Mayor Stead re-run

Mayor Stead has changed his mind, or someone – we won’t name any names- has changed it for him because this persuader (who will remain nameless but we all know who he is don’t we?) knows if HE runs he will lose and if HE loses he can’t get on Council to control it. So martyr Bob is putting himself on the re- election pyre to get burned as reported in The Advertiser of July 8th.

To quote from our fish wrapper copy:

Wolfville mayor Bob Stead is going to go after a third term in office.

Let’s stop right there for a moment. THIRD term. Why are there not term limits? There should be. This would be one of our first petitions to the new Council. Even before we voted for a new Council we would want the institution of term limits to be promised by those offering. We would not vote for anyone running for a third term on principle.

Bear with us, we still have to comment on Mayor Stead’s statement to Wolfville’s Lois Lane.

Assessment has been the focus of some concern among rate payers lately.

No Bob, wrong again. It is not assessment that has been a concern lately as it relates to Wolfiville Town Council. Assessments are an issue that ratepayers have with the Assessment Office (which was until recently a provincial responsibility) and not an issue with the Town which has nothing to do with (or should have nothing to do with) Assessments. The issue has been (apart from the elimination of the R1 zone and other increased density proposals) TAXES and the increase in the budget. Assessment has no fixed relationship with the taxes a town might demand. This is hard to get through Councillors heads but it is true. [It is true however that householders would have few bones to pick with the assessment office if municipalities didn’t fix their tax take to assessment growth.]

In the past 11 years, Stead says there have been two occasions when the town brought in property evaluation experts when there were ” obvious issues that needed to be addressed”

What issues had to be addressed? Did they inform the householders concerned that the Town was appealing their assessments for them? Did the assessments subsequently go up, or down? This was not an issue the Town should have got themselves involved with and it was handled in an irregular manner by all reports.

The newspaper article goes on to say:

Stead does not understand the stance of some property owners who object to the market driven system in place now. Of course it is capped by two years so there are delays in realising property values. …

What an admission. He does not understand. He is talking about the assessment system. He shouldn’t be talking about the assessment system. It has been claimed many times that the town does not tax by assessment. His statement proves the opposite. The tax system does not equate with the assessment system. Taxes are not market driven – or shouldn’t be. They are driven by the decisions of Councillors who determine how much is needed to run the town. This is the one and only criteria the Council should use.

They shouldn’t look at the market, they shouldn’t look at assessment growth, they shouldn’t look at how much individual townspeople can afford, they shouldn’t look at who they like and who they don’t like, they shouldn’t decide which of their favoured groups in the town needs money, they should ONLY look at what is needed to give residents the services they require.

The mayor says he wonders how the town will be able to attract volunteers to its boards and committees ” if there is continued negativity. ..”

We say, get out of the way and watch. We feel with a new open Council there will be a surplus of people willing to give their expertise.

The reaction of several hundred ratepayers against proposed changes to the draft municipal planning strategy led to a vacuum.

Sorry, have no idea what he means here by a vacuum.

There were a number of people whose opinions were not constructive. “

Translation. They didn’t agree with us [meaning the administration]

“A lot of those involved felt they beat a lot of people [sic], so my question is how do your repair the fabric of the community? This has never happened before.”

Translation. My feelings were hurt and the vision I had of a unified community was torn. We hate to reveal this Bob, but your feeling about the nature of the community was only in your head . It was never what you thought it was. It is not torn; it is what it is, a multiplicity of ideas and interests most of which were being ignored.

The article goes on to discuss Maple Avenue drainage issues which are important.

“We’ll need cooperation. Water runs downhill. I know I have the most sophisticated sump pump system in town.”

And he mentions the Greenwich land annexation issue.

“A good deal of study will be required before town Council takes any kind of stance, he added.”

Talking as if he will still be in the chair.

The mayor suggests that recent controversy has engaged the citizenry. “They’re very active now and before they were kind of sleepy and lazy”

Really? You mean they didn’t come out in their hundreds then. No, they came one by one over 2 terms with their concerns and suggestions and issues which were mainly ignored. Now all those who feel left out or not consulted have come together with others and guess what- there are hundreds and hundreds.

And here is another admission. “Ratepayer involvement kept the budget lean this spring.”

Why? Don’t we vote in a Council to do this for us every year, keep the budget lean? And he offers us a promise of new taxes if he is returned.

Stead notes ” in an election year you can’t raise taxes, but costs are increasing when you have multi year agreements. The cost of fuel has doubled.”

Multi-year agreements they committed the Town to. And if there was no slack why or how could they agree to cut the budget so drastically. AND we specifically looked in the budget (before it was cut) for allowances for increased fuel costs. We couldn’t find any.

We are sorry to see that Mayor Stead is reversing his earlier wise decision to step aside and let someone else have a go. Instead he faces what looks like a very aggressive campaign against him and a painful loss. He does not take criticism well describing recent objections to the policies he supports as his being “stoned” or “beaten up”. He will perhaps regret taking others counsel and going against his own first, and we think correct, instinct.

We would expect the mayor and every councillor to put changes to the MPS and the LUB on their platform in October if they agree with them. These changes should not be approved before the election but instead should require a mandate from the electorate in our view.

12 responses to “Mayor Stead re-run

  1. Wow could not agree with you more. The mayor is so out of touch with what the people think. He has been in his ivory tower way too long. We need fresh ideas, not more parks and flowers, we need CHANGE, we need someone to run against him that will win and that is not someone who is on the council at this time.
    Two terms is enough, even the Pres. of the US can only run twice. Also if you work for the town you should live in the town, and business owners should have the right to vote, they invest alot in the town and should have a say.

