By Abnor. There’s a rumour going around that George Ferguson is considering another run for the mayor’s job. Now I know George is getting long in the tooth for this sort of thing but there’s only so much one man can take.
He retired once and had to come back and fix the mess Mary Reeves had made of things only to watch the whole thing slide back into the toilet when he retired a second time.
Old George didn’t have much faith in the whole Plan A fiasco as presented by then-councillor Bruce Beck and perennial councillor John Smith, not so much because, as his detractors tried to portray him, he was against progress, but because he didn’t much like the idea of emptying all of Abbotsford’s Development Cost Charge (DCC) reserve funds, squandering our reserves or raising taxes, water rates and every other charge the City could get away with in order to pay for a bunch of vanity projects.
He really didn’t like the idea of borrowing millions of dollars to spend on a project which had no business plan and no hockey team signed up as an anchor tenant. I don’t think he ever really bought into Smith’s ‘I used to be a banker’ routine either.Beck and Smith tried to bully George without much success but when they switched tactics and started bullying councillors, George new he had lost. Smith and Beck took them on one at a time – Patricia Ross, Simon Gibson, Dave Loewen …
In the end councillors caved in to the pressure. Beck and Smith badgered, threatened, promised, cajoled and lined up support from any and every person or organization which could stand to gain anything from City Hall or who was in the least bit threatened by losing their relationship with City Hall and did an end run around George to get their expensive failure.
And now the own it. Banman missed his opportunity when he took Henry Braun’s advice and paid the Clagary Flames to go away. He should have renamed the AESC the ‘Smith Beck Arena.’
*As an aside – I heard they are turning people down who want to rent the arena because they haven’t been paying for any upkeep on the joint and it isn’t suitable for the public to use. How are they going to manage to have any big shows there if it is already in disrepair?
And the entire disaster was paid for by the taxpayers of Abbotsford who now have the highest taxes, the highest water rates, the lowest level of services, the fwest and costliest Parks & Rec programs and the worst economic development in the Lower Mainland.
Under the soft, friendly countenance George always eschews, is a man who is angry with what Smith and Beck did to his city. George Peary did his best but he was powerless to do anything but cave in to the bureaucrats who ran the show after George retired.Then came Bruce Banman.
As weak a mayor as George Peary was, the anger the voters expressed over being lied to about the Abbotsford Heat contract and the bogus need for a new $300,000,000 water supply focused everyone’s attention on Peary. Meanwhile the councillors who caused it all to happen hid in the captain’s chambers while Peary was forced to walk the plank.
On election night, when Banman was announced as the winner, old George was heard to say that the people had chosen the wrong man for the job.
So I say – more power to him. He finds getting around a bit more difficult but he’s got a lot of friends to help him. It must be a real burden to watch everything you spent your life working to build and support destroyed so effectively and so ruthlessly by people who were either not up to the task or in it for the wrong reason.
After chatting with George downtown I made my way slowly up the street to the Highwayman and you should have heard the cheer from the old bastards there when I told them.
‘Go for it George,’ ‘Show’em how it’s done,’ ‘Finally … a good mayor again,’ they shouted.
The carried me out into the parking lot on their shoulders and wanted to start a parade all the way over to City Hall but then I told them … it was just dream.
A wish and prayer.
I know George is too old for this. I know he can’t come back and save us once again. But wouldn’t it be nice?
Wouldn’t it be cool if old George …
Never mind. I just hope he’ll give us some idea who he thinks ought be elected in order to fix this broken city. We don’t just need a new mayor this time. We need a whole lot of retirements and whole new team around the council table to fix this mess.
I hope George will give us some guidance.
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Editor’s Note:Abnor joins us from time to time with a question or two about what he sees around him. He has plenty of time on his hands and he spends a great deal of his time wandering the streets of Abbotsford wondering about what he sees and hears. He’s a modern day hobo with a Blackberry.