Mayoral hopeful, John Taylor, last night launched his election campaign to a crowd of happy-clappy supporters in the Royal Canadian Legion Hall on Srigley Street.
I wander along to see what all the fuss is about.
I walk past a bunch of ten year olds prancing about outside, waving giant “John Taylor for Mayor” signs above their heads.
Before he goes up on stage to deliver his tour d’horizon I casually ask how long he is going to speak. Seven minutes he says. Any longer and people lose interest.
I ask him how much he paid the kids outside. He laughs.
The place is packed and there is a sense of expectation in the air. I see Chris Emanuel, the wannabe Regional Councillor, and lots of familiar faces but, unfortunately, no Tony Van Trappist. I was in the mood to kiss and make up.
The Mayor has blocked me for years from reading his tweets so I have to rely on reports from my network of spies to tell me what he is up to. The last I heard he was up in Tobermory enjoying cottage life. Anyway…
Taylor Senior introduces Taylor Junior
Taylor Junior is introduced by his Dad, Tom, the founder of the dynasty.
John Taylor has been around for a long time and served a lengthy apprenticeship as Deputy Mayor under the old banker.
Now John Junior is talking about his experience and how he is qualified for the job. He tells us about his passion for the Town and his plans for the future. It is an animated performance with lots of pace. He manages to sound hungry for the job.
Taylor packs a lot into his seven minutes, ticking all the boxes. The Historic Downtown gets a special mention. He paints a picture of the Newmarket he wants to see and makes it sound quite compelling.
Now he addresses the controversial purchase of Mulock Farm head-on.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with the Town investing for the future. I thought the $10m it took to renovate the Old Town Hall was money well spent. In any event, the Town routinely borrows piles of cash to finance major projects and life continues as before. It’s not as if the Town is panhandling.
Four years ago, a firm of consultants (Hemson) brought in to review the Council’s asset replacement strategy said the Town’s practice of using debt to finance big projects was reasonable and appropriate.
The cost of Mulock Farm is out in the open, not buried in the budget.
Fuddy-duddy old house
Yet some Conservatives say it is a complete folly to spend money on a fuddy-duddy old house and park that was home to one of the Town’s most celebrated residents, Sir William Mulock.
Here is what the outraged and irrepressible Darryl Wolk tweeted on 3 May 2018:
I am surprised the proposed “Mulock Central Park” has not gotten more attention in @townofnewmarket. Taxpayers misled on the biggest proposed tax increase in our history. Residents can expect to be hit with costs of at least $100 per year for the next 30 years. Sell the land!
“Council and the Mayor must have crystal-clear clarity on their vision for the future of this town… The residents and taxpayers of Newmarket will always know exactly where I stand.”
So, Joe, spit it out. Are you for or against Mulock Farm?
Taylor is a shoo-in.
Lots of people I meet seem to think Taylor is a shoo-in and it is all over bar the shouting.
Don’t bank on it.
After the election of Doug Ford - whose “costed” program could be scribbled down on the back of a bubble gum wrapper - I take nothing for granted. People are waiting for their Beer for a Buck and cheap gas and they want it now!
Newmarket voted overwhelmingly for FordNation. Even low income neighbourhoods bought that "man of the people" stuff.
By election time people could be whipped into a frenzy by Darryl and his friends in the People's Party!
For the cost of a patch of green grass and a tumble-down old house you could buy 24 million beers.