During the last mayoral campaign in 2008 , Sideshow Bob went around declaring that he, if voted Mayor, would be 'accountable' to the people of Christchurch. And so would his fellow councillors.
Not only that, daylight would be allowed to shine on the decision making process. The word 'transparency' was frequently to be heard coming out of the mouth of Bob.
At one election meeting he could be heard to say that he wanted to 'rebuild community confidence in council as an institution they can trust'.
Anyone who knew anything about Sideshow's politics, his agenda and his backers knew that this was all a load of the old proverbial.
Bob though had the advantage that he yet to blot his copybook in Christchurch and he managed to squeeze into the mayoral office when no-one was looking - only 43 percent of Christchurch's registered voters bothered to vote.
And the error of Sideshow Bob began.
Bob has treated local democracy as an inconvenient obstacle in the way of him pursuing his right wing agenda. I've written about most of Bob's arrogant and anti-democratic behaviour on this blog over the past three years - and there's been no shortage of material.
And, dear local voter, its worth remembering that he has only been able to get away with it because of the sycophants on the council who have consistently supported him. These are the very same councillors who now don't seem to want to advertise their devotion to Sideshow Bob.
Having loudly defended him over the past three years the like of Councillors Sue Wells, Barry 'murder is probably wrong' Corbett and Ngaire Button are now avoiding mentioning him. Clearly they are all worried about losing their exorbitant and unjustified salaries. And, in the case of the double-dipping Sue Wells, she's also anxious not to lose the $25,O0O a year she receives for attending a few meetings of Christchurch City Holdings.
But I digress.
Having trampled on local democracy for the past three years Sideshow Bob has - wait for it - had a revelation! He has seen the error of his evil ways! Hallelujah! He wants us to believe that he is a changed man!
'I have heard the people of Christchurch. They want their council to be more transparent around important decisions, particularly around commercially sensitive ones," he said this week.
'People need to know that I get it,' said the man who actively campaigned to have the democratically elected councillors of Environment Canterbury sacked.
It sounds like someone has been working hard on Sideshow's script doesn't it? Perhaps it was sent down from National Party HQ.
Bob now says that previously secret Christchurch City Council workshops will be open to the public. These workshops replaced council committees which Bob scrapped soon after he became mayor.
Of course they might be 'open' to the public but the public won't be able to have any meaningful input - so Sideshow Bob and his council cronies would continue doing what they like anyway.
Nevertheless Bob is hoping that his latest trick with the old smoke and mirrors will fool a few more people to vote for him.
Because that's what the new 'Democratic' Sideshow Bob is all about. Votes.
Bob hasn't changed his spots - he's just getting increasingly desperate in the face of polls that show his main rival Jim Anderton holding a healthy lead over him. The latest poll by The Press shows Anderton having a big 19 percent lead over Sideshow. I also understand that Anderton's own polling shows him to have a even bigger lead over unpopular Bob.
Sideshow Bob had three years to 'rebuild community confidence in council as an institution they can trust”' and he did nothing. In fact , while he pursued his agenda of running Christchurch as a business for business, community confidence in the Christchurch City Council just ebbed away further to be replaced with an increasing anger with a Mayor and his council supporters who have blatantly ignored the wishes of the community.
Feigning concern won't save Sideshow and his council flunkies now.
The bell is tolling and its tolling for Bob..