Competing to be Cobourg’s Mayor

At the 2018 election, John Henderson was acclaimed – he became Mayor with no-one running against him. This time, voters can choose John or local entrepreneur Lucas Cleveland. Six years ago, Lucas visited Cobourg and fell in love with it. He and his wife opened Market and Smor and it has proved successful. It is now run by managers so Lucas can devote all his time to being a mayor. In his early forties, with no political experience, he is a very different candidate to John Henderson who is a retired school principal. Lucas has now published his web site and campaign so we can get more detail of what he offers. The difference between the campaigns of John and Lucas as gleaned from their web sites is that John wants to continue with the current direction of Council and Lucas wants to lead the Team (Council, Staff and community) to achieve Cobourg’s potential.

Both John and Lucas have detailed their vision in their web sites and both are worth looking at – see Resources below. Both describe something of their personal experiences and qualifications for the job – the short version of this is that John has been working as a politician (recently as Mayor!) while Lucas has been working in business with a strong emphasis on team building.  Both have long descriptions of where they want to go – John calls it his plan and Lucas calls it his vision.  At the risk of leaving out significant items, let me list their highlights.

John Henderson – selected highlights

John Henderson
John Henderson
  • Extensive experience on Council (12 years), boards & committees (10) and community groups (5)
  • Quoting from Council’s Strategic Plan (download link is in Resources below), Key Areas of Focus:
    • People – Affordable & Alternative Housing;
    • Places – Climate Change & Sustainability;
    • Partnerships – 5G Broadband & IT Integration;
    • Programs – Youth Engagement;
    • Prosperity – Business Continuity Planning.
  • Will work with Council and other organizations to continue work on
    • Affordable and Rental Housing
    • Accessibility
    • Climate Change action
    • Transit
  • Community Engagement: Appoint a Transformation Manager to lead and enhance Cobourg’s service delivery model.
  • Town Council Governance: explore shifting to Standing Committees and a Regular Council system, similar to how Northumberland County and other similar-sized municipalities operate.
  • Develop an economic development plan.

John’s list is long and detailed – the above are my selected highlights.  There’s more detail in the Cobourg News Blog article published when John announced that he was running.

In contrast, Lucas talks about his vision then lists exactly what that means for Cobourg.

Lucas Cleveland
Lucas Cleveland

Lucas Cleveland – Vision summary

  • Town Hall works with the Community; staff welcomes additional training, support and feedback to allow them to reach their full potential; a council that is led from a place of accountability and transparency by focusing on teamwork and all that it entails, by working to switch the mindset in town hall and in the community to progress over perfection. This way, we can start the process of becoming the best place to live in Canada for everyone here.
  • I will always approach deciding on the agenda and how I vote in council through the lens of “will this help to make Cobourg the best place to live for its residents?”
  • I have a vision where we all work together to unlock Cobourg’s potential for each one of  us.

Cobourg, a place where….
(Selected highlights)

City Hall

  • is efficient and able to make decisions, without a consultant and then be willing and able to pivot and adapt if and when the situation changes.
  • strives for a culture of excellence and outstanding customer service through the use of KPI’s, job descriptions, and modern and proven management tools.
  • focuses its time, resources and efforts on the priorities that matter to the majority of those in Cobourg and wastes no time on the things it cannot control or that are of interest to small and vocal minority.

Families

  • can afford a home and still have money left to live a quality life
  • have varied and well paying job prospects for themselves, and their teenagers and young adult children across a variety of industries in and around town
  • have access to viable transportation options to and from Toronto and around the community.
  • who have a members of their own family struggling with mental health or addictions can count on their community to lend a helping hand.

Seniors

  • feel like the town cares as much about their concerns as they do attracting tourists and manufacturing jobs.
  • have access to a wide variety of transportation solutions and living arrangements based on needs
  • are able to contribute to the governance of the town through a registry of qualified residents.

Major Projects

  • are broken down into smaller more easily managed steps to ensure we can correct course as the situation and town needs change.
  • are handled by the staff in town as much as possible to ensure that our team in town hall is building upon their skill sets
  • are approached from a new perspective focusing  on progress over perfection.

Businesses

  • are treated as the economic drivers they are in the community and welcomed and encouraged in both words and action including the reduction of red tape and bureaucratic time wasting.
  • of all kinds are incentivized to move to town and not just manufacturing jobs.

