Friday, December 30, 2011

2011...Good Riddance (top 10 in no particular order)

This year will not be missed, at least not by me.

1. The man made flood took months of prime summer work time away, costed tens of thousands of dollars, and the NDP under their MWS department have collectively said, "We don't care". (Still no official answer to the claim filed in June)
There are times I understand people going "postal". I've resisted looking up their office location.
They dig a ditch from Lake St. Martin to a swamp HOPING it will lower Lake Manitoba over the winter months. The latest response to the Association of Lake Manitoba Stakeholders  concern that there has been no appreciable drop in the lakes level since opening the channel was rebuffed by a MWS engineer, full of reasons as to why the lake hasn't dropped, all because of "natural" reasons, (in probably the worst grammar I've ever read from any "official" response to anything from anyone)
http://lakemanitobaassociation.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/alms-requests-meeting-with-premier-over-concerns-about-channels-inability-to-reduce-lake-manitoba-levels/

2. Winnipeg's murder rate is now officially set at a new record... sure, mostly people who were "known to one another". I know a lot of that is about the company you keep, but our FINE police Chief needs to get a handle on how this REALLY affects people. Let's say there are people in your West End Neighbourhood who make more noise than you like... their dogs bark consistently and so on. You gonna say something? Then what?

3. Crime rates are NOT as our Chief would have you believe. Not only does the (very late) annual report tell us this City is NOT a nice place, and people will typically get away with property crimes, they skew the numbers.http://mennozacharias.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/flaws-in-the-2010-winnipeg-police-annual-report/ Forget trying to get a real estimate on all the unreported incidents, the reported ones show this cess pool is spiraling down the proverbial toilet. (insert a "it'll be all right" comment from our mayor here)

4. The NDP get's another 4 years to scuttle the leaking ship Manitoba. The election was a non-event given that the PC's promised to outspend even the drunken sailors currently at the rudder. (chanting of "4 more years" is heard from zombie-like NDP supporters at the Union Hall)

5. Tax hikes are inevitable for Winnipeg property owners as the City fell further behind, crying, "We need more money!" The trails we call roads are akin to those in the poorer areas of Mexico. In this City we struggle to improve even our traffic signals, installing new "smart lights" on "dumb streets". Even a smart light set up on Route 90 between Academy and Logan can't fix that, "increase speed to 70 km/h... slow down.. stop", ritual we are all so accustomed to that we hardly notice.

6. The MSM continues to be as useless as the Board of the CMHR. With kid glove interviews being the norm, reporters spew the press release they've been handed, ask soft ball questions that seem to have been formulated by a 12 year old, and offer "spin" for the politicians and millionaires. Add to that the cancellation of Winnipeg's ONLY radio show that offered some of the hard questions others are so lacking, and you have a vacuum.

7. The CMHR, long a thorn in my side, (since the INCEPTION of the idea, I've thought it stupid and a waste of prime real estate, but even building it in South Transcona on the swamp would be a waste of real estate), is so deep into the glue this will likely become an issue of a public inquiry at some point. Still the WFP cheer leads, CJOB coddles, and the Sun doesn't have the talent able to string the whole mess together in a comprehensive manner that won't come across in a right wing /anti semitic smear.

8. The Federal NDP is now the Official Opposition. Woe is me. One can only hope that this is a vote "against" everything else and not an embracing of the ideology of the left. Consider Manitoba's plight before voting for these clown federally... please.

9. Will and Kate get married in a lavish ceremony!

9. Winnipeg's real estate prices continue to climb. Long undervalued and stagnant, Winnipeg finally saw it's property values catch up to where they should have been and keep pace with inflation, or better. On the sad side, the price of "low end crap" has escalated at a higher pace than "decent housing" as can be witness by searching through listings below $200K inside the City. (This is the only "good news" item I hope continues into the remainder of the decade aside from the "low end crap" continuing to increase in value)

10. The global economy continues to have a cold that won't go away. While it keep interest rates low, the "jitters" keep lenders' purse strings tight. banks are glad to extend credit card credit, but are tougher on lending capital to anyone wanting to borrow bigger cash to expand a business, purchase real estate (investment property), or provide business loans. There's not enough money in it for them.

I'll be happy to have readers add an event. I'm looking forward to 2012 being a better year... this one was one to forget.

Happy New Year

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas... what's it all really about?

It's a story about faith. That's a topic that's out of bounds for many, because we have so little of it left. Our faith is eroded. Consider our collective faith in the Board of the CMHR, the NDP government of Mr. Selinger et al, our "business sense" Mayor..."Oh ye of little faith" likely never rang so true.
The story takes place in an occupied territory of the Roman Empire. Some nobody... a carpenter is the center of the story. Sure, I know... you figure it's the fair maiden. I don't agree.
This guy is pledged to be married to a (likely) much younger Mary. For a year they are engaged, and she turns up pregnant. The punishment for her would have been death by stoning, but Joe was a good man. He was prepared to simply let this become a quiet let down, having lost faith in his fiancee.
In a dream, he was told to take her as his wife because God had interfered with his humble plans. He obeyed, basically admitting to all around him that he couldn't keep it in his pants. The community around him would NOT have been amused, and many would have shunned him. He endured.
Told to travel to some hick town for a census with harsher consequences for not filling out the short form than Canadians are threatened with, he takes his pregnant wife and goes to a town that is your typical small town. People FLEE from them, but the rules were that you have to register in your HOME town. He had left here long ago, presumably had no family left, as they had to look for a Motel 6 or a Super 8. No rooms, so they humbled themselves and slept with the livestock.
The baby is born, and some shepherds show up. While we all have nice ideas about shepherds, these folks in their day were the lowest... there was only "up the ladder", except that once you put "sheep herder" on a resume, you got told to go away. Nice touch... the lowest people around come to see our son. What they did do was reinforce Joe's convictions and his desire to be obedient as a result of the "news" they heard. It helped him to be strong, and not second guess his choices.
A year or so later, in a house, some guys show up from "away". Far away. The journey took them about a year, following some celestial anomaly.  They check in with the "king" who was curious about their quest. He asked them to return to him with news after they found this "king" they sought, but sorry guys, he isn't here.
Herod you see was NOT a nice man, having killed off a few others who were ahead of him in line, so there may well have been some other descendant born somewhere who might be ahead of him in lineage.
These "wise men" bring some interesting stuff as baby gifts. my favourite was the embalming fluid. (myrrh)
The gold would become helpful soon enough.
The wise men don't return to report to King Herod, he's pissed and so he orders the murder of all infant boys with a bit of a "safety window" built in. Some tyrants will do whatever they have to to stay in power.
Joseph receives another dream. "Pack up all your stuff and move to Egypt...NOW". He does as he's told.
I'm amazed by that.
Who else picks up and moves what would have been a world away, a country where you don't speak the language, your client base gone, abandon your tools... fortunately they had the gold to help cushion the blow.

Herod dies and Joe has another dream. Personally I'd have stopped eating big meals before bed by this point. he's told to head back "home". He does as he's told.

If you believe the story, you must see that it would have never come together as it did without a relatively simple, honest man who was willing to be obedient, because he had faith. Had Joe decided differently... well he didn't, so there's no point in speculating. Regardless, one little boy was blessed with a "dad" who demonstrated great faith.

In a nutshell, that's what I think Christmas is about. Regardless of how you celebrate,

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Manitoba Water Stewardship celebrates Hanukkah?

For my Jewish friends, HAPPY HANUKKAH!


For my Goyim friends, you can play "Find the Yiddish words" in this post.


How is MWS celelbrating Hanukkah? Well, it would appear that they make decisions by spinning a dreidel. Some people get nisht while others get halb and a lucky few get gants. Everybody has to shtel arayn, since the NDP has made it a "deductible", as if we were insured and somehow have to pay our "share" for the water they shipped us.


There's little doubt this was a schwartz yor for many. The flood forecasting balmalocha who took over from the last guy did a bang up job missing all the snow west of Winnipeg, and as a result we were all left a little dismayed at how shlecht the whole department was at doing their jobs. Add to the terrible performance at predicting the actual flooding, they created disasters like the "Hoop and Hollar" cut which turned out to be total shandeh. These guys ran the Portage Diversion until it almost plotzed and they filled Lake Manitoba to to rim, then added some more.


