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June 28, 2012


Downtown cleanup only comes to about $400,000 a year, a drop in the bucket compared to the tens of millions that the taxpayer reaps at various levels. And if you think of the nightlife as a village of 10,000 mostly drunk citizens many nights, then it is amazing how little trouble ensues. The "problems" have been exagerated by a few councilors, aided and abetted by a sensationalist press with apparently very little else to write about. Any other medium-sized city in this country would kill for the economic spin-offs from our nightlfe. The only thing I would do different is have the city pay for broken windows.

I agree with almost everything you said Ray. (I'll leave it to you to figure out the part with which I disagree)

I'm just dreaming of a press unfettered by a process that insists that they not comment too negatively about our political masters in return for city advertising dollars. It almost reeks of a master/slave relationship. Maybe Alan Boynton's right wing rag is the answer but I wouldn't know; I have never read it.

It's stunningly ignorant for anyone to think that any sort of reasonable person would even consider plunking down $250K or more on a downtown condo with the nightly party parade all too common in our downtown.

September is an absolute write off when UG students return to town. No sane person wants to be anywhere near these hundreds of drunken jugheads who routinely walk out and challenge passing cars or unfortunate, innocent pedestrians. Sun Sun containers litter the core and surrounding neighbourhoods every Friday and Saturday morning. Sidewalks smell like urine, flowerbeds are trampled and windows are smashed with increasing frequency. Fun times, Ray.

I support Bell. I think the bar owners have gotten off easy. It's time they pay their way if our downtown has any chance of attracting new residents.

Triple-glazed windows mean that the two can co-incide, but who died and made you the boss that deserves to dictate the future of the downtown? Again, it just appears to be bigotry combined with jealousy, and the death of our vibrant nightlife would result in a double-diget increase in property taxes. The streets are pristine by 9 AM, kudos to the downtown cleaners, and I can't recall the last broken window. The police and bar staff are doing a much better job proactively, and any so-called problems are much exagerated. But you and yours would know that if you bothered to come down at night. Why not go to the authorities for actual statistics before spouting off?

Bell is right on here. Too bad the mayor and her rubber-stamp counterparts will likely be a stick in the mud on this issue again as they are in denial about the downtown nightlife isses (which DC pointed out)

Plus Bob Bell's logic is sound: if you want to make downtown Guelph a viable, competitive option for potential residents to buy a condo, you need to fix some of this stuff.

Another idea is to put a per-head tax on university students to help recoup some of the costs associated with the nightlife, for eg the high extra policing costs etc. Its not fair to ask taxpayers writ large pay for this when there is a palpable group responsible for these issues.

Lets let them and the bar owners pay and let the rest of taxpayers off the hook!

I've lived and paid taxes right downtown for 25 years, closer to the action than even Bob is, I have had a downtown business for 20+ years and paid at least $10,000 to repair broken windows, I walk or bike to my store everyday, and I eat and drink downtown by day and by night. I might be one of the biggest experts on the realities of it all, and I believe that my words should carry weight. I have student houses on each side of me, always have had, but I also know that if I choose to live in a University town then there have to be compromises. We take hundreds of millions from the kids in tuition, rent, and groceries, and then try to tell them not to spend their other tens of millions on downtown beer and Sun Suns. And then when we force them to the outskirts we complain about their keggers. Downtown is where they are safest, and where we are safest having them. I hope it continues just like it is.

Bigotry? Jealously? Seriously, Ray? LOL. What a silly comment.

Yes, I am familiar with the downtown. I don't need to "bother to come down at night", I used to live downtown for more than a decade. But like far too many of my neighbours then, I grew tired of the drunks waking me up at 2:30am; finding frozen, discarded takeout tossed on my own, and half the cars along my street; needing to drive all the way around downtown on my way home from friends' because I failed to see the humour in having drunks jump on the hood of my car or them imitating a bull ready to charge me; or my favourite: a half dozen police cruisers congesting out front of my house, breaking up fights, taking away beer bottles, and tossing a few into the backseats.

You may enjoy living that way, Ray. But most people don't. And I highly doubt that the new downtown residential target population would want that either.

So go live somewhere else with their crack-head murders, boarded-up houses, etc. It is really laughable the minor little pissant things this burg complains about, kinda suggests that maybe there are no major problems at all but whiners still have to whine about something anyway.

