Our esteemed mayor, Peter Kelly, announced this afternoon that he will not seek re-election this October.
This is probably a good thing for all parties. Kelly admitted that he works 90 hours a week or more, and that this kind of workload has taken a toll on him and his family. It cost him his marriage for one thing.
I have only met Peter Kelly a couple of times. On those occasions he was always nice to me. He was always working.
When he was brand-new to the job, he celebrated the continuation of the Hotline open line radio show on CJCH. CJ was moving to an all-sports talk format later on that year (2001), and Rick Howe and Deb Smith were on hand that fine Saturday afternoon at the Halifax Forum. It was the Winter, February or March. Rather than get someone to shovel the walkway leading to the entrance to the Forum, Peter Kelly himself was doing it. Says something about the guy.
Skip forward a few years. My Toastmasters club was turning 35, and I thought it would be cool for the mayor to come to the club and say a few words. I had heard he had been in Toastmasters back in the day.
Kelly arrived at the appointed time. Table topics that night was one where people would write down a secret about themselves and participants had to speculate on whose secret they ended up with. Peter Kelly was one of the people who wrote down a secret about themselves. Afterward, Kelly spoke about his career in politics and took questions from the audience. We had a couple of members who had earned educational achievements in TM; Kelly kindly agreed to give these folks their new badges.
Our paths crossed a few more times over the years. Most recently, in 2010, he posed for me for one of my Bevboy's Blog Christmas Tie Extgravaganza pictures.
Say what you want about Peter Kelly. He worked like a dog. His heart was in the right place. The mistakes he made, he made with the best interests of the city in mind. And he took loads of shit from detractors of every political persuasion and from members of the media whose career seemed to be all about writing crappy things about him. Marilla Stephenson, how do you sleep at night? What precisely did Peter Kelly do to you? Why did you decide to make it your life's work to drive that man from public office?
I am beginning to wonder why anybody would want the job of mayor of any place. I can't see the upside of pursuing such a position. It is thankless. It costs you so much of your personal life. And, let's be pragmatic: the pay isn't that good, in relative terms.
FWIW, my best to Peter Kelly as he leaves this office and goes on to something else.
See you tomorrow.