I'd have thought that filling that lake beyond capacity ummeglich, but I apparently I was falsh. These leytsim sent out flood alerts, wind inundation maps and projected crests that changed daily, leaving us to wonder who the shmayser was who could be running this balagan. Some maps clearly showed water fore casted to move over a kilometer inland if the wind was sustained, at levels at least a foot above the prescribed elevation for buildings constructed near the lake. Many of us held our kopf  in our hands and lamented, "Oye vehys mir".


As regular followers/readers know, I chose to be proactive and lift my building above the fore casted flood levels. Mistake. After many forms and e-mail requests, after months of waiting, a MWS representative... inspector... some guy came out to view the place. He seemed like a mensch. He told me that they would have a decision shortly... about 6 weeks. That was in July. I STILL have no official word in writing, but I did finally follow up and had a nice woman tell me they decided nein, nischt for you.


The reason I was given is that I'm protected by a "dike"


Sure... a dike. A bunch of sand bags where in some areas it is backed up with clay. hay bales covered in geo textile, backed with clay, and in some places, just sand bags. Add to that, the dike wasn't really "completed" until the fall, MONTHS after I raised my building to a safe level.


I contacted the RM, and was advised that the dike is NOT permanent, and as such should not be considered as "flood protection", but since no one has bothered to send me a letter "shortly" as I was promised over a month ago, I can't appeal any decision made by these schmendriks, leaving me out a chunk of gelt I would have never spent if not for the bad intel I was given. In essence, In drerd mein gelt!


We've heard that others have been approved already, some to raise their buildings as little a one inch. An inch huh? Makes me wonder if the people approving that felt a little kurz in another area and were trying to make up for something they are lacking. These people are located behind the same sort of dike I am. One cottage, (outside of the dike), was actually raised during the flooding, albeit not high enough, again, a result of VERY poor forecasting.


Sorry, I don't farschtein. All I can really do at this point is lachen mit yash-tsherkes . The NDP talked a good talk about compensating people, but empty barrels make the most noise.


Manitoba Water Stewardship? Feh! Greg Selinger? Goniff  Christine Melnick? Nar meidl Steve Topping? Dumbkop Philip Mutulu? Schrecklich


When my government tells me they're going to be there to help, I'm not believing them. Du kannst nicht auf meinem rucken pishen unt mir sagen class es regen ist.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Movie Review: Mission Impossible

If you enjoy this genre of movie, this one is worth seeing on the big screen. The story line is intriguing enough to keep you interested in the plot, but that's not really why you came... you came for the action.

Tom Cruise seems to have taken a major role in production, and while often this is a death knell for a movie, he seems to have pulled it off.

Without being a spoiler, I can say that the location shoots are amazing... This has the locales and shots worthy of a Bond flick starting in Russia, moving to Dubai, and later India. There are others, but those are the major plot locations. Filmed in Imax, this is worthy of being seen on a BIG screen. We saw it at Polo, where they have premium "pleather" seats, but the sound and visuals of a large screen in a resolution that rivals being there are worth the extra few bucks they charge you to get into the place.

The nice thing is that this movie doesn't struggle for a reason to exist as so many "series" movies do. We've waited a number of years, (almost 6),  for another Mission Impossible movie, but it was worth the wait

Statler and Waldorf give this one two thumbs up  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

First appeal to the UN, second, accept help from the Red Cross

For readers needing help.... Attawapiskat.

This "remote northern" band has declared a state of crisis.emergency insofar as their housing crisis goes. Maybe they should call Mike Holmes?

I was listening to UMFM, the campus radio station that hosts "Internet Pundits", on a Tuesday I think, and listened to some well edumakated young woman spout off about how horrible this country is for allowing this tragedy to happen over the many prior years. "This isn't a new problem, this has been a problem for a long time" or something of that sort, punctuated with the typical "ya know", and "ahh" so prevalent amongst the opinionated youth who choose to get their opinions from CBC rather than spend their precious reading time actually looking for REAL information, not the spoon feeding of the media.

Leaving aside the millions of dollars the federal government has already provided this particular band for housing and other needs (to the tune of $90 million since 2006)... money they can't seem to find... this band is not really as "isolated" or as "poor" as people believe. 2000 people live there. That's about $18 million a year. $9000 a year per person.

DeBeers. Heard of them? They mine diamonds. You know... those shiny things in rings and ear rings... necklaces?
The Victor mine in the area is on "traditional" lands. That means MINERAL RIGHTS!

DeBeers, along with their almost impossible to replicate South African accents, brought $ 11 Billion Dollars to build their mine. Yup... $11 billion. That's an amount people like Bill Gates understand, not poor folk like me. Of course poor folk like me don't really understand millions either, which is what the Band was paid for goods and services. How many millions? $ 49 million, (53% of the total)

The mine is expected to infuse $49 million  in "aboriginal spending" in 2010 alone. The mine is 90 km from Attawapiskat. Can't find work? Last time I checked, mining paid pretty well. Sure, it's a young man's game, but even so, there's no crying about there being no economic opportunity. Another $2.9 million in community investment. That's JUST for 2010.  Want to know how much they get in mineral rights? Can't say... confidential. I suppose the root of the Chief's problem to have an audit. "You can't know where that money went, it's ours, and how we spend our money is none of your business".

What DeBeers CAN say is that they've awarded $325 million in contracts to "solely owned or joint ventures" run by the community since 2005. Hmmm. That's an average of just over $54 million a year, or another $27K a head per year. Now sure, I know not each person actually receives that,but you get the idea. What are we at now? About $40K a head? At one point, DeBeers invested $14 million in training and development. These were for positions that were "beyond general labour".

Yes, the community is isolated. If you have to fly in, or drive out only on a winter road, well that fits my personal definition of isolated, BUT that is no excuse for not looking after your own citizens.

Surely the amounts of cash thrown around there to this point are sufficient to provide a number of homes, and seeing tents and shantys is unbelievable, simply in that there is no shortage of  money to provide adequate housing. Unfortunately, where the money earmarked for housing actually went is still unclear.

What does a Chief do when people start pointing out the obvious? SMOKE SCREEN

Call the UN and bitch and complain. Ask them to get involved. ANYTHING to get the eyes off the band "leadership". I haven't heard what the UN is contemplating, and I suppose that since these people are "sovereign nations" they can appeal to the UN all they want, but now the Red Cross? Seriously? And they show up?

This is what I don't get. I mean I do in that the Red Cross doesn't judge why people are suffering, they just respond in a time of need. I just wonder if the Chief and her other leadership team really feel that this is a way to get the average Canadian "on their side".

I see that it worked on at least one young and impressionable person with a forum on a University Radio Show, but for those of us with a little more sense and a desire to dig a little deeper than the average tv news spot or radio clip provides, this just isn't working in their favour.

The more we learn, the less we think the Feds should be sending up any more cash any time soon. The agreement to provide modular homes, fine, but until the band cooperates with an audit, just stop sending them anymore cash.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Home improvement shopping nightmare

I've said before that customer service is almost non existent here. Well let me say it again.
Last Saturday, we went to a large orange home improvement chain store on Empress St. OK, let's not pussy foot around it... Home Depot.
We were shopping for blinds. We selected a number of sizes "close" to the sizes we needed and were about to ask to have them cut when we noticed the sign. "Blind cutting machine not working". Lovely. We left and headed to McPhillips.
At the McPhillips store, they only had 3 of the 8 sizes we needed, so we had the three cut, and then headed to Kenaston. That store only had 1 of the remaining 5 sizes, so we had it cut and asked them to check stock at the other two stores. Fortunately the remaining 4 blinds were all the same sizes.
Apparently the computer said that St.Vital had 8 and Regent had 4 of the sizes we needed, so we headed to St.Vital. They had 3, not 8, so we bought them and did not have them cut since we had been told, "You can buy your blinds at any store and have them cut at a different store if you like.
Off to Regent where we discovered that they had none of the size we needed AND their blind cutter was not working. What bliss!
I asked to see the manager, who listened to my tale, but offered up that it was all out of her control... there was nothing she could do. They make you manager, and you're completely incapable of any sort of customer satisfaction? Methinks they need to expand their employee search a tad.
Back to Empress, where I bought the remaining blind, then off to McPhillips to have the last 4 cut.

NOT SO FAST.

The blind cutter doesn't work today. I'm beginning to get mad. The staff member offered up that the machines are provided by the manufacturer, and they have had all sorts of issues with the machines. "They are crap" she said. I went to Customer Service and had a manager paged. He listened to my sorry tale, and repeated the, "It's out of my control" line, but to his credit, he did ask how he could make it right.