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  3. Wolfvillian

    Hey man,

    You seem to be pretty opinionated and look like you have the answers to everything. Why don’t YOU run and put your money where your mouth is? It’s easy to criticize from the outside, but once your actually in the position, I’m sure you’ll figure out just how hard it is to please everyone. But until that time, if you actually do have the guts to run, I would be inclined to say keep your comments to yourself, because it is people like you that council, and the mayor, probably pay attention to the least.

  4. Stay tuned. Be careful what you ask for.

  5. But do you have any comment on the substance of the issue? Do you understand how the tax system works? Are you happy with the present regime? Do you think Bob Stead’s comments in the paper make any sense? We like to hear residents opinions. We hoped this would be a venue for people expressing their opinions – how things work well, or don’t work and can be improved. Have anything to add to that? We put up a wickispace for people to do just that and … silence. Are Wolfvilllians wimps. You tell us. We want to know.

    We would also add that- by your criteria- no one in town should be able to offer an opinion unless they offered to run for Council. So we would have – how many? 3,800 people running in order they should feel free to speak up?

  6. Have there been any rumors as to who else is running for the position?

    And I highly doubt that, despite your response to Wolfvillian, you will be running.

    Hey fluffy, since when do we want to be like the US??

    I don’t see anything wrong with a long standing Mayor if voted in fairly by the community.

  7. Wolfvillian

    Well, I have no real problem with Mayor Stead, so no, I don’t have an issue with what was in the paper. Moreover, the mayor is directed by council, so maybe your focus should be on the council over all. He can give his opinion all he wants, but without the support of his council, he can’t put anything into action.

    In response to your comment about 3,800 people running – are you telling me there are 3,800 people that are as absolutely irate as you are at Bob Stead right now? If this is the case, then he will lose the election by what you’re predicting will be a very large margin. Otherwise, he’ll win, and you’re opinions will be once again meaningless because you sat behind a computer screen, nameless, without taking action. Instead – you’re bickering – and no politician likes a person like that.

  8. We will predict the turnout might be better than usual. Usually only a small percentage of the town population bothers to vote. Perhaps someone told them their opinions were meaningless.

  9. I think it would be good if those objecting to the post about Mayor Stead would address the issues that were raised. We all could learn. We’re left to assume they don’t have any knowledge or opinions on them.
    Perhaps they just happen to like Mayor Stead!
    Well, so do I in a number of ways: he runs a good tight meeting and I think he speaks well. And clearly he has a base of support.
    My main objections to him are that:
    1) he’s not as midddle-of-the-road as I feel a mayor should be and he should represent all residents equally. But he leans so far to the left he appears in danger of falling over..he supports ill thought ideas that are disturbing to many of those directly affected.
    2) his comments in the press, if quoted accurately, show a need for better understanding of basic financial issues (note: after eight years in office) .
    3) town taxes have almost doubled during his terms partly because the mayor dances too much with one political wing or faction, trying to make an impression, while the real work of small town government awaits.
    4) he doesn’t leave me with any feeling of security. I think somebody recently underrated him and his position in that he is a figurehead. He makes his deals with councillors and I strongly suspect he is used behind the scenes.
    Waving the flag is great but let’s not wear blinkers.

  10. Scarlet Pimpernel

    I worked for Bob’s election as Mayor for both of his two terms. I’m sure there aren’t many mayors in Nova Scotia as honest, hardworking and sincere as our mayor. It appears true, however, that this mayor has allowed himself to be hoodwinked by those within the existing council who have a self-centered agenda. Bob has been fooled and he doesn’t understand what has happened. That is unfortunate because he is a likeable fellow who wants to do the right thing for Wolfville and its citizens. I am convinced of that. It’s unfortunate that he’s seeking a third term because I strongly believe there should be a two term limit. This should apply to council as well. We need a new forward thinking council in Wolfville which makes decisions based on community consensus as opposed to the bias of a select minority. We all have a legitimate right to our opinions but a dog was never meant to be wagged by his tail. I hope Bob will given a second thought to seeking a third term and stand aside for new leadership. He could lead by example. One of the most difficult lessons learned by man is knowing when to stop. It’s time for the Town of Wolfville to thank Bob Stead for his contributions and it’s time for him to step down without any further embarrassment. Our town is desperately in need of new leadership and more attention to the practical matters of running a town within reasonable budgetary constraints. Lofty pie in the sky goals are wonderful but not at the expense of reason. If we don’t cut residential taxes we’re going to lose our residents, if we don’t cut commercial taxes we’re going to lose our businesses. If we don’t do both, we’re going to lose our town and become only one of the ghost towns popping up all ‘round Nova Scotia. The consequences of leadership within the next eight years are serious and the future of our town depends on decisions we make this fall within municipal elections. This isn’t a time to sit on our hands and assume all’s well within our elected councils. In the marketplace we get what we pay for but in politics we get what we elect. Those who make the wrong choice, or no choice at all, have only themselves to blame.

  11. The mayor is controlled, that is most of the problem. He is controlled by some very left thinking people, which to some outsiders Wolfville is a bit of a joke. The first fair trade, the first no smoking in your car with kids in it, ok, all very honourable but way too much publicity. And no I don’t want to be like the US, but two terms is enough. There are a lot of small towns who are very backward thinking simply because the have had the same people in power too long.
    AND like it or not I do have opinions and thankfully there is a forum like this one to express them, we still do have free speech here, I think.

  12. Well I guess that’s that. See you at the polls!