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Steckley wants Town to investigate pamphlet

Bob Steckley will “take that under advisement” whether Town of Fort Erie resources should be used to track down the author of a pamphlet that was highly critical of a proposal to break the Town’s contract with the Molinaro Group to develop Bay Beach.

Steckley took offence with statements in the pamphlet that he claimed describes councillors as “crooked” and asked the clerk during Monday’s council meeting what could be done to identify the people behind a group calling itself “Citizens of Fort Erie for a Positive Future.”

Word collage

Clerk Carolyn Kett said an investigation would require a resolution of council because it is not an identified priority.

“It would have to be a determination by council whether this is a worthwhile use of Town resources,” she said. “Then of course we go back to freedom of speech and so forth. What is the objective of conducting an investigation if council does uncover who was responsible?”

Steckley said he will wait a week before he brings the issue forward again.

The pamphlet was mailed to most homes in Fort Erie as an answer to the voluminous emails and advertising that was distributed by anti-condominium groups since 2009.

It described how council had proposed in February to scrap the agreement for a partnership to build a condominium tower on the Bay Beach land and that many people who were previously silent about the project were now speaking out in favour.

“According to them,” Steckley said, “we were in contempt of the public, we have personal agendas, irresponsible decisions, irresponsible councillors . . . it’s calling us crooked and so on in here. I’ve got an issue with that.”

He said only Kimberley Zanko, who ran against Steckley in the election, has claimed any responsibility as spokesman for the group which also purchased a large billboard advertisement.

“Is there any way the Town of Fort Erie could investigate that further,” Steckley asked.

He also pointedly asked if the Economic Development and Tourism Corporation or the Chamber of Commerce were behind it.

Councillor Stephen Passero, who is the president of the chamber, said the chamber had no involvement. Mayor Doug Martin, a council-appointed board member to the EDTC, said the same. Councillor John Hill, also a board member of the EDTC, said nothing was said at any meeting about it.

The pamphlet doesn’t specifically call councillors “crooked,” but the word is among a collage of descriptive words the pamphlet states would be the image of the Town if council had decided to repeal the Bay Beach zoning bylaw. Other words include “embarrassment”, “dishonour”, “breach”, “finks”, “retribution”.

Another collage in the pamphlet uses words such as “beautiful”, “amenities”, “nice beach”, “growth”, “opportunities” under a heading “If you choose to act and contact council we can regain everything.”
Statements in the pamphlet Steckley partly quoted:

“Councillors continue to reveal their contempt for the public and legislative authority by insisting the OMB decision be arbitrarily dismissed and replaced instead with their own personal agendas.”

“Irresponsible decisions will cost this community in more ways than just dollars. The current economic climate demands creative and strategic public/private partnerships and Fort Erie wants to be a leader.”

“We must continue to shine a light on these self serving special interest groups and the irresponsible councillors who continue to misrepresent themselves and exploit Fort Erie families for the benefit of a few.”

“Breaking a contract sends a dangerous message to future employers and future development. We do not agree with the conduct or decisions of four councillors.”

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  1. Rick | Apr 14, 2011 | Reply

    Good story Mike.
    And if they do investigate and think they have found out who did this, what are they going to do? Censure them in town? Maybe yell at them, or give them a switch on the bum.
    I think that they are the ones keeping the Bay Beach thing alive and wont let it drop.
    Oh yea and how will this get paid for, the town credit card?

  2. Shawn | Apr 14, 2011 | Reply

    Funny, how they associate themselves with the negative side when clearly there is a positive side as well. Glass half empty or just a guilty conscience??

  3. Mike Cloutier | Apr 14, 2011 | Reply

    Interesting that Steckley wants to find out who produced a pamphlet that he finds . . . oh, probably ‘disturbing’. Yet, he has no difficulty in hiding the identity of the person who gave him a $750 donation for the 2006 election campaign under the name of “Fort Erie Ratepayers Association”.

    Let’s see, he wants to call out someone — private citizens — to be accountable to him. On the other hand, refuses to be accountable to the citizenry about who paid for his 2006 election.

    You know what? That is crooked. And my dictionary defines crooked in this context as dishonest and illegal — which it is according to the Municipal Elections Act.

    Good, I am so glad that Steckley has called out to learn the identity of someone who wishes to be anonymous. I am also glad that in the 2010 campaign he called for more openness and transparency because that will mean in a very short time we will learn — with a copy of the cheque, a receipt and bank statement — who gave him $750 in 2006.

