Wednesday, December 15, 2010

25,000 - Where has the time gone...

A lot has happened since I joined Twitter back in September of 2009.  Some good, some bad... but through all of it, there has been a lot of fun and enjoyment too.  I'll start with the good, of course... they say it's nicer to be positive (which is very true) so I will give it my best shot.

There are simply WAY too many people that I have met over the past year, where "awesome" is only but one word to describe them, clearly for various reasons.

With that said, I want to start out with a most kind hearted man, known by the twitter name of @lonesomebilydad. John has dedicated much of his time to caring for, and helping to educate the people of Edmonton and Alberta, about the wonderful world of Greyhound dogs. His love for all animals is without question, very true.  Who else do you know that would put his life in danger, to comfort a dying wild coyote?  It's a story only he can tell, and I urge you to get to know him more.

On the other end of the "spectrum" if you will, is a lady who has a warm heart and soul... someone who cares about the art of the screen.  Twitter member @dream2screen, or "Carol Anne", uses a substantial amount of "wise words" within her tweets, combined with a great wisdom.  You must check out her website, which is Dream2Screen Entertainment.  It's really quite easy to see how this wonderful person has acquired such a huge following, both locally and internationally.  I must also include another lady with similar characteristics, and that is the remarkable @DancinginLife.  Diana has this zest... this passion... for wanting to eat things that are good for the heart and soul.  A person who does not judge others, nor does she step on toes.  If you have that zest for life, and want to put a little 'zing' into your step, then I would suggest that you visit her "Real Food For Life" website.

For a "sappy" moment, I also have to single out two people, who's rationality and dedication to being some of the nicest people around, I give #kudos to both @Tucktovich@XelaEpop. I'd also like to give them a kick in the ass for moving to Ontario in the next few weeks.  How dare you move away.... (said in the nicest way and with love, of course.)

A big "wave of the hand" has to go out to literally dozens of people, just because they are fun and friendly... or nut cases...or just have something really valuable to offer.  I'll have to let you decide :)  In no particular order are... @DebraWard, @SaySandra, @graceawong, @PoisonLolita, @Cokebear17, @GuitarKat, @shezug, @TrinaMLee, @TamaraStecyk@habanerogal, @carebaer322@Wildsau, @KikkiPlanet, @Calgarywriter, @fusedlogic, @SirThinks@suehuff, @ScottHennig, @hurtinalbertan, @SenMitchell, @britl, @joshclassen, @kabluey, @crnkylttlmnky, @ChrisHayden1142 and @BrentWelch.

With all due respect, I could go on literally for pages.  Everyone that I follow and/or deal with in one form or another, I do so because I am interested in what you have to say.  Sometimes I may not like what you say, but I generally still respect you for who you are.  And the only reason (seriously) that I 'drew the line' where I did, is because my fingers were getting really freaking tired in doing all of the cutting and pasting of the names and links.  Hey, I'm getting old... gimme a break. :)

I also want to acknowledge someone who, at such a young age, has a huge understanding of the meaning of life, and caring for others.  Darla (@leavesofmemory) and her entire family are passionate about life... specifically the saving and caring of.  It's been quite a humbling experience to know you and your family.

Which leads me to probably the one thing that has pissed me off the most, and that is without a doubt the cold hearts of the majority of the Edmonton City Council (aka #yegcc in twitter) and that of the Health Services section of the Provincial Government.  Why the NEED to close down the airport is beyond me, and even more than that, the arrogance to close THE most critical runway makes no sense.  I guess that's the way the City shoves something down your throat.  The province has been less than supportive on this critical issue as well, because they have done everything within their power to make sure the people never hear about the "bad" things within the health system, by providing blanket gag orders.

Both of your "cover ups" have, in my humble opinion, added to the conditions that may very well have been the ultimate cause of a baby's death... not even a month old, this child might have been able to have lived, if that runway had still been operational.  In my books, a lump of coal is too good of a present for you folks this Christmas.  Sleep well...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Doing it right

I've been 'working' on this blog post for many months now.  I can't honestly remember how many times I have started it, edited it, and deleted it.  This is without a doubt the most painful post I have ever done because it dredges up painful memories of being abused and bullied by the political system, a process that drove me into some serious depression.  In order to understand where I am coming from, it is important that you know where I've been.

Not that long ago I was excited to have been working for the City of Edmonton, specifically the Edmonton Police Service.  I was ultimately responsible for all desktop database applications... creating new ones and fixing old ones...literally having the time of my life.  You see, I rock at what I do.  Building new complete applications, often in a matter of a week or less... being at a sections area within a matter of minutes to respond to problems and creating fixes on the spot.  My "reputation" within EPS was being the "go to" guy when you needed something done.

You learn a lot working for a large organization like the City, and a lot more when you work for the police.  Over the years I saw consultants sitting on their butts professing to be doing something, when most of what they did was to be 'buddy buddy' and drink coffee.  I can't tell you the number of times when I had to help a consultant do their work because they couldn't do it right or figure it out.  Rather annoying when they are being billed out at $75 per hour and you are making $23 per hour.

One of the other things you learn is how much politics plays a role, especially internal politics of the police.  I was told on many occasions by many people over the years to "be careful" of so and so, but one of the most heard 'stories' was told about a 'group of 3'(Go3) who apparently all started around the same time and supposedly there was a 'pact' in place where they all agreed to pull each other up the ladder.  Over the time I was with EPS, several Chiefs came and went... and eventually one of those three made it into the Chief's position.  One of the other 'group of 3' members was a Staff Sergeant who I will refer to as Mr. SS.  Throughout my days with EPS I was "warned" over and over about Mr. SS and the Go3.  Indeed, Mr. SS had been placed in many positions and could never seem to manage them in a manner that would allow for his friends to pull him up that ladder.

At one point, my daughter had been verbally sexually harassed while walking back from a trip to 7-11, and I got the address of where it happened and asked the folks in Sex Crimes to see if this was someone to watch out for.  They investigated and brought me a fairly thick file.  My simple question was "is the person there going to be a problem or have they been a problem in the past", and the answer was 'no'.  I never bothered to read the file, and the detective and I walked to the shredder.  I was also dealing a lot with the Crime Analysis section and the officer in charge of that section suggested that I go up onto the internal website and take a look at the new 'sex offenders' web page, and get a list of the people in our area to see if perhaps one of those folks were 'visiting' the address in question.  The web page had photos and some other information, and I printed out the ones in our area, and took them home to show my daughter.  As it turned out, none of those people were "the one" from that house.  So I dropped the matter, knowing it was probably just some idiot being an idiot.

