After being snookered by mayor-in-waiting Freddie Francis, Windsor’s Ward 3 councilor Rino Bortolin, seemingly desperate to keep his council seat, is upping his grandstanding. He doesn’t wear it well.
His most recent grab for unearned media time came with his refusal to support a Diving Canada request.
The outfit wants the city to waive usage fees at the costly downtown pool. This would allow its new local diving club to have a free ride which, says AM800 News, could equal a gift of some $25,000 annually.
Bortolin was the only member of a council standing committee to vote against it, but his opposition is nothing more than crocodile tears.
He proved this by quizzically telling the private broadcaster that, should the matter go to a full meeting of council, “… in the end, I would support.”
Among those the broadcaster talked to was standing committee member Joanne Gignac. She justified the fee waiver, claiming it was an original obligation tied to building the downtown aquatics centre. The Ward 6 councilor thinks the community should gather round and support Diving Canada, because of the opportunities it offers local children.
Bortolin, of course, is no friend of his ward. He did no grandstanding when playground equipment was pulled from some of the neighbourhood parks. His show of fake concern, which he cleverly defines as a fight against process, is really a pretty certain indication the 2018 election has started in earnest.
If that isn’t enough, a sure sign was mayor-in-waiting Freddie Francis, and Gignac, voting against the ballooning property taxes contained in the 2017 budget. Taxpayers will have to dig deeper to meet a 2.73% property tax increase, which includes a 1% hospital levy, as well as an added 2.17% to the sewer surcharge.
By voting for the increases, Bortolin showed no compassion for the city’s beleaguered ratepayers, currently suffering the tax fatigue of Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne’s new taxes and high hydro rates.
Bortolin, and the others who approved the budget, may find it tough sledding as they start going door-to-to beg for votes. This is particularly so once residents learn the tax hike could be used to fix some of the mistakes of former mayor Eddie Francis.
This includes adding to the marketing budget for the costly downtown waterpark, fixing the riverside stage, which currently has no seats, building a canal in South Windsor, and possibly the controversial Riverside Drive tunnel.
Look for more grandstanding from Bortolin as he tries to gain more than his 15 minutes of media exposure.