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December 02, 2013


When council passed this measure during last year's budget vote I must admit I didn't think any of this $500K would ever be realized. I'm pretty happy with the $447K realized this year and the almost $700K total. Keep it up.

Hey, virtualize the hardware in the IT department at City hall, like the ROTW did 10 years ago... building a stronger floor to hold up all those servers and b/u batteries was a STOOOOOOPID idea.

Eliminate half of Council. You do the math.

The demolition of 152-164 Wyndham N with its carrying costs and loss of city taxes etc. comes to a net loss of exactly $500,000 a year. If they had just left it all alone until they were shovel-ready then no other efficiencies would need to be found. And since it has been 4 years that is $2 mil down the drain. Good one.

This is how you do it.

Across the river from bankrupt Detroit, Windsor boasts five years without a tax hike

As Detroit finalizes the terms of the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history this week, its across-the-river Canadian neighbour is boasting a fiscal record the envy of any city its size on the continent: five years without a tax hike, an eight-figure paydown of municipal debt, all while weathering the effects of Ontario manufacturing’s collapse.

“We’ve broken with political tradition, obviously,” said Eddie Francis, mayor of the city of Windsor, population 210,000.

On Monday, for the sixth consecutive year, Windsor City Council approved a budget that contained zero tax increases.

Meanwhile, the city has reduced its debt from a 2002 high of $230-million to $110-million. City reserves have also swelled to $114-million from $42-million.

Uncharacteristic for a city undergoing deep austerity, Windsor has also embarked on a $1.5-billion infrastructure campaign: bike paths, upgraded libraries, a new aquatics centre and the new WFCU Centre, home of the Windsor Spitfires, all paid for with cash upfront.

“We used [the economic crisis] as a way to reposition the city, and we paid for it all with cash,” said Mr. Francis, who ran Windsor’s Royal Pita Baking Company before his 2003 election to the mayor’s office at the age of 29.

Candice Malcolm, the Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said she could think of no other cities that could come close to Windsor’s record. Calgary has averaged a 4.8% tax increase over the past 10 years. Toronto just proposed a 2.4% residential tax hike and even in nearby Guelph, administrators are mulling an above-inflation hike of 2.37%.

“To all the other governments that continue to raise taxes and say it’s not possible to do otherwise, here’s a great example of a city that managed to do just that,” said Ms. Malcolm.

Windsor, of course, is no boomtown. As recently as last spring, the city had Canada’s highest unemployment rate, at 10.1%. A November Statistics Canada report also named Windsor one of Canada’s poorest cities, with 40% of its resident living in low-income neighbourhoods.

But it was this economic pain, according to Windsor’s chief financial officer Onorio Colucci, that helped to spur public support for what he called “the culture that’s permeated everything.”

Every year, city departments submit a “menu” of savings ideas, preferably ones that have no impact on services, and then city planners perform the slow process of moving through the menu. “It’s everybody around the table, it’s a five-month process, but it starts with that vision that this is something that needs to be done,” said Mr. Colucci.

As opposed to the more dramatic budget-slashing measures recently seen in Toronto, where every city department was asked to decimate its budget by 10%, Windsor insists it is more nuanced. “We have enough suggestions to ensure that we might take three or four [menu items] in one department, and maybe none in another,” said Mr. Colucci.

Some savings have arrived via outsourcing. Parking enforcement and garbage collection is now done by private contractors, paring down 160 city positions in the process.

The city’s aggressive debt paydown has yielded some dividends, shaving off $11- to $12-million in annual interest payments.

Mr. Colucci also credited an ongoing suite of little changes, such as a recent move to pare down electricity bills by rigging up Windsor street lights with low-power LED bulbs.

All the while, said the CFO, the idea has been to avoid what he called “Washington Monuments” — a reference to the highly visible and much-criticized closure of the Washington Monument during the recent U.S. federal government shutdown.

“No slashing, no burning,” as Mayor Francis said in media comments this week.

So far, the most visible impact of the spending reduction has been a 101-day strike by city workers in 2009. In the end, the city bowed to modest wage increases, but denied pension benefits to new hires — a key motivator of the strike.

The city also made liberal use of lump-sum payments rather than permanent salary increases, ensuring that wage increases do not compound over time.

National Post


How about eliminating the Conservation calendar? From the City, the cost is $22,064 to produce and deliver it. While the photos are lovely, again this year I arrived home to find mine soaking wet on my front porch. Straight to the recycle bin.

