One New and One Not So New Candidate

Candidates who have filed to run for Council include Michael Sprayson – who is new to Council – and Miriam Mutton who was previously elected. Both hit the ground running and have already published their campaigns using web sites and both have strong messages. Both give details about themselves as people and details of their platform and both make a point of saying that they want citizen input – they want to listen. You may want to vote for both of them (you will be voting for five) but let me describe how they come across based on what they say on their web site. That’s looking past the facts of what they say and instead reporting on my impression – hopefully not an opinion although more subjective than my usual reporting.

Miriam Mutton

Miriam Mutton
Miriam Mutton

A serious analytical thinker – she describes her style as “informed decision-making based upon a solid understanding of the options”. She wants to consult with the public although she probably has a good idea of our opinions since she has been involved with many community organizations. She feels she had successful previous terms and makes a point about being “well informed and prepared about matters coming before Council”.

Miriam’s Platform has five goals:

  1. Ensuring communication between Council & Citizens
  2. Building a healthy economy and a thriving community – including “balanced town growth to serve people of all ages”
  3. Protecting the environment for our sustainable future – including “adopt modern & innovative infrastructure to adapt to climate change”
  4. Working with Council to provide clear direction to Administration
  5. Preserving Cobourg’s valuable assets for all citizens – sub-goals include a) protect heritage & promote stories of our community and b) celebrate arts, culture & innovation including distinctly ‘Made in Cobourg’

Each of these has a number of sub-goals so they are not just talking points – see her Platform here.

Michael Sprayson

Michael Sprayson
Michael Sprayson

As well as a good web site, Michael also uses Facebook and Instagram. He emphasizes responsible spending and accountability and is keen to get public input. He says he is “unafraid to test new solutions and unwilling to accept that the way it’s always been done is the way it should continue”. He has a strong focus on spending only on “needs” and not “wants”. Communication with the public would include a weekly newsletter – he has one already, for his campaign.

His most interesting list is what he WILL NOT DO:

Michael will not:

  • Focus on things he has no power to change
  • Insinuate he will get something done when he knows he can’t
  • Use buzz words
  • Focus on personal branding
  • Lean towards the few loud voices on social media
  • Avoid accountability
  • Be discouraged easily
  • Always say the right thing
  • Prioritize being liked by everyone
  • Accept non-answers when clarity is required

Both web sites have a lot of information and you should be able to get a good idea of their personalities and how they would perform as Councillors.  They both get high marks for communication skills.

Stay tuned with Cobourg News Blog for more articles on the election.

Resources

Miriam Mutton

Michael Sprayson

Cobourg Internet

  • Cobourg Municipal Elections – All about the election including a list of all candidates. Includes information on how to learn more – as available. Updated regularly.

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Bryan
14 September 2022 3:48 pm

Michael Sprayson’s newsletters are “must read” material for this election.
His articles on “affordable” housing, in particular, make a significant contribution to the discussion on this topic. His approach, IMO is balanced, well reasoned and provides a very useful “insider’s” perspective. He sheds light on what can and can not be done locally. Provides focus.

He lays bare some of the “affordable” myths”, in particular, that Cobourg should “be in the housing business”.

The Town doesn’t have the resources, expertise or money. In point of fact WE
–Cobourg residents– don’t have the money.

Candidates who promote this as an issue that can be solved at the local level are wasting time: theirs, Town Council & Staff and most importantly, residents. They are “blowing smoke”. They have no plan or solution.

For newsletter info:
Sprayson Newsletter https://michaelsprayson.ca/you-want-to-stay-informed/

Last edited 16 days ago by Bryan
Bryan
Reply to  Bryan
14 September 2022 10:46 pm

Michael Sprayson’s News Letters

The link provided in my prior comment is a very round-about way to get the info.
A more direct faster way to get the article content from Michael’s newsletters is available at:

https://michaelsprayson.ca/news-information/

Wally Keeler
5 September 2022 12:17 pm

Cobourg declared a ‘climate emergency’.