While working for EPS, I was still doing my job as a volunteer Probation Officer, dealing with young offenders.  EPS hired me knowing that I was doing this work.  Anyway, some time passed and Mr. SS was put 'in charge' of the IT section, probably with the intention of using that position as his climbing the ladder thing.  You see, thanks to me, the IT department turned from being a "submit your request and two years later you will get it" into one where programs were literally flying out the door in a matter of days.  Just as a tidbit to toss in, I even re-wrote an application from scratch for the Property and Drug Exhibit unit.  The one that took 4 people 2 years to write, I did it in just over 2 months.

Well, it appears that I was wrong in one aspect. Mr. SS's placement into IT was more into catching me.  You see, I was placed under investigation by Internal Affairs as a result of Mr. SS... I was charged with releasing confidential information (the stuff for my daughter) and associating with known criminals (my work in probation)...

Needless to say, my world had been shattered.  I had been working my ass off, doing everything right, helping sections that were desperately in need of assistance.  Maybe I was doing too good, maybe I was putting the jobs of the others in IT in jeopardy because I was so good at what I did.  There are lots of things that could be "maybe" things, but I'll never know for sure.  But the bottom line in all of this was...  I cooperated with Internal Affairs completely.  I told the truth about everything, and I mean everything.  But Mr. SS kept the pressure on.  It didn't matter that 75% of the police vehicles parked out front of main headquarters were left with their new laptop computers still turned on and their last screens still had piles of information on them that anyone walking down the street could see.  This happened for months and months and months.  Yep, I was still the bad guy, and Mr. SS made it clear he was out to get me.  When you get told, over the years, about how Mr. SS consistently stabs people in the back in order to advance, well... I was fighting a system, one that I thought at the time that I had no chance at winning.  I was essentially forced to resign.  EPS Human Resources department told me they wanted to transfer me to a different area of the City but Mr. SS refused to allow it.  Internal Affairs thanked me for being completely honest with them, and that everything I had told them was indeed the truth.  But of course, that didn't matter.  I was tossed out the door.  And of course, those charges against me were dropped.  But the damage was already done.  The people who were my family had no hesitation in throwing me under the bus because after all, Mr. SS HAD to climb the ladder... you see, the new Chief was in the Go3.

Shortly after, Mr. SS was promoted to an Inspector.  And shortly after that things happened in the well known drunk driving sting.  The result was (in simple terms) the Chief was fired.  Mr. SS spoke out and apparently was given a gag order... which he promptly went in front of the TV cameras with the order in his fist, showing it to reporters and saying something like "you can't do this to me"...  Now, you never see him anymore.  And when you do, you will notice he never says a single word.  I suspect he was probably told to sit in a corner and shut up otherwise his job would be toast.  And of course, the disposed Chief launched a lawsuit with the City.  You will remember never hearing another word about that...  But if you had your eyes open, you WOULD see him again in front of the TV cameras because... the City hired him as a "consultant".  Rumor has it that he was paid about $500,000 to settle the lawsuit, and it would seem that part of the agreement was to re-hire him in the consultant position.  Do note that this IS nothing more than pure speculation on my part, and some of my conclusions are just common sense.  Clearly something happened, of that there is no question.

So we have two of these "Go3" folks who are of... shall we say... strange character... and please feel free to jump to whatever conclusions you want to.  One of my personal conclusions is that the politics of politics wins over what's right.  I was saving the City literally millions of dollars and providing extreme outstanding service. And I was a stepping stone for someone else...  In a world of black and white, I would have to say I was one of the good guys... the others are... well... questionable, considering all of the events.  Perhaps good intentions, but maybe driven by power rather than by doing "it" right.  I don't know...

What I DO know, is that my eyes were painfully opened to the world of 'dirty politics'.  The world where you can be legally right in what you do, because you follow the letter of the law.  But what about Justice? What about doing things RIGHT?

City Council followed the legal side of handling the City Center Airport talks.  I have serious questions about just how "right" that was and the true purpose in my mind, was just so they could SAY they followed the law.  I think many people were shocked about how this was handled, and there seemed to be a lot of dirty pool going on.

Yes, I've been hard on the City, and even on the police service at times.  When you take a good person and toss them on the ground and kick the shit out of them like what happened to me... you learn that the politics of politics can be very painful.  In my case, probably about 5 years of being in a deep depression caused by a system that didn't care.  You see, I went to the Mayor over this.  I went to the Alberta Government over this...  Guess what... no one cared.  Why?  Well, you have to protect your own, right?

So for the folks in the Alberta Party... and especially to Chris and the rest of those on the Board... Maybe now you will understand my passion for wanting to do things RIGHT and that I am not willing to settle for being "legally correct".  I am all about true JUSTICE, and for trying to fix things that are wrong within the system.  No one deserves to go through the hell I have been, and the way I was treated by "the system".

Some of you have said that my morals leave a lot to be desired.  I think that you should desire the morals that I do have.  Would I personally make a good politician?  Probably not, because I won't stand for any bullshit and I will speak my mind.  Despite what some of you may think, my mind is actually VERY open to new things and explanations.  But be warned, they have to make sense... justice type of sense, not legal type of sense.  From a "peoples" aspect, I am the type of person that should be in politics because I will and do, stand for doing things right.  My failure within politics however, is clearly that I am not polished... I don't care about saying the politically correct thing...

To the Mayor, EPS, and to the Alberta Government I say that you are bullies... you let bad things happen to good people, and you didn't give a flying rats ass about doing anything about it.  Just remember, what goes around comes around...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pet Deposits

I love pets... all kinds. Dogs, cats, birds, fish... Of course, having a pet requires one to be responsible for them as well.  I would like to think that most people are, however sadly, there are some that are not.  When you have your own pet, in your own property, then any potential damage that pet could cause is your problem.

However when you have a pet and live (aka rent or lease) on someone else's property, an entirely new "can of worms" comes into play.

