While we are all engaged with combating the current wave of omicron infections, another fight is going on in the political arena at Richmond Hill, Ontario.
Richmond Hill, not to be confused with Richmond in Vancouver, is the York Region's third most populous municipality and the 28th most populous municipality in Canada. With a population of over two hundred thousand (200,000), it attained the status of a “City” in March 2019.
烈治文山市市议会有9名成员：市长、两名约克区议员和六名市议员。市长巴罗 (Dave Barrow) 接受医生建议，在2021年2月24日的市议会会议上提出动议，请求长期休病假，市议会同意他的请求。第二天，两位副市长之一的约克区议员迪保拉（Joe DiPaola）被任命为“代理市长”。
The City of Richmond Hill has a City Council with the composition of nine members. A mayor, two York Regional Councillors, and six ward councillors. Mayor Dave Barrow requested a medical leave of absence for an indefinite period following his doctor's advice at a Feb. 24 council meeting. This came in the form of a motion, and it was approved by council members. Subsequently, York Regional Councillor Joe DiPaola (one of the two Deputy mayors) was designated the “acting mayor” the very next day.
9月8日，在市长休病假六个月后，烈治文山市议会召开特别会议，以5票同意，4票反对，通过了市长巴罗提出的动议，将两名副市长减成一名。在此之前，区议员迪保拉 (Joe DiPaola) 和佩雷利 (Carmine Perrelli) 都是副市长。这是市长巴罗作为民选官员参加的最后一次市议会会议。结果此次会议以争执、大喊大闹而告终，且一半的烈治文山市议员都成了他的政敌。
On Sept 8, six months after the mayor’s medical leave, Richmond Hill council passed a member motion by Mayor Dave Barrow (5 to 4) to downsize one of the city's two deputy mayors at a special council meeting. Previously, regional councillors Joe DiPaola and Carmine Perrelli had both been serving as Richmond Hill's deputy mayors. Mayor Dave Barrow’s last council meeting as an elected official ended with arguing, yelling and half the Richmond Hill councillors walking out on him.
那场市议会风暴后的一周，巴罗 (Dave Barrow) 下台。从此之后，市议会瘫痪，因为在大多数情况下，票数相等的两个阵营无法达成共识，而起决定性的那一票却空着。正因为如此，许多如福利房政策、下一次市选是否全部改为网上投票等重要政策无法投票通过和执行。
Dave Barrow stepped down a week after that stormy meeting. After that, the Council became dysfunctional as the members fell into two different and equal camps in numbers on most occasions without a ninth member to cast the deciding votes. Things came to a halt on many occasions with the politicians failing to approve important items such as an affordable housing strategy and online voting options for the next election.
Under the municipal act, council is required to fill the vacancy in the mayor's office within 60 days, by either appointing a qualified individual or passing a bylaw for a byelection. A special meeting was called to make that decision on Sept 29. It ended up in a raucous five-hour session filled with yelling, insults, and constant interruptions. Many residents support the appointment process because it is costless, and in fact a general municipal election is due next October 2022. The estimated price tag for a byelection would be between $575,000 and $625,000.
If it is a tie vote in an appointment motion, which is highly likely to happen with the way the council members behave, the new mayor gets appointed by the city clerk, who draws a name from a hat. We can all see how undemocratic and disappointing to the residents if this will happen by the luck of a draw!
Council eventually voted 5-3 to hold a byelection next year with an online voting option. The by-election is to be held on January 24, 2022. The deadline for candidate nominations was December 10, 2021. Nine (9) candidates threw their hat into the ring and four of them are council members.
这9人是，Joe DiPaola（代理市长）、Carmine Perrelli（约克区议员）、David West（第4选区市议员）、Godwin Chan（第6选区市议员）、Susan Korman、Rona Wang、Ruida Tian、Juni Yeung和Michael Zambakkides。
They are Joe DiPaola (Acting Mayor), Carmine Perrelli (York Regional Councillor), David West (Ward 4 councillor), Godwin Chan (Ward 6 Councillor), Susan Korman, Rona Wang, Ruida Tian, Juni Yeung, and Michael Zambakkides.
Next time, we will investigate the candidates’ backgrounds and the debates they will be involved in during this noticeably short campaign.
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