Also, scrap the plan to reduce speeds in school zones. Right now cars zip by doing 70 in a 50 zone. With the new reductions they'll be doing 70 in a 30 or 40 zone. There is no indication that there is a plan for extra police presence and enforcement, so what is the point? Scrap this $210,000 plan and dedicate traffic services officers to randomly show up at different schools each morning. Once people get slapped with tickets and word gets out, the speeders might slow down.

It's not much, but every little bit helps...

I agree about the Conservation calendar. I find it quite ironic that it's called a "Conservation" calendar when, in fact, it's an enormous paper creation -- so much for tree-saving Guelph. Our household doesn't need it, never uses it and immediately recycles it. In fact, I don't know anyone who does use it.

I think it should be scrapped. If nothing else, the city should post an online poll about whether residents want this calendar or not. I cannot imagine they will want it.

If people want a hardcopy, free calendar, then I recommend they call The Co-operators and ask for the free seniors' calendar -- it has lots of useful dates and local safety information and it will come out of the pocket of the insurance company and not residents' tax dollars.

That was so random and unrelated to the topic that I had to check if it was one of those auto-generated spammer posts we've been getting so much of lately.

none, if indeed you're real, I think you've been watching far too much Sun TV and Fox News, because you haven't got a clue what liberalism is or how liberals think.
You should talk to one some time and you might not be posting these screeds against imagined straw men.

And lets not forget the waste from last year for the cronyism of the Downtown Guelph Business Association and the 1/2 million every year that all Guelphites have to pay for. Down memory lane:

The Downtown Guelph Business Association (DBGA) acts as a publicly funded lobby group for large businesses in the downtown. With over 400, 000 dollars in public funding and several hundred thousand in private investment, the DGBA boasts a 2013 total budget of over 700, 000 dollars. They are funded through a tax levy on downtown properties in the Business Improvement Area (BIA) which increases the cost of operating for local businesses for merchants. Executive director Marty Williams has been very vocal in local media over the last few years in support of stronger policing efforts, not placing tax levies on bar owners and in support of development for high-income populations. The DGBA’s crowning achievements to date have been the successful lobbying of the City for Downtown Police Liaison Officers, and lobbying for the Major and Minor Downtown Activation Grant and Urban Renewal Grants under the 2010 Downtown Guelph Community Improvement Plan (DGCIP). The Major Downtown Activation Grant is worth 12.5 million dollar in downtown development incentives.

A close inspection of the DGBA board and the City of Guelph staff reveals an uncomfortable proximity to City of Guelph fund allocations. Ian Panabaker, General Manager of Downtown Renewal for the City of Guelph, also sits on the DGBA board. Who has received Minor and Major Downtown Activation Grants? DGBA member Tony di Battista, (owner of Trappers Alley, The Palace, Bobby O’Briens, McCabe’s, Guelph Concert Hall, Tabu and Opus Lounge) received a 400,000 dollar grant for converting the formerly low-income Diplomat into a “boutique hotel” using a numbered corporation 536357 Ontario Inc instead of his conglomerate Partytown INC. A June 8th, 2012 Guelph Mercury article about the grant makes no mention of the fact that di Battista sits on the DGBA board, and is filled with praises from DGBA board President Marty Williams.

On May 7th 2012, City councillors approved the 18-storey Tricor luxury condominium project called RiverHouse. A review of the Guelph Mercury article on May 8th 2012 reveals that many of the seemingly unrelated pro-condo development delegations were actually all members of the DGBA board. Among those cited in the article are City Councillor Jim Furfaro, Tom Lammer, owner of the Old Quebec Street Shops, and Barbara Turley-McIntyre of The Co-operators. 15 RiverHouse successfully received 1.3 million dollar from a Major Downtown Activation Grant, and in July, 2012 members of the corporate administration, finance and enterprise committee at City Hall voted to approve a combination of 3.1 million dollars worth of grants and incentives for the River House Condominiums. 16

Other recipients for the Downtown Activation Grant have been the Market Street Commons Condominiums Development on the corner of Waterloo and Gordon for 1.5 million dollars, and numbered corporation 2065404 Ontario Inc. of 1.1 million dollar to develop 35,000 square feet of commercial space at 40 Wellington Street.

