Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I admit defeat

Publius from Gods of the Copybook Headings has kindly issued a 'challenge', via a comment from a few days back, to find some good aspects of London - I am afraid to say, after much thought and deliberation, that there is nothing positive about London. Potholes, ugly people and well, London City Council. It is cold and there is lots of snow, and property taxes and rents are on the rise as the black cloud descends. I cannot even afford to go to the JLC.....

No council members criticized staff for not bringing the report to council sooner.

Though council members did not have problems with the delay in seeing the report, Fielding did. The city manager learned of the report Jan. 14 from officials of another city.

The lack of disclosure damages efforts to regain public trust by making city hall transparent to council and the public, Fielding said.

"We still have a long way to go," said Fielding, who last May became the fifth person in two years to fill the trouble-plagued top job at city hall.

The lack of disclosure is also grating to Fielding because the study employs method of statistical comparison of the sort he's used for years.

"I'm probably the one who has the most interest in this," he said.

But while some angry Londoners are calling for heads to roll, Fielding said there wouldn't be discipline because he believes his managers overlooked the study's importance rather than concealed it.

"I'll give people the benefit of the doubt," he said.

For years, city hall officials have kept administrative and technical reports to themselves, a culture that must be changed, he said.

The responsibility to change that culture is his, he said.

"I'm ultimately accountable for this. I've got my neck on the line," he said.

The BMA study, which cost London taxpayers $4,000, shows homeowners and businesses here faring not as well last year as those in rival cities Kitchener, Windsor and Hamilton.

4 comments:

Publius said...

Here's one thing. You're not Hamilton. I've been to Hamilton. Plenty of times. Too many really. There are many good and decent people that have come out of Hamilton. Few have stayed, oddly enough, leaving only Joe Volpe and Sheila Copps, and the people who vote for them. There are even parts of Hamilton that have, dare I say it, charm? Yet still Hamilton is, on final analysis, a dump. A big, smelly, dump. When I was a small child my parents would take me to Niagara Falls and we would cross over the Burlington Skyway Bridge. My image of hell until I was about seven or eight was the skyline of Hamilton because of the steel mills and the white and black smoke floating over the harbour. I cannot believe London is that bad. Where is London's equivalent of Pass the Tequila Sheila? Or Art "the Non-Entity" Eggleton, a former mayor of Toronto? And no your current mayor doesn't count. She has inflicted damage only over a relatively small area. The big trouble is only at the provincial level and up, or down depending on your perspective.

Regards,

Mike Brock said...

When it comes to left-wing craziness, I think Toronto takes the cake.

MapMaster said...

I agree with Mike Brock — London is not really home to very many prominent left-wing crazies. Anybody with ambition to do more than flip burgers has left long ago, and that includes those with the ambition to control other people (e.g., David Suzuki). Instead, our council is basically filled not with Ché Miller types but rather just those garden-variety well-meaning amiable twits ("wouldn't it be nice if those poor children had a publicly-funded orchestra to go to?") and lobbyists for those types of businesses that like to dip into the public trough for contracts and suppression of competition. 6.6% increase in our property taxes this year, after 5.9% last year. Somebody's gotta pay for those orchestras...

Our mayor, Anne Marie DeCicco, fits into the former category — she thinks she is the Governor General of the city and leaves the actual representation of council decisions to our pockets-filled-by-lobbyists deputy mayor, Tom Gosnell. For example, "Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco said the BMA report [a study, paid for by London taxpayers, that shows London property taxes are among Ontario's highest] is just statistics that won't tell council how to cut the budget." You're right, they are just statistics, like the dollars in my wallet! But I'd still like some of them back.

What's good about London? Well, the climate is actually not too bad for central Canada, although located in a valley, inversions in the summer can create awful air pollution. The University of Western Ontario is, of course, Sodom and Gomorrah — but it has the program that I want, and my main complaint is the bureaucratic administration on campus, although that is probably true of any large educational institution. Attractive women? Yes, there's at least one who is a big reason for me being here.

All in all, a sullen torpor and atrophied ambition have caused me to strand myself here in London for the time being. But when I'm finished school I'm hightailing it outta here too!

Lisa said...

You have a point folks, but where we lack "prominent left-wing crazies", we make up for in apathetic people. Council may have little effect outside of London, but they certainly spoil the landscape here. Yes, the ambitious ones, left and right alike, get the hell out of here as soon as they are able to.

We also have Joe Fontana, which should count for something.

London taxpayers are among the highest taxed in the province. This indicates to me that there is some serious looting going on here. London is a microcosm of corruption and the problem is provincial and federal - but London, Hamilton, Toronto etc. make up this province and thus contribute to the general confusion.

As aside, I note that Rod Stewart has been to the JLC twice since it opened its doors of doom in 2002.