If ever there existed a case for doing away with party politics, the moment appears nearer than we think.
An already tenuous faith in our legislative political system teeters on the brink of the absurd while some members dance back and forth across the floor at will for the sake of convenience, not conviction or integrity.
I suppose those values got checked at the door with a few MLA’s when they took their place on the bench while accepting their salary and generous tax free expense account.
Indecision pays big money. Not a bad five year gig especially when serving two similar terms reward the legislator with a drool-worthy indexed pension.
Not to say that territorial politics is without talent or integrity, Elaine Taylor shines in that department along with a few others.
In essence, the party politics of today’s legislative assembly conjures up the sound of an empty reverberating chamber producing unintelligible, hollow sounds.
Darwinian principles obviously do not apply to the evolution of politics or politicians.
There you have it!
Previously, little appetite existed for city workers to unionize during my term as Mayor of Dawson, until now.
Unionizing our municipal workforce only two days into Mayor Jenkins’ term speaks volumes to the anticipated difficulties that may lie ahead for our town.
That says it all.
Personally, I believe the move to join the Yukon Employees Union provides a good strategy for our town staff. Given that Mayor Jenkins’ penchant for micromanaging precedes him, unionization will likely encourage the new mayor to behave appropriately toward city workers.
Many people foster the erroneous view that the mayor ‘runs’ the town. This posturing stance adopted by some mayors reveals an attempt to make it look like they are in charge and in control. It has the substance of the proverbial ‘paper tiger’. In reality, the mayor has only as much power as council gives him.
Certainly, a mayor wields influence, but not in terms of a ‘king’ pointing a bejeweled plump finger while bestowing favours and giving direction to staff members.
He can only give direction to the Town Manager and even then only with the consent of council by resolution.
The mayor’s ‘power’ reflects policy or bylaws previously adopted by council resolution with input from staff and the public.
Unfortunately there have been mayors in the past that didn’t respect existing procedural bylaws and policies and behaved as if the town was their personal fiefdom.
Let’s hope that Mayor Jenkins hasn’t lost his ability to learn a new and respectful attitude toward city staff and by extension, all of Dawson.
First, the bad news – avenues for challenging the election result have pretty much evaporated.
I could file an affidavit asking for a judicial recount based on the slim eight vote margin in favour of my opponent. Unfortunately, that would constitute expensive grandstanding on my part because little evidence exists that the count and subsequent recounts produced erroneous results.
Another aspect involved scrutinizing for ineligible voters. This bore no results of any consequence.
Therefore, the honour system for voting at the polls in our town appears to have been respected. No doubt there was some abuse but not enough to warrant involving the courts.
I can also take comfort in the fact that pretty much half of Dawson City voters supported me, I will continue to celebrate and cherish this.
It gives me hope that likely most people in town think and behave rationally holding the best interests of their community to heart and thankfully do not necessarily endorse a backwards direction for our town.
My campaign anticipated the closeness of the result but not this close!
After several agonizing recounts my opponent edged past me by seven votes – 259 for myself and 267 in favour of Peter Jenkins.
I’ll be getting a legal opinion on what options are available in terms of challenging the result.
In the absence of a voters list, people can arrive at the polling station and declare their right to vote on the honour system. One might wonder how many ineligible voters got to cast a ballot.
Not to say I know who they would have voted for, but certainly if they can be weeded out it might trigger a challenge and perhaps change the result.
Of course it could work in favour of my opponent or it could go the other way.
I will keep you posted.
Today is the day we get to vote for our municipal leaders.
I would encourage all Yukoners to get out to the polls. Don’t fall into the trap of believing your favourite candidate will win anyway – so why bother.
Every vote counts! I know it’s a cliché but it’s true.
In the Dawson area if you need a ride to the polls call me on my cell and I’ll drive you over – 993-3818
The voting station is at the Art and Margie Fry Rec Centre from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM all day today.
A lot has been written and said about the waste water treatment facility that is being built for our town. Some media have been finding ways to put a negative spin on it, causing doubt and anxiety among a few citizens.
Three years ago when a new Town Council stepped up to fill the void that was left by two years of trusteeship, only an outstanding court order to build a facility was staring us in the face. There was no ready solution. Only the threat of punishing fines levied by the court.
Since that time much has transpired. The Territorial Government knocked themselves out to find a viable remedy for our secondary treatment woes. During a long and arduous journey the Territory included the Town in as much of the process as was possible.