All in all it seems strange that the people of Guelph are paying for the DGBA considering they work in the interests of a relative few. All that money wasted in 2012. And this year its more of the same.

Lets sack this council, and the worst mayor Guelph has ever had.

Bring on the Provincial audit of the City of Guelph's finances!

I actually quite like the Conservation Calendar. It has a lot of useful information that I would perhaps not otherwise seek out and I do refer to it every so often. And in the bigger scheme of things, I don't think the $22,000 spent on it is that much, Jennifer and Guelpher.

I actually quite like the Conservation Calendar. It has a lot of useful information that I would perhaps not otherwise seek out and I do refer to it every so often. And in the bigger scheme of things, I don't think the $22,000 spent on it is that much, Jennifer and Guelpher.

Unfortunately, D C, I think Guelph must start looking at needs versus wants. Though it may be useful for some, I think it's hard to justify placing it on a list of needs for the City. If we are looking for efficiencies we have to start somewhere. The cost for Christmas tree pick up was also in the $22000 range, and it was chopped from the budget last year...

Have a look at GrassRoots Guelph's piece on the City's water rates.
Bring on the Provincial audit!

We were pulling in 6% on our $30 million Hydro note and cashed it in to build the new City Hall. We could sure use that $1.8 mil/year now.

I never said I needed the calendar, Jennifer. But I use it and I want it. Im sorry that yours was wet and that you felt you had to throw it out. Mine was placed quite nicely in my mailbox.

Besides, you are free to have your own set of unnecessary wants as well, and Im sure there are all sorts of things that you enjoy that I might find fiscally questionable. It's silly to expect that everything short of a basic need should be cut in the name of "efficiency". That's not how it works, else why not cut all funding for pools and parks. Afterall, they arent "needs" either, or are they?

But just for fun, I'll fan the flames even more. I want the yard waste pickup to be reinstated. I think it is wrong that the City is cutting that program starting next year.

But hey, if folks want to save some real money and not just nickle and dime the small nice things, how about firing Chief Garbage Officer Janet Laird tomorrow. That would immediately save us almost $200,000, and perhaps then the City might actually begin to manage waste more intelligently ... and honestly. We've already committed to subsidizing Waterloo's trash program to the tune of millions of dollars by building an over-sized compost facility for them to use, but maybe it's not too late to prevent another boondoggle with this new talk of environmentally-safe incineration.

We collect enough in taxes to allow us to run our city sensibly -- without making a spectacle of ourselves with passive-aggressive responses to a supposedly "regressive direction" most of us call "affordability". It's when the public says, "no more year-in, year-out increases above inflation", that the internal roadblocks to collaboration start to crack and cost savings really start to appear.

Why does the City continue to pour millions and millions of municipal tax dollars into the downtown when the vast majority of Guelphites do not live, work or frequent this area?
Why is Councillor Wettstein's, you know the one who was elected and collects $30,000+ to represent the interests of the taxpayers in the south end (ward 6),only concern when it comes to City business the Downtown??


There are a several answers to this.

First of all, under the "Places to Grow" provincial legislation the downtown has been told that it must double the population downtown within a ten year time span. This has financial implications.

Secondly, a lot of the facilities in the downtown (for example, City Hall, the transit hub, etc) service the entire city.

Third, the relative density of the city has meant for a long time that the taxes of the older, higher density areas---like the downtown---have subsidized the lower density suburbs. The cost of providing roads, sewers, water, etc per person are a lot more in a lower density area than in a higher density one.

Finally, it is essential that the city prepare for the future by locking in efficiencies that will control energy costs as we move into a world of peak energy and climate change. Just last week the downtown just started laying the pipes for a zone heating and cooling system for the downtown. This will result in dramatic savings for downtown businesses over the long haul.

Any move towards increased efficiency will position Guelph in the long term future to be able to out-compete other municipalities as the price of energy continues to rise. If the city doesn't emphasize the efficient core at the expense of the obsolete suburbs it risks dooming our children to poverty and the city to bankruptcy.

I can remember 20 years ago hearing consultants warn city hall that suburban sprawl would destroy the financial viability of the city. We were very lucking in that the city was able to dodge a huge number of bullets by taking advantage of federal stimulus money to deal with a large backlog of deferred maintenance issues. We are also paying a big price in that we have to do catch up for the stupid, short term thinking of past Councils.

