Ramsay joins race for Barrie mayor’s chair
By Bob Bruton Barrie Examiner July 15 2010
Mike Ramsay wants your trust, and your votes.
The veteran city councillor announced Wednesday that he’s running for Barrie mayor in the Oct. 25 municipal election.
“The election boils down to one word – trust,” said Ramsay, 47. “Which candidate for mayor do you trust with your money, your environment and your future.
“Which candidate do you feel will put public interest over his own, over his relatives, over his friends.”
Ramsay is the fifth man to seek the mayor’s chair this fall. Coun. Jeff Lehman, former Conservative Barrie-area MPP Joe Tascona, former Barrie mayor Rob Hamilton (2003-2006) and newcomer Irtaza (Harry) Ahmed have registered.
Incumbent Mayor Dave Aspden has not registered to run, nor made his intentions known publicly.
Ramsay is a history and political sciences teacher at Barrie Central Collegiate, and has taught school for 21 years. He served as a city councillor from 1994 until 2003, when he ran unsuccessfully for the Liberals against Tascona in the provincial election.
While out of politics, Ramsay hosted a local cable TV community phone-in show and then was re-elected to Ward 1 in 2006, where he is the current councillor.
He announced his candidacy Wednesday near the former Allandale train station land, which Ramsay says symbolizes much of what went wrong in city hall during the last four years.
City council approved re-development plans for this property, despite considerable public opposition.
“People felt they were not being listened to and their concerns were not being met,” said Ramsay who, along with Aspden, voted against the proposal by the Correct Group of Companies and the YMCA (which later withdrew from the project).
“This council’s decisions regarding the YMCA and Allandale station lands are just one example of special interests being placed over public interest,” he said. “This is just plain wrong.”
Ramsay also opposed Barrie Hydro’s merger with PowerStream, which affects the city’s control of its electricity supply.
The Ward 1 councillor often opposed motions approved by a majority of city councillors during the last four years.
Asked how he would get consensus among councillors if elected mayor in October, Ramsay said that would be a different situation.
“The mayor has to set the example,” he said. “There is a difference between consensus and co-operation. I will show far more respect for all city councillors.
“Consensus isn’t all voting in lock-step, like robots. People who are interested in city council want to see intelligent debate.”
Asked if he would prefer the election of a new slate of city councillors this fall, Ramsay indicated that is somewhat irrelevant.
“If I am elected mayor. . .you have to work with whoever else is elected,” he said, “(including) all the other mayors (of Simcoe County municipalities), the Simcoe County warden and county councillors, the MP and MPP.”
Ramsay says he believes council should be taking a tight hold of the public purse, and not be increasing taxes while the city runs surpluses. He also wants to curb the use of expensive consultants.
“We need a mayor who simply won’t just do the bidding of bureaucrats,” he said. “As your mayor I will hold this government accountable.
“We need a mayor who can and will ask intelligent questions and demand answers to the public’s concerns.”
Ramsay says he’s running for mayor for the same reason he’s run for council and for MPP – serving the community where he lives.
“I enjoy public service. People need to step up and serve their community,” he said. “And being mayor might be kind of fun.”
If elected mayor, Ramsay says he would request a leave of absence from the Simcoe County District School Board.
Nominations for mayor, city council and school trustees close at 2 p.m. on Sept. 10.