Rodriguez ‘back to finish the job’ (Mine revenue sharing with governments) – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – May 10, 2014)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

The “bus driver” wants to get back behind the wheel of the city council bus to finish the job he started in 2006. John Rodriguez, a long-time Nickel Belt New Democrat MP and retired educator who lost his re-election bid in 2010, announced Friday he has entered the mayoral race.

“I always felt I had to run again to complete the job I started,” Rodriguez told reporters at a press conference at Bertolo’s on Durham Street. “I am determined to finish the job I started.

“We haven’t gotten resource revenue sharing. We haven’t made the improvements to our infrastructure …We need to increase our revenue streams. We can’t keep going to the homeowner with 2.9% (property tax) increases.”

Rodriguez, who became known as the bus driver during his term a mayor, promised to:

– restore the province’s Ombudsman (Andre Marin) as the city’s secret meetings investigator (he would introduce a notice of motion at the first council meeting and then have it debated and voted on it in the second meeting);

– make the position of auditor-general a permanent one;

– order a full review of the Healthy Community Initiative Fund program (the so-called slush funds available to each councillor) to make the program accountable and transparent;

– remove so-called red tape that hinders development and investment in the city; and

– resurrect the push to get a real share of revenues from the city’s mining wealth. It’s something Rodriguez promised when first elected on 2006, but failed to deliver.

“The boom in mining benefited the two senior levels of government and small business, but it did not directly benefit the City of Greater Sudbury,” he said. “Yet, we keep repairing roads year after year that ore trucks frequent. The time is now to join the voices of First Nations in the Ring of Fire to demand a share of resource revenue. There are 103 (mining) trucks driving daily on our roads.”

Rodriguez said he has no problem being on a crowded mayoral ballot. He joins Dupuis, Ed Pokonzie, Jeff Huska, Dan Melanson and Richard Majkot in the race for mayor.

“I think people know me,” he said. “They know me as a citizen. They know me as a teacher … I was a federal MP. We did thousands of cases …

“You build your reputation on making a difference in people’s lives. The reason I am doing what I am doing is to make a difference in the lives of people and people recognize that.”

As for current mayor, Marianne Matichuk, who has yet to indicate she is seeking re-election, Rodriguez did not mince words.

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