One last point, however, I think one place where the city could save money would be by banning the practice of holding huge, Nuremburg-rally-like police funerals. I seem to remember that the last one cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Being a police officer is not a particularly dangerous job and I don't think that these are really much more than public relations exercises for police unions.

Wow, that's a lot of contempt for a lot of people.

Craig, that's a strange response to a level-headed and informed answer to geo's question. As a matter of fact Bill's comment had less contempt than 90 percent of the comments on this blog. (IMO the Nuremburg rally comparison was a bit much but the rest was spot-on)
I guess it just depends on who the criticisms are directed toward.

Describing a police funeral as "Nuremburg-rally-like" is hardly "level-headed and informed", Steve. It's not a "bit much", it's a direct Nazi reference and is decidedly inflammatory. Ive come to expect that sort of vitriol from old boy Bill there, but come on, Steve. Really?

And to say that "being a "police officer is not a particularly dangerous job" is as ignorant and disrespectful as it gets.

I'm really not sure how you can defend his post, Steve.

Bill Hulet, of all the things this City has spent public dollars on, your concern is the dollar and change out of your pocket for a police officer's funeral? I'll tell you what - of the three Guelph police officers killed in the line of duty (I looked this up), only one has occurred in my lifetime. Here's hoping that you get your petty cost-savings in the best possible way: that it never happens again.

Craig, Steve, et al:

I do not use the term "Nuremburg-like" lightly.

First of all, it is a demonstrable FACT that being a police officer is not a dangerous job. I would draw people's attention to the following link: http://dailyxy.com/article/canadas-most-deadly-jobs/

These are FACTS, not emotions. Public policy should be based on FACTS, not emotions.

Secondly, as to the reference to Nuremburg rallies. What were Nuremburg rallies? They were mass participant spectacles aimed at creating an emotional reaction that would be used to overwhelm people's ability to reason effectively. As such, they were designed to influence public policy.

Well, guess what? The aim of the giant police funerals is to crank up people's emotions so they start to believe that being a police officer is a really dangerous job.

Mission accomplished!

What purpose is served in promoting this point of view? Well, no one is going to complain about paying really good wages to someone who risks their lives all the time. (Or at least you think is risking their life. If FACTS were at issue, fishermen would be making out like bandits.)

OK, so the cops do some self-promotion to raise their wages. So what?

Well, other than the fact that the police department (most costs are wages) eats up an enormous amount of the city taxes, this constant drum beating about how dangerous a job being a cop is, creates danger for everyone.

The problem is that the police themselves are susceptible to all this emotional crap. That means that their training has been twisted away from protecting the public to protecting themselves. That's why we have so many mentally ill and other people getting killed and protesters having the crap beaten out of them. Police are terrified. Anyone who has studied human psychology will tell you that scared people are dangerous people.

And because they feel like they are in an incredibly dangerous job they think that no one has the right to judge how they act. What does that lead to? The blue wall that protects officers no matter how awful they behave.

People here are freaked out about the cost of governance, well what about this fact? The police department ate up $34 million or 18% of the municipal budget. I am probably safe in assuming that most of this budget comes down to wages. How much does it cost the public to believe that police officers work at a very dangerous job?

Having mentioned all of the above, I will admit that being a police officer is very stressful. It is annoying having to deal with trying situations and a lot of misery. But so do a lot of other people, like social workers, who get paid a lot less and never have enough money to do their job well.

I will also admit that I have no special problems with the Guelph police, whom I have had nothing but positive interactions with. But those large rallies are part of an international process that scares the Hell out of me, and I think should anyone else who watches the news. I draw a direct connection between those Mounties who tasered that Polish immigrant to death, and those police in Toronto that en masse took off their name badges, and that cop who sprayed pepper spray in the faces of university students holding a sit in, etc, to the emotions that have been stirred up by these public displays.

I wish at least one city Councillor had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to these vile public spectacles. Judging by the response on this discussion lists, I can see why none of them either understand or have the courage to do anything about them if they do.

Bill, it looks like you have awoken the "appropriate police".

Hopefully they can see your clear and well-reasoned argument, as it is based on fact, not rhetoric.

As far as the last paragraph of yours...it is perhaps the most important one. It is sadly very unlikely that we will ever see a politician with the guts to stand up to the police unions, who typically advocate for such expenditures--and appeal to sentiment and tradition to justify them.