The reasoning behind giving a bar municipal tax dollars for renovations is that the money will be recovered down the road when the bar's assessment goes up. This ignores the fact that this renovated bar is now going to add to the cost of policing and cleaning up the downtown, two services also paid for with municipal tax dollars.
Once again it's the taxpayer who has to bend over and say ah while another downtown business takes a free ride.
And Ray if there aren't any real problems downtown why is police overtime and a morning cleaning crew even necessary?

You're missing the bigger picture: revenue exceeds expense by at least a factor of 10. And not only are there rarely if ever any major problems, but things are getting better all the time. This is easy to prove statistically, but why bother with facts when everyone from the police to the press to developers benefit from the misinformation being spread. The fact is that, daytime and night, we have the best downtown in the province and if you really want to keep people away then just keep on slamming it.

A factor of 10, then how come my taxes increase while my wage decreases every year?
A factor of 10, I await my municipal refund check with baited breath.

Ray, respectfully, as far as I can tell you are making this out to be an attack on the "kids". I honestly don't think that's what this is about, especially because that's not Councillor Bell's style. The tax dollars you mention - how much of the taxes from alcohol and food vending that is generated as a result of Macdonnel nightlife comes back to Guelph, Ontario from Toronto and Ottawa to help pay for the issues that we have on Macdonnel? We need to look at what means we have at the local level to improve and help pay for this local issue, and if I may say so, that IS Councillor Bell's style.


...another thread, another ignorant comment from 'geo'

Ray is 100% correct. There isn't really a problem that needs solving here. Property damage from bar patrons is rare. The last time it got out of hand was last year's homecoming, and that was partly due to an unprepared and disorganized police presence. They did a much better job on St. Patrick's day and the result was a relatively trouble-free night.
The small cost to taxpayers is less than the benefit we get from having a vital downtown nightlife. Half the businesses on Macdonnel wouldn't exist without the Friday and Saturday night crowds.

Last year, drunken students carried off my neighbours marquee; my building had several cars damaged by idiots running along the roofs; The three student houses near mine throw constant parties. ( in fact, there's one on now ) since I live on Gorden, but outside the "increased police presence", the never ending stream of revelers leaves a trail of filth, including bicycles, park benches and whatnot thrown in the river for amusment. I almost never call anymore, because nothing gets done, so the stats go down. This is NOT the bar's fault. We need to charge these idiots with the criminal offence of causing a public disturbance.

Progress would be made quickly in bringing bar owners downtown (and especially the one guy who owns most of them) to the table for cost sharing, if:

(1) police did a crackdown on underagers in the bars;

(2) handed out tickets for public intoxication to staggering drunks with i.d. and bust staggering drunks without i.d.;


(3) fine and shut down for the night bars which serve the already staggering drunks.

One major weekend sweep on these three points would have an impact on the attention span of the owners and the bartenders and the servers...

The Viggen is right, the Gordon/Stone area suffers greatly from student rowdiness, but that is something that is more a factor of the elimination of Grade 13. Fully half of the University students are too young to drink, so they have to have their fun with house parties in residential areas. The lowering of the drinking age to 18 would help to alleviate that, but don't hold your breath. I live between 2 student houses right behind the Church of Our Lady, and I probably sleep more peacefully than those who live on Scotsdale or Janefield. Ironically, the downtown is probably safer, and it is probably also safer at night than in the daytime.

Ed, fining and shutting down the night bars which serve the already staggering drunks is not likely to happen, since there seems to be a preferential treatment offered to bar owners over other business owners by this administration. And the police also treat these drunken idiots with kid gloves.

Even worse is that the one guy who owns most of the bars (and the most troublesome ones at that) is not even from Guelph himself!

The fact that Stone/Gordon has the problems that the Viggen mentions is all the more reason to come up with a per-head tax on each university student and also one on absentee landlords.

I'm not in favour of arresting anyone just because they're drunk. If they're actively causing a disturbance to others then that's fine, but staggering shouldn't be a crime.
I'm all for making anyone who breaks a window or damages property pay restitution, but that's up to the provincial justice system after they're caught and arrested, and beyond City Hall's scope.
Punishing all students with a 'drunk tax' would be unfair to the ones who aren't responsible for the costs of cleanup and policing.