Let's face it.  Being a landlord isn't an easy task.  If you have your own property up for rent, or managing someone else's property... you have to follow the rules set out under the Landlord and Tenancy Act.  This act should equally protect both the landlords rights, as well as those of the tenant.  Seems reasonable, right?  People are required to pay a security deposit, which is normally the same as one months rent, and according to the law it isn't allowed to exceed one months rent.  So it doesn't matter if you are a single person, or a group of people (with or without children), you pay the same price.  Seems reasonable too.

But if you are a pet owner, those rules go out the proverbial window.  Clearly, the possibility of the pet causing damage (urine etc on carpets and floors, scratching of doors and floors and walls and carpets, and any other thing that a pet could do...) to the property has increased.  And landlords should have the right to require additional assurances to allow for those times when things happen.  But since the law says that a security deposit can not exceed 1 months rent, landlords are now charging a "pet deposit".  The problem with this is... it's not really a deposit, because the landlord is not required to refund it.

This is WRONG.  The legislation needs to be changed, and it needs to be changed NOW.  Allow for an increase within the legislation, that permits landlords to exceed the 'maximum one months rent' limit so that pets become part of the security deposit, which makes those fees refundable when the tenant moves out.  Responsible pet owners will then be taken care of.  If the pet causes no damage, they will get those amounts refunded.  There doesn't need to be any "differences", as in "part 'A' of the deposit applies to normal things and part 'B' of the deposit applies to pets".  So even if the pets caused no damages, but the property is trashed, the landlord still has the right to use the entire amount of the deposit to make repairs etc.

As it stands now, pet owners are being abused by the process, and in fairness to responsible pet owners (which I submit are the majority of the people) the Government needs to stop allowing landlords the right to rip people off.

YOU must speak up, and let YOUR voice be heard.  You can send in a letter or email or fax, and tell the Government of Alberta to stop allowing landlords having a license to print money.

Snail Mail:
Investigative Services
Attention Consumer Programs
3rd Floor
10155 - 102 street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4L4

Email to

Fax to 780-422-9106

By the way, in my humble opinion, the legislation should be made retroactive to cover all people that have paid "pet deposits"... It's only fair!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

So This is Democracy?

Democracy... one dictionary definition is "government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system."

The recent Edmonton elections were indeed a democratic process.  Approximately 1 out of 3 people choose to exercise their democratic right to vote and I wonder why the other two thirds of residents choose not to.  Where they confused with the issues?  Did they care about the issues?  Perhaps the better question is were they informed about the issues in an unbiased manner, or from balanced reporting?

Edmonton's print news media folks were certainly very vocal on things for several months leading up to the election, of that there is no question.  I am not sure how honourable they were, in hindsight.  The Edmonton Journal would place articles done by columnists on the front page of a section of the newspaper, giving the appearance of the item being a news story and not being clear they were opinion comments and not actual news.  The Edmonton Sun and The Examiner also created articles or editorials that never provided the full facts on issues.

Edmontonians were also subject to the influence of campaigns run by Envision Edmonton and Share The Facts.  Perhaps more importantly, in amongst all of this, were the things the people of Edmonton were not told.  I am not going to bother with diving into accusations over the Mayor and Council race, but I will bring up one point for people to ponder on...

As I have stated before, I am just starting to finally pull my head out of the sand when it comes to civic, provincial and federal politics.  Better late than never I guess.  With that said, I really wonder where the voices of the School Boards were in this campaign.  The reason why I say this is simple.  From the school board aspect, I live in the Ward B area.  The incumbent for EPSB was Ken Shipka.  According to the ARTES (Association for Responsive Trusteeship in Edmonton Schools) report card, Mr. Shipka was the worst possible choice.  Talking with many who know a lot more about the Trustee side of things than I do, they are also of the same belief.

According to the election results, Mr. Shipka received a total of 5,013 votes.  The ARTES report card also lists the best choice as being Darryl Lagerquist.  Darryl received only 801... the lowest number of votes.  I am deeply saddened, and if past performance is any indication, then EPSB has another rubber stamp added to it's collection.

I wonder how people are supposed to make informed decisions, if the information provided in the media is continuously biased and/or one sided... or if the School Boards don't tell you about what is going on with the people who were previously voted in?

Democracy can only be true, if you have TRUE facts to base decisions on.

In my humble opinion, the residents of Edmonton were let down in knowing the truth.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


This will be longer than my usual blog posts.  I hesitate in doing posts that are long because most people tend to skim the first few lines and then wander off.  I also said on twitter yesterday, that I was done with things until after the election.  However with the Edmonton election happening tomorrow, combined with recent articles posted in the Edmonton Sun entitled Mandel deserves another term and some surprising comments from Chris LaBossiere in twitter, combined with a review of the public forum web casts by the City of Edmonton, I've decided that there were a few things I needed to say, and to clear up.  I will start off with the article by the Sun first.

"First, the city held a plebiscite 15 years ago to consolidate all scheduled airline service at the international airport, dramatically reducing the traffic at the muni."

Yes, an accurate fact.  But what's your point?  No one was expecting consolidation to increase air traffic at the CCA.  It only makes sense to take the big planes and move them to the International.  The reasons for that part are, I would think, pretty obvious to most people.

"Second, city council held public hearings and open houses on redeveloping the airport more than a year ago. Where were the opponents then?"

Um, this is really the core key issue for everything else, at least in my opinion.  The majority of people who spoke at the public hearings, along with a majority of people who wrote in, were in favor of keeping the CCA open and operating.  Some also had ideas about limited expansion of services.  The real question here should be "Why did the City appear to have NO intention of even listening to what citizens were saying"?

One should also ponder on the timing and the reasons for calling this public hearing process in the first place.  Several have suggested that the closure of the CCA had been on the drawing board for some time but they had to wait until the plebiscite from 1995 had expired. (Or was that a referendum...anyway)  And if that part is true, then someone (or perhaps several someones) had clear intentions of what to do and when to do it, and probably knew they were going to "do that" once they were elected (or re-elected).  This type of situation isn't one that comes up over night and then have someone go BOOM, I need to change this.  Then again, maybe that's what happened too.  It's probably one of those little mysteries we may never know.

The bottom line here is... there was never any intention of actually listening to the public input requested.  If you are going to ask me to "prove it"... then talk with the people who were there.  Go to City Hall and get the names of the people who wrote in, and ask them.  "Hindsight" would give the indication, knowing what we know now, that the only reason these hearings were held was so that the City could be legally "correct" by saying they held the required public hearings in the matter.  After all, I think all of the reports the City tabled during the hearings had to deal with what can or could or will happen WHEN the CCA was closed.  I am not aware of one single report done by the City that showed any of the good things about keeping the airport open.

