Monday, November 29, 2010

Letter to the Chief

So I got something in my mailbox that probably shouldn't have riled me up... but it did. I guess it did because I'm so sick and tired of the City cherry picking the By-Laws it chooses to enforce. If it's something that'll make them money, they're after you. If it's something that will require effort for them, you can wait.
The note was in regard to my required alarm permit. It was sent to a house I used to live at, and the resident there forwarded it to me. I used to have a "monitored alarm". It rang a central station somewhere, and they sent out a car to look to see if there were obvious signs of a break in. The security guard would then call Police. In exchange for this, I had to get a permit from the Winnipeg Police Service.

The WPS stopped responding to alarms some time ago. Makes sense, since we've all been a little red faced about setting off our alarm and had to explain it to the control center. (I never did have one that said "STOP! This is Alarm Force! Police are being notified!" since I didn't think it would matter that much, and the bad guys wouldn't run away like they do in the commercial).

I'm going to guess that being Police Chief isn't' an easy job. I can't say I've liked many of our past Chiefs, and while this one seemed OK at the start, I can't say I'm too impressed with him either. Sure, I know, "Yip away, but who will you call when you really need them?" Yes. You're right. Today they are not appreciated, yet when in need they are there and we expect them to be here to help us. I get that, but the same is true of any "service" provider. My note to the Chief is included below in red.

Dear Chief McCaskill,

Thank you for your recent letter to me regarding an alarm I had at a previous address. The pertinent information is enclosed so that you can update your records. This property was sold almost four years ago, and since I live down the street, (after moving three more times since then), I assume that the current owner delivered this to my mailbox.
I’d like to take this time to provide you with a little feedback, since it was you who contacted me.
Winnipegger’s have alarms for a reason. They have to protect their things from a growing number of people who have no respect for personal property. It would appear that you’ve lost control of the City insofar as personal property and personal safety goes. Winnipegger’s who choose to have alarms are asked to pay “permit fee” for which you quote a by-law number in your letter. Permit holders probably expect more from the WPS than a “drive by” by a cruiser car a full day after the alarm.
We in the West End have a whole host of by-laws we’d love to see enforced, but I suppose that since this one is closer to your heart, it receives special attention from your force.  Since the revenue appears to go directly to the WPS, I can see why you’ve taken the time to “remind” people. It makes you money.
Is illegal dumping in back lanes and auto bins enforceable under the Highway Traffic Act, (since a vehicle is used to transport the garbage being dumped illegally)? Any chance we could get you the license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions so you could do something to thwart this behaviour? The City by-law officers apparently can’t access the MPI data base, making them semi-useless in this matter. Of course, there’s no money in this for you.
As well, I noticed you’ve taken to enforcing traffic laws a little more diligently, (I see the quota filling officers at the Foody Goody parking lot waiting to get the “no left turn” violators turning east on Ellice off Empress), and while I think that’s great, I also think that’s probably something you could get the officers to do after they’ve cleared up the backlog of other things you have outstanding. It’s a bit like painting your house while the roof is leaking. The priorities seem a bit out of sync with what we’d like to see really going on in “the ‘hood”. That said there does appear to be money in that enforcement, at least for some branch of the government. If traffic is something you’d like to concentrate on, might I suggest doing something about the rash of errant bicyclists passing vehicles on the right in November. Not only are they a hazard to themselves and others, it’s against the law. So is riding a bike the wrong way up a one-way, riding through red lights and stop signs… I suppose there’s no need to go on. It would appear to the casual observer that the officers I’ve seen ignoring these actions have not been told to enforce those things. After all, you can’t get blood from a stone, or money from someone who doesn’t have a license you can threaten them with loosing.
Further to “the ‘hood”, we still have the (used) condoms tossed in our yard from the working girls and their Johns who do business on the corner, (and often close the deal in our lane, or on the street), and we still enjoy the drunks publicly urinating against our home or on the boulevard.  Any chance you could follow up with them?Again, I know there’s no money in that, but I guess there is in those red light cameras your WPS stats show are a “safety tool” but MPI’s show the contrary. I guess we need to follow the money again. By the way, what percentage of the revenue is from speeding, and how much is from red light violations? And the gun registry you support. Another money grab with no results to make us any safer The criminals are resorting to ever more gunplay in spite of this Liberal boondoggle the NDP has helped prop up with the help of many of the police chiefs.
Thank you for the new logo, slogan, and the promise of a fancy new helicopter, but I think a few extra cars and a couple of beat cops might be in order, that is as long as they don’t need them in the North End, where you’ve lost even the semblance of control.



