(22 April 2018) – I am pretty old, but Ray Ferraro has to be even older, or close to it. Call me an ageist if you must, but if you’re presenting yourself as a Party of renewal and change, you don’t put up a candidate who’s older than dirt.
You especially don’t do it with a candidate whose political career is marked by failure. Failures of judgement and failure at the ballot box. In all his 70-odd years, Ferraro spent 3 as an elected politician. He was elected councillor for ward 2 in the Kate Quarrie sweep of 2003. That term of Council was such an unmitigated disaster that most of her crew, including Ferraro, was thrown out at the first opportunity.
In 2006 he came 4th in a field of seven candidates. When he tried again in 2010, he came 3rd in a field of 6. His third kick at the re-election can was in 2014. He was again rebuffed by the voters. Now he’s been appointed as Doug Ford’s man in Guelph.
While on Council, he was part of the “Gang of Eight” that included Rocco Furfaro, Laura Baily, Dan Moziar, Dan Schnurr, Gloria Kovach, Peter Hamtak, Christine Billings, and Kate Quarrie. Of those, all but Kovach and Billings did not get re-elected in 2006. That’s an indication of the quality of governance they provided.
His political career is, in a word, a failure. There are only two things the voters of Guelph need to know about Ray Ferraro. He hated the library. He hated the idea of spending the city’s money on city services in general, but he especially hated the idea of spending money to renew and revitalize our library. The second thing to remember is he squandered the best opportunity we ever had to get a new downtown library at a bargain basement price.
When Canada Post put the downtown post office building up for sale in 2003, the City could have bought the beautiful and historic Dominion Building for under a million dollars. City staff recommended buying it to house the various city departments that occupied leased space downtown while the new city hall was built. Then renovate the building to become the downtown library.
It was a beautifully simple plan that answered the city’s needs at the time. But Ferraro and his cronies would have none of it. They refused the federal government’s offer. As quickly as they did, the County of Wellington jumped up and bought it for their housing services department for $1.4 million. Converting the building from a post office to administrative offices cost an additional $2.5 million. Because about two-thirds of the people taking advantage of county housing live in Guelph, the city paid about that share of the final bill.
Ferraro and his council mates could have had a central library we could all be proud of at a price we could easily afford. Instead, they spent just as much money renovating a building they didn’t want to buy.
When the voters of Guelph turn against Ferraro for the fourth time in 12 years, it won’t be because he’s too old. It will be because he’s too incompetent.