Moving On…

Month: June, 2012

It’s Official

It came in the mail today, not that it was a surprise.

City of London Rejection Letter

At least it lets me move on.

It does make me think about where I will be participating in our community. It may not even be with municipal affairs. I have already offered to help with building a gazebo for WOTCH.

It does remind me of a story I heard once. It was said that a university professor told his class that their first assignment was to submit something to a publisher, just to get rejected. The students were all to hand in their rejection letters as their assignment. As writers they needed to learn that there would be many more rejections in their careers than acceptances.

The best part… it didn’t kill me. I guess rejection isn’t so bad.

A Good Recommendation

London changing it’s logo to reflect the city we aspire to be wont be happening.

At least that sounds like the recommendation from staff.

Although the logo is a few years old, the expense of a logo overhaul seemed too steep.

I also think it would be putting the cart before the horse.

It’s like going out to buy a new workout outfit. It might make you feel good, it might even convince you that you have made progress towards your goal, but really you haven’t. All you have done is put a fresh coat of lipstick on an old pig.

If you are serious about moving towards your goals, the ratty old t-shirt and sweats will get you started. Only after making a commitment to progress should you think about whether or not your outfit matches your activity.

Changing the logo for the city may have been an exciting project, but not much more.

The Problem With Historical Buildings

I love historical and antique buildings, but the total tab for the rebuilt “Red Antiquities Building” shows where they can be a tough sell.

Pathways bought the building for $100,000…

Groups ranging from the city to the Ontario Trillium Foundation stepped up to donate money, helping to cover a renovation tab of about $500,000, Hubert said.  – metronews.ca

I would like to see an appraisal of what the current property is worth. I would be shocked to see a number over $600K.

This means that if we are going to keep saving these buildings we need to find incentives not to just tear it down and start over.

And no, I don’t mean historical designation.

Designation just leaves a building to rot.

Where to Start?

It can be difficult to get engaged in this city.

Not that people aren’t welcoming, most are dying for some new faces and new ideas to be brought to the table, but there are a few barriers to entry.

Being “engaged” requires work.

It means listening to ideas (even the ones you don’t like) as well as sharing your own.

It means doing a bit of reading about the city’s organization, responsibilities, and history.

It means voting every four years.

Does all this sound like too much? Many people do.

So where can you start?

Why not start with being supportive?

Being supportive requires a very minimal amount of effort.

Look out for, and attend events that sound interesting, like Car Free Day, Home County Folk Music and Art Festival, or Fleetwood Country Cruize In.

Participate in sporting events with organizations like the Forest City Sport & Social Club, or run in one of several road races like the Forest City Road Races.

Enjoy the entertainment already available like going to see the Knights, the Lightning, the Majors, take in a play at the Grand Theatre or The Arts Project or visit one of the city’s museums.

Make sure other’s know about the exciting things going on in the city and give them the strangest look whenever someone claims “there is nothing to do in this city”.

And last but not least, spend your money with local businesses that support our community.

Even though you may not be noticed for your contribution, all these things will make our city a better place.

Top 10 – Worst Ways to Break Bad News

Bad news is never easy to break, but there are good ways and bad ways to break news. Here are a list of some of the worst things someone can say to you before telling you anything.

10, “We should talk…”

9, “I know I always said…”

8, “I’m going to be completely honest with you…”

7, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”

6, “I hate to be the one to tell you this…”

5, “Promise you won’t be mad at me.”

4, “I was trying to wait for the right time to tell you this.”

3, “I guess you’ve seen what I posted on Facebook?”

2, “Hey, I’m going to be on Jerry Springer, want to come with me?”

1, “We are having an emergency press conference… in four hours.”

Yes, I’m having a bit of fun with the handling of the city’s announcement yesterday that two of the seals from Storybook had died in transport.

On the scale of things this one is pretty small, but the city needs to understand that when you have something really important to tell people, they brace for the worst.

This is also the first announcement that I can remember that wasn’t prefaced by it’s reason.

A simple “we are holding an emergency press conference today at 4:30 to share the unfortunate news that there has been a problem with the transport of the seals from Storybook.”

Was that so hard? It would have left most of the city go back to their daily routine without worrying about who had died.

Downfall of Democracy

The first place democracy fails it’s stakeholders is in the advancement of minorities. When the majority rules, it often leaves under-represented people behind.

It’s then the job of the minority to beg, plead, convince, or cajole the majority into supporting their cause.

This is not only true in government, but also in unionized environments.

During collective bargaining, employers know that smaller employee groups don’t have much voting power and often negotiate accordingly.

This is a reality we unfortunately need to face.

And no, I don’t know a solution to this problem.

Shocking Costs

$20,800 for Joe Fontana’s state of the city breakfast.

$47,313 for Peter MacKay’s F-35 photo op.

$23,000 to ferry three cabinet ministers around Davos last year.

$16 for a glass of orange juice.

Are these excesses? Yes, especially in a time where all politicians are preaching “fiscal responsibility”. Media also loves these stories and runs headlines to enrage the general population.

On the other hand, consider these as promotional events. Many events we think are common come with a hefty price tag.

For example, I was shocked to find the “average” wedding can run up a tab of $20,000. Including in some locations (like New York) $12 – $15 per person just for the deserts, or spurlging for sparklers in your centrepiece to light during the couples’ first dance, $3,600.

I’m sure these are not the only examples of indulgence that occur every day.

While we shouldn’t excuse the lavish spending, we should understand how it happens and put controls in place to reduce it.

Duty of Care

When I send my son to school each morning, I know the school has a moral and legal responsibility to provide a clean and safe environment. Under a standard duty of care the school assumes the responsibility for his well being.

If I found out that he was being abused, assaulted, intimidated, or subjected to an unclean environment, I would be furious and I would want answers.

Even if I were to neglect to provide a safe and clean home for my son (or if I was caring for an elderly relative), the province would be there to remove him from my care, as they should, in the name of protecting someone who cannot protect themselves.

So how does the province get away with what is reportedly going on at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre?

Once detained, the Ontario government must assume the duty of care for people in custody.

Not everyone in EMDC has even been convicted of a crime.

Double Edged Sword

Some problems are difficult to solve and some solutions have unintended consequences.

One that jumped out at me today is the obesity issue. With the current education strategy, making people aware that being overweight is bad for your health, it makes me wonder if it is increasing bullying.

For example, statements like the following are widely accepted as true, and it likely is.

“We solve obesity, we solve the health care problem.” – Donnie Deutsch

I have heard it many times before and healthcare expenses related to obesity have certainly risen. Eliminating those expenses would definitely relive much of the stress on healthcare.

But wait…

As we undergo this urgent campaign telling people they need to shape up for better health, we may also be vilifying those people we are trying to help. I can’t help but assume the more we get told being overweight is wrong, the more body issues are going to get picked on.

According to a 2006 Toronto District School Board student census for Grades 7 to 12 (pg.21), students were primarily bullied because of body image…

As much as 38% of bullying in grades 7-8 is body image related!

Yes, I know that being overweight isn’t the only body image reason those kids got picked on. The bullying could be for being too tall, too short, too thin, freckled, blonde, or red-headed amongst other things. People can be mean when you don’t ‘fit in’.

Dammit

Some people are trolls, out to say things because they know it draws attention. Knowing there are people who support their position and others who can’t wait to say they are wrong.

This morning I spent 20 minutes of my life reading a crappy columnist, actually giving him, and his publisher exactly what they want.

Who was it? I’m not going to say, because that’s exactly what they want.

As tough as it may be, the best thing to do is to walk away and move on.