Miriam; Do you believe there is a climate emergency? Why?

Michael; Do you believe there is a climate emergency? Why?

What proposal do either of you have to mitigate the so-called emergency?

Mark Mills
Reply to  Wally Keeler
5 September 2022 1:55 pm

Hi Wally , I feel left out!

I support the reduction of emissions, as does the current council. I support working collaboratively with the new council to enhance their plan moving forward.

The biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Cobourg is our homes and vehicles. I support active transportation with a focus on providing the safe infrastructure required (cycling, pedestrian walking trails , pathways).
The goal is to reduce emissions while supporting a healthy lifestyle and improving public health.
I support renewable clean energy and the economic benefit it has for new job creation.
As an active member of Cobourg TAC I was part of the group that introduced the new anti-idling by-law and I support the Zero Emissions Sub-committee’s upcoming recommendations to Council. I also supported the town’s purchase of hybrid, EVs and biofuel vehicles that serve our community.

And finally, as a parent and grandparent I want a sustainable, healthy community for my family and yours!

Electmarkmills.com , electmarkmills@gmail.com

Mark Mills

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Mark Mills
5 September 2022 3:11 pm

Thanks bunches for your considered reply.

As an active member of Cobourg TAC I was part of the group that introduced the new anti-idling by-law.

Could you provide any metrics indicating that an anti-idling bylaw will be effective to the community?

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Wally Keeler
5 September 2022 3:02 pm

Wally — Thanks for the question. Similar to what Suzanne expressed, you don’t need to look further than the daily news to see evidence of a changing climate. I’m not an environmental expert, but I am interested in the topic and have spent a lot of time researching and considering alternatives to harmful emissions in my own life and professional practice. On a personal note – I have an electric car (that I charge at home) and I am slowly removing the gas sources from my home (stove, HWT, BBQ, furnace, dryer) and replacing them with electric alternatives. That’s a personal choice for me and may not be desired or feasible for others and I understand that. I like the idea of solar panels as well. Right now, I would not call Cobourg a walkable, or even a bikeable town. As Mark mentions, emissions are a contributing factor to our air quality. I am an avid cyclist and I do most of my cycling out of town because it’s safer and more welcomed in other places. I think some improvements could be made with both infrastructure and education regarding a more walkable and bikeable Cobourg. I think Cobourg’s anti-idling bylaw is a virtue signal. Considering we mostly enforce bylaws by complaint-only, it’s unreasonable to believe a complaint would come in and be followed up on before the idling vehicle moved on. The worst offenders that I see are often police cruisers and delivery trucks. These could be fixed with internal policy changes. I was happy to see the purchase of the electric police vehicle. As far as idling goes, something I have noticed that works is to put up traffic signs that state it is a no-idle zone. It’s often enough to trigger the desired reaction in drivers (to turn… Read more »

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
6 September 2022 11:12 pm

Thanks for that articulate and considered reply.

Turn aside from The News long enough to consider these two individuals concerning climate “emergency”

https://youtu.be/lX1z_6pvM-Q
Patrick Moore

https://youtu.be/vAVdi3Xm7f4
Bjorn Lomborg

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  Wally Keeler
5 September 2022 4:43 pm

Do I believe there is a climate emergency? The short answer, yes. The definition of ‘climate emergency’ has modified over time.  What does it mean now? Fundamentally, when viewed in context of human activity upon our planet the cumulative and continuing rapid changes are something humans must address at all levels … local, regional, national and global. I believe the planet is constantly changing, and would continue to do so with or without humans, but human activity has a significant impact and too often negative and irreversible.  Living things, including humans and our societies, must adapt or perish.  Mitigation works to a point, but then, how much money and resources will it take if maintaining the status quo is the priority? I suggest it will take increasingly more over time. I support a number of actions which fall within the jurisdiction of the municipality and something that an elected Town Council can address. These include Town operations policies, leading by example, and practices which support the local economy and quality of life for the citizens of Cobourg.  Guiding documents include the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan and Green Development Standards. Consider how created waterways and ponds handle water run-off in urban and development areas. In the past, the solution was to build bigger pipes to carry the drainage water away as quickly as possible. The added bonus now is a healthier environment, for nature and for people enjoying the outdoors close to home. As well as better protection for those downstream. With regard to development and building communities, it is getting more and more expensive to carry out business as usual! Planning and zoning adjustments to enable small second and even third dwelling units on a property, within an existing building envelope or as an addition, provides options in housing. And,… Read more »