How much of the Sun Sun etc. garbage is from drinkers? More than 50%, but less than 100. Some is from the under-agers that gather on Mac in front of the Pita Pit. And how much should the food vendors themselves be responsible for? And do the Albion and Woolwich Arms pay the same as Jimmy Jazz or Trapper's?It is all way more complicated than Mr Bell et all let on.

C'mon and take a free ride yeah yeah yeah yeah

As someone who has lived, worked and shopped downtown for most of my time in Guelph, my view is one of shared responsibility for keeping the downtown clean and safe. After all, the bars are the businesses that are thriving the best downtown. There are other reasons that people come downtown. There's nothing wrong with shared responsibility. Why not support a diversity?

I have a better idea. Why don't they tax all the fat people and then compel them to run on a big treadmill to generate cheap electricity for the rest of us.

The problem with Pickersgill and by extension the Trib itself is that both are unabashed Farbridge-boosters, and there is no editorial comment coming from the other side. The Merc isn't much better, they fired their only right-wing columnist. It leaves a huge void in the local media, and appears to be tied-in to municipal advertising purchasing. It seems pretty difficult to come up with any other logical explanation for such a one-sided disparity. And Pickergill was blaming the victims for lack of customer support when the real reason is lack of parking.

Actually Ray, they probably fired him because he never actually had any facts to base his stories on, kind of like your comments. Just a loud mouth spouting their ignorance. Also there isn't a parking shortage downtown, there are several hundred spots open at any time. There is only a shortage of spots within 10ft of the store people want to go to, a similar issue to any other city in the world.

The difference between Pickersgill and you and I, however, and it's a big one, is that he gets paid for his opinions. It is probably the only similarity that you and I share, however, for sure only one of us is man enough not to hide behind an alias.

Not to nitpick, Ray ... but your moniker here is actually closer to an alias than johny's. His is a real name, yours is an advertisement for your store.

Of course we all know who you are, Ray ... but it's unfair to say johny isn't "man enough" because he chooses not to publish his full name, address, telephone and SIN#.

Besides, we've already gone over this issue, many times, and I thought most of us came to the conclusion that what is posted is more important that how it is signed.

Mr Barker asked the hard questions and did not accept stock answers from this administration. That's what made him an excellent investigative reporter. Aside from Scott Tracey his reporting was the only thing of value in the Merc.
You can crawl back under Farbridge's desk now.


This Gerry Barker being discussed right?

He wasn't hired as an investigative reporter, he never claimed to be an investigative reporter (that I can recall) and his column never reported any breaking news.

Gerry Barker wrote an opinion column. Sometimes entertaining, but never investigative.

Mr Barker can still be found grumbling and complaining about all things government and public on his blog for those who enjoy the demented ramblings of an overprivileged coot. He still doesn't offer facts or viable alternatives, however.

An igneous rock is a viable alternative to an administration that would give, that's right, give, not lend an individual downtown bar owner $400,000.
That has to be the last straw to anyone who pays attention!


I'm not following you... in the past you've been a supporter and proponent of corporate welfare. You've suggested that it's how things are done these days to create employment.

What's the problem here?


So would you prefer if the Dip was not fixed up and continued paying the current lower level of property tax, which is based on its assessment?
I think it makes more sense for the city to encourage owners of rundown properties to fix them up by essentially giving them a break on the higher post-development taxes, which is all these programs do.
We have a story in today's paper in which the mayor expresses her frustration over people's lack of understanding of these programs.

The mayor can't understand? You got that right.

She can't understand how some of us can't see the fairness or equity in giving that amount of money, in these tough times, to some businesses and not others.

She can't see how some of us have issues with her giving hard earned taxpayer's money to bar owners.

She can't see this kind of thing, because she doesn't care to. Its her way - or the highway.

There's no money being given, Ernie. It's a temporary tax break on the future tax burden caused by property improvements...improvements that the city considers beneficial to revitalizing the downtown core. It's one of the ways a government can encourage targeted private investment.

Yes, what Steve said.
If I said to you, "Ernie, I will give you 10 dollars if you give me 50 first," you couldn't well argue I am simply giving you 10 dollars. Rather, the 10 dollars I am promising you is an investment intended to drive that other $40 coming my way.
Using my example, these programs would see the city recognizing the additional $40 in annual property taxes (the $50 due less the $10 promised) for a set period of time, and then the full $50 increase annually after that.
And, again using my example, if the developer never comes up with the $50 then the city never hands over the $10.