  4. Ryan | Apr 14, 2011 | Reply

    I agree with you Rick – so what happens if the group that produced and distributed this flyer is found out? It’s a political commentary…

    I would think our council has more to worry about then a pamphlet…

  5. Sarah | Apr 14, 2011 | Reply

    Well KUDOS to who ever put up the billboard, and sent out the flyers.

    Upmost respect to Kimberley Zanko for standing up and being the spokesperson of the project.

    Do these councillors not get it? More specifically, does Bob Steckley not get it?

    The council was taking a path that would SEVERELY hurt every resident, and it may still do that. Backing out of a contract and exposing every taxpayer to a potential multi-million dollar lawsuit. And …… the scary part is THEY WERE GOING TO DO IT !!!!!!!!

    Sometimes, when people see something so harmful happening to their community, they react.

    The way that this group chose to react was responsible. They sent out flyers that express the exact perception of what this whole deal and the council’s action has evolved into in the eyes of the community.

    Fort Erie CARS had sent out a flyer last year regarding the racetrack. It was absolutely FUL of mis-information. Did council, or rather Bob Steckley question that? That flyer was sent out to STOP growth in Fort Erie. And he is whining because the residents of Fort erie want their town to grow.

    Believe you me, this goes way back further that this flyer being distributed.

    I know for a FACT, because she told me. Bob Steckley has had numerous communications with Sharon Bowers ….. yeah the one being sued for slander.

    Certainly, he is familiar with her blog in which there was continual slander against the mayor and councillors that did not agree with him and ex-councillor Noyes ( whom she also had numerous communications with). Did he question that when the mayor and councillors were being called crooked? No he did not. Perhaps because he supported that type of slander.

    But now ….. the shoe is on the other foot, and a considerable number of citizens who are outraged by council’s action, not just one lowly blogger reacts ….. he cries foul.

    Oh ….. I’m sorry …. I forgot …. the FEWPA has him in their back pocket.

    So no matter what we write, no matter what other concerned groups do, Councillor Steckley will do exactly what his biggest campaign contributor wants him to do along with his party of four.

  6. Millsy22 | Apr 14, 2011 | Reply

    How many signatures do I have to collect in order to get this ward to have a by-election? Steckley is a joke and we all now know it. As soon as someone disagrees with him he is out for blood – with taxpayer’s money. Bridgeburg BIA ?

    He has shown his true colours and people who once thought he was actually going to act on behalf of the people of Fort Erie now see him for what he is.

    If he is so sure of his actions reflect what the majority of his constituents and the people of Fort Erie want, he should step down and run a by-election.

    It is not unheard of – remember Sheila Copps? And in case you don’t, she won back her seat in federal politics and silenced the critics.

    Don’t even get started on the cost of a by-election because he has no problem wasting money on things like getting a second legal opinion simply because he didn’t believe the town’s FEMALE lawyer, and the money he is willing to waste finding out who exercised their right to free speech and printed some pamphlets.

    All that aside, I bet I could get enough people in Ward 3 alone to make contributions that would more than cover the cost of a by-election. In addition, I would be up front and tell you who contributed what.

  7. L. Wignell | Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    Funny… It isn’t the council that draws Fort Erie’s reputation into question it is the citizens. Who would want to invest in a municipality that changes their future vision every time someone comes by with a bag of magic beans.

    You have a group of people who run for office (Lord knows why), to be criticized in the “media” for every decision. Interesting that this same media thinks it makes sense to spend Town money to shut-down blogs that criticize the condo, but identifying the source of direct mail propaganda is a waste of funds.

    Doesn’t anybody remember the cheap gas days and the line of gas stations on Highway #3? How about all the Bingo Halls quickly thrown-up to make a quick buck?

    Here is a future prediction….years from now there will be no condo, there will be no racetrack and Fort Erie will be branded with the same old tag of being an opportunisitc municipality without a long-term sustainable vision.

  8. Mike Cloutier | Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    You obviously are not familiar with the blog and the content that prompted the lawsuit.

    This is more, much more, than a blog that was critical of the condo development. Sharon Bowers used her blog to accuse members of the public and public officials of criminal offences, speculated about their private lives and fabricated stories to discredit people and ruin their reputations.

    The pamphlet, in my opinion, is an accurate representation of the facts and a fair expression of opinion.

