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Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Green initiatives for next term

Collingwood should be in the forefront for green initiatives in Ontario, not lagging behind. There’s no reason we should not be leaders in exploring new ways to reduce greenhouse gases, reduce our carbon footprint, promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly strategies, and reduce our energy costs. These will be some of my top goals for the 2014-18 […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Taoist Lessons for Politicians

Those who look down upon this world, will surely take hold and try to change things. So begins verse 29 of the 4th century BCE Chinese classic (Jonathan Star translation*), the Tao Te Ching. That verse suggests that those who feel themselves superior to the world and to others, who feel their actions, thoughts, views and beliefs are above […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: Understanding the morning line.

There is a caveat to Babel-on-the-Bay’s publishing a morning line on upcoming elections. While we are more accurate than pollsters, a morning line is based on a knowledgeable observer’s assessment of the upcoming race. We make absolutely no guarantee. It is only fair to point it out. Once one of our carefully evaluated selections in a major stakes race in the U.S. broke from the gate in the lead and held the lead for at least two furlongs. And then the poor horse dropped dead. Nobody can forecast the future.

And that is why the morning line is different (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Looking forward to 2015-18

Looking forward to 2015 and beyond, here are some of the things I would like to see Collingwood Council and the town staff accomplish in the upcoming term. I have laid these out in my campaign website and literature already, but thought I should include something in my blog to complement those sources. Maintain our […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: A resourceful, resilient Rob Ford recovers.

Sometimes you have to eat your words. We said the other day that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford would not accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. He did—on his terms. With not so much as addressing the cause he was supposedly supporting, Ford pulled a number on the Toronto news media.

As someone who has supplied the Toronto media with background, articles and news releases over many years, you are sometimes amazed at how gullible the media can be. Rob Ford could pass wind and the Toronto media would want to report it. Mind you the Toronto Star would complain that (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Why Ford and Tory skip the ALS Challenge.

This item has more to do with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) than the Toronto municipal election, so we are running it before our ban on municipal elections items is lifted. Known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a terrible progressive neurological disorder that destroys the body’s ability to control the voluntary muscles. And until there is some relief found for people with this disease, it remains one of the strongest arguments in favour of assisted suicide.

The ALS Association in the U.S. lucked into a summer fund-raising idea this year that is racing around North America. It is the (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: The Blog Days of Summer

Yes, I’m still here.. or the blog is. I’m waiting on a couple of interview submissions to some LPC nominees/candidates that have gotten delayed… and I’m waiting on writing another blogpost for a nomination race – hopefully the end of this week.

To be honest, I can’t wait until Parliament resumes.. as there will be much more juicy material to write on. Municipal elections also come up in October- and while I don’t write on them often, I’ve reason to this time.. I’ve already mentioned I’ve endorsed a couple of candidates for city council (Dan Fox in Ward 24 and (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: New post on the Municipal Machiavelli

I’ve written a short post that I trust will serve as an introduction to a longer piece I plan to write. It’s on the letter of Quintus Tullius Cicero to his brother on how to win an election (written circa 64 BCE). You can read it here: I will be working on a more in-depth […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: They have finally fired Bill Blair!

Enough of this mealy-mouthed graciousness, already! They are getting rid of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair and good riddance to him. It is surprising that he had the gall to ask for an extension to his tenancy at Police Headquarters. Enough is enough. Mind you, just letting him go solves nothing. He remains culpable for the worst civil rights infractions in Toronto’s history at the G-20 in June 2010.

While some people complain about Julian Fantino, Blair’s predecessor being a loud mouthed bully but he just might have been more aware of when he was being used than Blair. And (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Are these Luddites stupid or ignorant?

‘Stupid’ is a derogatory term for a person who appears slow-witted and might not be able to grasp simple concepts. ‘Ignorant’ refers to a person who just seems uninformed. ‘Luddites’ are people who, during the industrial revolution in England, sought to destroy the machines that they perceived as threatening their livelihood.

Today’s lesson is about city clerks in Ontario who are charged under provincial law with managing the process of municipal elections. While it might seem more appropriate to choose someone less biased as to the outcome in these elections, most city clerks take their election responsibilities quite seriously. The (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: Globe and Mail Letter

Please, dear readers, take a gander at today’s Globe and Mail for a letter I wrote urging the establishment of recall at the municipal level of government. For the record, I also favour such a mechanism at the provincial and federal levels, but in this particular case, I was responding to an op-ed by Preston Manning that argued for municipal “responsible government,” which I consider to be the wrong approach.

My letter is fourth from the top.

Filed under: Democracy, Letters to the Editor, Municipal Politics Tagged: Globe and Mail, Preston Manning, recall

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Globe and Mail Letter

Babel-on-the-Bay: Prohibiting political parties!

People should be careful of what they wish. Now they want to abolish political parties. They make very serious complaints about them. Some of the complaints are quite valid. Some are just smoke. The only problem is that they need to think long and hard about what replaces them before they suggest a really stupid move.

Our favourite argument amongst the stupiditsia (the opposite of intelligentsia) is that municipal politics gets along just fine without political parties. Frankly, municipal politics would run much better if the political parties and their organizers were never allowed within a kilometre of city hall. (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Feeding the beast.

