While Edmonton may be called the City of Champions local politicians are treated as much like chumps here as anywhere else.
We are talking about the surprising developments over the last ten days when Edmonton Oiler Owner Daryl Katz played “the good old Hamilton card.”
That is what Edmonton Sun reporter Terry Jones called it anyway. Those
NHL-Hockey-deprived Hamiltonians may not get it but your blogger understands this to refer to a tactic once used by former Oiler owner, Gretkzy trader and convicted fibber Peter Pocklington.
The story in the local media is that Edmonton Mayor Fred Mandel didn’t get a hint of Katz’s dalliance with the Ambitious City’s Mayor Fred until June 28th - just before it broke online.
As far as the rest of Council they are described by the Sun’s Clara Ho as “perplexed” – which your blogger would assert is the normal state of Councillors when such high level wheeling and dealing is in the works.
There is such consternation out here that a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new locker room to be enjoyed by the football playing Eskimos suddenly seemed of no consequence.
Oilers President Patrick Laforge – says the Hamilton developments have nothing to do with the Oilers. “It is purely a business strategy,” he told all who would listen.
But Journal Columnist Paula Simons thinks the Oilers are guilty of bad manners. “Blindsiding, perplexing, and alienating Edmonton’s mayor and city councillors isn’t merely rude. It’s weirdly self defeating.”
Apparently this is another in a series of recent blunders by Katz. Earlier Council misunderstood his $100 million pledge towards a new arena. It turned out to be a commitment to invest in the area around the arena. A recent application that would blanket zone 16 acres of that area came forward without plans or design.
“(T)here were all kinds of people who were fully own board with the arena two or three months ago, who are now asking all kinds of questions,” notes Councillor Ben Henderson.
The Sun’s Jones thinks Katz, like Pocklington before him, should be required to sign a location agreement.
That might help and it is an idea that might have legs.