  9. Sarah | Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    I find it humourous that Steckley is so concerned about this pamphlet sent to RESIDENTS of Fort Erie about concerns regarding their community. As well as the billboard which only delivers a positive message …. and presented by Citizens of Fort Erie for a Positive Future.

    Got that BOB ….. CITIZENS OF FORT ERIE …… POSITIVE FUTURE.

    This billboard and pamphlet was all done on the up and up and legal. Cost me as taxpayer nothing but my time to read the information provided.

    Councillor Steckley is crying “we were in contempt of the public, we have personal agendas, irresponsible decisions, irresponsible councillors . . . it’s calling us crooked and so on in here. I’ve got an issue with that.”

    YET …. he turns his back on the ILLEGAL graffiti on the wall at Bay Beach. NOT presented to just the CITIZENS OF FORT ERIE, but everyone who visits the beach.

    “Save the Beach”, “Political Corruption”, “Investigate”, “Bribes” are the words painted on the wall.

    It’s obviously done not by the youth of the community, but rather by someone who is intimately against the project, perhaps a member of an organization …. who knows?

    AND DON’T TELL ME YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE GRAFFITI !!!!!

    You don’t know who did it, and you don’t really care ….. because it is in the direction imposed by those that you support, or they supported you.

    Painting the graffiti on the wall was an ILLEGAL act. The person could and should be charged, and it WILL cost taxpayers to clean it up. But you don’t care about that do you Bob ….. WHY?

    When will it end? When are you going to stand up for your community?

    The developer will obviously put a sign up announcing the development. I expect that that will get a dose of graffiti too. Will you care then?

    When the construction begins, will the worksite be disrupted by the opposition activists? Will they tamper with the equipment? Will a worker DIE because of their actions?

    It’s on your shoulders Bob. You sided with them, you and your fellow councillors can accept the responsibility for the actions of the organization you support, because ….. they are extreme activists, and will not likely adhere to the decisions made by council, but rather ….. hey, if the councillors they gave money to didn’t stop the development, they will likely feel that it is within their right to take it into their own hands. I think they have a lawyer that will guide them in that direction.

  10. truthseekers | Apr 21, 2011 | Reply

    None of this would have been going on if the voters of Ward 3 had not been taken in by Steckley’s illegal campaign contributors blaming the former councillor for the October 2006 freak snow storm.

  11. Mike Cloutier | Apr 21, 2011 | Reply

    Ah, yes, Steckley had no problem with that flyer.

  12. Rick | May 14, 2011 | Reply

    Let’s everyone who has an opinion on this make up our own flyer and do a mass handout. How long has Crystal Beach been where it is? I doubt if the Beach is going anywhere. So, who is behind the printing and distribution of this flyer and why aren’t they standing up proudly and saying “We did it”?…if it’s such a wonderful, moving and well supported idea then why isn’t someone standing up proudly and saying “It’s us”?

  13. Rick | May 14, 2011 | Reply

    Prove it…

  14. Rick | May 14, 2011 | Reply

    The KKK thought they were right too…but they hid behind masks and their “secret society” if these people who did this think it’s so great why aren’t they bragging about their good citizenship? Let’s go to them and give them a real good pat on the back…oh, I forgot, we don’t know who they are because they’re keeping it a secret.

  15. Mike Cloutier | May 14, 2011 | Reply

    Someone has come out and taken responsibility for this. It was in the paper — a “real newspaper” as you would call it.

  16. Rick | May 21, 2011 | Reply

    Indignant tear – half-baked sarcasm – bully boy tactics – ah, did the big bad bogeyman hurt the little mans’ feelings?
    Since you’re printing everything I wrote, please print that I and anyone I talk to are SOOOO glad that we have real decent human beings like Bob Steckley, John Hill and Don Lubberts representing us at the Town level; people who don’t have any political or personal agendas but actually have a conscience and their constituents best interests at heart.
    As for you and your paper, I’ve begun my sweep of your advertising contributors to voice my reasons for not using their business or products. My ‘flaming’ days are done, I’m scraping this last piece of old gum off of my shoe. If my little rants are the highlights of your day, you’ve got bigger problems than you know. Like Arnold said, “hasta la vista baby”…I won’t be back

  17. Mike Cloutier | May 21, 2011 | Reply

    No Rick, you did not hurt my feelings. You insulted and threatened me. I want you to identify yourself.

  18. Rick | May 31, 2011 | Reply

    Insulted – threatened – my wife and I are in hysterics…thanks for the laugh, Mike, I’ll wait for the cops to show up…

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