Listed above are selected highlights – be sure to visit Lucas’s web site.

There will likely be additional information from both Candidates – stay tuned.  Voting starts October 10.

Resources

Print Article: 

 

56 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Audrey
12 September 2022 6:39 pm

Anyone with the foresight(key word) to know that downtown Cobourg NEEDED a place to buy fresh food and who, along with his wife, tapped into that market and expanded it – and are doing so with good cheer and greetings for everyone – is well worth considering. And while he may not yet have expanded his platform to include climate change, he is an environmentalist. There is zero waste at that market. They use everything. Don’t want your carrot greens? No problem. They will be donated to farmers to feed the animals.  Let’s give him a chance. I know beyond a doubt that he loves this town. Lucas for Mayor. I want a sign.  

Last edited 18 days ago by Audrey
Kenn
10 September 2022 6:42 pm

Cobourg is in the midst of a a major demographic change, youth, children, new expectations from their community. Thye last thing we all want is a mayor and council, immersed in old thinking.
NINETY ONE thousand for consultants to find new ways to fleece the tax payers, those are the ones who pay all the costs of services they receive.
Time to replace the Mayor, and have councillors who can encourage the new potential growth of our beloved Cobourg.

Beachwalker
10 September 2022 4:41 pm

He doesn’t need to promote his business.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Beachwalker
10 September 2022 9:48 pm

You’re right, he doesn’t need to promote his highly successful business. It’s promoted by hundreds of very satisfied customers, perhaps a thousand or two customers.

Concerned Cobourg Resident
10 September 2022 8:42 am

Lucas uses a lot of fluffy rhetoric. It is obvious that he is using this opportunity to promote his business. I question his motives.

In addition, he is appealing to the mass voter with his promises of a utopian paradise to all, whether it be for seniors or the business owner, rather than by leading with principle – just more of the same.You have to be a sucker to fall for that!

What this actually means is that if Lucas is elected, there will be endless meeting to try get both sides of the aisle on the same page, then more money will be spent on useless social programs yet again, paid for by yours truly the tax payer.

As a double major in philosophy, he should understand, or pretend to understand that policies of freedom (the right) are antithetical to policies of safety (the left). The two are mutually exclusive and can never be intermingled successfully. Many have tried and have just spent taxpayer dollars.

What Cobourg needs is less government and a massive decrease in taxes, beaurocracy, and idiocracy. We, the citizens, don’t need “mother government” to plan our lives, and spend our money. We are more than capable to decide what we need, and who we want to help.

CCR

Last edited 20 days ago by Concerned Cobourg Resident
Cobourg taxpayer
9 September 2022 4:10 pm

John Henderson has had his kick at the can, time to go. Lucas Cleveland has fresh ideas, I like the idea of all parties working as a team but most importantly he is a business man. I feel more sensible monetary decisions can be made by some one from the private sector. The staff at his shop are so pleasant and helpful. Perhaps he can get Cobourg town staff to act pleasantly and helpful as well. Lucas Cleveland has my vote.

beach lover
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
10 September 2022 8:33 am

I like Lucas Cleveland’s fresh approach but wish he had made mention of the environment, sustainability and climate change in his vision statement.

Concerned Cobourg Resident
Reply to  beach lover
10 September 2022 9:07 am

Beach Lover,

Just because the United Nations says all governing bodies should be concerned about these things, doesn’t mean that it is an imperative and must be.

If you are concerned about the environment, sustainability and climate change, then you be you. Everyone else is free to participate or not to participate in certain programs.

The role of government should not be to force its citizens through coercion and taxes to support programs it thinks will benefit all. Governments should only be concerned with defending private property rights and human rights.

Everything else is just expensive utopian fluff, which only strengthens and benefits the state – the logical endpoint to this is totalitarianism.

Lucas should know this as a double major in philosophy and political science.

CCR.

Concerned
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
10 September 2022 4:07 pm

So a small business owner lead a 60m dollar corporation with no political experience. Maybe he should have run for council first. To trust someone with zero experience in politics and municipal government is a disaster waiting to happen. Great the people in his business are nice the complexities of municipal government are much different.

Ken
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
10 September 2022 4:21 pm

HERE….HERE…. I agree!

ben
9 September 2022 1:56 pm

If Mr Cleveland believes that Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are to be used in measuring the Town’s activities then he should publish his KPIs against all of his aims. Then we all know how he intends to transform election statements into concrete action.

