Grandstanding To Gain Publicity

Tuomi-HeaderIn the realm of grandstanding, one local councilor stands out. Ward 3’s Rino Bortolin proved this by rallying against school closings.

It is particularly odious because he is the cause of the problem.

On November 16, 2016, Bortolin promised in the Windsor Star that there’ll be, “… one heck of a fight if any schools in the city’s core are targeted for closure.”

His maladroit pretending to be a fighter is almost amusing.

He sits on a council with little apparent interest in making the city family attractive. If truly sincere, Bortolin would be pushing for more neighbourhood amenities.

An orientation to family needs could increase the density of school-aged children. So, too, could increasing his ward’s population density, rather than supporting urban sprawl. If both are done correctly, the schools in his ward might be filled.

Some of Bortolin’s actions actually belie his interest in bettering his ward.

Play equipment is removed from its parks and there is no notice of their return; or even if they will return. He is also not fighting against the removal of his ward’s hospital; a rather intriguing curiosity on its own.

Admittedly, with respect to shuttering amenities, he sits on a council trying to compensate for the growing expenses of its white elephants, such as an arena and an aquatic centre. Council mistakenly calculated it could offset their expenses by shutting down parks, pools, arenas, and community centres.

Money saved on their maintenance, Council reasoned, could meet the financial demands of losers like the downtown waterpark. Two downsides to this approach are apparent.

Wards are losing the attractions families look for when buying homes, and homeowners are threatened with declining property values, which means less money for the tax collector.

Rarely, if ever, does Council properly evaluate the financial ramifications of its schemes. On the surface, this hints that its members are totally unaware of the value common facilities bring to making neighbourhood’s desirable.

To help, Councilors might want to read a paper by researcher John L Crompton, of the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University.

In 2001, Crompton wrote The Impact of Parks on Property Values. After an extensive review of studies on the subject, he concluded, “… parks and open space contributed to increasing proximate property values.”

Bortolin should stop putting his nose in school board business. It smacks of a desperate ploy to gain unearned publicity.

Instead, he should do his job and crusade for enriched neighbourhoods with parks to increase proximate residential values. Surely, if he did some studying, he might figure out neighbourhood gutting lowers property assessments which, in turn, promotes slums which rarely attract families.

If he really wants to fight the closing of schools, he can start by familiarizing himself with his adversary. He can do this by looking in any mirror.

About the Author

Robert Tuomi
After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields. Email Robert Tuomi