I suggested that he likely couldn't compensate me for my time or fuel, but maybe all the stores could scrap their blind cutting machines and put up a sign telling people they are unable to offer any cutting. That way I won't get suckered into buying a few blinds here, and a few there, thinking that eventually I might get a whole house full of blinds... a rather small house... 8 blinds... none of them inordinately large. He listened, apologized, and I left, thanking him for allowing me to rant.

Off to Kenaston to have the last 4 cut.

The ordeal started Saturday and didn't end until Monday. Should it be this difficult?

I did fill out the online customer satisfaction survey, but the whole think is run by some third party marketing company in Boston. I did use all 1000 characters in the comment section. We'll see if I get a response. I didn't bother entering the "sweepstakes", since buying blinds at Home Depot was more of a "mistake" than a "sweepstake".

Next time I'll buy the cheapest blinds I can find at Zellers and cut them with my miter saw... Home Depot is officially OFF my list of places I'll go to "gather" supplies as a first stop, but really, this is an on going shit show.

Go to Rona for a 5" heating pipe. Nope... got none. No heavy gauge, no light gauge, no 3', no 5'... NO 5" pipe. This has happened numerous times with items that have a "Minimum quantity on hand" label on them. I asked if the fact that they had NONE on hand earned me a free coffee. Nope.

I don't know if these stores are run by zoo keepers who have no idea what the monkeys are doing, or if virtually all decisions are made by management located in an office in Toronto, but the ordering and inventory is typically terrible, and very inconvenient.

Back in the day, before I started driving for 2 hours and buy everything at Menard's, it was typical to have to visit at least 2 stores to buy enough doors for a house. After all, we get pretty picky with doors. We want the correct sizes, and the correct hand, (left or right). I think I'd spend as much time driving around town for 5 or 6 doors as I now do driving to the US and getting virtually everything I want, and saving upwards of 30%.

I think it's great that Home Depot is a corporate sponsor of the Jets, and that Rona supports the CFL, but until they can look after me as a customer, I'll be spending my money somewhere else, and they'll be the stop for "incidental expenses" and "sundry supplies".

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mike Holmes has a fix for First Nations Housing

Mike Holmes is in the news again, supposedly with a "fix" for the housing "crisis" on reserves.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/12/02/f-first-nations-housing.html
"Stop Building Junk on reserves" says the headline.

Ya huh. In a fashion only Mike Holmes seems to be able to get away with, no one steps out to call him on his pollyannaish way of thinking.  Back in July there was an announcement that he was going to start the big fix and they'd have an announcement in a month as to where he's going to begin this big transformation. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2010/07/21/man-holmes-afn-agreement.html I'm waiting to hear where they're going to start this revolution in building AND training.

Mike figures the quality of a wood framed house is the issue with bad housing. I'll just take the whole argument OFF reserve, so as not to make the issue a racist filled rant... or at least not provide the opportunity to call it that, even if it isn't. It seems we can't say things as they are when "reserve" is a part of the conversation.

Three homes are on my block, all evidently built by the same builder, the same plan, same build date. All are about a hundred years old now. One is beautiful on the exterior, one is ok, one is... well it doesn't look so good. That house needs a Mike Holmes makeover. What happened? A reasonable person would likely place the blame squarely on the owners of the homes, not the original builder or the specifications. I mean given Mike's belief that everything built on a reserve has been crap one would have to believe that all the houses on the reserve would be crap, but they're not. Like the three houses on my block, it's about the people who live in the homes, not the structure.

I've seen the specification for homes built on reserves, and it's no wonder they are so costly to erect. They are full of details that, at that time, far exceeded the sort of things we'd put into homes for sale here in the big city. Ventilation systems, crawlspace ventilation... specifications that CMHC came up with and builders were supposed to install. I didn't bid on any of these homes, but I did see that they tried to include everything possible to make these good quality, long lasting houses.

Neither CMHC, nor the builder can be there to ensure people utilize the ventilation systems. Electric baseboard heat does nothing to move air, and as such, mould will grow in the corners on the drywall and any wood. Furniture placed right against the corner of a wall will restrict air flow, and when you find the mould, what do you do? WASH IT OFF! If I lived in a house and knew mould was growing I'd mix bleach and water and kill that stuff, because breathing it isn't good for me, or my kids.

Did that sound like "personal responsibility"? I'm sorry if that sort of thinking is "out of bounds".


Mike has a nice gig. He's good, I'll be the first to admit it, but in all the shows I've watched, there are some things that never come up. Budget... payment... clients... all the REAL problems for a renovator/builder. I can do amazing things with unlimited amounts of cash, but I work in the "real" world, not in "Mike's world". I've opened up walls and wanted to "make it right", but couldn't because I don't work for free, and the client didn't have the cash to pay. How great it would be to come in as the hero, riding a fine Arab Charger, rescuing people from bad renovations at no cost to them. Hugs all around!
I don't get to inspect a home for a client with a hammer and look behind the drywall. I can speculate and tell the purchaser I'm speculating, but I can't start taking apart light switches or checking the framing details of the second floor under the ceiling. I can't be in there counting how many lights/plugs are on each circuit, or see if squirrels have chewed the wires in the attic.

Mike has carved out a position as being a "voice" in the renovation/building industry, but it's been earned in a vacuum. Mike's renos are great, but I don't get too many clients who don't tell me what their limit is in spending money, so spray foam, replacing the knob and tube on the second floor, and hammering out the basement because we wanted to do a proper job installing the kitchen sink drain just isn't in our time, or dollar budget.

Given that Mike has earned his reputation in a vacuum, I'm not sure he gets to speak to things like "how to fix the on reserve housing crisis" until he's had to deal with those realities. I really don't think his idea of using containers for housing has any more merit than when I suggested that as a solution to the homelessness issue a decade ago, and I was told that living in a shipping container isn't a "dignified" solution (as if being homeless is dignified).


Mike needs to enter into a deal with a band, as a guy who doesn't have access to the media. He needs to entertain the Chief coming to his home to ask for some money so he can go to Cub Regent. He needs to get a cheque for his work made out in his name, and the bands, and meet with the Chief again to pass on his cut so he signs it. When the buildings are done, he needs to come to the realization that the bands refusal to pay the balance comes with no recourse to him. He can't place a lien, he can't take his product back... he's screwed. Mike needs to come to the worksite after delivering lumber up the winter road, and ask, "Where did the lift of 14' 2x4's go?" ,only to learn that they were used as fire wood. "Where are the floor tiles"? The kids threw them into the bush like frisbees. "Where's the contact cement"? On a rag stupid.

The problems with on reserve housing have less to do with the houses than Mike thinks.


When the article says, "Renovator and Holmes on Homes host offers easy fixes for First Nations housing crisis", know that there are NO easy fixes to the housing issues on reserves, and Mike is full of a lot of good info, but on this issue, he's also full of a lot of other stuff too.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Random disconnected things

As I wandered through the empty tents set up everywhere, I imagined myself with a higher calling... a fight against tyranny and oppression by large corporations. Then I came to my senses and realized I was in Cabela's in Grand Forks.

Disconnect (sort of)

"Nobody told me polyester tents burned very fast." I guess they don't get the Sun or the FreeP at Occupy Memorial Park to learn from their comrades in Calgary Nov 16.

Disconnect (sort of)

Where do you set up cameras in a tent city to satisfy your perverted mind? http://www.winnipegsun.com/2011/11/24/occupierpeeping-tom-free-on-bail

Disconnect

Overheard said by a building inspector, "I don't have to tell you what section of the building code you're in violation of. If you want to argue the point, you have to prove me wrong." This will soon be entered into the dictionary as an entry to help define the word "arrogance".

Disconnect

Is anyone else tired of the childish and just plain ignorant comments in the Winnipeg Sun comments section at almost every story? There appears to be a regular group of clowns who can't seem to construct a sentence.

Disconnect

The Police Chief could have done a better job fighting violent crime downtown except that he had to quell a biker war. Next excuse, he had to send out the "boys" to enforce traffic.

Disconnect

Andrew Swan asks for an independent review and recommendations to help curb the habitual release of criminals. He makes up his own "fix" by promising to hire 20 more overpaid, under worked government employees, JUST what will fix the problem... MORE people involved. Hey buddy... CUT 20 people instead.

Disconnect

A new 511 service and real time highway condition updates. Now we can have road condition maps JUST like North Dakota/Minnesota. Welcome to the new millennium Manitoba Highways.

