Bill Karsten has gone from a 6 vote loser to a 68 vote winner after a review yesterday of the results from Saturday's municipal election. The official result gave him the win in District 3 over Jackie Barkhouse. Both were sitting members of city council. But it's not over yet. HRM's returning officer is asking city council to approve a judicial recount of the District 3 votes just to make sure. In a statement released after the review, Barkhouse congratulated Karsten on the win but pointed out she noticed discrepancies even as yesterday's review was underway. She's waiting to see what council decides before she asks for a judicial review. "It does no justice to the voters of District 3 or to the reputation of the democratic process in Halifax Regional Municipality if a counting process so flawed is not challenged," Barkhouse says. She describes the experience as an emotional roller-coaster. No kidding. Along with the delays in getting results from all districts posted Saturday night, clearly there needs to be a review of how the city runs elections.
In one of its final acts as a council, taxi drivers last night were given their first raise in some 7 years. Council has agreed to increase the drop rate, the amount charged when you get into a cab, by 11 cents to $3.20. Council also agreed to allow taxis from anywhere in the city to come into Halifax's downtown from Thursday to Saturday nights from midnight to 5 am. Certainly a raise was long overdue, and expanding the zones for weekends will help deal with the crowds spilling out of the bars, but I wonder why council's in the taxi business at all. Let free enterprise decide how much a taxi can charge and where a driver can pick up passengers. City council should only be setting driver and car standards, nothing more. Get out of the taxi business.
The Utility and Review Board invoked the interruptor clause last night, a move that saw gas prices come down 5.3 cents to $1.25. The regulatory system makes its automatic weekly adjustments Thursdays at midnight and George Murphy with Consumers for Fair Gas Prices says we could be in for another drop of 2 to 3 cents. Keep it coming.
Should a teacher convicted of a sex crime be allowed back in the classroom? No way says the South Shore Regional School Board. It went before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court yesterday asking it to quash an appeal board's decision that it's firing of elementary school teacher Peter Speight was too harsh. Speight pleaded guilty to committing an indecent act and was given a conditional sentence. Police say he would call women over to his car and while asking for directions, he'd masturbate in front of them. While considered a low risk to re-offend, the school board felt they'd be better off without him and argued his continued employment would diminish public trust. If I had children still in school, I don't think I'd be at all comfortable with having Speight as their teacher. The Supreme Court reserved a decision. Stay tuned.
Buck the dog has a new home. Buck's been cared for by Dartmouth's Bide Awhile animal shelter after he was found with 50 pellets in his head. Someone had shot the dog with a shotgun. Buck underwent several surgeries and still has pellets lodged in his skull. There was interest in adopting the dog from as far away as British Columbia. Buck is now living with the Howell family in Lantz. A happy ending to a cruel animal abuse story.
Have a great day. Get involved. And if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.