Bryan
Reply to  ben
9 September 2022 2:30 pm

Ben,
Interesting idea.
Of course, you would require John Henderson to do the same

ben
Reply to  Bryan
9 September 2022 4:45 pm

Absolutely but The Mayor doesn’t talk about those specifics.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
9 September 2022 4:59 pm

Ben, is not talking about KPIs because John is reluctant to have his performance measured or because he doesn’t believe in using modern management tools?

Bryan
Reply to  ben
10 September 2022 10:12 am

Ben,
You wrote “…The Mayor doesn’t talk about those specifics….”. John Henderson doesn’t talk about any specifics, and that is a serious problem.

Rob
Reply to  ben
9 September 2022 4:22 pm

Ben – I suspect KPI’s will be developed in cooperation with Municipal management for each specific department or area. After all, his vision appears to be establishing a high performance team – no sense anchoring the conversation before even elected. Looks like John is attempting to align himself with DM candidate Nic Bea.

Mayoral race should favour Mr. Cleveland – certainly most in this blog should see him as the leading contender.

ben
Reply to  Rob
9 September 2022 4:45 pm

Just remember that this blog membership seems to trend one way, there is another way!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
9 September 2022 5:00 pm

Sadly, Ben!

Leweez
Reply to  Rob
9 September 2022 5:07 pm

John Henderson will win, in a landslide, and by a landslide I mean a thousand votes.
Not that Henderson is who I want but just my opinion🤷‍♂️Any one want to wager?

Bryan
Reply to  Leweez
9 September 2022 5:16 pm

Leweez,

Then get out there and promote Lucas. The best endorsement usually comes from someone you know. Word of mouth is powerful.

Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
9 September 2022 6:16 pm

Can’t promote someone I don’t really know, other than I like the veggies he sells

Bryan
Reply to  Leweez
9 September 2022 8:25 pm

Leweez,
Then go and meet the chap. You’ll be impressed.
Anyone who can start a business from zero in downtown Cobourg, get to $3M+ in a few years and employ 30+ staff has to be doing something right. I believe that M&S is the largest employer in the downtown area, except for the Town. Customer service at M&S is also very good. Well above the Cobourg norm.

All of this speaks to Lucas’ ability to get it done. He’s a doer.

Last edited 21 days ago by Bryan
Hhmmm
Reply to  Bryan
9 September 2022 10:57 pm

$3M/year? Out of Market + Smor? That doesn’t seem correct. They are open approximately 300 days/year. That’s $10,000/day. More than $1,000/hour? It’s not THAT busy and the building isn’t that big. It’s expensive, but most produce is these days. That doesn’t really matter to me, though. He didn’t offer that information, so I’m not sure that’s anyone’s business, anyway. Something else that makes me scratch my head is, if you’re that successful and make such good business decisions, why not buy the building, or a building to operate the business in? Most successful entrepreneurs rely on their building as their retirement fund. A doer? We’re three weeks into the campaign. Building on what Ben said – there is lots of talk about people management, but what about an actual plan? Why is it all on Leweez to seek out someone who needs the vote, to learn about them? Seems a little backward to me. Customer service way above the Cobourg norm? Spark, All Creatures, Green Canoe, Sommerville’s, Chesler’s, Ferreri, Bra Boutique, Nessie’s – just off the top of my head. Excellent, personalized service. Who is setting this norm? After reading the website, does Lucas consider Cobourg a town or a city? There’s a difference, I think. It’s wonderful that he would like Cobourg to be the best place in Canada to live, but, take a look around. How? Where do you start? What does the best place to live in Canada offer its residents? I’ve read everyone’s websites. I commend the candidates who have put themselves out there. The opinion I have formed so far about both Nicole and Lucas’ sites is: wonderfully idealistic. Realistic? Not convinced because the solutions are generally left out. We have a limited budget and expensive problems. I’m not convinced that either of them has… Read more »

Bryan
Reply to  Hhmmm
9 September 2022 11:22 pm

Hhmmm,

$3M. Easy. Brick & mortar and online. With a staff of 30+, consider what sales has to be to pay product cost, wages, rent, utilities and other overhead. As a former financial controller, it’s an easy calculation for me.