Disconnect

"We want to be paid overtime to make up for the time we didn't work because we were striking". Really? How about a reality check? Does any one else find that these "well trained minds" are kinda stupid?

Disconnect

Water meter appointments missed by a citizen will result in a "fine". No word on them showing up late and the rebate you'd be receiving. After all... they're really busy. Last appointment I had for "the morning" wound up being 3:30. I call that a whole day.

Disconnect

Odell Willis hasn't learned that "hoe" and "hole" are different things.

Disconnect

Mr. Christian had a great blog entry giving us the history of the Thelmo Mansions on Burnell. These little suites were SO badly set up as far as today's expectations are. There were "urban legends" that it was originally a hotel, clearly disproved by his blog report. http://westenddumplings.blogspot.com/2011/11/west-end-history-thelmo-mansions-519.html  While it is currently undergoing "renovations", the previous projects run by the same group are of a questionable quality.

Disconnect

What do you do when you have one of these rolling garbage cans disappear from your property? YOU pay for a new one of course! Thanks Water and Waste!

Disconnect (sort of)

How is it that "Recycling Day" (Thanks for renaming it Don Woodstock), it the dirtiest day of the week in the back lane... crap flying everywhere. Thanks Water and Waste!

Disconnect

Hey! Jets!  Good game!

Disconnect

GO BOMBERS GO!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Now THAT'S leadership!

Voting to raise the bus fare by a little, and decide at the last minute to raise it a lot... and we are suggesting that is "leadership"?

"Swandel’s unexpected motion — which involved no report, no committee process and no official comment from Winnipeg Transit or other city staff — was lauded by some councillors as “real leadership,” while others expressed dismay." Wpg Sun 11/16/11

If you're thinking this is a bit of a stretch, I'm with you. Leadership would have involved finding a way to have ALL citizens pay for a LRT system, not just the people who currently ride. Good public transportation is a measure of a city's health, and a direct way of determining how a city feels about and respects it's citizens.

This is a lot of things, but it's NOT leadership. Leadership might be something like the Notopfer stamps used in West Berlin after the war to help rebuild Berlin. If you were mailing a letter, an extra 2 "cent" (pfenning) was required to have it mailed out of Berlin in addition to your regular postage stamps. Since EVERYONE mailed letters, this was a good way to raise capital to assist in rebuilding the destroyed city. Leadership? A far cry better than what we see here.

Leadership would have had Swandel insist on an immediate action plan to secure land and right of ways for an LRT system, with firm dates set to obtain the land via purchase, expropriation, or other means. Existing rail right of ways as concessions for taxes on other properties the railway is taxed on and other creative methods to finance these acquisitions could be vetted. A firm timeline to complete the planning and purchase of a rail passenger system, tenders, and so on could have been proposed, but her in Winnipeg, getting an extra .20 cents out of peoples pockets is the best we can do.

It's akin to "We want another $50 a year to do a better job recycling. We don't REALLY know what the money is going to go to, but we want the $$$ regardless.

Simply, we can't trust these clowns. We find out that PP & D is giving Center Venture funds from a slush fund they've been collecting from permit fees that were supposed to be available in slow times to cover the staff the hire to keep things going (albeit VERY slowly) during the busy times. Ahh... so you collect money and tell us it's going to THIS, then you decide you really want to put it to THAT instead. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/permit-reserve-being-misused-industry-group-133944973.html

It's a shell game, and City Hall hopes no one is watching the fact that it's fixed. The pea is swiped off the table shortly after the game starts, they move the shells around long enough that no one is paying attention any more, and before you know it, the increased Transit fares are paying for water pollution plant upgrades.

We have a lot of things in Winnipeg, but I wouldn't say "leadership" is one of them. If we had seen some leadership in the past 20-30 years, and even now, we wouldn't be in this infrastructure dilemma that seems a bit like Gilligan's island... lotsa plans and cockamamy ideas, but we never get off.

Monday, November 14, 2011

City Council jerks... their knee... at snowmobiles

So this is what it takes, one guy gets killed in Transcona and suddenly we're going to ban snowmobiles in the city. Maybe we should ban cars too... it seems that we have a lot of deaths as a result of vehicle collisions, and some are pedestrians! If we banned cars we could make a REAL impact. Now THAT would put us on the map.

Let me preface all this by admitting that I do indeed have one of these dreaded two stroke machines capable of travelling at speeds that exceed the legal posted speed on any highway in the country. That admitted, I do NOT use my machine in Winnipeg or the surrounding area. That makes me able to see both sides... sort of.

Manitoba is blessed with snow (or cursed with it) for about four months of the year. Think about that. For a third of the year we have snow, suitable for riding one of those wretched machines. Frankly, I hate winter. Riding my sled every once in a while helps make the long winter bearable. Maybe you don't get that (Russ Wyatt) but I really don't care if you "get it" or not.

Russ was heard saying, "I don't see the right to snowmobile in the charter or rights and freedoms". Wow Russ. You're a pretty smart guy. It's not enshrined in the UNESCO bill of human rights either, and unfortunately, bad decisions aren't specifically outlawed in one of those documents, yet bad decisions continue to be made.

It was a bad decision to walk in a field in the dark "well off the path".  Is walking "well off the path" in the dark wearing non-reflective clothing (assumed) enshrined in the charter Russ? (WFP 01/14/11)

Simply put. Accidents happen. How can this be avoided. Russ has no idea aside from a favourite mantra. "BAN THEM!".

Other cities have found ways to make this work... but not here. NO, not in Winnipeg, this frozen pimple on the prairie you'd likely rather fly over when it's 30 below than drive through, even if the pot holes are filled with ice. Our illustrious Police Chief, ever the yes man, says, "I think it's the right way to go, I know that the council has to make that decision and we'll abide by whatever council decides, I believe there should be a ban in the City of Winnipeg,"

Sure you do Chief. After all, these machines are SUCH a problem. One guy dies, doing something stupid and suddenly our Chief has better things to do than find the North End shooter, like get his 'copter out there after those law breaking criminals riding their infernal machines in the City.

Let's be clear about the words, "In the City", because it means different things in different places. In Sault Ste. Marie it means IN the city! On the roads, through tunnels under the freeway, along designated roads that are willing to rent hotel rooms, sell food and fuel to sledders... yup, that's IN the city. http://www.sootrails.org/id27.html

Kenora? Yup...seems to work there. The biggest issue in Kenora is that the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs no longer maintains the trails because (as I understand the issue) Kenora wants everyone to be able to use the trails within the city without the need to buy a OFSC pass (similar to Manitoba's Snoman pass). Ride into Kenora, go to Canadian Tire, Timmies, get fuel, all while using the shoulder or sidewalk. TOTAL ANARCHY? I think not. It's called embracing reality. 

"Oh sure" you say. "A city with 75,000 people. You can't compare them to Winnipeg. Well we're not talking about riding a sled down Henderson Hwy, or Pembina Hwy, We're talking about a few areas where residents could access outlying areas and trails from within the city.

Surely the south end of Charleswood isn't out of bounds if we were to compare it to Timmins. Like the whole City of Timmins? Or Transcona in comparison to Sudbury,  (no offense intended to people from Sudbury. We know no one wants to think Transcona is being compared to them. This is meerly with respect to accesibility via snowmobiles)

Would it be so bad if the Chief sat down with a map and a beer and came up with some designated areas that sleds COULD be operated in? Perhaps when he gets to his second brew he could coordinate the areas with filling stations and stores, maybe even some restraunts. On his third brewskie he could add proximity to the extensive trail system and some parks where enthusiasts could park their trucks and trailers before embarking on some riding for the day. By that time, I'm pretty sure he'll be as useless as Paula Havixbeck and her quote, "I really do think this was a simple thing that we could have done even sooner to just make sure that it had the backing,"

Honestly, sledders bring revenue to places where they are welcomed. How hard could it be to accommodate SOME snowmobiling?

Recently an AT bridge was built across Hwy 59 at Birds Hill Park. I was listening to a radio show and the question was asked about snowmobiles using the bridge, since crossing Hwy 59 from the floodway to the 59er or the park was dangerous. The rep from the Bike to the Future group said, "No motorized vehicles are allowed". Cool... maybe these are the people who were surveyed by "some group" I assume is actually within the City staff itself. I wanna know WHO did the surveying. http://winnipeg.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20111114/wpg_ban_111114/20111114/?hub=WinnipegHome

Clearly the snowmobilers need to become militant, like the BTTF group who are granted millions of dollars in AT trails I never see anyone using. Maybe we should organize a "snowclovia" and ride our sleds down city streets this winter.

