Rick Chiarelli is getting a rough ride at City Hall. The Liberal-turned-Conservative career politician was never a favourite of Jim Watson. And things are going downhill. He got slapped down for his rename-everything-after-political-cronies idea and another RC pet project was dumped today.
Last election the big swinging finger threw in his lot with Larry O’Brien in order to please Harper Government strategists and right-wing College ward voters. In Bells Corners his canvassing/lawn sign team (Harry Splatt, family members and Chiarelli fartcatchers*) distributed O’Brien literature bundled with taxpayer-funded RC propaganda. Anyone who went for a Larry sign could usually be convinced to take a Rick sign as well.
Mistake! Larry got plastered and the new Watson slate around the council table is NOT Rick-friendly.
His latest slapped-down idea was featured in the Sun today. Chiarelli, who likes to refer to himself as Mr. Gadget (the taxpayer provides him with all the latest cool toys), wanted the taxpayer to continue to fund his pet project, a ‘Chiarelli card’ that would replace your bus pass and library card. The idea has been kicked around at council for ten years with RC as its champion.
Rick won council support last year to keep spending money on his pipe dream, but Larry was turfed and Chiarelli no longer sits on the technology committee, which is dominated by Watson fellow travelers.
Chiarelli says he’s “shocked” that the city axed the $250,000 previously set aside in this year’s budget for his latest boondoggle. I guess he figures that it’s only a lousy quarter-million tax dollars, just chump change in the $3 billion dollar budget.
City staff also dumped on the thinking behind the Chiarelli card. Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney, chair of the IT committee, dismissed Chiarelli’s idea as being out of date.
“It was a visionary thing back then, but the vision has changed,” he said. Here’s a photo of Tierney gloating while RC fumes in the background.
Coun. Rick Chiarelli, right, wants $250,000 added back into the city budget to develop a smart card for everything from parking to bus fares, but Coun. Tim Tierney says there may be other, better technologies out there. photo Darren Brown, Sun
Poor guy, he’s criticized for rewarding his friends, his banners are booed and his wacky Lloyd Francis idea is NOT popular in the community. But the BIA executive, which includes Chiarelli and a Lloyd Francis son, loves the idea, so it may yet come to pass.
* Sorry for using such a vulgar word – I couldn’t resist after seeing the term defined in this month’s Ottawa magazine as an example of our unique Ottawa lexicon.
fartcatchers = political aides/staff members with nebulous titles who spend most of their time trailing behind big swinging appendage politicians waiting for orders
If you want to be a politician and get those huge pensions and salaries, the best route is to put in your time as a fartcatcher.
Politicians who have paid their dues as fartcatchers include Stephen Harper, Pierre Poilièvre (for Stockwell Day), Lisa MacLeod, John Baird (for Rick Chiarelli), Alex Lewis (for Rick Chiarelli), Nancy Cairns (for Rick Chiarelli) and Mike Patton (for Rick Chiarelli). RC can hire a lot of fartcatchers for $234,000 a year!