I'm not sure if I'm being harsh or rude, just that we're in an era where we are "Building Relationships", and frankly I'm not so sure I like where the WPS is going. Feel safe? Have a bat beside your bed? Just inside the door? Been a victim of a B&E? Had a bike stolen (or 2)? A car stolen?

This isn't about not appreciating the Officers or their work. It's about the decisions that affect HOW the Officers do their work. The knee jerk reactions of a "presence" in the North End. Hey. 
HEY! I worked in the North End 5 years ago. Every day, Pritchard, Magnus, Selkirk. Police tape pretty much every Monday morning. Did I really need to type a HEY! to get your attention? Clearly someone had to shoot 3 people to get the Chief's. These aren't new problems... why did it take SOOOOOO long for a reaction?

I'm not a Police Man. I'm not a chief, but I know that if I don't foresee a problem, and I don't find solutions, my clients send me packing . It's my job, and having a press conference asking (again) for the public's help because they have no leads is like me asking my client how to do my job. It doesn't instill a lot of confidence.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black Friday shopping

A friend and I went south to Grand Forks to do some "shopping" I put that in quotes, because it likely sees a bit more cash leave our country, province, and city than most peoples little jaunts south do... this is semi-pro shopping.
Cloutier had a show on CJOB about us going south and why we do it, and there were a few callers that had it sort of right about the question, "Why?"
Because we can is the first answer. We can drive for 90 minutes and go to a place where our dollar (today) goes much farther than it does at home. I'll admit, we'd both rather shop at home. We'd both rather keep our money in our City, Province, Country... but we can't. We can't, because to do so is almost foolish for us.
We often shop at a place that sells building materials that uses the "Run to" slogan here in the City. We both get a "discount" because we frequent the place more than the casual buyer, and spend a lot more there than the normal Joe... but we noticed a really big difference in a lot of things. Most of the prices are from the "Save big Money at..." store.
  • Pricing  Insulation, made by Guardian (a Canadian company) in Canada is $5 a bundle after a rebate. Granted the rebate is in the form of a store credit... but hey, I'll spend it. At the "Run to" store in the Peg, R20 23" is .54 per square foot. R25  23" in the US is .22 cents a square foot. Somebody help me. This looks like "more for less". The list goes on... like "free paint". The available rebate is equal to the cost. It's almost stupid from a business stand point..... or is it? It seems to be working, at least for them. Mansfield toilet in a box $50 ($150 here)
  • Selection  We simply don't have the kind of products available to us that they do. My friend bought Delta faucets that he'd likely have to special order, at less than local prices at the big white and blue store where they want to, "build something together" and sponsor the recent NASCAR 5 time winner. We've purchased a lot of things there, simply because of availability. They have EVERYTHING in stock, they know where it is and they're happy to get it for you.
  • Customer Service  These people almost fall over themselves to sell you product. Sure, they expected a busy day and had staff on hand for it, but we've been there numerous times before and it's always the same. Excellent. I once faxed down window measurements for quotes to 3 chain stores there. Within 24 hours, all 3 had provided the info, and one of them called back a few weeks later to tell me the product I was asking about was going on sale and gave me the new discounted price. This is a far cry from the "you're a real pain in the ass" treatment I get here. Not only do they get back to you, and follow up the sales calls, they help you find product (they even know what you're talking about, or find someone who does) and say very strange things like, "Could I get a cart for you sir". Last time I was at the "run to" store they told me there might be some in the parking lot.
  • Duty  There is none. All you do is pay your PST and GST at the border, and I pay those here regardless AND I can get my ND sales tax back. (easily)
So let's review. We go there, buy about $7000 US worth of building supplies that would have cost us OVER $12,000 here. Ummm.... I don't ever earn $5,000 in a day.

