The good, the bad, and the ugly…

Cue the Ennio Morricone soundtrack…

The good: Councillor Kevin Lloyd’s proposal to reinvigorate the town’s moribund (dead?) economic development department.

Formerly the home of aborted branding strategies ($45,000 of your tax dollars) and incomplete and shelved studies, Lloyd’s proposal to link the local agencies concerned with economic development is a positive initiative.

The last economic development study, presented to council in 2011, featured statistical information that was five years out of date along with a message that ‘smokestacks won’t be locating to Collingwood.’ Yes, we know — we’d been hearing the same thing for 15 years.

Lloyd’s proposal is the first, positive, tangible step I’ve seen on the file in some time, and harnesses the strengths of a variety of different organizations: the BIA, the chamber, Centre for Business and Economic Development, the Small Business Enterprise Centre. In the case of the proposed mandate of retaining business and targeting new business opportunities, the CBED and SBEC have both excelled, though the latter’s achievements don’t often get the credit it — or its executive director, Gillian Fairley — is due (SBEC is behind the very successful Summer Company program that encourages youth entrepreneurship).

It’s a great direction for the community…

The bad: Well, maybe not so much ‘bad’ as ‘perplexing’. Council’s reaction to Don May’s comments on the grain terminals last week; it’s not that I disagree with Don — in fact, I agree with him wholeheartedly — or disapprove of council’s new direction (I don’t).

It’s just that, well, I said pretty much the same thing more than a year ago, both here and in the E-B…

I realize it’s a sign of weakness for councillors to acknowledge what’s published in the Enterprise-Bulletin carries a modicum of reliability, but sometimes (just sometimes), I think we hit the mark.

Which leads me to…

The ugly: Councillor Ian Chadwick’s Cold-Shoulder War with myself and The Enterprise-Bulletin just demonstrates how bush-league and childish a municipal politician can get.

I was moderately amused when I suddenly found myself blocked from his Twitter account; after all, this is the same guy who mocked Chris Carrier when the former mayor pre-emptively blocked both Chadwick and me from following him. Now, as I discover, he also blocked The Enterprise-Bulletin from following him as well, and being able to read what he posts.

Is that the action of an accountable politician?

Or is this: in his book, Politically Speaking…, Chadwick writes:

Return calls and emails, and provide information as necessary in a timely manner.

To the E-B:

Chadwick did not respond to a request for comment, both by email and by phone, prior to the Enterprise-Bulletin’s presstime.

He may think he’s punishing the E-B, but in reality he’s only telling the readers of the Enterprise-Bulletin that he doesn’t feel he needs to be accountable to them.

I realize the councillor is unhappy with our coverage of Better Together Collingwood (the opinion of friends masquerading as front page news, as he puts it), and I’m certain he doesn’t like being chided for accusing Councillor Keith Hull for voting to raise taxes by voting against applying the Collus sales proceeds to the purchase of the Sprung buildings. As Chadwick wrote in his book:

Controversy and conflict can polarize the community. Be sure, or present a different, less confrontational message.

Or maybe how ridiculous he looks for pulling a graphic of the Sprung Shield from the Sprung website for the town’s flyer without determining whether or not it was relevant.

Maybe he needs to go back and read his chapter on Reporters: Allies or Adversaries?:

Grow a thicker skin: You can’t win every battle, you can’t always get the coverage you want, you can’t always expect praise or even recognition. Elected officials are always open to criticism, so learn to live with it…

Some politicians never get past being criticized…

If you show reporters respect, if you are open, honest, and accessible to them, you will in turn gain from them a level of mutual respect. This will not necessarily mean agreement, nor will it free you from criticism; it’s a much healthier relationship than an adversarial one.

I realize Chadwick has chosen political self-interest over our supposed friendship, which is fine. But I can’t help think that Chadwick, as E-B editor (he was editor about 15 years ago), would be outraged at the actions of Chadwick the councillor. As several people have pointed out to me, Chadwick needs to be thrown into a time machine and sent back to 1997 — where the editor could have a little heart-to-heart with the councillor…

Or, as he wrote in Politically Speaking…:

You may not be friends with your media contacts, but you should at least recognize that they are doing a job they care about. Find ways to help them do that job so that their work with you is not problematic. Respect will work both ways.

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