Scott - are you saying the City will increase their revenue by $40 in your example?

Technically it would increase its revenue by $40 until the end of the grant period (probably 10 years) and then the increase would go up to $50 because the city would not be granting some portion of the increase back to the property owner.
I think the important thing to keep in mind is that if the property does not increase in assessed value after the redevelopment, the owner does not get the grant.
Maybe thinking of these programs as investments rather than grants would be helpful?

There is a zero increase in revenue to the City. When someone obtains a building permit to renovate their property (commercial or residential), MPAC will likely come in and increase their assessed value. This generally means they will pay more in property taxes than they did the year before but it is revenue neutral to the City - all things being equal, this increase would result in a decrease in the tax collected from everyone else. In Scott's example the City does not have $40 more to spend each year.

When the rest of us put an addition on, build a deck, finish a basement or build a garage, our individual tax bill goes up. I don't agree with the system but it is what it is. What we are being asked to do is allow the Diplomat (or any other downtown establishment) to be exempt from the rules that apply to everyone who lives outside of the downtown.

When you start to apply tax rules differently, based solely on geography, it creates resentment and conflict.

There's no public benefit to a resident building a deck or garage addition. The city believes there's a public benefit to improving the Diplomat. You can agree with their view or not, but this isn't based solely on geography.
By your own explanation, Pat, you've concluded that the improvements to the Dip would "result in a decrease in the tax collected from everyone else". If that's the case, then why would this program create resentment and conflict?

The City currently believes that emptying our piggy bank over the downtown to the exclusion of the rest of the City is fair. I disagree. The people in the east end would love to see the City throwing money at developers to build what is otherwise not being built.

My point is that property tax rules should be consistent. The person who is putting an addition on their house on Edinburgh Rd will see his assessment increase immediately as well as his corresponding tax bill. The impact on the tax base is exactly the same except he does not enjoy the preferential treatment that someone in the downtown will receive. That's what creates conflict.

Perhaps I'm being a little dense about this but how many tax incentives do Tricar need to build their condo tower?

It would seem that as they (Tricar) started work before they received council's blessing that they are pretty keen to get this building up yet the city seems now to want to give them even more tax breaks (sorry, tax-based grants).


My impression was that once the donkey is clearly doing what you want it to do, you'd quit offering the carrot otherwise you'd soon end up with no carrots to do anything else with.

I can't help feeling that the city is playing favourites with this development.

Enlightenment, anyone?

Thanks for the link, Jan. I guess the bottom line here is they applied to a program as anyone else would and according to the program requirements qualify for it.

Only, after locating basically everything we can in the downtown (surprised Guelph Hydro wasn't located in the Fountain St. lot), the market still requires these incentives.

Let's cut through the fog regarding the return on public spending on downtown capital projects.

I'm guessing the tens of millions that are being spent and still stand to be spent in that node are out of scale with the increase in assessments we should ever hope to see from them.

But then again, we're supposedly only working towards making it a more pleasant place.

Whatever that means.


Jan - I don't think people are paying attention to what is going on with these grants. We just gave $1.5 million to the Market Commons development. I went to the council meeting when they approved this. The land was purchased 18 months prior. Selling began in the fall of 2011. Two thirds of the units had been pre sold. The major downtown activation program was approved in April 2012. One month later we gave the developer $1.5 million. I have no idea why we would do this for a development that was already happening. Now Tricar..... These grants are even worse than the Diplomat. The incremental assessed value represents real costs that the rest of the tax base will have to cover (i.e. real costs associated increased housing units - not simply a renovation). Can you imagine the screaming that would happen if we gave Reids Heritage a multi-million dollar grant for developing Westminster Woods.....

(My post above is meant to be read in two parts. Grants, then cap projects.)

If a business renovation will increase its assessed value, then that represents increased tax revenue from that business for 10, 20, 30 years or more. If giving them a break on the first five years of tax increases motivates them to go ahead with the renovation then it's a net positive for the city. That doesn't even include the secondary benefits of having another viable business downtown drawing people to spend at neighboring businesses.
As for the Tricar situation...the grant program wasn't specifically designed for them and they would have gone ahead without it, but they qualified so they applied and were approved. If you bought an item you liked and only later found out it was tax deductible, wouldn't you claim the deduction?
Pat...I agree about the East end and would fully support a grant program to spur development in that area, too.