I can't be concerned about the Canadian jobs, the "universal health care" my taxes pay for (primarily because if I was ever diagnosed with anything serious I'd flee our system before you could say "biopsy"), or the altruistic, "support our local economy". As Canadians, we're seen as fools by the people who set prices on products. They hide behind "distribution costs" and claim it's because of our population base being smaller, but I think that's all just bullshit. The manufacturers set the prices, (look into drywall costs for example) and they know they have us over a barrel. Most people won't bother making the effort to save the money because of the time it takes. They don't have a truck and a large trailer, they can't justify a day off work, and they can't save as much as we do in a single shopping day, so they are "captive" to they pricing here.

Menard's is coming folks. What is to be seen is if they will be pricing things just below the status quo here, or extending the pricing they currently offer their American customers. Remember when the other "super stores" came, prices were low, they ran the small companies out of business, cut their staff and service, and left 2 local lumber yards of any decent selection and service in the city.

From what I've heard there, and read just recently, they know how to do it. Sell us their stuff and deliver it here to a warehouse where you pick it up. They already deliver here, you just have to meet them at the border to pay the taxes. This will just make it easier. and

We get screwed over... a lot. Canadian snowmobiles made by Bombardier, (a company that has seen A LOT of tax money help keep it afloat) sells sleds to Canadians for more than Americans. Cars and trucks from the big 3, (all of them really), boats, campers... pretty much everything. Sure, the biggest crooks are our governments (pick a level) who still have an impact on pricing as a result of our terrible tax system against businesses (Would you like a regressive payroll tax with that?), but in the end, we're responsible for that too. We don't have to keep sending the lefties to Ottawa or Broadway.

Some economist can offer up answers as to "why", but I don't really care. I'll keep taking my business elsewhere until they can figure out I don't want it over the barrel, or in any other submissive position.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Building Permits... again

SO back on Oct 18 I posted a couple of rants about PP&D and the permit process, inspections, and so on. It coincided with something I do every once in a while... apply for a permit.(I went on the 20th)
Really simple, EVERY page of my application had an engineers seal. It was a simple basement replacement on a fairly small home. Simple stuff when you've cut your teeth on things like this.
Lemme see now... where's my calendar... ah yes, on the fridge. A month.
October 18th, snow and frost are coming, and no one cares. Really, that's the crux of the whole issue. They simply do not care if your project starts or not, if you get a permit or not, and in the end, why do we bother? It's not like a permit offers up any legitimacy. I'm WAY further ahead retaining the engineer to carry out inspections than the guy who used to do plumbing who is now an "inspector" after taking a few classes on structural matters, or the electrician who is now inspecting my journeyman plumbers work.
I started work on the 27th. We did a little excavating. Hydro missed their appointment to take a look at the gas meter and remove their equipment. Ahh well... a week notice to "call before you dig" is better than a month plus for a permit, right? We slid in the 68' beams on the 29th and had the house lifted about nine feet off the existing floor by the end of the day on the 1st. On the 3rd and 4th we removed the existing foundation, and excavated the new hole to accommodate the foundation. On the 8th we poured the footings for the new walls, and on the 9th the walls were set up and poured. By the 10th the walls were stripped, and the house has sat waiting for the concrete to cure before we set it back down after this weekend.
All without a permit, or any one noticing we were even there.
Why bother? Why do this silly ritual of applying for a permit, waiting, calling the permit tracking phone number no one ever answers (although they do call back to make excuses for how busy they are, and apologize for it being held up, but they're very busy).
I can do the entire project in less time than they can push papers around and review my drawings ALL of which are sealed by engineers.
All that so I can pay them a fee, have them add value to the clients home so her taxes will go up, and sit around and ask for permission to improve a home.
I really don't like their game anymore. It's excuse after excuse.
A few years ago they had some lame arsed exercise where they got together with the home builders and had a "checklist" of items they were going to improve. They had a glowing "report card" after 6 months. From WHO? I never filled out a survey. I haven't been happy for a very very long time with this process, and frankly, I'm thinking the City simply cannot manage it's own permit process.
If you can't issue a permit in a timely fashion, I don't think I need to apply. You may be "the authority having jurisdiction", but if you can't even manage approving a simple project in under a month, your authority is pretty worthless.
The response from the "permit tracking" rep was, "Maybe in a week or so".

