Not voting for Maggie Laidlaw in the last municipal election is a decision I regret less and less with each passing day.Here’s the latest.
Coun. Maggie Laidlaw surprised a lot of debate watchers when she said she has used a Google tool to investigate the lifestyle of people who complain to her about city hall spending and taxes.
Her comment came during a debate Wednesday on a motion by Coun. Cam Guthrie to have council members reject 2011 pay increases, as a symbolic gesture to Guelph residents.
“I think we need to make a statement as a council about our salary increases this year,” said Guthrie, a rookie Ward 4 councillor who made this an election campaign promise last year.
Coun. Bob Bell agreed. “I think we need to lead by example when we negotiate with our employees. They need to understand there isn’t the loose cash available that there was in the past.” Laidlaw then raised some eyebrows when she said she’s used a Google tool to check on the housing of local residents who have emailed her to complain about taxes and spending.
“When you happen to ‘Google Map’ those addresses, they are all living in pretty nice houses,” sometimes with a boat as well as a number of autos, she said.
“I don’t pay much attention to those emails anymore,” she told council.
Laidlaw also dismissed concerns about seniors being unable to afford higher property taxes.
“Senior citizens on fixed incomes need not have any increase in taxes until they leave their homes,” because of a program that allows property tax hikes to be deferred for such people, she said.
I think, though increasingly you never know with this woman, that I understand the point she may have been trying to make. Rich people are the last ones who should be bitching about taxes going up. They can afford it, the impact on their lifestyles won’t be that great.
But understanding her point doesn’t make it any less wrong. A person getting himself into a position where owning a nice house and a couple of luxuries is possible by no means makes that person rich. All it means is that somebody is or was doing ok, and being comfortable is what everybody should work towards. It’s no sin to be doing fine. Besides, what if that boat/extra car was a gift? Hey, it happens.
And even if there was no gift, Google Maps? The hell are you doing, you maniac?
Wait, I’ll answer that. What you’re doing is engaging in the exact kind of discrimination you like to rail against. Fighting for the rights of the disadvantaged does not mean and should not involve ignoring/dumping on those who don’t outwardly look like they’re in trouble. Then again, ignoring people who don’t think exactly as she does appears to be how Maggie Laidlaw operates. Roundabout, anyone?
I wonder how much of a salary increase it would take to get her to stop talking and go away. At this point it’d be money well spent…as long as she doesn’t use that money to buy anything fun.