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Time to change the channel on DaleTV

London City councilor Dale Hendersonís way of reaching out to constituents is via his YouTube channel DaleTV.

Victor De Jong | Interrobang | Opinion | April 8th, 2013

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
It's just the latest in a steady stream of embarrassing statements by Ward 9 councilor Dale Henderson, and the worst part is, he isn't even embarrassed. At some point, between questioning whether smoking causes cancer and publicly stating that eight of the 15 city councilors are running the city, Henderson evidently stopped worrying about his re-election bid.

Councilor Henderson put on a spectacular display of questionable judgment in the aftermath of the councilor expense reports revealing his $7,000 investment in camera equipment for his YouTube channel, DaleTV. A key element in this story is that Henderson hasn't broken a single regulation or technically done anything wrong at all. Every city councilor has a $15,000 expense account that is designed to help them connect with their constituents. Whether it's hiring an assistant, compiling a mailing list or making a YouTube channel, the councilors are free to use their better judgment.

The water got murky when Councilor Henderson was asked if he would return the camera and equipment to the City upon completion of his term in office. He had no plans to do so and it would likely have remained that way if the issue hadn't been raised a few days later in City Hall, where Mayor Joe Fontana unequivocally clarified that the technology belongs to the City of London.

The actual wrongdoing is obscure because Henderson just made a series of dumb decisions as opposed to breaking any rules. The first issue that occurred to every person under the age of 30 was the cost of his equipment. Henderson obtained one camera, lighting equipment and green screen technology that added up to about $5,000. You'd be hard-pressed to find a high school-aged kid in the city who couldn't put a video like this together for $200. On top of buying professional grade equipment, Henderson also paid someone to edit his ramblings into a 10- minute semi-coherent lecture. The use of the term ‘lecture' is deliberate, since Henderson disabled comments for his YouTube channel, preventing anyone from responding to his videos. Pretty weird, when the purpose of the channel was to connect with Londoners.

The worst part of his debacles is that Henderson has no concept of how he is influencing public perception. Council repeatedly talks about keeping post-secondary graduates in the city, yet Henderson spent the equivalent of a full year of university tuition on a project that could've been accomplished with a $30 webcam. This kind of out-of-touch spending coupled with London's unemployment rate of 9.1 per cent isn't encouraging anyone to come to, or remain in, the Forest City.

With only 18 months left before he seeks re-election, Henderson already knows that he made a mistake, but he isn't willing to admit it. While bragging about receiving emails from Londoners to congratulate him on DaleTV, he states in episode seven, “History Of London and Ways to Cure Negative Media,” that he worries he won't be re-elected. The only thing that remains to be seen is how much more damage to City Hall's image he can do before Londoners finally have the chance to replace him.
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