Ya... I'll wait. Maybe I'll start planning my spring garden now... you never know how long it might take to figure it out.

Mr Mayor... you listening?  Time for some new blood from OUTSIDE your organization.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rememberance Day

This will be a two part entry. The first part will cover the traditional Remembrance Day ideas, the second half will be a little different.

I'm young, (or so I tell myself despite the sore joints, bad back, and a hip that seems to give me grief). I've managed to be insulated from the horrors of war, hunger, totalitarianism... and I am grateful.
I am grateful to God for where I live and the freedoms I all too often take for granted. I did nothing to deserve to be born here, it is only by his grace...
I am humbled by the memory of those brave young (sometimes foolish) men (boys) who volunteered to head overseas to help "The Queen". Germany had invaded Czechoslovakia and initiated a "Blitzkrieg" against Poland after some diplomatic problems. Poland and England had a treaty, instantly involving Britain in the war. Canada sent troops. It's important to remember that the U.S. didn't come into the European theater until they couldn't resist any longer. (I think the war in Europe and north Africa had gone on for 2 years before the Americans were dragged in as a result of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour) While there are always memories and photos of the liberation by U.S. troops in Holland, France, Germany, they had to walk over the bodies of the Canadians who had been there from the beginning to be the heroes.
The pride that I have no right to feel, is very strong as it relates to the sacrifice made by this rather large country with a very small population. "We" went because it was "right" to go. There was injustice a long way from home, and it had to be stopped.
We have young men and women doing that very thing now, but "we" don't seem to get it. Our country decides to get involved in Afghanistan yet the voices crying out against our troops are loud and given attention by the media.
My son lost a friend. I can't imagine the loss of his parents. Last weekend, the FreeP's front page carried the story and pictures. I start to tear up at the very notion of loosing one of my children and in return, having a lake named after them.
Why? Why did he go? Why volunteer? He started as my own son did, in Air Cadets. That's where they met. It was a good program, but my son didn't like the way they were treated. Like his old man, he's too strong an independent thinker to enjoy that sort of structure. His friend obviously fit in better, and went on to join the Forces. He, like so many countless others before him, gave his life in the service of his country, and NO ONE should EVER question the worth of that.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

I make no excuses for the source. I consider the statement true, and as such, I say "Thank you", holding back tears, because I (at least) understand, that I do not understand the loss... nor do I aspire to.

Part II

Today is an anniversary of sorts. It's the day I lost my best friend to cancer. He was pretty well known throughout the community. More people knew of him and his work than not. He worked tirelessly for the community he served. In His divine providence, my friends "Boss" decided that his work here was done. Clearly, after looking around our community, THE work isn't done, only my friends portion was completed.
I miss him. I think about him often. I can only hope...
When I consider "measuring a life", I consider the impact that life had on others. That doesn't mean that you have to have a large footprint, like my friend had... just a deep one. His was a big footprint, with a lot of depth. He made an impact. I can only aspire to impact others as deeply.

Harry. You are missed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Signs Signs everywhere there's signs...