The reason for this is key to what is universally wrong with "the system", namely, the right thing to do seldom seems the politically expedient thing to do.

Hence this culture of waste and cronyism.

D C: I can defend Bill's post because I agree with his facts and his conclusions. But I think invoking Nazi comparisons to make his point is egregious. There's a difference of several orders of magnitude.
Other than that, he's absolutely right. The police have succeeded in creating an aura of infallibility and with it an expectation of our unquestioning subservience and respect. The "putting their lives on the line" angle is most often used to stifle justified criticism of individual police actions and abuses.
I think G20 was a wake up call and a perfect example of why we need to start reining them in and remind them that they serve us, not the other way around

In order to Justify the City pissing away millions of dollars on the Downtown you compare a Police funeral in Ontario to an infamous Nazi rally??
With the exception of Steve and malfeder you've insulted the intelligence of everyone who reads this blog and you should apologize.
At any rate at least we know what your all about now.

Wow. I've seen some ignorant posts but Bill, you take the cake. I don't think it's worth trying to reason with someone so eager to deflect blame from the Mayor that he invokes comparisons to Nazis.

geo, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for that apology...

Geo and Jennifer:

So you're going to totally ignore the argument's I've raised and rely up on outrage?
Sorry kids, that's a failing grade in any test I've ever taken.

A lot of contempt for a lot of people. Beginning with those living in the so-called "obsolete suburbs".

But happy with the powers that be.

That's interesting.

Perhaps someone among those same powers possesses the "intestinal fortitude" to publicly distance themselves from that type of comment.

OK Bill.

Capitalizing the word "fact" does not make it so. Policing may not be the most dangerous job on a top ten list, but that doesn't mean it is not dangerous. There is a reason that people call police when they are being victimized: they deal with the danger when we don't want to. You may not respect that, but a lot of people do.

Funerals in general "crank up people's emotions". You seem to have entirely missed the fact that the reason people are emotional is because someone died. People attend funerals to pay their respects. If you don't want to attend, don't. As for the "hundreds of thousands of dollars" spent, I believe it was $163000 and it has happened in the City where you pay taxes once in almost 50 years. (not sure if there has ever been a public police funeral in Guelph before). If you are really going to argue that this is the cause of the financial woes of the City of Guelph, you are far beyond any type of reasonable discussion.

In reference to the $34 million, the only time I've seen that number of late is in reference to the police building itself. It has nothing to do with police wages. It is a huge number but given the expense of City Hall, the Civic Museum, the Waste Management facility (times two), to name but a few, I am hardly shocked by it. Council approved it. If you want to lay blame, lay it at the feet of the Councilors who voted to approve that number.

I'm not sure if it's naivety, willful ignorance or fear that prompts you to tout Nuremburg references to deflect blame from City Hall. "Scared people are dangerous people". Your words, not mine.

Uh- You peeps ARE aware that Bill is, to put it mildly, "a few votes short of a majority?" His inference last year to dead hookers was equally offensive, and the strange thing is that he isn't trying to deliberately attagonize, he just does it naturally. He's like a bad smell and the best thing to do is ignore him. But I have never encountered any supporters of his before this.

I don't "support" people, Ray. I agree or disagree with opinions. Most of Bill's - like his thoughts on downtown rejuvenation and the current problems of police culture in general - were agreeable, some weren't.

I kinda find it all-or-nothing when people start comparing other people to Nazis. Should kinda stop the discussion dead in its tracks. Course, he also compared me to the Nazis in the last election so I guess that it is his default mode. Still don't think that you should be supporting it.

First of all I'd like to congratulate myself for staying out of this thread for so long since Bill Hulet posted his comment on the funeral of Constable Jennifer Kovach. First lets dismiss the allegation (what Bill seems to remember) that the funeral cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. It cost $163,000.00 dollars (http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/funeral-for-guelph-police-officer-cost-163-000-1.1242456). Much of the overall cost was covered by the various police forces which sent delegations to mark the occasion with traditional pomp and ceremony and respect for a fallen comrade.

Although Constable Kovach was young and only a few years in service she was deeply respected in the community even among those I know who were arrested by her from time to time. She had a remarkable record of off-hours service in important community organizations. Her death absolutely deserved the day of mourning.