We now have a signed contract with Corix who will oversee all the stages of a complex project. I believe the result will be a state of the art facility held up as an example to other municipalities.
It is not lost on me that our town is the recipient of a system that municipalities many times our size would not be able to afford from a capital cost point of view.
Despite the hysterical and unfounded claims made by Mayor Jenkins, the operation and maintenance of the plant will be affordable. In fact, other related capital projects are being entertained that will translate into even lower O&M.
Myself and council fought hard to ensure that Dawson has some extra ‘padding’ or protection within the memorandum of agreement with YTG in the unlikely event that operation and maintenance costs go completely sideways.
Not to blow my own horn, but I do think this is a major milestone in modern Dawson history. I sincerely hope I am still in office for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Machinery getting ready to excavate ground for new addition.
Ever since the idea of an accredited art school was conjured up more than ten years ago, part of the vision was to include Yukon College under one roof. A centralized location for both campuses certainly makes sense. After lots of work and lobbying by all of the partners with support from the city, it is finally happening.
The machinery is lined up and ready to start digging out for the foundations beside the School of Visual Art on Saturday (today).
Project funding comes from here.
I’m happy to say that our Town Council was way ahead of the game by ensuring that all zoning issues were addressed well in advance of the project.
Given our winter conditions, it’s essential that the ground be prepped while it is still in a thawed state, thereby guaranteeing no delays down the road.
Kudos to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Yukon College and Dawson City Art Society for making it happen.
At our final regular council meeting last night we passed third reading of the Heritage Bylaws 09-02 to 09-06.
These new bylaws are the result of many years of planning and consultation and based on the Heritage Management Plan that was prepared by Hal Kalman and Commonwealth Historic Resources Management Ltd.
This Heritage Management Plan was given an award recently by Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) in Toronto. Congratulations to Hal and his team! It certainly inspires confidence knowing that our plan is professionally recognized on a national level.
After the upcoming municipal election a new Heritage Advisory Committee will be appointed by the new council. The Planning Board which will be defunct as a result of the new HAC should be recognized for their years of hard work upholding Dawson’s heritage bylaws and advancing the new Heritage Management Plan.
Now we have in place clear guidelines and aids to help preserve our heritage for future generations and visitors to our community.
I love driving by those two new houses being built right now. And it’s great to know that council acted on the recommendation that we put more city owned lots on the auction block that are otherwise sitting idle. This makes property available for those that wish to construct residences either to sell or rent.
There’s a real pent up demand for affordable housing here, so we’re looking at opening up a stretch along the upper part of 7th Ave. These will make beautiful view lots as well. Hopefully there will be Integrated Community Sustainability money available for the water and sewer infrastructure for that section of the street.
Of course we are working with Community Services to develop some choice country residential lots on the Dome Road along with some new industrial lots in Callison.
In our community we have no mail delivery to homes, just a central post office. As a courtesy the Yukon News delivers free copies of their newspaper to the communities. There’s enough complementary copies for everyone who cares to pick one up from the lobby of the post office.
Early Saturday morning someone was seen helping themselves to all 400 copies, hurriedly throwing them into his passenger van and speeding off.
Why and who? Gee I wonder… who could it have been?
There were some interesting articles in the missing issue. For example – the one called ‘Pirate Pete’ by John Thompson dredges up some compelling history about mayoral candidate Peter Jenkins.
Mr. Thompson refers to Mr. Jenkins’ past skirmishes with the law – although his article warrants some correction. It was an earlier perjury conviction that resulted in a period of incarceration for Mr. Jenkins. The charges related to theft of electricity were levied at both Mr. Jenkins and the Eldorado Hotel. Mr. Jenkins somehow squirmed his way out of it but his Eldorado Hotel was found guilty and fined. I remember being part of the cattle call for jury duty on that case.
Subsequently, Mr. Jenkins did apply for and receive a pardon for his earlier criminal record. Who would want that hanging around your neck like an albatross? But then again, there are voters around here who celebrate the criminal classes.
The other article in the missing newspapers that may be contentious is called ‘Dawson Out on a Limb Over Sewage’ by Genesee Keevil.
It could well be that someone wished to withhold that story from Dawson readers for whatever reason, although unlikely. If that’s true, it would be someone unaware that there’s a thing called ‘the internet’.
Who knows, it’s anybody’s guess.
One thing’s for sure, it causes me to grin - just a little.