While she gives the occasional rhetorical nod to the tens of thousands of students in her district, Sue Uteck makes no bones about it: she represents wealthy south-enders. And as she sees it, it's her job to get their taxes lowered and, she states plainly, to get her own taxes lowered. Give her points for honesty, but as I noted above, the tax reform initiative is about to pull this city apart. The property tax system isn't perfect, but it's the closest we come to a true wealth tax and should be preserved. Uteck's unwavering advocacy for changing it is simply bad for the city.
Oddly, on other issues the interests of south enders correspond with the right thing to do for everyone. For example, Uteck has picked apart and detailed exactly why the fast ferry will be financially dead in the water, and she is in opposition to three other wasteful fiscal adventures that have horrible environmental effects---the proposed third harbour crossing, placing a truck highway in the rail cut and the Chebucto Road widening project.
Give Uteck credit also for daring to oppose adding new police officers and for making herself completely available to and open with the press.
She's utterly wrong on tax reform, but she's brought her grade up considerably on the other issues.
Grade: B- Sue's Cell: 221-7651
WHAT WE SAID IN 2007 (Grade: B)
"Sue Uteck is not one to shy away from calling bullshit. That might be part of the reason she was named deputy mayor last year, the first woman to hold the position. She boldly stated that Halifax was being “unfairly treated’ by the Feds and demanded cash for the restoration of Point Pleasant Park. Uteck took some initiative and called Peter MacKay---phoned him up, old-school style---convincing him to get off his arse-licking arse and get PPP a multi-million dollar federal boost. Uteck claims if she weren’t a councillor, she would be a cook, but telemarketer seems more fitting."
"Uteck also championed the cause of a new downtown library, advocated more cash for downtown public art/downtown cleanup, and describes the Chebucto Road decision “the dumbest decsion of this council since 1999”---so her powers of perception are clear."
"Remarks: Uteck has evolved an effective advocate for the south end. She inspires both admirers and detractors, but at least she’s speaking clearly and directly, most of the time. She identifies a lack of leadership as one of the biggest problems currently facing Halifax. Hmm…someone angling for a job?"
WHAT WE SAID IN 2000 (Grade B+)
"Comments: Not afraid to talk back. Uteck, the second woman on council, made waves as the new kids who rattled colleagues by calling councilors’ $32, 000 discretionary fund “an election slush fund;” and challenged the status quo of what she called “the Old Boys’ Club.” She may be anti-graffiti, but she’s also anti-bullshit and calls it as she sees it. We’re judging her on quality of service, not quantity- with a whole term to get things done, and stand up for her projects, there’s no telling how great her south end may become."
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