I said in my column on saultonline on Saturday that I was through writing about mayoral candidate Rory Ring and the inaccuracies that keep showing up in his multiple news releases..
Yet here I am, only three days later, writing about him again.
I don’t think I have to tell you why. I imagine you expected a reply from me when you saw his response to my column as a letter to the editor on this site yesterday.
“Mr. Millroy should own up to the fact that he and his columns during this campaign have been slanted with the sole purpose of discrediting me as a legitimate contender for mayor,” Ring said.
“Frankly this community expects more from a veteran journalist who has made a name for himself as an investigative reporter who has exposed government and justice system failings for years.
“Why is Mr. Millroy not checking the facts now? While I have put forward an effective plan with community input to give the citizens of our community a positive alternative to higher taxes, mismanagement and poor leadership, Mr. Millroy is spending time dismissing the issues I am raising and spreading misinformation.”
Let’s get one thing straight right off. My intention was never to discredit him as a legitimate contender for mayor.
The only reason I began writing on the campaign at all was because in reading his news releases I saw a lot of errors that I believed needed to be corrected. If he hadn’t written them, I wouldn’t have had anything to correct so I wouldn’t have written anything about the campaign, simply leaving it to voters to decide.
That, of course, is a roundabout way of saying he only has himself to blame for my writings.
As for his plan, I have still to decipher from what he has sent out what it is.
More jobs and lower taxes as a campaign slogan may grab the attention of some but most are astute enough to know that a mayor really doesn’t have the power to create jobs or lower taxes.
Ring says I am dismissing the issues he is raising and spreading misinformation.
The claim that I am spreading misinformation naturally hits home, considering that such a claim has never come my way in my 65 years associated with journalism.
Anyway, I have listed below the complaints he has levelled against me and have given my response in turn:
Ring: The city sued Essar Algoma while it was in CCAA proceedings. The proceeding brought by the city was the equivalent of a lawsuit within the CCAA process.
Millroy: The city did not sue Essar-Algoma, as Ring actually admits in his second sentence where he says the proceeding brought by the city was the “equivalent of a lawsuit.” In law it is or it isn’t. There is no grey area.
Ring: The mayor, having sat on his hands for months at the start of the CCAA proceeding, decided to go to court in Toronto to force payment instead of focusing on the assessment appeal. Essar Algoma won a reduction of assessment from $85 million to $42 million.
Millroy: Essar did not win a reduction of assessment. The reduction in assessment was simply a result of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s reassessment of the property, which takes place for all of property owners every four years.
Ring: The Mayor spent almost $600,000 on Toronto lawyers trying to collect money that the city was statutorily entitled to receive. If you are a resident and you don’t pay your taxes the city seizes your property and sells it to recover 100% of taxes owed.
Millroy: I didn’t address this in my column so I won’t address it here.
Ring: When an assessment decreases, tax rates rise so that same amount of tax is collected.
Millroy: There was more to this item but since it had nothing to do with my column it is another item I won’t address.
Ring: I submitted the Freedom of Information (FOI) request for good reason. The mayor has shown the police chief, fire chief and numerous other senior managers the door. The mayor can tell us how much the city has paid in severance costs, but he is refusing. It is taxpayer money and we have the right to know.
Millroy: The mayor probably can tell us how much severance was paid people who left city employment but the issue I addressed was Ring’s claim that the mayor had blocked the FOI request. A mayor doesn’t have the authority or capability of blocking an FOI request. As well, I believe Ring is inaccurate in saying the mayor showed former police chief Robert Keetch the door.
Ring: I have called for the agenda review committee to be open for councillors to participate, which is a legitimate practice. The agenda committee has complete control over all items that come before council. Since the mayor is the only elected official on the committee, he sets the agenda. He has made a choice to keep councillors from participating.
Millroy: I simply took a quote from Mayor Christian Provenzano that he did not change the process, as Ring had claimed, that the change had actually been made prior to his time in office. I also quoted Deputy CAO/City Clerk Malcolm White as to how and why the change came about.
Ring: Mr. Millroy compares me to Donald Trump and criticizes me for being relatively new to the Sault. Comparing me to Trump is low and unfounded and is clearly intended to scare voters. Criticizing me for being new to the Sault exposes Mr. Millroy as a man who has given in to the old boy’s club and the notion that the current mayor is entitled to the job.
Millroy: I stand by my comparison to Trump, who also doesn’t have a relationship with facts, but I did not criticize Ring for being new to the Sault, I simply said, “ I know he hasn’t been here long so can’t be expected to know all that much about the city, but that doesn’t excuse him for the factual errors he is making.”
And it still doesn’t.