"Third, according to provincial law, the petition had too few signatures and was filed too late with the city."

Did it really?  We honestly don't know, because the City refuses to allow anyone access to the signatures that were deleted by the examination process.  And was it filed too late?  Well, those are questions that would have to be resolved in court.  I am certainly not a lawyer, and the majority of any legal experience I have is within the Criminal law side of things, which I acquired while working as a volunteer probation officer, along with some generic stuff while working for EPS for 3 years as a Systems Analyst.

With that said, I do want to comment on the Envision Edmonton side.  Yes, I was one of the people gathering signatures.  I didn't care then nor do I care now about who was behind EE, who paid the bucks, or anything else.  I was simply happy that someone had stepped up to the plate to address what was going on.  Other than getting a few signatures, and helping to cook at the various BBQ's that EE had, I have no other knowledge of the internals of the operations.  It didn't matter to me.

I will skip over the Chris issue for the moment, and deal with a point I noted from the web casts.

The Ward 2 forum event was, as expected, mainly dealing with CCA issues, however a few other items were also brought up.  The one comment that I found most curious, was with reference to Epcor being "sold off".  According to Kim Krushell, the city wanted to 'grow two businesses' and in order to mitigate the potential problems with power deregulation.  She says the city is growing the Epcor waste/water business, and what they did was create two separate companies, one that is owned solely by the City.  ... ... So does that mean that we only gave away the bad part and kept the good part?  This is another one of those complex issues that I am no expert in, but many people think this was a bad deal.  Unless of course, you are in that new company that was just given to you... you know.. the one built and paid for with tax dollars?  Like I say, I'm no expert in this.  It sure would be nice to know what this all really means.

I have saved the worst, for last.  I say worst, because out of everything, this is the one that personally pains me the most.  I don't know a huge amount about Chris, we have only met once for a brief period of time but we have had the odd conversations from time to time over the phone.  He is certainly an intelligent man, very "in the know" from the political side of things, which is probably the reason why he was put into the position of President for the newly revamped Alberta Party, a party that after careful review, I decided to take out a membership in.

Over the past few months, Chris and I have butted heads over the CCA issue.  I do not want to speak for him, and all I can say is that from what we have discussed in twitter, it seems like he is taking the stance that public hearings were done and the City did the 'due diligance' part of things so therefore the rest of the situation (whatever you figure that out to be) is correct, and the airport should be closed and redeveloped.

My position is that the hearings were a sham, only done so the City could fulfil the legal obligations required under the MGA.  In MY mind, from a MORAL aspect... if indeed my belief is correct, then anything that came as a result of the process, really isn't (for lack of better words) "valid".  Yes, I will be the first to admit that I am not a politically "smart" person.  That has been made painfully clear within twitter.  I have, like many, had my head in the sand for all too long, and I am *trying* to understand, *trying* to become involved, *trying* to become engaged.  Just because Chris and I happen to be within the same political party, does not mean we have to share the same views.  Nor should we.  Of course, it would be nice for everyone to agree with everything.  Politics is never "nice".  So we have politely agreed to disagree.  I can live with that.

Yesterday in twitter... things got pretty ugly.  It started off with Chris sending this tweet: "Transparency is the new gold standard. @VoteDorward, sadly, has hitched his wagon to the least transparent out there, @EnvisionEdm." His opinion, which is fine.  I happen to strongly agree with the first part, and I responded with the following:  "@ChrisLaBossiere Transparency SHOULD be the gold standard... Something Mandel has not done."

Well at that point I guess the gloves came off.  I know Chris is upset with me, because after the Alberta Party AGM that was recently held (one that I could not attend, and gave my proxy vote to Sue Huff) I had sent off an email to the party, expressing some concerns about his new position in the party.  My concern has to do with the "legal vs moral" issue that I've noted above.  Now, maybe I am totally out to lunch, but let me explain my reasons.  Many moons back I gathered a keen interest in the Reboot Alberta thing that was going on.  I loved what they were trying to create and I had very strong agreements with the political process, and that of politicians, where they were looking for more honesty, transparency, openness and all of the other goodies that Reboot was suggesting.  As many of you are aware, Reboot Alberta had done a spin-off on things and Renew Alberta had been created, with many of those people being a part of Reboot.  And of course, down the road Renew folks "merged" with the Alberta Party, and new things were happening.  Now maybe I am even more out to lunch in my thinking but I had ASSumed that the Alberta Party was also taking on the concepts of what Reboot was all about.  (As a side note, for what it's worth, the party sent my concerns to both Sue and Chris, seeing that I had given my proxy to Sue.... Sue responded, the details of which are not important here, Chris did not.)

Again, for ME... the big issue here is the moral aspect of what the City did, and that part of things doesn't seem to be an issue with Chris.  And that's where my concern came in.

Anyway, things got more heated between Chris and I in twitter.  The following is a list of tweets that were sent, time line ordered as close as possible.  Just to clarify, these tweets are "to" the person.

@CommonSenseSoc your conspiracy theories are running thin. When smearing people's integrity, maybe man-up & share some facts. 10:28 AM Oct 16th
@ChrisLaBossiere I've "man-up" where ever I could have Chris. Example, Ann emails. Public hearing sham.. 10:31 AM Oct 16th
@CommonSenseSoc Read those emails Gary. Cite me one excerpt about the Mayor acting even remotely underhandedly. you can't scream a lie true. 10:36 AM Oct 16th
@ChrisLaBossiere I've said it over and over.. being legally correct does not make it morally right. I'm PROUD my morals are of higher value
@ChrisLaBossiere I've read as much as I could have. As much as what has been made available. Logic tells me the process wasn't clean.
@CommonSenseSoc If your relentless method of unmerited smearing is the moral high road, I'll stick to the back alleys.

... Earlier, I had also sent out this tweet:

@danformayor2010 This latest issue is only to create vote splitting. I can't stand the thought of being raped by Mandel for 3 more years.

For a 'parting comment', Chris sent out this tweet:

Then again, you think you will be "raped" for another three years. That sounds so honest, and filled with integrity.

