Thursday, October 4, 2007

You'll eat it and you'll like it!

Deputy mayor Tom Gosnell is proposing a modest compromise to a diagnosis in search of a problem. To say nothing of the municipal government's effectiveness in providing solutions, the problem here fits the standard criteria of most problems that politicians feel the urge to address: specifically, that few people even perceive the problem except through hearsay, which politicians are ready to provide, and almost no one has any direct experience of it.

Even so, on the scale of problems that politicians feel must commandeer their attention, the lack of a performing arts centre in town should rank extraordinarily low to unmentionable. A willingness to even entertain the prospect of spending at least $55-million plus land and operating costs on the city's facade of monuments puts the lie once and for good to council's and administration's already absurd claim that the city suffers a revenue "gap" with the province and national government.

In fact, city hall is swimming with revenue — as we've noted before, most of the city's spending is entirely discretionary, including its under-reported jurisdictional controls over what it calls "regulated programs." Unfortunately for Londoners, repayment on the approximately $370-million debt incurred by previous massive capital projects is not discretionary. It should go without saying that few Londoners will enjoy benefits from this project commensurate with their tax investments, but proponents of the performing arts centre obviously feel it is time to satisfy another particular constituency in the manner with which it has already satisfied others. Ribbon-cutting ceremonies and photo-ops are, of course, added bonuses.

Postscript: The London Free Press has another on-line poll canvassing opinion on the performing arts centre, this one sidling coyly up to the question of who has to pay for it. Last week's question — "In your view, does London need a new performing-arts centre?" — was spiked in its second day by someone or some ones interested in the appearance of the results to reverse a 70% "No" response trend and produce a 64% "Yes" response instead, which the Free Press reported anyway in a subsequent article as evidence of public opinion. We'll be tracking the response to this poll as well.

Update, October 5: This poll stayed straight from beginning to end, as far as the results on-line polls can be said to be straight, producing the much more typical number of votes as well as a much more likely response if the insinuation behind the question is read correctly. Will the Free Press report this as news too?

1 Comment:

Jake said...

What I find very funny is that the city councilors that are trying to "persuade" us regular folk that a PAC is not an venue for only the wealthy and elite.

In the Freeps article, they use the following quote from Joyce Hinton who is the manager of the PAC at UBC in Vancouver:

"Like UWO, it's in an affluent part of the city." Hinton says. "Customers like it because parking is free and the area safe and attractive."

So this just proves that council's notion that a PAC is for everyone is pure bullshit. Just another made up excuse for taxpayers to subsidize a venue for the elite minority in this town.

City Hall seriously thinks Mr. Joe Two-Four Londoner is gunna drive to Western for some ballet or an Orchestra concert? Give me a break!