I would really appreciate your comments on John Henderson.
What specifics does he offer?
What plan?
Are Henderson’s offerings realistic?
How well did he fulfill his 2018 election promises?
What has Henderson done to make Cobourg better?

Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
11 September 2022 2:06 pm

I think Hhmmm might be on to something. $10 grand per day, every day, seems like a lot for a small produce store.
How many years did he/they run the beach canteen? Yet they couldn’t even generate enough profit to pay our town the 50% cut they promised. Heck, we even paid the HST on their rent for them.
As a former financial controller, can you estimate what their gross sales were?
When M&S declare they generate $3M in annual sales, then I might believe that figure.

Bryan
Reply to  Frenchy
11 September 2022 2:43 pm

Frenchy,

My understanding is that they were to pay the greater of $20K or 50% of profits. If they didn’t pay the minimum $20K why were they allowed to continue in the 2nd year?
How do you know that the Town “paid” the HST on their rent?
Was this disclosed at Council?

Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
11 September 2022 3:58 pm

“My understanding is that they were to pay the greater of $20K or 50% of profits.”

I don’t think we ever saw the minimum $20K per year.

“If they didn’t pay the minimum $20K why were they allowed to continue in the 2nd year?”

Who knows? Ask Dean Hustwick or Ian Davey.

“How do you know that the Town “paid” the HST on their rent?”

Ian Davey told me.

Frenchy
Reply to  Frenchy
11 September 2022 10:09 pm

Bryan?
Crickets?

Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
11 September 2022 10:10 pm

“Was this disclosed at Council?”

Doubt it.

Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
11 September 2022 11:23 pm

I ask again:
As a former financial controller, can you estimate what their (canteen) gross sales were?

Last edited 19 days ago by Frenchy
Bryan
Reply to  Frenchy
12 September 2022 7:57 pm

Frenchy,
I could if I knew the number of Canteen employees and if I could find relevant industry metrics.

That aside, I’m not interested in the task. It serves no purpose.

You note that Ian told you the Town “paid” the HST on the Canteen rent. Did he tell you how much? From that you can calculate how much “rent” was paid.

Beyond that, it would be necessary to examine the agreement between the Town and the “Canteen” and the transactions between the two parties before making any assessment of the Canteen business.

Claims of unpaid/partially paid rent abound as do stories about the Town (Hustwick??) screwing them over (or tried to).

Last edited 18 days ago by Bryan
Concerned Cobourg Resident
Reply to  Hhmmm
10 September 2022 10:15 am

Remember, He who brags, begs for your vote.

Tucker
Reply to  Bryan
10 September 2022 9:48 am

Sorry, but I’ve never heard of his store, M&S. Don’t know where it is, don’t know the person. Every person running for office has “big” ideas” but down the road, something or someone steps in the way and they never get done. What I find with this Council and previous ones, is that they seem to hire way too many consultants, that we the tax payer pay for, to make the decisions for them, is that not we elected these people for. It seems to me that they can’t make a decision on their own, that they don’t want to be held responsible for the outcome, if it should turn out to be bad, let someone else take the blame, so to speak. They want the prestige and pay, of being on Council but never want to make the “calls” they were elected to do.

Bryan
Reply to  Tucker
10 September 2022 10:04 am

Tucker,
M&S is The Market & Smor on King St E.
I agree that the Town hires too many consultants, whose recommendations are often shelved. Using consultants can be a nifty way for both Council and Staff to avoid responsibility and accountability.
As for “….They want the prestige and pay, of being on Council…” I think that’s a stretch, especially the “pay” part.

Last edited 20 days ago by Bryan
Tucker
Reply to  Bryan
10 September 2022 10:22 am

My reference to prestige was taken mainly from people that want to be on a Board of Directors of a Condo Corporation for instance, just to say they are, and then never make a meeting or a decision. By the way, Condo Board of Directors is a volunteer position, no pay for still managing hundreds of thousands of $$ and making decisions that affect the lives of many people.

Concerned
Reply to  Bryan
10 September 2022 4:14 pm

Really with the new staff that have come in and the recent consultant reports produced they continue to use them all and refer to them continually in staff reports presented maybe it’s time to stop criticizing new staff for sins of the past.

Concerned
Reply to  Bryan
10 September 2022 4:17 pm

Sounds like someone may be campaigning for someone.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Concerned
10 September 2022 4:48 pm

Big deal Concerned, so what if someone campaigns for someone? That’s what this blog is for.