I responded with:

@ChrisLaBossiere there's more than one meaning to rape... are you done attacking me now? good..

So what did I mean?  Let's look up one of the definitions of 'raped'.
It mentions "To plunder or pillage".  It's not sexual.  However the appearance from Chris is that I am lacking honesty and have no integrity.

My friend, with all due respect... you have no right to judge me.  You've taken no time to get to know me.  I don't cut you down for the things you say, albeit I question what you are thinking because I'm trying to understand.  Strange, how I am so evil for wanting a just political setting.  Strange how you don't cut down everyone else that makes snide comments over the election stuff.  Strange... how its so OK for you to say to me, what you rake me over the coals for saying.

As I said... I think we are done.  I doubt there is little I can say that will change your mind or educate you on how I feel and believe.  I have, up until now, tried very hard (out of respect for who you are and your experience) to listen and understand what you say and why you say it.  I am still of the belief, that the "process" sucked.  And I stand firm in that.

Naturally, I expect you to be pissed.  Sadly, I don't care.  I also suspect that a few, maybe even a lot, of people within the Alberta Party will be pissed with me too.  That is something that I do care about.  IF one looks at my basic beef, which is the process not being with honor, and the Alberta Party actually stands for honor...

To all:

But then again, what do I know.  I am not a politician.  Perhaps I expect too much.  Perhaps I have no understanding of the political system.  If so, then educate me.  Just know that I will always try to read between the lines and see the truth and the bottom line.  I may not be "intelligent" when it comes to the internals of politics.  I may not be able to let big fancy words fly off the tip of my tongue.  I guarantee you however, I am no where near dumb.

This post was made with all due respect, I've been pondering and reading and pondering for 5 hours in creating this.  It's not perfect.  I am not perfect.  There are times when one feels the need to defend what they believe in, and this was one of them.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Close City Center Airport?

Some of the Edmonton "news" media folks are really pushing hard with stories that appear very one sided.  Both news articles and Columnists have been trying to bias you with little innuendos that are geared to make you go "what the fuck!".  So, ok.. what the fuck!  Believe those stories as being true.

But consider this.

Add in the estimated $90 plus million to buy out the leases that run till 2052.  Add in the costs of cleaning up the land after decades of aviation contaminants getting into the soil (this must be done before a single structure of residential type has started) plus the costs of upgrading the entire infrastructure (this means making the sewers larger in the core area, to handle the extra connections that would be needed to "house" 30,000 people, added water capacity, electrical capacity etc) and I bet you could easily be looking at another $300 million total.  Add in the projections that it can take 20 years to do these types of things.  Also know that the tax base that "fills" these residential units will most certainly NOT be all "new" residents, so the figures saying "oh we will make millions in taxes" does not necessarily mean it will be NEW income but some of it will be SHIFTED income coming from another area of the City.

Even if we forget ALL of that, and can have an 'instant hit' on our hands, what about the medivac portion of the role that the CCA plays?  Oh yes, you've already read all of the reports that say we can time the lights better between EIA and Edmonton (I would imagine that would be done just the same as all of the wonderful timing we have on the lights in the city now) and that we can just as easily transfer people from EIA to the two primary hospitals (UAH and RAH) by helicopter.  You do know helicopters can't fly in the rain or snow, right?  And we never have big downpours of rain, and the snow is always polite to us here so for sure we can always use helicopters...

OH WAIT! But we can *eventually* make more MONEY!  After all, some say the CCA costs us money (it doesn't but I won't go there either) so why keep it?

Hospitals cost us money. Doctors cost us money. Health care in general costs us MONEY.  So, do we close and terminate all of those services too?  If we don't have the will to invest in this issue alone... for a huge role that the CCA *does* provide is medivac services... we will certainly be the cause of doom for someones family in the future.  Oh, I can hear the words coming already... FEAR MONGER!!!  And for those people who believe that to be true, I feel sympathy for you, because you just can't see the truth.

They say that about 80,000 actions take place at the CCA, and around 4,000 of those are medivac related. They say that about 10% of those medivac transports are classified as "critical".  They can be accident victims, they can be neo-natal cases, they can be transplant organs... they can be someone you know.  So 400 critical cases a year, that's over 1 per day.

Let's hope that when all of the medivac is sent to EIA, that every day is a perfect day without rain, without storms, without blowing snow...  And don't forget, when the weather OUTSIDE of the City is that bad, the *chances* of landing at the City Center will be higher.  Weather conditions (for aircraft) are generally better within the City than outside of the City.

Let's also not forget some of those other "hidden" costs. EIA based 'everything' will mean adding in a 24/7 presence of city police (Yes, Air 1 and 2 will be at the EIA... ops, longer flight time for the air cops to respond) and ambulance staff and vehicles.  Let's not forget that if the weather is bad, these medivac transports by law, will be required to carry additional fuel to make it to an alternate airport (just in case the weather is bad).  Medivac pilots say that alternate is Calgary.

But of course, all you really want to do is make money right?  So ya... let's just close the airport and be instantly richer.

I trust you aren't going to choke on the sand that you have your head in... The medivac transport is going to take 30 minutes longer under the best of conditions.  And if it's done via STARS well hell, that's only $2,500 per hour..  So um..  exactly how much are we saving again?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Runway Closure Impacts Medivac

The audio file enclosed in this post is the full one hour broadcast of the Lesley Primeau CHED talk show from August 12 at 7:00 pm.  The file has not been edited, therefore you get the news, commercials etc as well.  The audio has been "reprinted" (if you will) with permission from Lesley.

The audio file is being hosted here.  No matter what I say, you will have your own opinion so I'm not going to bother you by saying anything more...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The issue is

Within the "twitter world", the debates and comments regarding the Edmonton City Center Airport (hash tag #ecca) are going back and forth. This blog post is not about if you are FOR or AGAINST closing this facility, it IS about the honesty of the process used.

The real bottom line here is... have our elected officials been honest with you.

Anyone who attended the "public hearings" held could clearly see that City Council was leaning towards closure.  Many of the experts in the aviation and medical areas gave multi reasons why it would be bad, but it didn't seem to matter.  When you look at the media report from the National Post that exposed some of the "behind the doors" activities, especially the influence from the Board of the Edmonton Regional Airport Authority...

