Official City of Brantford Mayoral Website


It's been a year. One year since the 2010 election in which, I can say with all humility, Brantford elected me with a strong mandate to lead our community.

One of the questions that I have heard most often during the past 365 days is, "So, what's it like to be back? Is it the same?"

My answer is one that I have put alot of thought into, because I have seen things change during the last years, and I have to laugh at the things that have remained exactly the same.

What's the same? Well, some of the people are the same, not many, but some. Some of the same people have grown and evolved in public service, cutting out niches for themselves and becoming experts and advocates for progressive thinking and recognizable action.

Others of some of the same people, have not changed one bit in the almost 20 years that I have seen them in operation. I have observed that the individuals who have not evolved or grown, also can't be identified with any issue, cause or initiative. They remain aloof from the others around them, only raise their heads when it is time to snipe, and then drop down to the saftey of their personal barricades.

I am very impressed with the quality and dedication of this Council, I am heartened to see so many Councillors coming out to events, being involved so actively in Council and community issues, and working together as a team.

I had someone mention to me recently that it appears that Council has started to "fracture," and it is becoming obvious to those watching. Well, trust me, it is more than obvious to those on and around Council that there are those individuals who, for whatever reason, have no desire to work with their Council colleagues.

To have 7 or 8 dedicated, hard-working Councillors functioning as a team is a remarkable achievement, and one that I find very encouraging -- and that, for me, is very different. And while there will always be the snipers on Council, I choose to focus on those who have come to work, and who leave the games for the playing fields.

What's different? I don't think, as a community, we have come to realize yet that we have matured into a large urban centre on the cusp of greatness. Great things have been done by great people, and it is only the beginning.

I can see our community being an intellectual and creative hub, to be the leaders for a wide-range of community driven processes, and to offer our expertise and knowledge to other communities. This is different, because in 1994 we did not have so much opportunity for greatness.

I would be remiss if I did not state here and now, that the biggest hurdle for our community to achieve greatness is small-thinking and reactionary decision-making. As we enter estimates, I for one, want to establish rational tax policy that takes us away from the knee-jerk reactions of the tax-bullies. Snapshot budgetting only delays the decisions that need to be made, and removing budgetting and tax policy from the vision and strategic focus of the community limits our future.

The divisive approach to budgetting still driven by the tax-bullies, actually increases taxes. Rational tax policy, strategic thinking, a clear vision and community consultation is what creates smooth growth of services and budgets that are in line with the realities of our community, and moves us away from a self-destructive and exclusionary course of action.

There are champions in our community, people from all walks of life, who want to be involved in making their community a better place. The champions want to be boosters, and to market our community to ourselves and to all the world. This might not be totally different, but the energy, enthusiasm and passion for which they are speaking about Brantford certainly is different. It is exciting.

I fully recognize that there are people in our community who are struggling, this is not to belittle their experiences, but, to think that putting an end to that struggle will come through negative thoughts and actions -- to drive a process that creates an image of failure and despair -- is self-destructive. The difference to us now is that we know we must focus on the positive, and then we can offer a helping hand to those who have little positive on which to focus.

As a last statement in the one year election anniversary, I want to thank the thousands of supporters who offer suggestions, offer an encouraging word, who see the positive in what we are attempting to do. You make a difference to me, you make a difference to our community.

Say it loud and often: I AM BRANTFORD PROUD!