Downes endorsed unanimously

RICK DOWNES

The Journal’s Editorial Board has unanimously agreed to endorse Rick Downes for Kingston mayor, with 17 votes for and no abstentions.

Downes is by far the most well-rounded and genuine of Kingston’s six mayoral candidates, which include Scott Foster, Dorothy Hector, Michael J.M. Owen, Bryan Paterson and Brenda Slomka.

Downes’ platform is founded on concrete and tangible plans to clean up the City’s Brownfields, implement an effective snow removal system and to improve transit linking Kingston to other cities. His past contributions to the implementation of bike lanes, speed-limit signs and no-smoking by-laws within the city demonstrate his political capability.

His extensive City Council experience can’t be discounted. He’s served as a councilor for two separate districts over 16 years, which speaks to his ability to build bridges — a quality needed for town-gown relations in Kingston.

Downes’ objection to the Kingston district realignment — which would have dissolved Sydenham District and discounted students from the population tally — speaks volumes.

Over the years, he has demonstrated a genuine concern for student issues, equitably viewing students as a part of the whole of Kingston, but also as their own part. With such an approach, town-gown relations under Downes should be improved from the aggravated state Mark Gerretsen will leave them in.

Following a contentious year in City-student relations, it’s critical that students seize the opportunity to vote to cement their presence as Kingston residents.

Downes’ experience, equitable views, sincerity and approachable demeanor make him the best candidate to represent the City.

SCOTT FOSTER

Throughout the electoral period, Foster has demonstrated a dedication and practicality that rivals his fellow candidates.

Foster drafted a 13-page by-law to address poor housing standards in the University District, based on an SGPS report on student housing and existing by-laws in London and North Bay.

The proposed by-law is well researched, comprehensive and demonstrates a willingness on Foster’s part to put in the work.

Due to his lack of experience and following, Foster’s chances of being elected are slim. Despite this, City Council would benefit from his intelligence, dedication and innovative thinking.

It would great to see him involved in municipal politics in some capacity in the future, potentially as a city councilor.

DOROTHY HECTOR

Compared to some candidates, Hector has an exceptional amount of experience and an unyielding approach that could make her an effective leader and a good advocate for Kingston.

However, while her straightforwardness and honesty is in some ways refreshing in municipal politics, her uncooperative manner wouldn’t be ideal in interactions with stakeholders, specifically in regards to matters concerning the student population. A lack of cooperation was a main concern with Gerretsen’s approach.

Hector voted for electoral district realignment, and later apologized during a debate for appearing “anti-downtown”, rather than for voting to dissolve Sydenham District. When asked about this decision, Hector said that her vote was based on what’s been done in other municipalities.

If you’re going to effectively disregard a sixth of Kingston’s population, the reason needs to be more than bandwagon politics.

As mayor, Hector would need to consider and listen to all of the Kingston community. Her actions in the OMB appeal relay a disregard of students, but more importantly, they demonstrate a lack of independent and innovative thinking.

MICHAEL J.M. OWEN

Not much can be said of Owen.

He holds no political experience, doesn’t have a campaign budget and has said that he knows his chances are slim.

Yet his short-lived campaign should be appreciated for its contributions to the municipal conversation. The Third Crossing over Cataraqui River and the potential casino in Kingston are topics that have dominated debates and media coverage of the election.

His presence has highlighted issues that need more reverence paid to them, such as improving accessibility to commercial establishments for peoples with disabilities and the promotion of local farm food, among other issues.

While he won’t be elected, Owen should be appreciated for running to bring neglected issues to light.

BRYAN PATERSON

Paterson would represent the City as a whole quite well. His educational background and experience as a city councilor give him a vital advantage over many of the other candidates.

His economic plans for the City are innovative and demonstrate a practicality that, if implemented, could viably retain and attract business to Kingston.

But his disregard for a sixth of Kingston’s population is where Paterson’s effectiveness as a leader falls short.

Paterson has been inconsistent and disingenuous in responding to student issues. He’s actively opposed the right to effective representation, but has stated that he doesn’t wish to look at the redrawing of district boundaries as divisive — despite its fundamentally divisive nature.

At no time has Paterson apologized for promoting the dissolution of Sydenham District. His inconsistent statements hinge on the hope that students and other residents will forget the OMB appeal.

Paterson has offered no concrete plans to rectify the situation or to improve town-gown relations in general. It’s critical that a mayor concerns his or herself with the unification of their city’s population. Paterson’s actions have only further widened the divide.

BRENDA SLOMKA

Slomka’s presence on City Council would introduce a measure of energy and innovative thinking. She’s sincere, personable and charismatic, and emphasizes cooperation in her work.

Of all the candidates, Slomka has done the most to interact with students, and has voiced her disapproval of electoral boundary redistribution.

While she does demonstrate a sense of innovation, her platform’s vision and principles lack practicality.

A lack of experience and sufficiently concrete ideas should preclude her from the position of mayor, but like Foster, she would be an ideal fit for a councilor position in the future.

Journal Editorial Board

Our endorsement process

The Journal’s endorsement took into consideration candidate platforms, interviews, municipal debates and a private questioning period between each candidate and the Journal Editorial Board. All candidates were invited to appear separately in front of our Editorial Board on Oct. 19, where they were asked a list of five predetermined questions.

Candidates Scott Foster and Michael J.M. Owen were unable to meet with the Editorial Board due to extenuating circumstances. While the private questioning period is taken into account, it’s only a small part of a greater process of consideration.

With these circumstances in mind, the Editorial Board was careful to limit the extent that its endorsement drew on the interview, instead focusing on the content of debates, news interviews and platform points.

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