By AmbrÖse Bierce. With the announcement this week that the AbbotsfordFIRST Society is a new force with which to be reckoned in municipal politics in Abbotsford, Abbotsford Today is going to have to do some serious thinking about how it is going to cover the upcoming municipal election and municipal politics in general.
Vince Dimanno is not only closely involved with the Society, he is running as one of its candidates. Since Dimanno is also co-owner of Today Media Group, the owners of Abbotsford Today, you might have thought that, by now, Today would have made some sort of statement to explain what decisions have been taken and what actions it will take to distance itself both from Dimanno and the AbbotsfordFirst slate of candidates.
While Dimanno has a solid track record on taxpayer issues – as president of the Abbotsford Taxpayers Association (ARA) Dimanno and the ARA fiercely and, it turns out, correctly, predicted the sorry outcome of Plan A, the DCC and infrastructure deficits and were an important voice in the fight over last election’s water referendum – we have heard precious little from him or the ARA since.
While the issues that AbbotsfordFIRST deals with on its website and in its platform are numerous and broad in nature, most of Dimanno’s public statements over the last eight years have been about taxes. He will need to work to convince us he has depth on other issues.
He came within 800 votes of being elected during the 2011 election and stands perhaps the best chance of the AbbotsfordFirst candidates announced so far, of winning a seat on council.
If the number of incumbents who decide to avoid the blood bath and retire (which could include both Moe Gill and John Smith) is significant, others on the slate stand a good chance of being elected too. At least AbbotsfordFIRST has laid out a pretty deep and impressive platform instead of merely running on the curb appeal of its candidates.
This city needs more from its politicians than it has been getting for years and being well-connected and doing a lot of volunteer work just won’t cut it this time.
If either Abbotsford Today or AbbotsfordFIRST are to be believed over the next three months, both organizations will have to come clean about their relationship and Dimanno and Today’s bulldog editor Mike Archer will have to convince us we are getting the straight goods and that the two organizations aren’t joined at the hip.
We know the newspapers in Abbotsford have always favoured those within the power structure. We’ve always been able to rely on the fact that Abbotsford Today will give us ‘The other side of the news’.
If the two organizations are joined at the hip, we may just be switching one group of connected members of the power structure for another group which simply wants to get in.
AmbrÖse Bierce is Today’s writer in residence who occasionally gives voice to the concerns of individual citizens and taxpayers who, for a variety of reasons, are unable or unwilling to take a public stand on issues of relevance to the rest of the community. Reasons may include possible loss of job, injury to their business, or any number of quite legitimate reasons to keep their mouths shut.
While all columns and letters on Today are signed by their authors, we have decided to provide this venue for those with legitimate opinions, based on fact, with something to contribute to the public debate in the city. This is not a place for wild venting or personal attacks. AmbrÖse requires you identify yourself to him and explain why you need to keep your identity secure.
To Write AmbrÖse Simply Email Him At: AmbrÖse@Today.ca