to get away with a lot because the public is ignorant of the rules and nobody really holds politicians or bureaucrats accountable. The issues made the pages of local newspapers this week as Port Hope council circulated its justification for closed door or in-camera meetings. Continue Reading →

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New council must walk fine line or repeat the past

The municipal post-election hang over begins this morning, waking up to a new council for Cobourg, feeling a bit groggy. Mayor-elect Gil Brocanier will have two incumbents on council and four new faces. Stan Frost was acclaimed as deputy mayor and Miriam Mutton will be the new senior councillor, once again riding on top of the polls to victory. The new faces are: Forrest Rowden, John Henderson, Donna Todd and Larry Sherwin. On the surface, it appears to be a big change from the last council. Continue Reading →

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A letter from a citizen journalist: debriefing election coverage

Dear “Friends”

I would like to thank each and everyone of you for being part of this
initiave in local “citizen journalism”. I have had many years of
political experience and, quite frankly, last night’s “little
experiment” in online social media journalism, well, was the most fun ever. However, in that regard I have a few awards to pass out–and kudos and
raspberries–as an entirely disinterested and dispassionate participant
in this event. Frankly, I’m embarassed to say I knew nothing about this
municipal election. I think Mr. Washburn recruited me for this effort
simply because he knew I was a fast typer

My job was to track down the candidates and interview them as the
results came in and post their comments to “Cover-It-Live”–a nice piece
of “citizen journalism” software for live coverage of events such as these. Continue Reading →

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Cobourg municipal election night 2010 panel

In the spirit of hyperlocal journalism, Consider This is hosting a live election night panel for Cobourg starting at 8 p.m. on Oct. 25. Joining me will be Cobourg community activist, fellow blogger and former politician Ben Burd. We will also be joined by local communications consultant, and former political staffer Scott Lamberton and community activist Deb O’Connor. Expect the unexpected as other guests may be joining us. Continue Reading →

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Campaigns avoids controversy leaving voters sleepy

The municipal election in Cobourg is a huge disappointment because if failed to address properly any of the controversial issues facing the town. The debates, the candidate, the signs have mainly given neutral information. No one has provided a clear vision for the long-term future of the town; nor, have any of the candidates tacked the tough issues. Nobody has demonstrated the leadership the town deserves. (more…) Continue Reading →

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