Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My View of Mayor Nenshi

Ever since Mayor Nenshi was elected into office, I've had serious reservations about his qualifications to represent and lead this city. I'm sad to say, in my eyes, he's proven that a guy who's never served in a political office of any kind should never be elected to such an important position. What he feels is important seems to differ from not only his own election platform, but from reality a lot of the time.

I really started to pay attention when Occupy Calgary set up a little shanty town in Olympic Plaza. Mayor Nenshi seemed not only to endorse their squat, but unequal enforcement of the law. If a person pays taxes and owns assets of any kind, enforce the law. If they appear to be entitled 20 somethings and are protesting something or another, meh, leave them be.

Mayor Nenshi, in my opinion, has forgotten that the aldermen represent us. They aren't supposed to represent his perfect idea of Calgary.  When Gord Lowe asked for more detailed information on the airport tunnel, Mayor Nenshi wanted to move off that topic even though we, as a city, repeatedly heard it would be no higher than $295 million.  When the deal was signed, the price increased to $425 million at minimum. The Mayor even spoke over Druh Farrell when she tried to back up Gord Lowe. As far as I understood it, council is the time to debate unresolved issues and the Mayor is supposed to listen, debate and resolve, not speak about his own personal agenda and carry on. I guess this is what Mayor Nenshi calls a more efficient City Hall.

But now, it's budget time and Mayor Nenshi is getting grouchy that it's not going his way. He seems to think that since he pretty much forced the airport tunnel deal through, all his ideas are golden.  The Mayor criticizing the aldermen for treating us taxpayer-types like ATM’s is a little pot and kettle-ish.  Water rates, electricity rates, pet licensing rates are all increasing along with our property tax rates. They're saying it's a 6% increase so far and for each 1/2% it's “only” $13. The water increase is only $8, the pet license increase is only $6, how many more “only's” are we in for?  When all is said and done in a year, what do all these increases add up to?  How much will it all “only” cost us?

The Mayor wants the essential services to cut their budgets and *run more efficiently* without truly considering what the detrimental effect of that will be. The biggest argument to date is the police budget. He's since lost that argument but, Mayor Nenshi was hoping that the province would bail him out of this situation. Why? The province already provided a $42 million tax rebate (that was supposed to come back to us) that the Calgary City Council took and blew, instead of using on essential services. Considering the police want/need $10 million, why did some of that money not go towards police and fire services? Why are they looking at cuts? It's not just the aldermen that are playing games with the budget, it is the Mayor as well, and he's just hoping we all have short memories.

Mayor Nenshi is also proving to be very arrogant and condescending. Not only does he not permit the alderman to finish a sentence in council when they bring up a topic he doesn't like, he says things on social media that no political representative should. The City of Calgary has a code of conduct for it's employees and Mayor Nenshi seems to believe himself above it. In the code of conduct there is a section on Acceptable Use of City Technology Policy and the Public Statements and Media Relations Policy, yet he still openly insults people and argues with news media. For example, in arguing with @wernerpatels on Twitter, he said “I know I should not bother you when you're off your meds...” and when called on it, he didn't apologize for the statement; he apologized that people were offended by it. What I was upset about was the lack of professionalism by our political representative. If he was speaking on a personal account that said nothing about him being Mayor, I wouldn't have cared, but the twitter account specifically states “Mayor of Calgary.” In my opinion, Mayor Nenshi must abide by the code of conduct while speaking on this account.  The sad reality is, this isn’t the only time something of this nature has happened.

On many occasions Mayor Nenshi has shown his lack of professionalism or qualifications to lead the City of Calgary in almost any form.  The only thing he has shown is one can lead an election through the use of social media, but that one really should know what the hell he’s doing once he’s in the drivers seat.  I hope over the next three years he smartens up, shows he can be a professional, and leaves his arrogance at the door.

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