MAC'S MUSINGS: Looks like most of the incumbents will run again

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Claude McIntosh

It appears that most of the current crop of councillors will seek re-election in the October sweepstakes, regardless of the financial "sacrifice" and that until now only four have filed their nomination papers, the early birds being Syd Gardiner, Andre Rivette, Gerry Samson and Dave Murphy.

Only two-termer Denis Thibault has ruled out a third bid. He has enjoyed the ride, but feels after eight years it is time to bid adieu and spend a little more time at his Florida retreat when snowblowers across the Great White North are chugging away.

One or two might not be sure bets in July - Bernadette Clement and Denis Carr - but the history of such things tell us that at the end of the day those who might be wavering a few weeks before the deadline usually end up digging in their cleats at the starting line.

Mark McDonald, who holds the record for most news conferences, is vying to regain a council seat after a gutsy mayoral campaign in 2010 that pulled up short. If McDonald is elected he could be one of three unsuccessful mayoral candidates sitting around the next council table - Andre Rivette and Denis Carr being the others.

Leslie O'Shaugnessy might suggest that will include the chain of office around a different neck come 2015. The seasoned politician is challenging Mayor Bob Kilger.

The former SD and G warden lost a mayoral bid in 2006, garnering a mere 928 votes, but won back his council seat in 2010. He resigned early in his term. A big challenge will be to convince voters he isn't a quiter.

Going into the campaign, Kilger is the odds-on favourite, which means The O Man will need to show up at the starting gate with his A game, and a pocketful of money. Running an effective mayoral campaign doesn't come cheap. Burning through $10,000 is not difficult.

Meanwhile, newcomers to municipal election campaigns need to be aware of the fact that incumbent councillors are hard to unseat. Among their advantages are all important name recognition, political capital banked over the years in office, not having to shell out for lawn signs and being able to showcase themselves at golf tournaments and dinners, even during the campaign, most times on the taxpayers' tab.

As Dave Murphy, who has his eye on the 2018 mayoral race, is fond of saying, "The campaign for re-election starts the day after the votes are counted."

*****

One of the city's most accomplished female golfers passed away on July 8. Cornwall native Vera Watson was a five-time women's champion at Cornwall Golf and Country Club, winning the title in 1953, 1956, 1960, 1965 and 1967. She ranks as one of the top female golfers in the club's long history. Her last CGCC title came in 1974 when she teamed up with five-time men's club champion Alex McAllister to win the competitive Cornwall Open mixed division, a field that included of the best golfers in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. It might have been the only time a Cornwall Open mixed field had a winning duo with a combined 10 club titles.

Vera's athletic feats went beyond the golf course. She was a top notch bowler, five and 10-pin, and one of the city's best women basketball and badminton players. Vera played a lead role in pioneering women's 10-pin bowling at the old Towne Line Bowling Lanes and was a youth bowling instructor. She was inducted into the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, five years after her husband, Bruce, an avid yachtsman, was inducted. Vera, predeceased by her husband, was 88.

** **

Ontario police chiefs met in Ottawa last month and the key topic wasn't runaway policing costs, but the law which forbids police chiefs from suspending an officer charged with a serious offduty crime without pay. The current system allows for suspensions but with full pay until the matter is resolved.

The chiefs are pushing the provincial government to make the suspend without pay issue their call.

The police unions will fight that one, and rightly so.

Among the problems are the assumption of innocence until found guilty and the length of time it takes to get a trial, sometimes two or three years. Then there is where does the "serious crime" list start?

Wonder how many police chiefs who support suspending officers without pay held the same view when they were members of a police union?

TRIVIA ANSWER On Oct. 12, 1951 Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip stopped in Cornwall during their Royal Visit to Canada. The Standard-Freeholder reported that an estimated 35,000 people - twice the population - greeted the Royal Couple. The General and Hotel Dieu Hospitals reported that a total of six babies born that day were named after the couple - Elizabeth and Phillip. The visit was short - lasting just 15 minutes.

TRIVIA This was the largest employer in Mille Roches, one of the villages wiped off the map by the St Lawrence Seaway and Power Project.

IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR When the city had one pool - Central Park (lifeguards Dorothy Moore and Maurice Antoine). It was were hundreds of kids learned to swim. There were some great swimming holes, among them Silver Bridge, the bywash, boardy bottom, the Augustus Street swing bridge, Cornwall Canal behind Howard Smith Paper Mill/Domtar and St. Lawrence Park beach, which until the city annexed it was part of Cornwall Township. Of course, the township had the Sheek Island beach just south of Mille Roches. Then there was the indoor pool at the Paragon Motel, now Murphy's Inn. ... Sneaking in a stone wrapped in tin foil and diving for it in the deep end. ... Stretched out on a towel on the blistering hot asphalt walking path that cut through Central Park.

ROUND'N'BOUT A veteran city lawyer agrees that city council wasted taxpayers' money on an out-of-town legal opinion vis-a-vis a possible injunction to stop Cornwall Community Hospital from moving four positions to a regional lab in Ottawa. He said a local lawyer could have given the same opinion - city can't do it - for the price of a telephone call. ... Might be time for a "Geese Crossing" sign on Second Street West between Pescod and Power Dam Drive. Two or three times a day, a gaggle of geese brings traffic to a halt while waddling back and forth. An interesting scenario would involve an emergency response vehicle.

HEAR & THERE Summer is here and the bylaw ticket patrol is out there with two-person patrols. ... Say, what ever happened to the city police bicycle patrol? If it is still functioning, why are we wasting money on a two-person bylaw department patrol? ... At least two councillors want to know if any of the 110 summer students hired are from outside the city. Apparently at one time there was an understanding that all of summer positions would go to Cornwall students. ... And is there a more boring summer job than sitting at an intersection all day counting cars? ... The neighbourhood groundhog, racoon and rabbit must have found a better menu. So far, so good when it comes to my garden.

THIS & THAT We have three radio stations and none has a local news department. Is there another city in this country with a population of 46,000 plus (twice that if you include SD and G) not served by a radio news department? ... Is there anything with a "Made in China" label that actually works, or lasts more than a year? I'm on my second "Made in China" pressure washer in three years. And just like the first one, there are problems.

Organizations: Cornwall Golf and Country Club, Towne Line Bowling Lanes, Royal Visit Standard-Freeholder Royal Couple Hotel Dieu Hospitals Silver Bridge Domtar Cornwall Township Cornwall Community Hospital

Geographic location: Cornwall, Florida, Ontario Ottawa Western Quebec Mille Roches Central Park Canada China Augustus Street Lawrence Park Sheek Island Murphy

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