Babel-on-the-Bay promised a month or so ago to ignore the municipal scene until it becomes relevant. That will be after Labour Day. In the meantime, we have two more months of glorious summer in which to revel. Why spoil it? And why is Toronto’s soon-to-be-former mayor getting all the newspaper space and radio and television time in the middle of the summer? Is he that much better at feeding the beast?

In many years of public relations and political work, we have written hundreds of thousands of words each year to feed the media beast. Whether news releases, scripts, speeches, (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Our 21st Century Library

In the 20-plus years I’ve been on the Collingwood Library board, I have watched the functions of the library and its role in the community evolve and change to keep pace with the needs and demands of its growing number of users. It’s been a remarkable, exciting journey. Of all our civic institutions, I believe the […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Why Term Limits Are a Bad Idea for Municipal Government

Leo Longo wrote in three recent Municipal World articles (April, May, June, 2014) that it is time to consider setting term limits on municipal politicians. I beg to disagree. Is municipal democracy in such dire straits that it needs restrictions that no provincial or federal politician faces? Are voters so ignorant and ill-informed that they […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Twenty years of strategic planning

Twenty years ago – May, 1994 – the Town of Collingwood started a community-based strategic plan. That report was released in October, 1995. Then in October, 2000, Vision 2020 released its Blueprint Collingwood. These two documents are generally forgotten by the general public today, but they have been the basis of planning, of policy and strategic […]

Melissa Fong: ICYMI: Funny images- Gregor Robertson, #BestWank, Hobbit House

In case you missed it- some fun images from others that made me chuckle: ^Homage to WestBank, of course. And then this.. : (Filed under: Happy rant, Marxist rant Tagged: […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: Chow supporters don’t think, they just attack.

Yes, Babel-on-the-Bay promised not to talk about the Toronto mayoralty until September. So, we lied. When your hobby is politics, you do pick up some political traits. What we did not expect over the summer is the constant attempts to smear John Tory by Olivia Chow’s attack dogs. They should take a day off occasionally. Especially when Tory reintroduces the best solution to Toronto’s downtown subway overcrowding.

Maybe it would be too much of a novelty for a politician to admit that an opponent has a good suggestion. The voters might not be able to comprehend that. So a good (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The ACDC/AVI Site Remediation

Earlier this week, members of council received this email from Ian Adams of the Enterprise Bulletin about the upcoming motion on remediation of the empty property at Hume and Hurontario Streets: I was wondering if I could get your thoughts with regard to extending/not extending the site remediation agreement for the ACDC/AVI property, and whether […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Irony and cognitive dissonance

Politics is as full of irony as it is full of cognitive dissonance. And I don’t mean simply in politicians and their agencies: it is everyone and every group, every agency and every organization that dabbles in politics. Sooner or later, the irony comes out. And the cognitive dissonance sets in. Irony is a difference […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: You should take up gambling Sousa.

Occasionally this commentator gives advice to Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa. It is because we actually like him. He is a nice guy. He is kind of like a slow relative whom you always want to help along. He tries your patience but you keep making the effort. It is in this light that we must admit we left out an important asset when discussing the challenge faced by the blue ribbon panel Charles asked to advise him on how to make more money from provincial assets. The asset is Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG).

As you probably know, Charles (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: More musing on TO’s mayoralty marathon.

Obviously the Olivia Chow campaign team must know something we do not. It is hard to believe that John Tory’s mayoralty campaign is that far ahead? It is the only excuse we can think of for the unrestrained and vicious anti-Tory campaign from Chow at this time.

Until now we have always respected Conservative John Laschinger’s work. He is a smart and steady strategist and Chow was lucky to get him to run her campaign. This is not your typical New Democratic run for the roses and current activities on Chow’s behalf show desperation. Here it is more than six (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Reports from the Toronto mayoralty marathon.

A visitor to Toronto could only suppose that the election for mayor is to be held next week. The air is charged with the accusations, slurs, gutter language and snide reporting as though it were the final weeks of the campaign. And that is just in the social media.

But the commercial media seem just as rabid. Rosie DiManno is not about to have her pen bronzed and hung over the mantel while she retires to her rocker. The city hall media rabble—replete with cameras and recorders—are hardly about to forget their favourite part-time mayor of all the people. Nor (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: #Urbanarium2014: How to build a truly “Engaged City”?

“Engaged City” was unanimously passed yesterday, and it seems like the pundits are all out criticizing the process. … Democratization of the planning process is a fundamental problem with bureaucratic institutions; government is fundamentally hierarchical. Do we target Vision Vancouver? NPA? Nah*- There is a problem with the plumbing and none of them are plumbers…. An Urbanarium, in its basic sense, is a three-dimensional model of the city. If a developer wanted to propose a development, they would have to create a 3-D model of the building(s) and place it on the model city for public review. I can still remember (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Vancouver developers- Gillespie, DTES & other thoughts on financial reform, Vision Vancouver

…. They WILL earn a profit because it is Vancouver.

Gillespie knows that encroaching on DTES is best odds at this point in Vancouver’s real estate. Largest “rent-gap”/ current to potential price in the city- and he’s always known that so he’s more bold, perhaps than others, to make that happen.

I know a lot of people are really pissed off at developers, but I think we’ve just created relationship/political economic environment that allows developers to do “business as usual”….