Speaking of sledding on city streets. The next time there is a huge blizzard and there are calls for sleds to ferry people to hospitals, even if mine is in the city, it's staying home.
Call the Army to get your Doctors and nurses either home or to work because this good citizen won't be using any two-stroke oil helping out like sledders did  February 5-8 in 1997. Sure, sledding down city streets may be a lot of fun once every 20 years, but if you don't want my sled in town during the good days, you can't have it on the bad days either.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Winnipeg sidewalks. Should it be this confusing?

You might be wondering, "How confusing could it be? Are you an idiot?"

No. At least I don't think so. A rebel maybe.

If a construction crew is working.... say on the corner of Balmoral/Colony and Ellice, and if some citizen continues to walk through their work site, over their concrete forms, and is generally non-compliant with respect to their, "Sidewalk closed, use other side" sign, perhaps I could suggest the following.

Put a sign at the LAST intersection warning pedestrians that the NEXT intersection is closed, thus allowing them to cross the street and avoid the construction. Not in Winnipeg. Here we simply close the sidewalk when you get there, meaning that to cross safely, the construction crew is telling people to either cross the street right there, or, (assuming you are walking east) double back a block to Spence to cross at the light, or walk to the cross walk south on Balmoral to Portage, cross there and head north again to get to Ellice.

Doubling back is only about 250 meters round trip. Two minutes at a decent pace. Not too bad really. Should this be an issue? Should people really get upset at such a minor thing?

The short answer is yes, and I'll tell you why.

The idea that a sign can be erected RIGHT at the construction area is disrespectful. It says, "We decided that you're unimportant, and we really don't care if it's an inconvenience to you. Do whatever you have to do, but don't come here because we're in charge, and we say you can't walk here."

This isn't an isolated incident. Banning Street between Ellice and St. Matthew's the sidewalk is closed on one side, and dug up in numerous areas on the other. Sure, street work has to happen, and sometimes it's going to be a problem, but last time I checked there are three schools on Banning, ( Greenway, General Wolfe, and Daniel McIntyre). Do you suppose kids walk this road?

William Ave at HSC is another shit show. The North sidewalk is closed at Sherbrook heading west and the South sidewalk is closed at Tecumseh headed east, and again the signage there is RIGHT at the construction site. No place to cross, no temporary cross walk signs... no planning at all.

Honestly. Does anyone actually get PAID to plan these things? I could attend the site with a couple of 14 year olds and ask their advice and the solutions would be so obvious to them that Mayor Sam would have to blush, unable to make excuses for his lackies.

_____________________________________________________________

Unrelated, yet sort of related. Whose ideas are these stupid "bump outs" on St. Matthew's ? I've seen the Bike Route signs, and I've always thought this would be a much better street to funnel bicycle traffic onto than Portage in a diamond lane, but how are these hour glass designs anything other than a winter disaster waiting to happen?

I don't see any metal post holders cast into the new concrete to erect signs warning vehicles in the curb lane that they will suddenly be forced to merge left, or warn snow clearing equipment that there is a curb where it doesn't belong, but aside from the obvious safety issues, what is the point supposed to be? I'm quite sure someone at the bike lobby, or our illustrious traffic planners have some incomprehensible reason for the expenditure.

I'm never opposed to changes, but could they please make at least SOME sense? St. Matthew's is now a mess of areas where you can and can't park, but more than that a maze of , "get out of the curb lane to avoid hitting that peninsula". Probably the stupidest set up in the city is at St. Matthew's and Arlington east bound, where all left hand traffic must turn north on Arlington, and all curb lane traffic must go straight or turn south on Arlington. Doesn't sound too stupid until you realize that parking is allowed in the curb lane, meaning that if there are more than 3 cars in the center turn left lane, you have to wait for them to complete their turn, then merge around the parked car(s), then merge right again to go straight. Brilliant!
Maybe the reason this situation is allowed to exist is that google maps street view shows the building at that location is the "Winnipeg Police news". Hmmmm

Winnipeg suffers from poor traffic planning, but it also suffers from something far worse. Stupidity... and for that, there is little help.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

11/11/11

Sure, it's just an anomaly on the calendar that will be repeated in a hundred years, but at 11:11 we stop to remember.

I've often wondered if the young men who came home were met with the same sort of disrespect we often see today. The questions of "Why are we there?, statements of , "You volunteered for it", and "It's not the same kind of war as WE saw" show that ignorance to all vets can even be found among vets themselves, as if a 30 year old can't have a Veteran's license plate because he wasn't around for the Battle of Britian.

Today's vets are probably in an even more difficult situation as they are not sent to a theater of combat, but they are in harms way... and the enemy is often unseen and unknown. At least you could see a Jerry coming at you, or a ship with a flag that had the sun emblazoned on it, that big red circle on a white background.

I stopped to think about the last "great war" as if a war could be called great in any sense other than meaning "big". Canada was a member of the Commonwealth. We still recognized "the King" as having some significance, but really, we were already a "grown up" country, as was Australia, and New Zealand. We didn't go because we were "told to" go.

I can only believe that young men went to fight a war so far away because the recognized that FRIENDS needed us.

We never learned that Commonwealth countries were friends when I went to school. We learned about the Queen, the British Empire, colonization... there were a lot of words but I never remember the word "friends" being used. Canada went to aid their friends long before the US, (just in case you're short on history), who were dragged into WWII kicking and screaming, and actually never offered to help Britain, (early on), in fact, went out of their way NOT to lend any assistance.

What's the point?

The war wasn't OUR war. It wasn't at home, and didn't immediately threaten Canada.(Unless you count the Fire Balloon attacks launched by the Japanese, follow the link for more info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Theater_(1939%E2%80%931945)#Fire_balloon_attacks ) This is a lot like the things our current Armed Forces are doing. It's not "our battle", yet we go there regardless.

Somehow people think the young men and women that go to other countries today are "different". The only  thing different about it all is that when they return they aren't provided with jobs for life in the civil service, they don't have land given to them gratis, or mortgages provided at 3% for their entire term, in fact, it seems like today's vets are really given the short end of a pointy stick comparatively speaking.

Enough ranting. As a guy whose "roots" are in the axis side of the battle, I'm glad Canadians went to assist their friends. I'm  glad for the young men who went, and sad and grateful for those whose lives were snuffed out far too early.

I heard the stories from the other side, and they are eerily similar. Sitting in a fox hole, hearing a mortar shell lade nearby, and not knowing what happened to the guy next to you, yet knowing that the remains of him were all around you.

It didn't matter to the soldier who started what and when. Most of these guys didn't give a rip about Poland, Austria, or anything else... especially some island where the English lived. They just wanted to get on with their lives, but I'm glad they lost.

I was saddened that I didn't have the time needed in France to visit the cemeteries in Normandy. Never closer than 600 km, I wasn't able to see the many rows of markers denoting the many Canadians who fell there, landing by wading through the red water, lambs to the slaughter.

To those men, long gone. Thank you.

To those men and women in the conflicts Canada is currently involved in. Thank you.

__________________________________________________________________

I won't be taking the day off. I'll be working. Mandating respect by ordering stores to close doesn't earn respect, or at least not real respect.

We'll stop at 11:11... no more banging nails, or lugging lumber. We'll pause for a moment to remember.

Again.

Thank you.

___________________________________________________________________

Watching the Jets game, they had a ceremony dedicated to the soldiers that were lost. The piper was playing... every one was silent, except one idiot yelling "Go Jets GO".

I wonder if someone popped him in the teeth, 'cause he sure deserved it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Tale of Two Toilets

For the casual follower, you already know my run ins with a few city departments and my dislike for some of the things our city just can't seem to get a handle on.
The leader of  the garbage brigade, Darryl Drohomerski, (and Water and Waste), already has attempted some recycling programs that are likely a "resounding success" as measured by... Darryl himself, but here we see where things just fall apart.
Winnipeg has a rebate program for water saver toilets. Now I'm actually a believer in this sort of program as I do see that Prince Charles was right when he said, "There must be a better way of disposing of a pint of piss than by flushing a gallon of clean water down the toilet". Using less water to flush helps Winnipeg to keep it's century old aqua duct as our sole water source. The water saving toilet program is simple.
Buy a low flush or dual flush toilet, take your old toilet to the dump and get a "receipt", send both to the Water Department with the application form and Voila!, you get $60 back as a credit.
It seems that not everyone here in the 'hood is interested, or knows about it, or... maybe it's not worth the $60? Maybe they didn't use a low flush or dual flush toilet to replace their old one? Whatever the reason, there are at least two bowls flanking a home here on the block.
The woman who lives there is a blog follower and forwarded me the e-mails to 311 and told me about telephone conversations with By-Law enforcement. There is also an ongoing concern over an address on Simcoe that falls into the mix.
The e-mails below have been "sanitized" to protect the innocent, (even the clown(s) at 311), but really, these two toilets demonstrate just what a "shit show" the City is running.