There are a lot of things that happen behind closed doors within all areas of Government that the public is not aware of, and the politicians make sure that you don't hear about them.  And this is simply wrong.  But they all use the technicalities of the laws, many of which have been designed or re-worded specifically to keep you out of "the knowledge" so they can hide behind them and honestly say to you "sorry, we can't discuss that".

Remember when the Chief of Police was fired?  The details of that were not released (oh it's a private issue right) and the person tossed from this position filed a law suit.  Which you also never heard anything about.  But down the road, some details were leaked which suggested that the matter was settled out of court for a sum that was suggested to be between $250,000 and $500,000.  And if you watched news stories on from the local TV stations, you would occasionally catch a glimpse of this person who was fired.  Why?  Well, the City hired him as some type of "consultant".  Citizens of Edmonton should be thrilled that their taxpayer dollars were used to settle this law suit, and they should be thrilled that he was re-hired (as a consultant for what, and at what wage?) but of course, the figures can't or won't be released due to "privacy" or "legal" reasons.

Don Iveson, whom I have a lot of respect for, has stated in a response letter (read it here) that "we were acting on the basis of advice from the Airport Authority".  Drawn your own conclusions, knowing that there appeared to be back door activities (referencing the National Post article).

The real question here for 'the people' should be... Am I willing to let (what appears to be) this type of dishonesty of process continue?

There is real truth behind the expression "Ignorance Is Bliss".  Think about it when you vote, and stand up for and start demanding honesty and integrity within our elected representatives at all levels of government.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Life Celebrations

The strangest people under the strangest circumstances, can yield the strangest results.

A long time ago before the Internet ever became "alive", there were Bulletin Board Systems (otherwise known as BBS's) where people would gather in teleconference channels (tele meaning a dial up connection) to chat with strangers via text.  Strangers would meet up with other strangers, resulting in friendships.  Some of these 'chats' would involve calling long distance over the phone lines, and hooking up with another BBS site (often outside of Canada and even at times outside of North America) and groups of strangers would meet other groups of strangers... and just talk!

During one of these 'hookups', the BBS I was on was in a chat conference with another site in Boise, Idaho. And this happened many times.  So many times, that it was decided that a 'camp out' meet would happen, where folks from all across Alberta would meet up with folks from the Idaho area, in a camp ground in BC.  Actual face to face conversations would be had, along with huge amounts of food and drink, resulting with a friendship bonding that in many cases would last a life time.

I had the honor of meeting an outstanding American couple, Bob & Marti Cooper.  I could go into details, but suffice to say that many more meetings, camp outs, and get-together's would happen over the years including home town visits in both countries.

This blog post is to honor my dear friend Bob, who passed away too early in life, on August 4th of this year.  I was fortunate enough to be able to see him this past summer, and although he wasn't looking in the best of health, he still had his cheery bright smile and humor.

Bob was a short person and afraid of heights.  But you just could not help but get taken in by his zest for life.  While his full time job was working for the State of Idaho, he was extremely active in many social areas such as scouting.  Everyone who came in contact with him and his wife Marti, well... there are just some charms in life that you can't seem to get enough of, and both of these people made you just want more and more of them.

I can only encourage the people of today's Internet world of Twitter and other social mediums... take the time to get to know who you are dealing with.  Don't get lost in "just typing", meet the people behind the text and natter that goes on.  Because if you don't, then you will miss out on the huge opportunities to meet some really great folks.

I did, and I'm damn glad too!  We may not have lived next door to each other, but the door was always open.  Bob and I were never "mushy", but we always hugged.  We had this bond, this understanding of what a real friend is.  You will always be in my heart, and in my mind.  Rest in peace my friend...

For Marti and family... what can I say that hasn't been said or felt before.  I join you in your celebration of Bob's life, even though I am a thousand miles away.

Friday, July 30, 2010

City Center Airport - Personal Feelings

This blog post will contain many references. I'm not going to post links, because places like the Edmonton Journal and other media sites have a wealth of information. If you want that, please dig it up yourself (no offense, this is just a "not enough time to dig everything up" issue for me.).  No question this issue is passionate and controversial.

What gets me the most, is the arrogance of Mr. Mandel and those on City Council that have ignored what the people of the city have spoken for in the past. Yes, we allowed the "big guns" to be changed to the International (which was a needed thing).  The second time we voted, the wording was SO confusing many people who wanted to maintain things, accidentally voted the other way.  I really hope that Envision Edmonton will make sure that the new wording (hint, I'm fairly confident the required signatures will be gathered in time) CLEARLY states what the vote is about.  So for me, most of this has to do with the way the City has handled it, and the clarity that is in my mind on the hidden things that were done in the background.  For example, it's recently been found out that Stantec in Edmonton has been working on re-development plans for the airport for at least the last 2 years.  Long before so-called public hearing were held.  In my humble opinion, those hearings were nothing more than a way for the City to say "hey, we held hearings now piss off".  All of the reports prepared for these hearings were DESIGNED to lead to the reasoning to close the airport.

There is the issue of costs.  Mr. Mandel and crew have been saying "hey, we can make piles of money off this land" yet they aren't telling you the entire story (as if you aren't surprised by that).  There have been articles that state we will have to pay out something like $91 million dollars in cancelled contracts.  There have been suggestions of estimates that it might easily cost another $100 million (and way more) to re-claim the land from years of contaminants.  One person on twitter stated that other land they are aware of that is way smaller has cost over $10 million dollars, it's been 10 years in the making, and the process is still not finished.

Where is the money going to come from to pay for this? YOUR pocket.  Oh, yes, sure.. "down the road" there will be taxes paid that will *supposedly* replace and recover those costs.  But who gave you that information? Yes, the City did.  The same people that have said "we can make really good on the Indy", but we are at what is it so far, a $9 million dollar loss to date.  The same things will happen with Expo 2017 too, but that's a totally different story.  So, we have some easily seen costs that we will have to pay for and I am more than confident there will be tens of millions (perhaps even hundreds) of dollars that we have NOT thought about, that the taxpayers of the City will be on the hook for.

Ok, so let's take all of the financial data out of the picture.  What about the human data side?  Employment lost, businesses closed... People have said "no big deal, if the economy is good enough they will find other jobs".  Cool... if that's the way you feel then PLEASE make sure you have a job to GIVE them.  The key factor here is... the economy is NOT good, and the chances of these people getting something else in their same field is NOT good.  Oh by the way, don't forget that if the airport is forced to close then while all of the shutdowns are happening, while all of the reclamation of the land is going on, there will be NO income to the City from taxes, there will only be COSTS that we will have to pay.