... except where they seem to be needed most.
I've had the good fortune of travelling all over this continent, and Europe. Generally, I've been able to find my way around, often with sub standard maps, no real grasp of the language, and sometimes just a vague idea of where it is that I'm actually trying to go.
Winnipeg to an outsider must be a shit load of frustration. Imagine driving here if you don't come from here. I think we have more street signs than any place I've ever been. No right turn on between 15:30 and 17:30 and days that end in "Y", and so on. We have STOP signs at every intersection... we suffer from a plethora of signage we get so used to we just ignore it... like the abandoned "construction ahead", and "all traffic merge left" directional signs they City seems to leave behind, tipped over at various locations, but there is a type of sign CLEARLY missing.
Directions. Simple, intuitive, clear directions. Remember how I started. "If you don't come from here".
Even if you DO come from here... what a debacle!
Head north on Osborne (Route 62) and try to find your way to Pembina (Route 42) or Corydon (Route 95). As a life long Pegger, I know how to negotiate confusion corner, but there are no signs. Sure there's one just before the underpass showing the big sweeping circular arrow indicating a 200 degree turn starting at the next intersection, but in all the work done there this past year there is no sign at the area where Corydon becomes Donald indicating you need to turn left... or even to get into the left lane to swing onto McMillan... not that any Winnipegger knows that's McMillan you turn onto with the Bachman Realty offices on your left side. I always figured that was Donald. oops.
How about the mess at the Louise Bridge while on Stadacona southbound? Imagine wanting to get to Narin, and you have a map. You're an out of towner and you're looking for either Narin or Route 37, so you head up Stadacona only to discover that you are forced into a single lane, and cannot turn left... you HAVE to go straight at this point. This is a NEW development... I didn't know, and I've driven this route many times. A sign on Stadacona indicating "Narin Ave (Route 37)" needs to turn right onto Midwinter and then left onto Levi in order to go across the intersection would certainly help... but NOT in Winnipeg. In this City we think it's better to have the drivers continue across the river, and then turn onto the first available street (Sutherland) where they'll try to turn around and get back onto Higgins to cross the bridge again, except that they CAN'T turn left onto Higgins... so they're back into their maps trying to figure out how Annabella might help them get to where they want to go.
I wonder how many people leave this City hoping to never have to come back and drive here again?
There are numerous other locations like this. Perhaps we could start a list and forward the disaster to Streets and Transportation?
Here's the deal. YOU give me up to 10 poorly signed directional areas and I'll write and forward the letter to the proper City Department. We'll see if anything gets done. We have eight to go.

CRTC complaint re: RRCC

I wrote to Graham Thompson regarding my thoughts about the cancellation of The Great Canadian Talk Show, and while I understand the need for the Board as "station owners" to have the ability to determine programming, I can't help but feel there is a lot more going on here, so I reviewed the license granted to RRCC as well as the requirements of Campus Radio Stations. The complaint looked just like this,

Regarding and Kick-FM broadcasting on 92.9 FM in Winnipeg.

Recently, the board governing the radio station mentioned above, decided to remove vital programming from it's broadcasting. In the opinion of the writer, this change hinders or extinguishes completely the ability for the station to fulfill it's required objectives.
Specifically, the required objectives of,
"13.     The Commission's primary objective for the campus radio sector is that it provide programming differing in style and substance from that provided by other elements of the broadcasting system, particularly commercial stations and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The Commission considers that campus stations should add diversity to the broadcasting system by providing alternative programming in both music and spoken word.

14.     The Commission believes that a healthy and vibrant not-for-profit sector is essential to fulfil the goals of the Act. Campus stations play a unique and valuable role in the communities they serve. The revised policy set out below is designed to ensure that they continue to play this role."

Further more, the writer requests a review of the decisions made by some members of the Board of Directors regarding the programming in light of the requirement set out, namely,

"56.     Accordingly, under the revised policy, the Commission will expect the board of directors of a campus radio station to include balanced representation from among the student body, the associated college or university (for example, faculty or administration), station volunteers, and from the community at large. To ensure continuity of direction, the Commission also encourages campus stations to establish positions on their boards of directors with terms of more than one year."

It would appear that the recent changes at the Campus Radio Station do not have the input of the entire board, and as such, the validity of the members is called into question. If there is no "real" representation as required, the "faux board" would appear to simply exist to fulfill the requirements and as such are in fact, NOT fulfilling the stated requirement.

The commitment to volunteers as noted in the application decision,

"16. The applicant indicated that students from the college's Creative Communications Program would work at the station to fulfill the requirements of the course. However, Red River indicated that it would also be willing to involve students participating in other courses as well as volunteers from the community-at-large as volunteers at the station... Red River indicated that it would implement a delay system for any open-line programming that it broadcasts.", appears to be called into question since written statements posted on the RRCC website differ from the above noted commitment. These statements made by RRCC are found below.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010
KICK Programming
Recent decisions about programming on KICK-FM have raised questions about the station's governance and about its role in the local broadcasting market. According to its by-laws, the primary purpose of the station is to act as a training forum for students enrolled in Red River College's Creative Communications Program. The objective is to provide a setting that resembles, as nearly as possible, the operation of a commercial radio station.