From:
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2011 10:06 AM
To: 311
Subject: Garbage Pickup at ### and ### Home Street

Please be aware that there has been a toilet left outside of both ### and ### Home street for about 1 ½ months now. Can you please arrange for someone to pick these up as they are a huge eye sore to our community.

### Home Street - it is placed by the fence in the back lane.
### Home Street (establishment specified here) - it is in the back lane parallel to  _____Ave.

The city's prompt attention into this matter would be greatly appreciated.


Citizen's name
________________________________________

From: 311 [mailto:311@winnipeg.ca]
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2011 12:50 PM
To:

Subject: RE: Garbage Pickup at ### and ### Home Street

Good afternoon,

 Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I have notified the Water and Waste Department and have scheduled a pick up of the toilets for September 30th, which is the next collection date in that area. Should you need to follow up further on this matter please refer to reference number 684315 (### Home Street) or 684326 (### Home Street).


Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.

Sincerely,

(311 clown)

Service Representative
311 Contact Centre


________________________________________

From:
Sent: Monday, October 03, 2011 11:46 AM
To: 311
Cc: Smith, Harvey
Subject: reference number 684315 and 684326

Good morning,

Can someone please confirm when this garbage will be picked up? Friday has come and gone and the city is true to form and consistently delivers poor customer service. I've come to expect this from Winnipeg. When will we become the great city we can actually be??

Anyway, I know you're just the person who gets the emails and you just work for the big machine.......but for once, it would be nice if something actually got done when the city says it's going to get something done. What ever happened to the good old fashioned values our mama's taught us??? When you say you're going to do something you DO IT?

I especially like the line below "Should you need to follow up further on this matter please refer to reference number 684315 (###Home Street) or 684326 (### Home Street)."

Like there was any doubt I would have to follow up on this matter. I'm almost certain I'll have to follow up on it more than once. Let's see if I'm proven wrong?

Oh and by the way. There is also a big piece of wood lying by the toilet behind the (establishment specified here). That has also been there for two months!

Can you also open another reference number for a couch and mattress laying behind ### Simcoe! The bed
 bug infested hole of an apartment block.

Sincerely,
a frustrated Winnipeg citizen

(Citizen's name)

________________________________________
From: 311 [mailto:311@winnipeg.ca]
Sent: Monday, October 03, 2011 6:46 PM
To:
Subject: RE: reference number 684315 and 684326

Good Evening,

I am sorry for the confusion but the Water and Waste Department doesn't collect construction or renovation materials including lumber and toilets. I have submitted complaints about the garbage at these two locations to the Community Bylaw Enforcement Division. They will dispatch an inspector to those addresses who will complete their investigation within 10 business days. There reference numbers for these two address are as follows:

### Home: 689605
### Home: 689607

With regard to the couch and mattress at ### Simcoe, I have scheduled the pickup for those items for this Friday, October 7th. The reference number for this request is 689609.


Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.

Sincerely,

(Second 311 Clown)
Service Representative
311 Contact Centre
________________________________________

From:
Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2011 9:06 AM
To: '311'
Cc: hsmith@winnipeg.ca
Subject: RE: reference number 684315 and 684326

Am I reading this correctly, you need to send a by-law officer over for two toilets????? AND they have to conduct an investigation!!

You have GOT to be kidding me. Unbelievable.

Go ahead, let's waste more government money.

________________________________________

From:
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 9:12 AM
To: 311
Cc: Smith, Harvey
Subject: RE: reference number 684315 and 684326

Can I please have an update on the two reference numbers above. It's been more than the 10 business days noted below and the toilets are still sitting in the back lanes.

________________________________________
From: 311 [mailto:311@winnipeg.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 7:15 PM
To:
Subject: RE: reference number 684315 and 684326

Good Evening,

Due to strict privacy concerns, The Community Bylaw Enforcement Service does not share the outcome of their investigations with us at 311. You, as the complainant, can contact them directly for more information at (204) 986- 2234. They are available between the hours of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday excluding holidays. Please have your reference numbers handy as they will be required to verify your identity.


Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.

Sincerely,

(Second 311 clown)
Service Representative
311 Contact Centre

________________________________________

Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2011 10:50 AM
To: 311
Subject: ### Simcoe - Bulk garbage pickup


Please have it arranged to have a box spring, mattress and a couch picked up in the back lane behind ### Simcoe.

(Note. This is a different box spring and mattress at the same Simcoe address)

From: 311 [mailto:311@winnipeg.ca]
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2011 12:12 PM
To:

Subject: RE: ### Simcoe - Bulk garbage pickup

Good Afternoon.

Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.  I would like to assist you. May I ask of these are abandoned items or if they are items you are placing uot for collection?

Sincerely,

(Third 311 clown)
Service Representative
311 Contact Centre

(Note. The grammatical errors are original)




From:
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2011 1:16 PM
To: '311'
Subject: RE: ### Simcoe - Bulk garbage pickup

I do not live at this location and these are not my discarded items.

### Simcoe is a problem location and has been for some time.  I would think the City would have a VERY long list in your computer system regarding this address at this point.

Regards,
(citizens name)


From: 311 [mailto:311@winnipeg.ca]
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2011 1:44 PM
To:
Subject: RE: ### Simcoe - Bulk garbage pickup

Good Afternoon.

Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.  I have submitted a report to the Water and Waste department for the items in the backlane.   The reference number is 701514 and it is scheduled for the next available pick up date, October 31st.

If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact us again.

Sincerely,

(Third 311 clown) 
Service Representative
311 Contact Centre

From: 311 [mailto:311@winnipeg.ca]
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2011 11:04 AM
To:
Subject: Reference numbers for abandoned items on Home and Simcoe

Good Morning.

Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.  The reference numbers for the new reports to the Water and Waste department regarding the abandoned items are:

SR # 701972 for ### HOME St (toilet)
SR # 701983 for ### HOME St (toilet)
SR # 702010 for ### SIMCOE St (couch and mattress)

If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact us again.

Sincerely,

(Third 311 clown)
Service Representative
311 Contact Centre


From:
Sent: Monday, October 24, 2011 11:45 AM
To: 311; Smith, Harvey
Subject: RE: Reference numbers for abandoned items on Home and Simcoe

So this week you’re going to give this task back to Water & Waste.  Will they actually carry out the duty this time?

What happens to these reference numbers?:
701514
689609
689605
689607
684315
684326

We sure are accumulating a collection aren’t we?  311 runs quite a gong show doesn’t it!?

I wonder if the local news would be interested in doing a story on this particular case?  Especially since we are now going to be getting a new “tax” on garbage collection. 

I wonder how many people out there would like to hear about the fiasco of having two toilets and one piece of wood picked up.  This started the last week in September (after the toilets had already sat out all summer).  We are now into the end of October. 

Harvey,
Why is garbage collection in the West End so hard to accomplish???  Isn’t it your job to look after us and see to these things getting resolved in a more timely fashion.  One month to have two toilets removed???  In my opinion this is unacceptable.


From: 311 [mailto:311@winnipeg.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 12:19 PM
To:
Subject: RE: Reference numbers for abandoned items on Home and Simcoe

Good Afternoon.

Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.  The Water and Waste department does not collect construction or renovation waste.  They consider a toilet to be such waste.  Therefore we are having difficulty getting the items collected. 

We have notified the by law enforcement office of the toilets at the back and sides of the properties as well as the Water and Waste department, in an effort to get this matter resolved as quickly as possible.

If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact us again.


Sincerely,

(Third 311 clown)
Service Representative
311 Contact Centre


From:
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 1:39 PM
To: 311
Subject: RE: Reference numbers for abandoned items on Home and Simcoe

The by-law enforcement office was already contacted once by 311.  I spoke with that office last week along with (By-Law Officer's name) at 619-220#.  What happened with his investigation?

If the Water & Waste and by-law enforcement offices can’t figure this out, what EXACTLY is a citizen supposed to do to have these materials removed?  This is not my garbage, I am merely a person who resides in the neighborhood who is sick and tired of the hassle trying to clean up what others have been too lazy and ignorant enough to do. 