Pat - ouch. Thanks for the background. Steve, I have to disagree with you on the Tricar situation, if it is a case of them going for a market incentive that wasn't in place when they proceeded with their project risk and investment.

The other thing to remember is Tricar came into Guelph knowing full-well that these grant programs were in place and that there was a better-than-even chance they would qualify for one or more of them.
Sure they took a bit of a gamble by launching into the project before the grants had been approved, but at the same time I'm sure all signs from the city were pointing to Yes.

Putting a per-head tax on university students would be awful. There are enough university students, myself included, who do not consume a drop of alcohol or spend a single night of any year downtown, at a houseparty, or destroying any of my fellow Guelphites' property. If you're going to tax anyone, tax the establishments and start seriously cracking down on drunk in public, underage drinking, noise ordinance violations, vandalism, etc. Shut down houseparties. Fine the absentee landlords who allow these ridiculous parties.

I will add that I am born, raised and receiving my education in Guelph. We can maintain a nightlife while still finding some sort of balance. At present, there are too many issues stemming from both Friday/Saturday night chaos downtown and houseparties in the suburbs.

I don't frequent downtown bars or any other business's down there for that matter(except for my doctor, though myself and her other patients are thinking of taking up a collection to help her move, but I digress) but I pay through the nose for them.
It's nice to hear from a student, born and raised in Guelph, on this issue and I would encourage any other U of Goo students who have opinions on this matter to post them here here.

Scott - Perhaps my understanding of the timeline is incorrect. Do you know when Tricar first put their offer to purchase the land and when they submitted their development application to city? Also when was the grant program first announced and then subsequently approved by council?


I would prefer if the dip was fixed up by the people who own it, or don't fix it up. I, like the vast majority of Guelphites could care less. You do your thing and I'll do mine.
The problems arise when your (the cities) thing is making it impossible for me (the average citizen) to do my thing because my municipal tax rate has become punitive.
Take a look at the other two levels of government and where their headed as far as taxation policies go and then ask yourself why Guelph isn't getting with the program?
I along with alot of other Guelphites has had my financial ass kicked since 2008 and I'm just trying to get back to where I used to be. I'm not going to just sit by idylly while this arrogant ignorant administration which refuses to acknowledge economic hard times continues to squander my money on asinine projects that will only grow more expensive as time goes by.

Scott - I think the grant program needs to be better understood.

You said "The other thing to remember is Tricar came into Guelph knowing full-well that these grant programs were in place"

I would appreciate if you would recap the timeline on this so we all understand.

A brand new city hall (the big box on carden street) so all the staff can work together under one roof. A great big new shiny museum (the big box on the hill) so that people will come from miles around and spend gobs of money here while looking at old farm implements. A giant compostor (the big box that stinks to high heaven) in the east end so that we can deal with Guelph's garbage and everyone else's too while rolling in the money were gonna make selling compost.
It's all built, there is no going back and the money should be pouring in now so please demonstrate the success of these projects and lower my municipal taxes.

I was at the the very poorly attended public meeting last year about the minor and major downtown activation grants. Only 3 people attended that meeting. The "stakeholders" who stood to receive the funding were not there. City staff indicated that the both the Market Square and Tricar were "waiting" for the grants process to be appoved by Council. They weren't at the meeting because they already had their consultation and they knew that that the approval of these activation grants was a sure thing. Wouldn't you be happy if you knew you could redevelop your property and get a tax rebate back for up to 30% of the cost of construction. If this isn't the gravy train I don't know how else you can describe it.

Scott you indicated that "Technically it would increase its revenue by $40 until the end of the grant period (probably 10 years) and then the increase would go up to $50 because the city would not be granting some portion of the increase back to the property owner."

Correct me if I am am wrong, but once the building is built the property tax assessment goes up right away when MPAC reassesses the property. So, for example, if Tricar is in the ground in the next 2 years, their tax assessment would not increase until after the ten year period. So for the the next 10 years after building the cost of the Tricar tax holiday will be borne by all the other ratepayers. The city has already admitted to this, that our taxes will go up for the next 5 year tax period to pay for the downtown redevelopment.

Is there anyone on this list who really believes that when this new tax revenue rolls in after the ten year grace period that our property taxes will actually go down becuase we have all this these new tax dollars flowing into the city coffers???? Remember, CN Watson in the their report on the costs of growth has already indicated in their report to city council that the costs of growth on average will be 4.5-5% a year on your property taxes. More people=more services= increases in property taxes.

