One of my favourite bands is the Eagles. When the group broke up in 1980, Don Henley famously described it as a “horrible relief”. These words came to me time and again as I contemplated my decision to not seek municipal re-election in 2014.
Many of you have personally encouraged me to run for Mayor or councillor, whether directly, or through the petition. I am grateful for your support and appreciate your kind comments. Saying thank you doesn’t adequately convey the extent of my appreciation. Your support has sustained me for some time.
This has not been an easy decision. There is no single compelling reason for leaving, but rather a collective that leads to an inevitable conclusion.
When I ran in 2010 I indicated it would likely be my last election as I don’t support the notion of municipal career politicians. When municipal politicians view their work as employment, the focus becomes self-serving rather than civic service. Of course there are many successful long-term politicians who have done great work with civic service top of mind. They are usually the minority. Unseating an incumbent is an enormous challenge. Municipal term limits allow for a changing dynamic on council with new ideas and new opportunities. I have had my turn and it is time for someone else.
The 8-7 teeter-totter of council decision making this past term has strained relationships and made working together challenging. With a council as divisive as ours, and if incumbency carries the power it does, it will take a unique set of skills and a gifted individual to move the majority in a unified direction. That person is not me. Given my level of frustration with some of my colleagues, diplomacy is not my strong suit.
I am tired and worn down. Politics is not enjoyable anymore, not that enjoyable aptly describes the political environment. In the past, it seemed easy to disagree with a colleague and still respect their right to a divergent opinion and work together. Times have changed.
I have many interests and for years my personal life has often taken a back seat to civic life. I was ok with this; it was part of the job. That’s not the case anymore and I long for a sense of normalcy. In short, I want my life back.
As the new year unfolds, I will continue to do what I can to work with my colleagues in the long-term interest of the community. There is ample work to be done and I am committed to fulfilling my obligation to the citizens of Ward 5 and the broader London community.
In closing, I hope 2014 will shine brightly on London.