At this point the owners of both such properties should be contacted with requests to take these materials to the landfill at their own expense!!

### Simcoe is a problem location and has been for some time.  Please reference the below email that was sent earlier this year by the 311 office.  What is being done about this situation and when will the owners of this building be held liable and responsible???!!!!

From: 311 [mailto:311@winnipeg.ca]
Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2011 8:54 AM
To:
Subject: RE: GARBAGE removal at ### Simcoe Street

Good Morning.

Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.    I have submitted a report to the Water and Waste department advising them of the issue and requesting that this area be monitored more frequently.  Should you wish to follow up on this matter the reference number is 594482.

If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact us again.

Sincerely,

(Third 311 Clown)
Service Representative
311 Contact Centre
311@winnipeg.ca

Note. This is the same (Third 311 Clown) in the referenced e-mail from June as in the October e-mails
From: 311 [mailto:311@winnipeg.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 12:46 PM
To:
Subject: RE: Reference numbers for abandoned items on Home and Simcoe

Good Afternoon.

Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.  Unfortunately we do not have access to the outcome or status of a By Law report here at 311 so I am unable to advise you what action was taken by their office.  You can contact the By Law Enforcement office directly at 204-986-2234 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm for an update as to the status of this complaint.

With regards to ### Simcoe your original email indicated that a couch and a mattress were laying behind ### Simcoe.   A request was made to the Water and Waste department to have those items collected.  That request is still pending.   Can you confirm if the items are located in the lane or are they on the property? Are there other issues with the property that you wish to report?

Sincerely,

(Third 311 Clown)
Service Representative
311 Contact Centre

____________________________________________________________
The system is BROKEN Mayor Katz... and apparently, so is Harvey.

HARVEY!!!   HARVEY!!! We thought you were "paying" people for reports of garbage. This one is sent to you FREE... Are you reneging on your "offer"? http://www.winnipegcity.com/garbage.htm

Kudos to the citizen who continues to try to keep 311's feet to the fire, insofar as anyone can scorch a slagger making $54K a year to answer phones and provide reference numbers.

This is an absolute cluster fuck. I use that word, because it came up in the urban dictionary when looking for another word for "shit show". We could also call this bullshit.

Sooooo. Who wants to see someone dump the toilets at City Hall?

Darryl. You don't need any more $. You need to spend the money you have better.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Winnipeg City Council plays fast and loose with our $

I find it amazing that these people keep getting re elected. It's a testament to the average attention span and I think that had we all been properly diagnosed, we'd find there are a lot of people who vote who also suffer from ADHD.
Now before you go on telling me, "It's not nice to use an example like that", an on line medical site defines ADHD as, " a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination", and we clearly haven't been paying attention, and our voting skills must be based on a name recognition impulse. As for the over activity, I can't think of an example right off, but perhaps as I write...
First we have the garbage issue. Council votes to pass off yet another tax and call it a user fee. We won't see a decrease in our tax bill as a result of the currently allotted funds, rather we'll pay more per household and it will (allegedly) go to refuse collection and a higher recycling rate.
I could make a pretty good case about how recycling is a net loss to the environment via our location. Any idea where the glass goes? Do you know of a glass recycling plant nearby? The best use we can come up with here is to crush it and use it in road base and/or cement as an aggregate. Any other "recycling" required a lot of trucking, using fuel to accomplish more actual "inputs" of energy than just creating more glass from scratch, (or silica sand). Plastics?
How many plastic bumper curbs can they make at X-Potenential in Transcona? They use 1% of Winnipeg's plastics, the rest is sent out of province, and the bulk of it goes to... wait for it... China.
Imagine the amount of "oil" used to pick the stuff up, deliver it to the sorting facility where people sift through this shit by hand to, then bale it, ship it to Vancouver, then transfer it to a container ship where it travels across the widest ocean we know, then off load in China, then onto another barge, or train where it gets remade into a fly swatter or a bird feeder. Now replay the shipping process in the opposite direction. We are doing to earth NO favours here.
Dromo, Winnipeg's "garbage man", thinks this is better than burying it. I beg to differ. He says, "...it's better to ship the plastics overseas than bury them in a local landfill site." We PAY you for this critical thinking? How about an "oil input" calculation to back up your "expert" thoughts. For more on this, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2010/11/09/man-recycling-garbage-plastics-expo.html
So Dromo wants more money for his little empire... of dirt and waste. As well, he wants a slush fund! Yup, Winnipeg's refuse plan is to gather up a few million dollars for a "just in case" scenario. How many millions?
Well, out of the $64 million they'll be collecting, over the next 10 years they forecast $13-20 million will be in a slush fund. No plans... just as a contingency in case something happens.
LIKE WHAT?
This plan didn't pass with any rave reviews when it was first rolled out, Mayor Sam told us "the media is just focusing on the one recommendation where user fees are suggested, let's wait until we see the final copy" (paraphrased), his EPC didn't agree on it any better than a 50/50 vote, yet Council embraces the idea.
We elect people who just don't take a stand on things. This is a bureaucratic decision made by the hired hep and submitted by a consulting firm to ward off any dissent plain and simple.

Bad decision #1

Gem Equities. I have to be careful here knowing how the Waverly West blog suddenly "disappeared" for tying together strings others would rather have left untied. Let's just say there were allegations that a certain Winnipeg businessman allows another certain Winnipeg business man use of his plane to go to a southern destination where they have a hockey team that used to play here in Winnipeg.
Aside from things that are over my head to "prove", a sorta half critical look at Gem Equities, B & M Land, and Andrew Marquess yields a lot of hits. One would think the people on City Council have been locked in a cell for the past decade to not know the name (s). As a businessman, my radar screams, "ALERT ALERT ALERT" followed by, "RUN AWAY" when people of reputations such as those of the named firms and their owner come up. If there are millions of dollars owed as a result of court action, how many more millions have people just walked away from when dealing with this poor guy who hit on bad times after a financial lender backed out. (Maybe they had the same "alert" epiphany?) I can't even start to list all the firms that are seriously screwed as a result of having done business with these guys, and Winnipeg is going to guarantee a loan for them.
Now let's consider the lucrative "land development" opportunities in Winnipeg. Ever hear of anyone loosing money developing land here? There is such pent up demand, even the Province can do it and make money (although best I can tell they lied about Waverly West becoming geothermal, as well as giving back all the profits from the development to inner city groups).
Not happy to just develop the land, Gem plans to build town houses and high rises. Great. Hey, I've seen the workmanship these guys sluff off first hand, and let me tell you, there is NO quality control. They talk a good talk, but after I did my inspection of a property B & M developed for my (then) employers, I was aghast at the amount of blatant fire and building code violations I found, as well as various other by-law infractions like pumping sump pit water into the sewer drain, not properly ventilating crawlspaces, and not following their own drawings when the work became too "difficult". The "new" laminate floors were scratched up and installed by amatures, the geo thermal system didn't work ,and I needed to call in the factory rep to fix it, and the cold pipes weren't insulated, causing them to drip all over the poorly installed suspended ceilings.
If the work I saw was any indication of their abilities, Winnipeg would be better off without those "developers" developing anything.
Drive by the mess left behind at McPhillips Commons where up until recently, walls were strewn about after being blown over by the wind. For all the pain in the ass inspectors I meet, I wonder who told them to lay off putting the boots to these guys?
Then there's that high rise on Donald. You know the one that's been undergoing a retrofit for the past few years? They received a cheque for a million plus to off set future property taxes.
Lemme see if I can explain this better, because right now you're thinking, "He couldn't have said that right."
Center Venture gave Marquess and/or one of his companies a cheque for $1.2 million instead of simply getting installments yearly, or better still, simply a write down of the taxes owed, or Center Venture paying the funds "in trust" to a law firm who would the pay the taxes. Nope, not in Winnipeg. Here we simply cut you a cheque. Wonder who was told to do that? And do you wonder who told them to?
To suggest that Marquess' various firms have had some "trouble" might be an understatement by the media. CBC reported last February on some of the problems plaguing the various entities. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2010/02/08/man-bandm-land-developer-grants.html

By continuing to not only do business with, but to guarantee loans to this firm is not only stupid, but is a slap in the face to all the Winnipeg firms listed below. The next time some one comes to your door asking you to vote for them for City Council, slam the door in their face.