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
6 September 2022 11:15 pm

Thanks bunches for that. That was quite a mouthful, but articulate and well presented. Just as a caveat, I recommend two individuals concerning climate “emergency”

https://youtu.be/lX1z_6pvM-Q
Patrick Moore

https://youtu.be/vAVdi3Xm7f4
Bjorn Lomborg

Mark Mills
2 September 2022 12:30 pm

Hi Mark Mills here , your candidate for Town of Cobourg Council.

My 33 yrs experience in a senior management role in Municipal government (Toronto, Northumberland County and Port Hope) has given my the necessary skill to understand how to get things done in a complexed and sometime frustrating process!

As I visit and speak to residents, property owners and businesses owner in Cobourg I hear a command issue “My voice hasn’t been heard” I guarantee you a vote for me is a vote to be heard!

For more information on my campaign and how you can be heard please visit electmarkmills.com and follow me on Twitter , Instagram and Facebook.

Your vote , Your voice!

Thank You

Mark Mills

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Mark Mills
2 September 2022 1:04 pm

My 33 yrs experience in a senior management role in Municipal government (Toronto, Northumberland County and Port Hope) has given me the necessary skill to understand how to get things done in a complex and sometimes frustrating process!”

Get a copy editor.

Mark Mills
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 September 2022 1:13 pm

Hi Wally , thanks for the comment you’re hired! Get outside and enjoy this beautiful day!

Leweez
Reply to  Mark Mills
2 September 2022 2:35 pm

Mark, you will have to excuse Wally, he gets a little pernickety when it comes to grammatical errors.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Leweez
2 September 2022 7:49 pm

That is how they taught me in school. And, I learned my grammar lessons because I wasn’t a slacker. I thought it was important to be articulate. There is no excuse for being a slacker; after all, one could have used a spell checker and grammar checker before sending out a mess. Three errors in a single sentence. Unimpressive.

Last edited 28 days ago by Wally Keeler
Mark Mills
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 September 2022 10:38 pm

Wally, can I offer you a lawn sign? 😉

Mark Mills
Reply to  Mark Mills
3 September 2022 9:08 am

Wally , feel free to reach out to me at electmarkmills.com , electmarkmills@gmail.com or I could visit you in person to talk about what’s important to you.

Enjoy this Labour Day weekend.

Mark Mills

Scottie
Reply to  Wally Keeler
3 September 2022 12:22 pm

Wally … The sentiment and message is MUCH more important than the grammar used to convey it!!! I’d much rather have someone like Mr. Mills on Council, who’s planning on getting things done and is so impassioned with his “message” that he doesn’t focus on the “grammar” — we don’t need another “administrator” on Council, who spends time obsessing about dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s”, when they SHOULD be working on adhering to budgets and keeping costs under control WITHOUT consultants!!!

Concerned Cobourg Resident
Reply to  Mark Mills
3 September 2022 3:02 pm

Hi Mark

I am interested to hear how you will lower my $5000 a year tax burden?

Or are you like all the other politicians, just stealing from the responsible to redistribute to the irresponsible?

You will only get my vote if you decrease the size of Cobourg government.

CCR

Mark Mills
Reply to  Concerned Cobourg Resident
3 September 2022 4:17 pm

Not sure 5 councillors making 25k is as much of a burden on your taxes as you think. I believe we need a fair representation for all. Maybe the 33% of your 5k taxes going to the upper tier Municipality (Northumberland County) is something that needs to be looked at! Or a line by line review of the Cobourg budget could find efficiencies.