That being said the reference to it being like a Nuremburg-rally is beyond stupid and much like something would come out of Rob Ford's mouth these days. Perhaps Hulet would benefit from watching some clips of Nazi rallies in the Hitler era. There was noting somber nor respectful about those rallies and on the occasion of the funeral for Constable Kovach there were no speeches designed to whip up hatred nor genocide. The reference and comparison itself should require an apology and a retraction.

As for the rest of the debate and exchanges in this thread, play on McDuff! The rest is quite entertaining.


I have a question for you.

If the funeral was so large because Kovach was such a swell person, why are similar enormous police funerals held all over North America whenever someone dies in the line of duty? Are they all such tremendously swell people?

As for people thinking that Nuremburg rallies were Orwellian "hate ins", I'd suggest people look at "Triumph of the Will".


Just because the herd says something is so, doesn't mean that that is really what it is. I realize that you like a good pile on as well as anyone else, but I still stand on my statement that there is a connection between the ritual police funerals and the mis-perception that police work at a dangerous profession, and, that this puts the entire public at risk.

What you folks are doing is making the simple equation Nazi=bad, and, police=good; and on the basis of that refusing to try and understand the underlying social phenomenon at work. The Nazis didn't achieve their goals by being Richard the 3rds who set out to make "evil their good and good their evil". You cannot get the majority of people to follow you by doing that sort of thing. Instead, they appealed to people's patriotism and sense of solidarity.

I realize that this comparison is startling to many, but the issues at hand, IMHO, are to darn important to simply keep silent and hope that people wake up on their own.

If that makes me a pariah, so be it. I've worn that patch before.

Ironic that this lunacy was posted the day after they buried another policeman in Toronto. All too many "rallies" these days for such a "safe" profession.

Tell me Bill, what would the Nazi's think about the conservation calendar?

Would Robert Mugabe favour yard waste pickup?

How about Kim Jong-Il? Do you think he would like the skating rink out front of City Hall?

Do enlighten us, would the Taliban want Christmas tree pickup?

... I think Ray is right ... nutty.

Bill, if your arguments are based on a sound foundation of fact, and I still agree that some (definitely not all) of them are, then it would behoove you to make them without Nazi comparisons. It shouldn't be necessary.
I'd also suggest addressing important issues like the police acting with impunity without desecrating the memories of recently deceased officers. Again, it's not necessary and just gives people a valid reason to dismiss everything you say.

If, however, you just want to stir up shit and rattle cages and draw attention to yourself...well then carry on, but try not to take more sane and rational progressive voices down with you.

He's an idiot-provocateur and he lured you onto the rocks of ass-hattery. You wrecked, Dude. Enjoy the view.


I seem have given a lot of offense to people who take anything to do with police funerals personally. I apologize. I also do not wish to suggest that the police services or Gloria Kovak are Nazis. I was just trying to suggest that overly large ritual displays of an overly emotional nature are not doing any of us any good when it comes to policing issues.

I do hope that people can understand that there is a distinction between being upset about the enormous size of modern police funerals (which seems to have escalated in recent years) and showing disrespect to the individual being buried.

Indeed, please do not misunderstand me when I say this, but in a sense it can be argued that Ms. Kovach may be a victim of this phenomenon. Rumour has it that she, like many police officers, was not wearing a seat belt. This happens because police feel that they need to be able to draw their guns and leap out of their cars at a moment's notice. I would suggest that this too is an example of a mis-perception of how dangerous it is to "serve and protect". Indeed, I suspect that of the police who are killed on the job, the overwhelming majority die because of traffic accidents, not because they are killed in gun battles.

Steve, do you really feel comfortable being on the side of people who have not offered a single logical argument and instead have gotten involved in a wild "pile on" of non sequiturs and ad hominems? Do you honestly think that I've set out to "stir up shit and rattle cages" instead of simply saying something out of step with conventional wisdom?

Bill needs more mouths to make room for all of his feet.

Bill: I did not and do not object to the cost of the funeral ($163,000.00) which was certainly much more inexpensive than you recalled. The size of the funerals is their band of brothers (and now sisters) ritual and they seem to be locked into that. Seat belts would likely cut down on the number of rituals. Seat belts do save lives and in the case of officer flying out of crashed vehicles would also save a lot of cash.

I suppose someone could lobby against taxpayer money being used for such events but I doubt the lobbying would be successful. And even if it was successful I doubt it would stop the events. It is what they do. Likely the only way to change the flow would be three or four of five fatal crashes in a short period of time so that it became just too much in terms of time and emotion. I'm sure none of us would want to see that many fatalities in one calendar month... so perhaps the focus should be on the worker health and safety issues around seat belts and air bags.