File NumberReg DateShort Title
CI06-01-45862 31-Jan-2006LANSARD BROS. ROOFING LTD. VS MARQUESS, ANDREW
CI09-01-60256 02-Mar-20095258287 MANITOBA LTD. VS NORWIN ROOFING LTD.
CI09-01-60262 03-Mar-20095258287 MANITOBA LTD. VS REXEL CANADA ELECTRICAL INC.
CI09-01-60296 02-Mar-20095258287 MANITOBA LTD VS NEDCO WEST
CI09-01-60304 05-Mar-2009SMITH PERSONNEL LTD. VS 3063935 NOVA SCOTIA
CI09-01-60325 03-Mar-20095258287 MANITOBA LTD. VS REXEL CANADA ELECTRICAL INC
CI09-01-61073 28-Apr-2009EMCO CORPORATION VS MARQUESS, ANDREW
CI09-01-61100 11-May-2009NCS INTERNATIONAL CO. VS 3063935 NOVA SCOTIA COMPANY
CI09-01-62029 17-Jul-2009GENERAL PAINT CORP. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
CI09-01-62168 27-Jul-2009DIR. OF EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS VS MARQUESS, ANDREW
CI09-01-62170 27-Jul-2009DIR. OF EMPLOYMENT STANDARDSAP VS MARQUESS, ANDREW
CI09-01-63515 27-Oct-2009BROCK WHITE CANADA COMPANY VS MARQUESS, ANDREW
CI09-01-64322 17-Dec-2009JANICO INVESTMENTS LTD. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LTD.
CI09-01-64359 23-Dec-2009HERTZ EQUIPMENT RENTAL VS 2404559 MANITOBA LTD.
CI09-01-64393 23-Dec-2009AAF-MCQUAY INC VS 4482850 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-64568 14-Jan-2010EVAPCO INC. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-65437 10-Mar-2010INTER-CITY ELEVATORS INC. VS 3063935 NOVA SCOTIA COMPANY
CI10-01-67011 21-Jun-2010HUMPHREY PRODUCTS OF WPG LTD VS MARQUESS, ANDREW F
CI10-01-68934 05-Nov-2010ICE AGE MECHANICAL LTD. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
CI10-01-69671 21-Dec-2010NEW AGE AUTOMATION GROUP INC. VS GEM EQUITIES INC.
SC06-01-04864 17-Mar-2006MARQUESS, ANDREW VS AFFLECK, CURTIS
SC09-01-14453 18-Aug-2009EECOL ELECTRIC (SASK.) INC. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
SC09-06-11536 21-Apr-2009LLUMA SALES & RENTALS LTD. VS MARQUESS, ANDREW
SC09-06-11537 21-Apr-2009LLUMA SALES & RENTALS LTD. VS MARQUESS, ANDREW
SC09-06-11538 21-Apr-2009LLUMA SALES & RENTALS LTD. VS MARQUESS, ANDREW
SC09-06-11539 21-Apr-2009LLUMA SALES & RENTALS LTD. VS MARQUESS, ANDREW
SC09-06-11540 21-Apr-2009LLUMA SALES & RENTALS LTD. VS MARQUESS, ANDREW
SC10-01-16026 10-Feb-2010RONA REVY INC. VS GEM EQUITIES INC.



File NumberReg DateShort Title
CI06-01-49830 30-Nov-2006ASTROID MANAGEMENT LTD. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITEDQQ
CI07-01-53416 30-Aug-20073063935 NOVA SCOTIA COMPANY VS HALL, JAMIE
CI09-01-60304 05-Mar-2009SMITH PERSONNEL LTD. VS 3063935 NOVA SCOTIA
CI09-01-60578 20-Mar-2009HOLZ CONSTRUCTORS INCORPORATED VS 2404559 MANITOBA LTD.
CI09-01-61100 11-May-2009NCS INTERNATIONAL CO. VS 3063935 NOVA SCOTIA COMPANY
CI09-01-61579 16-Jun-2009TOROMONT INDUSTRIES LTD. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
CI09-01-62029 17-Jul-2009GENERAL PAINT CORP. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
CI09-01-62167 27-Jul-2009DIR. OF EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
CI09-01-64322 17-Dec-2009JANICO INVESTMENTS LTD. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-65066 18-Feb-2010BRANKO DEMOLITION & DISPOSAL VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
CI10-01-65067 18-Feb-2010BRANKO DEMOLITION & DISPOSAL VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
CI10-01-65150 18-Feb-2010DIRECTOR OF EMPLOYMENT VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
CI10-01-67011 21-Jun-2010HUMPHREY PRODUCTS OF WPG LTD VS MARQUESS, ANDREW F
CI10-01-67932 27-Aug-2010CENTRA GAS MANITOBA INC. VS 5684855 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-67933 27-Aug-2010CENTRA GAS MANITOBA INC. VS 5684855 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-67934 27-Aug-2010CENTRA GAS MANITOBA INC. VS 5684855 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-67935 27-Aug-2010CENTRA GAS MANITOBA INC. VS 5684855 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-68086 02-Sep-2010MANITOBA HYDRO VS 5684928 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-68934 05-Nov-2010ICE AGE MECHANICAL LTD. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
CI10-01-69073 08-Nov-2010MABE CANADA INC. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-69550 15-Dec-2010FRIESEN, CAROL VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
SC08-01-12415 05-Dec-2008MPIC VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
SC09-01-13465 09-Apr-2009MPIC VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
SC09-01-14060 17-Jun-2009THE PEOPLE BANK VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
SC09-01-14367 31-Jul-2009MANITOBA PUBLIC INSURANCE CORP VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
SC09-01-14453 18-Aug-2009EECOL ELECTRIC (SASK.) INC. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
SC09-01-15311 09-Nov-2009CENTRA GAS MANITOBA INC. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
SC10-01-16197 02-Mar-2010MANITOBA HYDRO VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
SC10-01-16198 02-Mar-2010MANITOBA HYDRO VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
SC10-01-16996 16-Jun-20104482850 MANIOTBA LIMITED VS BROOKS, DANIEL
SC10-01-17651 14-Sep-2010FRIESEN, CAROL VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED



File NumberReg DateShort Title
CI09-01-62128 21-Jul-20095684855 MANITOBA LTD. VS PETROWSKI, MICHAEL W.
CI09-01-63202 16-Oct-20095684855 MANITOBA LTD. VS DOMINION WINDOW AND DOOR (1983
CI09-01-63511 27-Oct-2009DOMINION WINDOW AND DOOR VS 5684855 MANITOBA LTD.
CI09-01-64121 08-Dec-2009COREY LEESON VS PETROWSKI, MICHAEL W.
CI10-01-65437 10-Mar-2010INTER-CITY ELEVATORS INC. VS 3063935 NOVA SCOTIA COMPANY
CI10-01-67932 27-Aug-2010CENTRA GAS MANITOBA INC. VS 5684855 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-67933 27-Aug-2010CENTRA GAS MANITOBA INC. VS 5684855 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-67934 27-Aug-2010CENTRA GAS MANITOBA INC. VS 5684855 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-67935 27-Aug-2010CENTRA GAS MANITOBA INC. VS 5684855 MANITOBA LTD.
CI11-01-72078 16-May-2011FIORENTINO BUILDING AND RENOVA VS 5684855 MANITOBA LTD.



File NumberReg DateShort Title
CI06-01-45862 31-Jan-2006LANSARD BROS. ROOFING LTD. VS MARQUESS, ANDREW
CI06-01-49830 30-Nov-2006ASTROID MANAGEMENT LTD. VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITEDQQ
CI07-01-53416 30-Aug-20073063935 NOVA SCOTIA COMPANY VS HALL, JAMIE
CI09-01-60304 05-Mar-2009SMITH PERSONNEL LTD. VS 3063935 NOVA SCOTIA
CI09-01-60405 09-Mar-2009R.A. KANE SALES & SERVICE LTD. VS 2404559 MANITOBA LTD.
CI09-01-63271 08-Oct-2009TRANE CANADA CO. VS 2404559 MANITOBA LTD.
CI09-01-64359 23-Dec-2009HERTZ EQUIPMENT RENTAL VS 2404559 MANITOBA LTD.
CI10-01-65437 10-Mar-2010INTER-CITY ELEVATORS INC. VS 3063935 NOVA SCOTIA COMPANY
SC08-01-12415 05-Dec-2008MPIC VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED
SC09-01-14367 31-Jul-2009MANITOBA PUBLIC INSURANCE CORP VS 4482850 MANITOBA LIMITED