Mark Mills

Last edited 27 days ago by Mark Mills
Leweez
Reply to  Mark Mills
3 September 2022 5:20 pm

Uh oh, here comes Wally😀

Mark Mills
Reply to  Leweez
3 September 2022 5:29 pm

Thanks for the heads up!

Constance Mealing
1 September 2022 9:22 am

Am I the only one who remembers Mutton’s arrogance when told to comply with the city by law regarding her boulevard she ignored it completely and nothing was done about it. One rule for her and one for everyone else.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Constance Mealing
1 September 2022 10:12 am

Ms Mutton’s natural growth boulevard was the subject of a complaint from a citizen motivated by vindictiveness and arrogance. Many citizens in Cobourg grow plants, small bushes, flowers on the boulevards in front of their homes. What is arrogant about that? Why is everyone else permitted to indulge in that activity but not Ms Mutton? If you are big on The Rule, then why don’t you lobby against the many who disregard The Rule? Make a complaint?

Mutton manages that boulevard with hand tools, not with noisy lawn mowers, noisy hedge trimmers, noisy leaf blowers, or any noisy hand devices. Her section of the streetscape is naturally quiet compared to the racket made by the industrial equipment servicing the harbour condos, or several lawn mowers disturbing the peace on suburban streets.

Furthermore, Ms Mutton has demonstrated a caring for the welfare of the Town, not just by reducing her noise, but by enhancing the environment. Maintaining well manicured lawns is an offence against the environment.

Constance Mealing
Reply to  Wally Keeler
1 September 2022 12:10 pm

I advocate natural grow in my own yard. My point was that she was asked to just trim it back slightly and refused to do so. I abhor all the noise from gas driven machines . I own an electric lawn mower for the small amount of green space which my wild bunny enjoys nibbling on plus the dandelions for him and the bees.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Constance Mealing
1 September 2022 3:26 pm

My point was that she was asked to just trim it back slightly and refused to do so“.

That is highly inaccurate. She was demanded to have it removed. So the Town, weaponized with loud whackers, obliterated the entire blvd. The Town left it ugly at the end of the day. It was rude. It was crude. Her refusal to comply with a vindictive order was right.

Why do you waste energy (lawn mower) for a “small amount of green space”. If it’s for your wild bunny, then I think it would enjoy a wild green space in keeping with their wildness, rather than a mowed lawn.

Btw, Ms Mutton likes natural growth in their yard, just like you. And , like you, she also abhors i.c.e. machines. You have much more in common with Miriam than you might think.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  Constance Mealing
1 September 2022 12:03 pm

Hello Constance,

I invite you to contact me directly to find out what the ‘boulevard’ issue was really all about and to tour the garden to learn more about it. It was NOT about the natural garden that I had grown in front of home for more than 15 years before it became front page news as a result of a vindictive person seeking revenge to hide their own serious law-breaking which could have made the municipality liable and put citizens at risk. I found out who it was due to a redacting error in a freedom of information request. At the time, I decided it was in the taxpayers’ best interest that I ‘weather the storm’ and stay calm. The experience for me was akin to being assaulted.

The natural garden brings me much joy. Passers-by tell me they like it. Children love it. The garden is resilient and thrives when lawn boulevards are brown and dry. It is unfortunate that some people are afraid of difference. In addition, at no time was the garden cited for presenting a public safety issue. I maintain my boulevard on a regular basis.

As for your claim of ignoring the by-law, it was faulty and not up to date. In fact Council at the time revised it to accommodate gardens of various kinds. But the change took time and meanwhile my garden was cut down to the ground three times in response to ‘anonymous’ complaints. And since that time I have been consulted by a large city down the road from us with regard to the by-law training module for their own staff so that other natural gardens are properly recognized.

Gerinator
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
1 September 2022 5:01 pm

Well stated. At the time I considered the garden concept as being ahead of its time.

Constance Mealing
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
2 September 2022 9:34 am

Thank you for enlightening me as to the circumstances surrounding this issue. Some people are so adverse to change and some are vindictive. I too appreciate the people who stop and admire my yard.

