"Karl was born and raised in Cobourg and defines himself as a straight-shooter. Honesty, due-diligence, transparency, integrity and stewardship are virtues he lives by - a stickler for doing what's right and seeking accountability. Karl has a BScH under his belt and seeks a pragmatic approach to politics; albeit in a gentle and approachable manner. Karl operates a local website design and marketing company as well as freelances IT work for an international conglomerate. He also has valuable volunteer experience through not-for-profit corporations."
General Information & Biography
This website is intended for the electorate of Cobourg who wish to learn more about me. I feel that people should know who they're voting for, and this information is to help in that regard shall they or myself not be able to meet in person.
My full name is Karl vom Dorff. My surname is difficult to pronounce so it's easier for people to just use my first name. I was born and raised in Cobourg and have lived in our beautiful town most of my life. I am single, male, and almost forty years old this year! The most obvious thing you'll notice about me is that I am wheelchair dependent. I was a passenger in a violent motor vehicle accident over twenty years ago and have proudly lived with a challenging spinal cord injury ever since.
Education & Professional Activity
I was educated at St. Michael's, St. Joseph's & St. Mary's Catholic schools here in Cobourg. I attended Carleton University in Ottawa thereafter where I attained my Honour's Science Degree in Biology (Thesis: 'Conventional Residential Electroluminescence and the State of Solid State Lighting').
After school, I moved back to Cobourg, became a home owner (10 years now) and started a website design and marketing company through which I continue to help clients today. Additionally, I do freelance contract work for an international software company whose prestigious clients include Google, Microsoft and Apple. Being bilingual was a prerequisite for this position.
LifeStyle & Hobbies
Where do I start. I consider myself a very rounded individual, able to converse on a broad range of topics. Despite my disability, I get around. I have lived five years in Europe and travelled extensively. I love immersing myself in culture, traditions and the food and drink of the places I visit.
A hobby I spend a lot of time on is music. I like to compose and play music. I trained myself on piano, clarinet, guitar and bass. Unfortunately, since my injury I am only able to play piano/keyboard anymore due to my hand function.
I also love to cook, play billiards, enjoy nature and science, history, and follow the MLS and Bundesliga Soccer Leagues.
The saying 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' doesn't apply to me. I love taking things apart to figure out how they work, and spend a lot of time on DIYs (do it yourself projects).
I feel a lot of these academic and practical characteristics would benefit my candidacy for councillor.
Volunteering & Community
Public office/service is one of the highest privileges and honour. In a town of around 20,000 residents, much of Cobourg's business will be decided by five councillors - that's a huge responsibility not to be underestimated!
I am proud to be the recipient of a ten year volunteer service award from the premier of Ontario for a non-profit organization in Ontario (Club Loreley Inc). I have also independently (through the software firm Haikuware I founded) raised several tens of thousands of dollars for another non-profit software organization that was dear to my heart (Haiku Inc). In addition, I sat two consecutive years on the board of directors for a local condominium corporation (NSCC #58). I have gained valuable experience from these endeavours. I also enjoy donating to our excellent Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation.
People that know me would say 'he would give the shirt off his back for you; a man of his word'. I am a meat & potatoes type person and enjoy discussing business over coffee or a glass of beer - I am your next door neighbour, modest and humble yet a chameleon able to adapt to its environment/situation. I'm a proud Canadian - a tolerant moderate conservative individual with European roots like many of our pioneers and founding fathers that collectively helped each other make Cobourg out of nothing, and then made Cobourg great! Being elected as councillor would afford me the privilege of continuing to serve you; the public.
WHY QUARREL? - VOTE KARL!
Questions & Answers
How do you align yourself politically?
I get asked this a lot. It's an important question. The answer is simple - I am not aligned or devoted to a single political party, rather their platform. I am a strong believer in accountability and feel that if too many mistakes are being made, or if promises to the electorate aren't honoured or represented properly, the strongest weapon is one's vote. All parties make mistakes, whether it be the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, or Greens. I can say I have voted for all four parties at different times in my life as change was necessary in my opinion.
Who is your favourite politician?
Without question, my favourite politician was Jack Layton.
Why do you use a wheelchair?
I was a passenger in a motor vehicle accident over twenty years ago that rendered me a quadriplegic. I have zero voluntary use of my legs, trunk, plus limited hand movement and breathing function.
How do you envision your role as Councillor?
I think first and foremost, it's my job to listen. To act as a steward for the Town of Cobourg, listen to what residents have to say, and act upon suggestions and complaints based on due diligence and fiscal responsibility to the tax payers. It is my intention to act honestly, diligently and with integrity.
What is your favourite saying?
'We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.'
Which committees are you interested in?
I believe the Cobourg Environmental/Active Transportation Committee and the Cobourg Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee would be well suited to me. Additionally, given my disability and wheelchair use, I have a lot of experience with accessibility design. Therefore, the Accessibility Committee would also be of interest to me. I would be humbly honoured to accept and liaise with any committee assigned to me however.