Concerned
Reply to  Wally Keeler
10 September 2022 4:56 pm

Okay more specifically on his campaign team, how would he have specifics of revenue otherwise. If so just be upfront about it.

Bryan
Reply to  Concerned
10 September 2022 5:56 pm

Concerned,

Support Lucas, yes.
What of it?
I’ve had it with fluffy verbal reports with no content.
I’ve had it with the leadership void in Council.
I’ve had it with bland pale beige.
Cobourg has serious problems. We need a doer, not someone who appears to be doing something, but is in fact doing nothing.
Cobourg deserves better.

Concerned
Reply to  Bryan
10 September 2022 4:39 pm

How did you get access to his financials Bryan so I can look at what you are claiming?

Bryan
Reply to  Concerned
10 September 2022 5:45 pm

Concerned,
Support Lucas…absolutely.
Campaign team, no.
I do, however provide help when asked.
I don’t have access to his financials and don’t need them. As I noted in another comment, I’m a former financial controller and have a fair idea about the workings of businesses. Based on the number of employees and industry metrics, it’s not hard to estimate a company’s revenue.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Concerned
11 September 2022 1:47 pm

Ya know what Concerned, you have no right to know what you are asking of Bryan. But you can continue to be as presumptuous as you please.

Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
12 September 2022 6:24 am

Shoppers Drug Mart might employ more staff than S&M. William Academy?
According to the our town’s website, there are approximately 250 businesses in the DBIA employing approximately 7,000 people. That’s an average of 28 employees per business, so 30 is not too far above average. I’d wager there are a lot of businesses with less than 28, so that would leave more than a few with over that average.

Last edited 19 days ago by Frenchy
Tucker
Reply to  Leweez
10 September 2022 11:21 am

I think Mr. Cleveland should have started with a position on Council and see how his “new “ideas work or are even accepted, before he wants the “top dog” position.

Bryan
Reply to  Tucker
10 September 2022 11:56 am

Tucker,

Why?
Two of Northumberland County’s most successful mayors, Bob Sanderson (Port Hope) and Mandy Martin (Cramahe) didn’t start in Council. Both are business people and doers.
Cobourg has serious problems that need attention now. The leadership void on Cobourg council is one of those problems. Cobourg can’t afford another four years without solid leadership. We need a doer.

Last edited 20 days ago by Bryan
Beachwalker
Reply to  Bryan
10 September 2022 4:40 pm

Ha! We think alike!

New to cobourg
Reply to  Tucker
10 September 2022 3:14 pm

Mr Cleveland has given us a choice. Otherwise our mayor would have been acclaimed for two terms which is not acceptable and creates complacency. Get out and vote. You now have a choice.

Tucker
Reply to  New to cobourg
11 September 2022 2:43 pm

Why don’t we have more choices. Where are all the people that are truly qualified. Sitting at home, complaining, that’s where.

Hhmmm
Reply to  Tucker
11 September 2022 4:42 pm

This argument has been made many times over but you get what you pay for.

There are a few that we would be lucky to get this time around. Some should stop complaining (because we didn’t run) and make sure we vote.

Beachwalker
Reply to  Tucker
10 September 2022 4:39 pm

Why???? He is a doer. Let him start at the top. Cobourg needs a change in direction.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Tucker
10 September 2022 4:47 pm

Tucker, based on their performance in council, do you think that any of our five current Councilors is qualified to be Mayor? Do you prefer someone who has demonstrated their lack of ability or one who has been successful in business but never been on council?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Tucker
10 September 2022 4:50 pm

Tucker: Mr Cleveland should do as he pleases and others can vote or not for his ideas.

New to cobourg
Reply to  Tucker
15 September 2022 9:33 pm

And have the top dog position acclaimed yet again? Kudos for Lucas giving us a choice. No one else was stepping up to the plate.

Beachwalker
Reply to  Leweez
10 September 2022 4:35 pm

Then go talk to him. You will find out about all the red tape crap he had to put up with in order to get his, now very successful, business up and running. You will see how he and his partner spearheaded a ” no waste” business; the only one in Cobourg. You will understand his passion for people and food and making sure good food is available to anyone who needs it. But, you have to talk to him first.

Rob
Reply to  Leweez
12 September 2022 9:17 am

I guess we get the candidate(s) we deserve…