Bryan
Reply to  Constance Mealing
2 September 2022 4:44 pm

See Miriam’s comment, 3rd paragraph

Last edited 28 days ago by Bryan
Cobourg taxpayer
30 August 2022 7:30 pm

My previous memories of Miriam Mutton was voting for increased salaries for councillors and working with Dean Hustwick to reconfigure the parking lot and road to the south of Victoria Hall (not long after it had been rebuilt) for multiple stages for different performances and major landscaping. As we can see that went nowhere, well neither did Dean, fired from the position subsequent to Town of Cobourg. Miriam is too liberal for me and will not spend taxpayers money responsibly.

Bryan
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
30 August 2022 9:36 pm

Cobourg taxpayer,

My recollection is that Miriam was engaged (hired) as a landscape architect by the Town to work on the “Market Square” (??) project, so she would have been working in part, under the direction of the parks director, Dean Hustwick. The fact that the project was suspended has nothing to do with her.

You wrote “…. will not spend taxpayers money responsibly….” You have no evidence of this and I suggest that your crystal ball, or whatever you use to predict the future is unreliable.
However, you are entitled to your opinion.

Concerned Cobourg Resident
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
31 August 2022 7:01 am

Yep! Most politicians think they can spend their way into the taxpayers hearts! Wrong! People need to wake up. Only small, essential government is most empowering to its citizens

Sandpiper
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
31 August 2022 7:41 am

I agree stuck in a rut does not listen to the public to public opinion
and has here own views on Heritage values

Eastender
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
31 August 2022 11:13 am

My memory of Mutton is how prepared she was for every council meeting, how she asked tough questions of fellow Council members and staff and
how she was an asset to our town governance. Not sure who I will vote for but
her record is clear.

ben
30 August 2022 2:00 pm

Shoulda waited another couple of hours before filing the story John, Bureau has just published his site.

marya
29 August 2022 3:14 pm

I’ve always voted for Miriam Mutton and I shall also vote for Michael Sprayson.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  marya
29 August 2022 7:54 pm

Both Miriam and Michael are excellent candidates for Councilor. It is strange that the others haven’t yet posted their platforms or even a bio.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Ken Strauss
29 August 2022 8:05 pm

Thank you, Ken. I appreciate your support. I’ve always valued a straightforward approach and being prepared and organized is essential to me.
I feel like this is an important election and I wanted to make sure that the voters have time to inform themselves and ask the questions they need to before they make this critical decision.
I realize some think there is still lots of time, but I don’t feel that way. Any time not well-used to communicate your thinking is time wasted. I feel very clear about my vision and I know what I think, as well as why I think it.
It’s perhaps difficult for incumbents to develop a new plan because the issues they all ran on last time around went largely unfulfilled.

Pete M
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
31 August 2022 6:54 am

Michael,
After reading all the posts about you and your platform, I believe you should have ran for Mayor.
Definitely you have more to offer Cobourg than Henderson.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Pete M
31 August 2022 7:55 am

That’s kind of you to say, Pete.
Hopefully, you’ll feel that way 4 years from now. 😉
Don’t forget to vote!

ben
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
31 August 2022 9:27 am

Presumptuous???

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  ben
31 August 2022 12:50 pm

Presumptuous is another way to say inappropriate and I’m not sure how you get there, Ben.
I wouldn’t put my name forward without the hopes of being elected and I’m being sincere when I say I would like to live up to Pete’s compliment.

Last edited 1 month ago by Michael Sprayson
ben
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
31 August 2022 7:04 pm

Here’s how I got there Michael:
“After reading all the posts about you and your platform, I believe you should have ran for Mayor.”…. Pete says you should run for mayor.

You reply: “Hopefully, you’ll feel that way 4 years from now.”

So you hope to get elected and then in four years time……run for Mayor.

And I still say “Presumptuous.”

