Wednesday, May 18, 2005

How many councillors does it take to change a light bulb - Part 2

It takes all 19 members of council, board of control and the mayor, with city staff advising them besides.


From today's print edition of the London not so free Press:
The city is putting energy-saving light bulbs ahead of public safety, the president of the London Professional Firefighters Association said yesterday.

Jim Holmes was reacting to news that $600,000 in city funds earmarked for a north-end fire hall had been redirected to installing energy-saving traffic signal lights.

[. .]A study by the International Association of Fire Fighters last year showed response times in the city's north end were double and, in some instances, triple the recommended four minutes.

"I've accepted time for arrival of the first engine is four minutes," Holmes said. "After that, the fire grows exponentially and can break into another room or another house. To put nice, energy-saving light bulbs ahead of public safety, to me, is disgraceful."
My guess is

a) someone on council has a buddy or a relative who runs a light bulb plant.

b) no council members live in the North end of the city.

or

c) these people are idiots.
It appears a communication breakdown resulted in the funds earmarked for the fire hall being redirected to an expanded signal lights overhaul.

The traffic signal program was originally estimated to cost $1.5 million. But during the budget deliberations, London Hydro indicated it could direct $800,000 toward the project.

The city saw an opportunity then to direct what would have been its contribution to the signal lights project toward the new fire hall.

Instead, environmental services requested an expansion of the traffic lights project to nearly $2 million, effectively eliminating the funding for the fire hall.

City council passed a motion Monday to refer the matter back to board of control and directed administration to find money for the fire hall.
Give with one hand and take it right back with the other. We're all going to starve while these people argue about what we should be given to eat.

Also from the print edition of the LFP, but again, not in the online version:
Most voters in a 2003 referendum wanted board of control abolished and city council's 19 members reduced.

But a five-hour public meeting last night failed to convince the majority of council that its current configuration needed any tweaking at all.

In a 9-7 vote, council recommended keeping the status quo - a mayor and four controllers elected at large and two councillors in each of seven wards.

The recommendation will go to council June 13. If the motion fails, another public meeting will have to be held before passing a bylaw to alter council's makeup.

[. .] Deputy Major Tom Gosnell made an impassioned plea for maintaining the status quo, rejecting suggestions from some speakers that smaller wards with increased representation would better protect special interest groups, including lower-income constituents.

"To suggest we can't represent every citizen in London, I find offensive," the former mayor said. "Every one of us has a very solemn obligation to represent every citizen's interests, whether they are less fortunate or whether they voted or not and, in my experience, most councillors have done that."
To suggest you have a right to appropriate my income against my will, when I didn't vote for you or your kind in the first place, is highly offensive to me. Arguing behind closed doors for countless hours over who the lucky recipients of my money will be while chowing down on glazed duck and beef tenderloin, and then to suggest you can somehow represent my interests, while I receive crappy service with no choice besides, makes it more than likely you will end up in the ninth circle.

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