This Article is By: Kingston Electors On Oct. - 29, 2006
Mayoralty All Candidates meeting for mayor
Location: Seniors’ Centre
October 27, 2006
Report by Kingston Electors
Before an audience of around 100 people (mostly seniors), Kevin George, Harvey Rosen, and Rick Downes outlined their programs then entertained questions from the audience. All three candidates stressed listening to the residents, creating jobs, maintaining the city’s infrastructure, and attracting a broader business tax base to help relieve residential property taxes.
The audience was mostly friendly, and questions did not focus on so-called “seniors’ issues.”
Kevin George specifically identified inconsistent service delivery across the three areas merged in 1998. He suggested there were too many closed-door decisions, spoke of too many non-priority projects, and indicated that the current council has lost the trust of its citizens.
Harvey Rosen focused on his record of keeping promises, providing decisive leadership, creating hundreds of jobs, increasing Kingston’s profile with other levels of government, and promoting progress. He argued that progress is vital to fund projects.
Rick Downes highlighted his contribution ns to achieving smoke-free public places in the city, attracting more doctors to our community, and ensuring he consulted with his constituents on a regular basis.
One of the most interesting questions posed to candidates asked each for his leadership style in leading council and dealing with those he may disagree with.
In response, Harvey Rosen highlighted open debate, persuasion, and speaking to each individual councillor in advance of critical decisions. Rosen stressed that the seven priorities of the 2003-2006 term were not hiscouncil’s priorities. Kevin George suggested that maintaining an open door and working closely with city staff describe his leadership style. Rick Downes stressed consultation, and its byproduct of raising public awareness of issues/decisions. He illustrated the importance of consultation by pointing out the strong preliminary research and investigation done before proposing methods of recruiting physicians to Kingston. Downes suggested that unanimity is possible if you consult first.
One attendee posed questions about the city’s marina operations, suggesting that the city now makes money every year on marina operations yet seems not to recognize that fact and instead wants to privatize operations. George and Rosen both wanted to get more facts before addressing the subject of marina operations.
Lake Ontario Park was also a hot button. All three candidates wanted to improve the public beach at Lake Ontario Park and preserve the land for public use. Rosen indicated that the city is seeking opportunities to expand the park through acquiring some of the lands currently owned by Ontario Realty Corporation and occupied by continuing care and provincial government uses.
No one asked Kevin George to clarify his stance on LVEC. One questioner sought further information on consultation processes with LVEC, the four-plex, and renaming Market Square. Harvey Rosen somewhat apologetically suggested that “we’re inexperienced with fundraising” and next time he would first consult to see if the city asset is “nameable at any price” before entertaining any naming rights formalities.
Candidates remained in the room at the Seniors’ Centre after the meeting, enjoying a cup of coffee and chat with attendees.