And let's also take the above "human side" out of it, employment wise, and think about the medical and police side of things.  I was listening to some of the medical professional comments at the Envision open forum, and the medical community seem to be deeply concerned about potential delays of treatment for critical patients.  Some responses have been "oh screw off with the fear mongering", and "what data have you to prove that".  Well, if you can't "envision" the fact that winter snow storms will plug up the delivery of patients to hospitals from the International Airport then you have no understanding of what it's like to live in this city.  When one of YOUR loved ones needs that critical care and can't get it... and if you don't think it will happen then you really have your head in the sand, or you don't care about *people*.  Even IF that person that needs the treatment is not know to you, remember that we ARE the "Gateway To The North", and we have a responsibility as human beings to allow all of our northern friends the gift we can provide to them for health care issues.  Unless of course, you could care less about anyone who doesn't live in a "big city".

Mr. Mandel and crew have shown in my mind, that they do NOT care, and many of them don't deserve to be a representative of the people.

My previous blog post contains the 3 images that Envision Edmonton has, which does allow for some NAIT expansion, and LRT access.  From my eyes (and everyone knows I'm not a professional in this area) the information they have presented looks pretty decent.  It allows for some expansion and development consistent with what the land has been designed and used for.  It allows for the continued use by the medical profession, and it allows for the police helicopters to remain HERE in the City.  If EPS is forced out of the City Center, then they have to be at the International.  Oh, that's right... we need to create an office for them to be there, with a 24/7 presence too.  More of those "hidden costs" that your elected officials have failed to mention to you.

For me, this matter is simple. Let the City Center Airport do what it should be doing.  It exists, it's "paid for", and with proper management it can thrive and support the people that need to do their jobs their, but more importantly... it will provide the citizens of this city and our northern friends, with a SERVICE that we need, closer to WHEN we need it, and it has the best possibility to provide the urgent medical care for those who need it, when they need it.

One more thing you should ponder on.  You are an "Edmontonian", you don't care about people outside the city.  Or maybe you do.  At some point, you... or a friend... or a relative... will be taking that little trip to Leduc, or Spruce Grove, or out to the cabin for the weekend.  Something will happen on the drive, or while you are there.  When STARS comes to get you, and you end up at the International Airport, and have to take an ambulance trip from there (oh... we staff ambulances there?  DANG.. add that to the list of additional Edmonton support people that MUST be located there)... well, do you get the picture yet?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Envision Edmonton City Center Airport Redevelopment Plans

I took a little time to visit the public open forum held at Hanger 39 tonight, sadly some things came up and I had to leave early.  I won't take any time to state the issues or what folks said, but I thought people who missed it would like to see the follow THREE documents provided.  Enjoy. :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Police Abuse

Sometime either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning (July 10/11), Edmonton City Police responded to a 'gun shot complaint' in our area. Admittedly, earlier on there was a loud "bang" heard, which could have been a car back firing, or maybe indeed a real 'gun shot'.  Either way, someone reported it as coming from our back yard.

EPS responded, and officers were ringing the hell out of the front door bell, and helped themselves to opening our back door on our deck (which caused the internal house alarm to activate), placing both my brother and myself into one of those "what the hell is going on" modes.  My brother was sitting on the can at the time, and I was in the basement.  He was trying to finish up his 'business' and I was rushing up the stairs to figure out what was going on.  When I opened up the main back door in the house, I saw "people" and immediately shouted out "who's there", and proceeded out into the deck area.  The response was "police", and I could see the uniforms.  I hollered out to my brother that it was the cops, and both of us are going "what the fuck now???".

You see, we have the unpleasant privilege of living next door to an old man who is clearly mentally unstable, and that old man is constantly calling the police on us to complain.  EPS has been out at least a dozen times in the last while, listening to this old man babbling on about something we have supposedly done, and constantly have been "interviewing" us about issues.

Naturally, nothing has EVER been found where we have done anything, and EPS has piles of case files pop up on their computer when ever they respond to his address or our address.  The old man, by the way, has been taken at least 2 times for what we believe is a psychiatric evaluation, because he's 'disappeared' for 30 days at a time.  The 'natural conclusion process' for us, was this mentally unstable person had complained again.

Anyway, the cops demanded to know who was in the house, and insisted on coming in to look.  There was no warrant and when asked for one, we were told they didn't need to have one because it was an emergency (cough, ya, right).  The (guessing) lead officer was a female, who has been at the house a few times before and knows both my brother and myself.  I told her several times that there was NO ONE else but she was still demanding to come in to check. WHY they needed to "look" and exactly WHAT they were looking for still remains a mystery.  (Upon checking this morning with the neighbour, we learnt that EPS didn't do the same at HIS house, so we were the only ones targeted.)

So the cops came in, all six of them... and walked through the house "looking".  During this time, one of the EPS male members saw a hunting knife, latched up in its sheath, hanging on the bathroom door knob, located right next to the back door.  He grabbed the knife from the door handle, which was a present to my brother from his best friend who passed away several years ago.  My brother grabbed the tail end of the sheath, and told the cop "you can't have that" and the cop told him to let go.  He said "no", at which point a gun was drawn on him, and he let go, with the cop then saying "wise move".  So EPS felt threatened?? By an over weight old man with grey hair and a broken back.  I guess the two cops that were standing right there felt they had to use excessive and threatening force, by drawing a gun.

They checked the living room, and tried to turn on lights from a rotary dimmer switch.  Of course, the fan and light combo this switch was wired to, was turned off at the unit itself.  You see, you can't use a dimmer switch on a fan, because it will either burn out the fan, or the switch.  And here I thought that when you are at a "crime scene", the first rule is DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING.  But no, this cop decided to fiddle with the dimmer control.  After they left, we tried to turn the light on and it didn't work.  Thankfully, we found that the control was turned all the way down (hey dummy, UP is usually 'on' you know) and were able to prevent damage to the fan and dimmer by turning it all the way up before turning the light back on.  Stop playing with other peoples property.  If you wanted the light on, just ASK.  We turned all of the lights on in the basement so you could "search" to see if someone else was here.  And you were almost ready to LEAVE without searching the basement until I reminded you it still needed to be done.