In compliance with CRTC policy on campus and community radio, the station is managed by a non-profit corporation called Cre Comm Radio Inc. The Board of Directors of this corporation includes representation from the general community (including potential employers), the student body, the Creative Communications program and Red River College.

The College does support the station by providing annual financial assistance, studio facilities, transmitter and tower space, and technical assistance. However, decisions about programming are the responsibility of Cre Comm Radio Inc.

Recently, the Executive Committee of the Board of CreComm Radio Inc. made a decision to re-focus on the station’s role as an instructional resource. This means giving students more opportunity to hone their craft during primetime hours, ensuring they receive structured performance feedback, and exposing them to standards and practices that are consistent with the management of a commercial radio station.

This reorganization will include a review of all current programming, and will likely lead to several changes in the KICK-FM broadcast schedule. As an initial step, the Executive Committee has decided to stop broadcasting the Great Canadian Talk Show.

While we understand this decision might not be welcomed by the show's listeners, we do feel it's consistent with the stated purpose of the station and its future direction. Going forward, we anticipate the launch of many exciting new shows, providing new opportunities for students to gain broadcasting experience, and new voices for listeners to enjoy.

For further information about the station reorganization, please contact KICK board member Graham Thomson at 949-8377 or

As a member of the public, served by the CRTC, I feel that the changes implemented by the Executive Committee do NOT help the license holder to effectively fulfill it's stated, and required commitments, and feel that the community of Winnipeg as a whole is no longer being served in a number of ways required.

The requirements for programming that is "alternative" as well as "multicultural" and "multiracial" will be hampered, as the volunteer host of the time slot that was canceled, as well as the time slots the popular show was rebroadcast in, assisted in listeners learning about the traditions and beliefs of a minority race/religion, and assisted in bringing tolerance, acceptance, and understanding to the majority.

I sincerely hope that the CRTC will review the governance at the radio station, as well as review the decisions recently made as they relate to the community at large, the capacity for students to learn from volunteers, and the other items of concern listed above.



For whatever it's worth, I let my displeasure be heard. Perhaps you could to?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Journalistic independence... Ya right!

So I was bummed today. Yesterday, I was driving home at about 4:15, and I figured that the usual talk show I listen to on 92.9 KICK-FM, (The Great Canadian Talk Show), was simply extending the host, (Marty Gold) an extra day off. I didn't check my calendar to see if there was some Jewish Holiday, but thought that might be another possible reason.
The tall foreheads at RRCC decided to unceremoniously pull the proverbial plug on Marty's show, citing some bull shit about how they wanted to be more student focused, or some crap. Uh huh. Let's think about that for a second.
Regardless of Marty's show format, could anyone really say that the students working WITH Marty aren't learning anything? Seriously? And as for the idea of RRCC's radio station being more student focused, that's exactly what they MIGHT get... is having a greater percentage of the listeners being students BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WILL BE LISTENING. My radio was often on 92.9 simply because that's where it was when I got out of the car/SUV/truck... I set up the antenna at home on our stereo receiver specifically to listen to 92.9... if you think for a minute I'll be tuning in any longer dear egg heads, you are sadly mistaken.
I know a lot of people who tune in. Some liked Marty's rants, his yelling at what was incredulous information that he exposed, some liked his fearless attacks on the "hoity toity" class. (Aspers et al)
Really good sirs/madams at RRCC, do you somehow think you are doing your journalism students a FAVOUR by giving more of the same old... where you seem to churn out the likes of the journalistic incompetents currently writing for the Freep?
I always figured that Marty would stay on RRCC's airwaves until some smarter radio producer figured out PEOPLE LIKE THIS GUYS STYLE.
Sure, Winnipeg has had a rough time with the avante garde style journalism offered up by the once popular TALK 1390, John Collision and Gerald Fast guys, but Marty has never crossed the line. No complaints to the CRTC... nothing... except...
Where does the RRCC get is funding from? In my small mind, I assume it comes from the Province, and that the City passes on some "perks" for the down town campus. I assume there are well connected people who donate, and well connected likely means the Manitoba Club and so on. Winnipeg is the shooting location for the upcoming movie "One degree of separation". Everybody who is somebody knows everybody else who's a somebody. THEY had to shut that guy up.
There's a Facebook Group... we have the power... but we really don't, at least not in this manner. We don't have any "pull" at RRCC. They don't give a rip how the masses think, what radio station we listen to... ALL they care about is the money.
And there you have it... my take on why. Follow the money.
Great stories that were broken... remember them as history. Good thing Woodward and Bernstein didn't report for the RRCC news paper... they wouldn't have had a chance.Nixon would still be remembered as a great President in the US. (If you have no idea, try Google)
We suffer from a terrible malady in our journalism. No one seems to want to report on matters that should INCENSE the masses. Why bother? The City, Prov or Feds don't hand out news releases on their FAILURES, so no one digs. All the "new journalists" manage to dig up are the "feel good" news releases that are spun prior to release. I don't want none o' dat!
Marty... here's hoping you get a gig somewhere where you can continue unstifled.