Scott also said: I think the important thing to keep in mind is that if the property does not increase in assessed value after the redevelopment, the owner does not get the grant. My question- how can it not go up?

"Remember, CN Watson in the their report on the costs of growth has already indicated in their report to city council that the costs of growth on average will be 4.5-5% a year on your property taxes. More people=more services= increases in property taxes"

Laura, you bring up a good point here, but I think your addition of the word "your" in front of "property taxes" is misleading. Growth will increase overall tax revenue, but growth also adds more taxpayers to the pool so individual taxes won't change much due to growth.
As for the development "grants", I wish they had given them a different name because it sounds like we're giving a bunch of cash up-front to these developers, which we're not. The city is very limited in its ability to direct targeted development growth and urban planning strategies. Tax deferrals are very useful for allowing our elected representatives to implement good growth strategies, as opposed to developers with no long-term stake in Guelph's future.

Steve I suggest that you read the CN Watson report on the costs of growth. They are very real and not fully recoverable by the increases in taxes collected as growth occurs. Actually, there was supposed to be a followup report in 2009 or 2010 but none has been forthcoming.

For instance- each new development that is built in Guelph costs existing taxpayers because the city cannot collect 100% of development charges . There is a 10% discount that cannot be charged back to developers by provincial law. Thank the Mike Harris government for this. Such items as waste management are not covered by development charges.

If all this growth is residential it will never be tax revenue neutral. Read the CN Watson report. Better yet ask your Ward councillors if they have read this report. Ask if the followup report on the cost of growth from CN Watson was completed and if so when? Did it ever come back to council so they could make informed decsions on the costs of growth?

Yes, this year's growth costs are borne by this year's taxpayers, and the benefits of the tax base increase don't come for several years. I get that, but there's nothing we can do about it except stop growing, and we're not allowed to do that.
It's like investing in home insulation and energy efficiency (also subject to tax "grants", by the way). You pay now but eventually the benefits catch up and make the expense worthwhile.

I just googled the CN Watson report and all i got was something from 2005, is that what you are referring to? Its almost 8 yrs old.

from many comments ago, @disaray, my name is John, sorry if i mislead you by saying I'm johny, that's the name i've gone for many years. I take offense to you saying I'm not "man" enough while you hide behind your business name. If you don't like my opinion, that's fine, but step up and provide some facts to support your claims.

There are at least 4 Ray Mitchells in town, perish the thought, but only one Dis-a-Ray, so it is actually less-anonymous. I used to be "Thrifty" 'til they razed my thrift store so, sorry, "Johnny", but still no stones.

sorry that my stones aren't big enough for you Ray, but it's about time someone called you on your BS. Your're just an internet troll who thinks they're important because you found a platform that let's you say what you want, regardless of whether you can base it on any actual facts.

It is clear to the rest of us that Dis-array is Ray Mitchell who ran for Mayor in the last Guelph election.
You claim that he provides no facts and is "just an internet troll". If you put your bias aside then you would see that Ray actually makes some very good points and that he understands the Civic Governance as "conducted by the Mayor and her loyal followers" and challenges it.
And how do you respond? By claiming that he is full of BS and on an ego trip, you show exactly what a meanspirited pereson you are.
Believe me this City can use more Ray Mitchell's and less "Johny" on the spots.

No doubt, Serious, Ray does contribute quite worthwhile posts here. he challenges the status quo and provides a great deal of first hand insight into the goings-on in the downtown core.

He's also a bully. Asserting that someone is "not man enough" because they choose not to print their full name is something an immature 12yo would say in a schoolyard. His original fight with johny had nothing to do with content and everything to do with an obvious attempt to discredit johny because he didnt sign his full name.

Ray, we've been over this many times. Your continued droning that others here use their initials or just a first name is without merit. I see that Jan Hall seems to have gotten over her previous, similar insistence on full identification of each poster and instead is replying to content. You should get over it too, Ray, and stop with these childish swipes at someone's masculinity.

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Joanne Shuttleworth is the newsroom lead in municipal affairs coverage for the Guelph Mercury. She is a former Guelph YWCA Woman of Distinction honouree and a past winner of an Ontario Newspapers Award for her work as an editor. You can reach her at jshuttleworth@guelphmercury.com

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