Ha ha...so Ray thinks I'm on Bill's side and Bill thinks I'm on the other side.
Do you people really align yourselves with "sides" so strongly that you can't conceive of actual critical thinking?
You know, forming an opinion on a subject on its merits regardless of what other person or "side" it's aligned with? Or agreeing with some parts of a comment but not others?

It certainly explains the normal level of discourse on this blog.

its more discourse that goes on in the city, essentially you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't

Support Farbridge people fly off the handle.

Don't support her, people still fly off the handle.

But in my point of view people here have given her many chances to fix the city, bring in jobs, manage money etc.

However seeing that with how many issues people have had, we've given her one too many chances unfortunately, and I think it is time she should step aside and have someone more competent to become mayor.

She seems like a really nice lady in person but she has been a leftist politician steam rollered by all of the provincially-mandated growth and sucker-punched by idiot staff and paid consultants with idiotic ideas like condos in the Baker St. lot and moving the buses and tearing down infrastructure for parking. Her legacy will be the building of toys that we didn't need, with little or no public housing produced on her watch. All-in-all an abject failure with a massive bill to come.

LOL. Yes she's a nice person with good intentions (which as you know is how the road to hell is paved). But when consensus building folks land in the formal world of political bureaucracies its a bit like a hippy landing in the middle of a band of brothers (armed to the teeth and exuding attitude). If they're told she's the new boss they'll grin and nod and keep on doing what they do. (PS. its more and more debatable whether NDPers can accurately be described as "leftists" but that's probably another topic.)

Ed, Farbidge is admittedly a very person with a bona fide background rooted in the left (she ran OPRIG).

What's happened to her is what's happened to Mulcair and the NDP: they have been sucked into the vortex of neoliberal politics. All of our parties at this point in history are inherently neoliberal. Even at municipal levels (Guelph, like other muni's being a registered corp)

There is something implicit in what Bill said - as demonstrated by the response to his malapropism. Questioning the budgets of police funerals (and maybe police budgets in general) is not exactly the most politically expedient thing to do, even though otherwise rationally tenable.

Kind of analogous to being called unpatriotic and "not supporting the troops" for being critical their deployment into a conflict. Arguments from tradition (and sentiment), are some of the toughest ones to challenge.

Also one of the big reasons why you will hear those tax cutting tea party types clamoring for "cutting big government" - which typically means teachers and admin, while inconsistently ignoring soaring military/police/judiciary budgets.

sorry - meant to say "Farbidge is admittedly a very *nice* person"

LOL. At least in Facebook you can go back in and edit a comment to fix up typos.

But strange thing is the administration I find leans more towards Green policies vs NDP thus why it seems difficult to attract businesses as if they were more union friendly than the public service unions wouldn't fight with the city thus why they have them by the balls basically, one wrong move by the city and there goes garbage and transit for a few days

Well Grassroots got what they wanted


I just hope Farbridge supporters don't say 'it is a right wing conspiracy to bring down the Farbridge administration and that Grassroots is being bias and slandering the Farbridge administration'

It snowed once and now the snow removal budget is "under pressure".
This is all you need to know about the present administration's priorities.
Maggie Laidlaw believes that due to global warming we here in Guelph will never have to worry about snow removal again.

Louis, its not the unions which have us all by the short and curlies - that would be the public sector management.

You know, those guys on the "Sunshine List" making 100k+ a year, who get to retire on some golf course somewhere at age 55.

That is the class of people at the heart of the cronyism and corruptions. The union guy and non-union contract worker are the scapegoats who get it in the neck.

ahh I thought that CUPE would have some sort of involvement on this , but at least the investigation is going through.

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Joanne Shuttleworth is the newsroom lead in municipal affairs coverage for the Guelph Mercury. She is a former Guelph YWCA Woman of Distinction honouree and a past winner of an Ontario Newspapers Award for her work as an editor. You can reach her at jshuttleworth@guelphmercury.com

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About Chris

  • Chris Herhalt
    covers municipal affairs and politics for the Guelph Mercury. Prior to joining the Mercury he worked at The Record of Waterloo Region and at The Canadian Press. He can be reached at cherhalt@guelphmercury.com