Monday, November 1, 2010

We're Number One!

Well, not really. Sure, Winnipeg bashing is good sport, I mean, we're an easy target.
Murder capital of Canada (again)
Slurpee capital of the World (again)
Worst traffic light synchronization (if you consider GREEN as being the colour of choice when travelling along almost any route)
Biggest pothole on a major highway (I think I lost a filling in my tooth after a humdinger of a jolt on Hwy#1 heading west between the symington overpass and Hwy 59)
Most traffic lights on an innercity beltway

What's disappointing is were we don't get noticed.

Communities in Bloom... we didn't make the list. Edmonton, that frozen blob almost as far north as Moscow but without the warm temps (yes, Moscow is warmer), they won the tidiest City award.
I guess all the "Take Pride Winnipeg" garbage cans that are often (typically) over flowing didn't grab the eye of the judges in a good way.
I have to admit, Winnipeg is dirty. I can't think of a place that is as filthy on a windy day. Rome, Berlin, Hamburg, London... only Paris has "litter" that was noticeable, (Nice has a lot of dog shit, but not litter). A city that would compare might be LA if you're down town in the Sunset Boulevard area. We'd have to go to the ghettos of a major US city to find an equal.
Why? Why do people think that driving along and tossing out their McDonald's bag, or their Slurpee or Big Gulp cup is OK?
A Day in the Hood used the correct phrase. The Broken Window Theory. The idea that people consider it more acceptable to live like pigs the longer they are surrounded by shit. While the theory has been decried, there are Cities that have tried to combat it by facing it head on. Baltimore has a method of mapping EVERYTHING that happens in their City from failed trash pickups to crime. Areas that see excess problems are targeted for extra attention. Seems easy enough.
While I don't know that I agree with the theory insofar as the condition of the neighbourhood actually leads people to commit crime, I do think that the idea that a filthy lane is discouraging enough to cause people to simply not care enough to do anything about it.
The City (as we learned from the aforementioned blog) has little ability to enforce it's by-laws when it comes to illegal dumping and litter. We have little ability to do much of anything about the Big Bite wrappers, the empty pop bottles, copies of the latest Renters News, and whatever else flies over from the Bunty's chicken half a block away but pick them up and put them in our own trash... but that is a never ending chore, left to those of us unwilling to wave the white flag.
The City NEEDS to come down harder on property owners who clearly let their yards adjacent to the lane go to hell, and the business owners whose debris fly through the area. It doesn't matter that the clients of the businesses toss the debris. Have  you seen a Sev garbage can a half a block away?
Sure, we all have seen someone toss something on the ground a few feet away from a garbage can. I've picked the litter up and yelled, "Let me get that for you." For those people, we need some STIFF fines. Again, Singapore has an extreme way of dealing with that sort of thing, but you never have to worry about getting gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe when walking in Singapore.