Who complained, we have yet to find out.  The one neighbour we talked to said he thought the shot came from across the street by the 7-11, which is the same general area that my brother also thought it came from.  We still are waiting to hear why this all happened, and trust me... a formal complaint WILL be launched over having a gun drawn on my brother.

EPS, especially the female lead cop, KNOWS us, we have NEVER done anything wrong, and its been proven over and OVER again that we have never done anything wrong.  WHY was the need to force your way in, without a warrant, to search, and to search for what?  More importantly, why did you draw your GUN, when there were several other options available?  I guess two young cops just can't handle a fat grey haired old man with a broken back...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TELUS doesn't give a damn...

I've been bugged by this for some time, so... here goes.

I've been "lucky" to be bombarded by all sorts of marekting scam calls lately, and thanks ever so much to TELUS and the rest of the telecommuncation giants such as Shaw, Rogers, Bell etc... for allowing this to happen.

This latest call came from 250-930-9988, coming into call display as "Brit. Columbia".  When the phone was answered, a rather crappy computer voice stated "Since you are a respected TELUS customer, press 1 for 3,000 air miles free".  Of course, I never did... and I waited to hear more... and the call was disconnected.  Since the phone number is flagged within TELUS as 'no not even telus is authorized to make marekting calls', I did call them to complain.  I will leave the matter of being frustrated beyond belief in using Telus's assinine automated system, and state that eventually I was finally able to reach a human.

I explained, they checked the number but it wasn't theirs... it was registered to SHAW.  I was then passed to the Telus privacy office to confirm some things.  And this is what I found out.

Several phone numbers are set aside (TELUS here in Edmonton uses.. I think... 424-5841) so that 'network routing calls'... those from computers around the world, services like Skype, etc.. have a place to dial into so their internet calls can be passed through to the local exchanges for connection.  TELUS says they have no control over who connects, and they can't track this either. (Now thats a huge crock of bullshit.. ops.. I mean El Toro PooPoo.)

This one from BC was one of those types of numbers, but its under Shaws control.  Anyway, I had a huge discussion, which turned into an arguement, with the Privacy Commissioners office.  Anyone who isn't within the realm of being gullible will instantly know that there is NO way that some company from the USA can extend your vehicle warranty (hey, the caller said it was about to expire, right?) or can offer you lower rates on your credit cards.  And of course, this is JUST the surface of these scams.

I tried to explain to TELUS that it could EASILY be controlled but they say that the Government.. aka the CRTC, won't let them.  Um.. excuse me?? WTF!  So ok, TELUS has no balls, and as usual, could really care LESS about customer support (like you already didn't know that eh?).  So here is the 25 cent solution.  All it needs is for all of these carriers (Telus, Bell, Shaw, etc) to get off their asses and use their industry voices to MAKE it happen.

1) TRACK the calls coming into the network.
2) When customers start complaining about calls coming from these network routing numbers, LOOK at the logs of the network.
3) DENY access to any further incoming calls "from that network".
4) LOBBY the CRTC for rules that will ALLOW these types of scams to be dealt with IMMEDIATELY.

Hey.. ya know if ya don't... chances are it's going to be the seniors that will end up getting scammed the most.  Course, that would mean that the Government and the CRTC and the various carriers would acutally want to care.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A New Way of Education - part 2

Friday's tweetup sponsored by the Edmonton Public Teachers Local 37, discussed in part 1, was a definite hit.  The organization created new standards of excellence in how people can become more engaged not only in Education, but also within the community. Patrick Johner added in a comment in part 1, which is quoted below (just in case anyone missed reading it) that clarifies the two official statements.
Just to clarify for your readers, about the reference of "The first two are official statements that our total membership agreed to last year." This refers to two of Local 37's Public Vision Statements. They are stated below for easy reference:

By 2012 the Edmonton Public Teachers Local will be:
1. A leader in promoting member (Teachers) engagement in the Local, the ATA and the COMMUNITY.
2. A respected voice that advocates for policies that address issues, trends, and conditions affecting public education.
Now that you are up to speed on the previous post, I think that it is important for readers to know that Education and Community were definitely discussed!  The gathering of people was impressive, and folks sat in various little groups carrying on their own discussions.  I was centered between two groups, listening to words from @stolenfire and @Tamara_Stecyk on my right..and @ChemCath and @britl on my left. There were also a few others in the two groups that I didn't get to know. (No one knows this about me until now, but I had measles as a kid, and my left ear was infected and the inner ear was destroyed, making "dual conversations" difficult for me at times.)

What really caught my interest, and what I wanted to bring up in this post, was the conversation I had with ChemCath.  It evolved around the idea of what kids today know... or maybe more importantly do NOT know, and I have to wonder why.  We talked about many things, such as community involvement, parents, camping, cooking, exams, and learning.  Our children for the most part, have lost the art of many of these topics.  The chances of these kids knowing about sifting flour, making dough, baking... are pretty much zilch.  The kids have been saying they know little about camping, etc, and I wonder why these family type events don't happen like they used to when I was growing up.  Unless they have a calculator, the mental math skills seem lacking, and they don't seem to know how to survive without electronics.

We also had a good talk about exams, and the NEED to have written answers instead of everything being multiple choice.  Unless our children can explain HOW they got the answer, we will never really know if they truly understand the question.  Yes, it takes more time to mark those types of questions, and we seem to be leading towards making things easier for the teachers.  With all due respect, this is the WRONG reason to remove written answers in exams.

As I write this, with twitter opened in the background, a very timely comment appeared from @DaveHancockMLA at 10:07 AM... "Students say they learn best by seeing and doing".  I can't agree more, so my question is... When will teachers be allowed to do what they do best.  Are we SO caught up in the minuscule finances, that we can't re-organize structure to allow the teachers to teach, and the children to learn?

There were several groups I didn't have the time to sit in with, the time went by SO fast.  Sadly, there were also a few people I didn't introduce myself to (shame on me) and for that I deeply apologize.  So many people were there, so many discussions going on...  Perhaps a "suggested format" for future tweetups might be something along the lines of the 'speed dating' concept, where people can get into groups of 4 or 6, and then after 20 minutes or so 1/2 of the group can move to another.  I admit, it is a rather insane concept to try, especially when you get such quality discussions going on like those of this event, you just don't want to break away!