Grade this year: C
Grade last year: D
Brad Johns hasn’t fared well in these report cards, having received two Ds in a row.
At his insistence, I spent a day in Sackville, as Johns showed me around the district and introduced me to people. We visited a remarkable old school that has become a centre for a variety of non-profit, seniors and teen organizations. Mostly, though, we drove around in a truck plastered with a “Brad Johns” sign.
After that day, I’ve come to a new understanding of Johns. He’s more thoughtful than I had originally thought, but also more cynical, having been burned a few times for opposing various developments, and one time ending up in court over it.
My take is that Johns prefers to work in-district, and to have as little to do with the HRM Borg as possible. That’s understandable, and may serve his district well, after a fashion. He certainly knows what’s going on, and seems to do what he can to help.
But the us-versus-them politics of division isn’t appropriate for downtown councillors looking at the suburbs, and it’s not appropriate for suburban councillors looking downtown. The deck is indeed stacked against places like Upper Sackville, but that’s all the more reason a councillor from the ’burbs needs to engage the rest of municipality.
It’s a tall order, but Johns needs to find common ground with his colleagues, for the good of his district.