Best of luck anyway

Last edited 1 month ago by ben
Michael Sprayson
Reply to  ben
31 August 2022 8:43 pm

You’re reading way too much into it or something is getting lost in translation. If I am fortunate enough to get elected as a councillor I hope Pete still feels like I was worth voting for in 4 years. Nothing more.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben
31 August 2022 10:35 pm

Every goal that we set for ourselves to achieve is a presumption. What’s wrong with that?

Kevin
Reply to  ben
1 September 2022 7:28 am

Perhaps humble is more appropriate. Maybe Michael S. is saying he hopes that after he is elected he lives up to Pete’s expectations but may not be able to. Yes, presumptuous in that Michael could be implying he is going to become one of our councillors. This also shows confidence. Who is going to vote for somebody that shows no confidence in their chance to win? The reason I am commenting is to make the point that communication is really important. Ben may have misunderstood Michael’s comment but I think that has been cleared up. At first I was thinking Michael should have just ignored Ben’s ‘presumptuous’ but it could be a sign that Michal listens and acts on residence concerns. Maybe I am being presumptuous now.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Kevin
1 September 2022 4:38 pm

Kevin – You and I are on the same page about communication.

I tend to have a very direct communication style but I want people to feel like they can communicate with me and they can challenge me if they want. I am not afraid of discourse.

I don’t like making assumptions when all I have to do is ask for clarification and I would hope others would give me the same benefit of the doubt.

From what I understand, people have felt unheard in this community for a long time. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for making people feel like that.

ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
30 August 2022 7:13 am

Not strange Ken, totally unprepared!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
30 August 2022 9:19 am

Ben, Sprayson is right. It is hard to recycle the failed promises from the previous election and convince voters that the incumbent will do better if they get another chance. We know what doesn’t work; it is time for new people with new ideas!

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben
30 August 2022 9:37 am

Yes, interesting perception. They both have a gitterdun attitude. They are assertive, informed, articulate, and self-confident. They are individuals to contend with. Miriam & Michael, the M&Ms of Cobourg politics, very desirable. https://youtu.be/_iFjSpUrYEI

Bryan
Reply to  Wally Keeler
30 August 2022 11:13 am

Wally,
“…the M&Ms of Cobourg politics…”

Nice turn of phrase.

Perhaps a late career in advertizing or PR

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bryan
30 August 2022 1:07 pm

There is a fine line between advertising and badvertising.
There’s advocacy and there’s badvocacy. In my case it’s bardvertising and bardvocacy.

Bryan
Reply to  ben
30 August 2022 11:24 am

Ben,

Totally unprepared, for some. For others perhaps, gathering info and issues.
Listening to the people.

Perhaps you prefer pale beige bland John Henderson. His website offers very little in terms of deliverables. It is mostly a copy (some might say plagiarized) of the Town’s strategic plan.
No originality. No new ideas. No leadership.
Not a doer

Cobourg deserves much better.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Bryan
30 August 2022 11:51 am

Haven’t the incumbents been listening to the people for the last 4 years?

Bryan
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
30 August 2022 11:57 am

Michael,

Perhaps some members of Council have been listening, but there is little evidence of tangible action of significance.
Forward movement is difficult (impossible??) in a leadership vacuum.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
ben
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
31 August 2022 9:30 am

One of the key aspects of good listening is the ability to comprehend what is being said, despite what the listener may think of the messenger. I have yet to see any Councillor who has had to listen to delegations ever say to them, “I disagree with what you have presented” Instead all of them vote to “file for information purposes”.

I hope to see you be the exception.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  ben
31 August 2022 12:54 pm

Ben – you and I have met for coffee and you know from first-hand experience that I have no problem disagreeing with people or asking for clarification. One can’t learn without asking questions and it’s disingenuous to simply agree or take things under advisement when you want someone to stop talking or you’re afraid to hurt their feelings.
We certainly don’t have to agree to get along.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  marya
29 August 2022 8:06 pm

Thank you, Marya. I look forward to hearing about the issues that are important to you. Please feel free to reach out on the platform you feel most comfortable with.