Saturday, September 29, 2012

I want a pony

Katz... pronounced like "kate zzzz"... or.. is it really more like "cat zzz".

Lets face it, many people enjoy a nice warm kitty kat laying in your lap, purring away like mad. It gives one that very warm and fuzzy feeling. So warm and fuzzy, that one tends to overlook the downside of that same kitty kat, when it uses you as a launch pad to jump down, ignores you, goes off into a corner some place to take a nap...only to come out an make an appearance when the kitty kat wants food.

Repeat often. (sounds kinda familiar eh?)

When you look at the start of this apology letter "I was upset when certain conīŦdenial information was leaked and by comments that I thought were unfair and called my integrity into question." it is basically saying that I am really sad you found out I wanted to take even more of the taxpayers money, and I find it is unfair that you think that is a bad thing.

At that point, anything else in this so-called-apology isn't really worth the internet data it has been written on.

Yes, I am sure Mr. Katz loves the Oilers. I have serious doubts that he really loves Edmonton. But he has a chance to prove it, and really... it is quite simple. Just issue a statement, something like this:

"I want the Oilers to be proud and strong, and I want the fans to feel proud and strong. I have approached Edmonton City Council, and brought forth a new deal proposal that is truly a win-win for both taxpayers and us. The details of the new offer are as follows:

1) The Katz Group (KG) will put up front, using our money, the sum of $250 million dollars. The City will put in the remaining $200 million from revenues and ticket taxes.

2) KG and the City will share in revenues, with KG taking 60% and the City taking 40%.

3) KG will not be required to pay rent, but will pay full property taxes.

4) The City will own and maintain the facilities, collect all rents and taxes from any additional tenants, and will work together with both the KG and Northlands in concert and entertainment proposals and promotions.

5) No funds will be borrowed from the City.

6) No CRL will be needed.

7) No restrictions will be requested from Northlands. Any ticket taxes imposed for the new arena will also apply to Rexall, and those funds will be given to Northlands for improvements needed.

8) KG will share 50-50 with the City, on naming rights revenues.

Now THAT... is what you call a fair and "win-win"... Anything less than that will probably please some 20,000 odd fans that will hit the games on a regular basis, but it will certainly piss off some 600,000 residents. ... the vast majority of those who will be voting for a new City Council in 2013... just around the corner.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Snow is a 4 letter word

Today is Friday, September 28th... just after 7 am and I am sipping away at my morning coffee, pondering when the pears on the tree in the backyard will start falling in batches. Pears are a pretty awesome fruit, but it's not like you can pick them and freeze them for later. But if you have the right equipment, you could can them for later use.

And of course, that must all be done before the snow arrives. The question is... when will that happen?

But wait... maybe we need to define what "snow" is first. So here is my definition...

SNOW is... what many members of the Edmonton City Council pray for. They pray for it to come sooner rather than later, because they want the weather to be as miserable as possible. I mean, after all, they have been trying for years to snow you over with marketing propaganda over the proposed Downtown Arena.. er, I mean palace... built for the only person capable of saving Edmonton, King Katz.

It was almost a year ago when Mimi Williams (@willmimi on twitter) started supplying information on the trail of lies, deception, and broken promises by many of our elected officials, in a 3 part series. It was supposed to be 4 parts, but it just got overwhelming.

Edmonton is at a place now in this "process", where Katz wants to change the rules, and I think that if he thinks that it is okay for him to do that, then I think it should be okay for us to do the same. Considering the recent events, more so now than ever before... the people of Edmonton are speaking up quite loudly to Council, saying this deal sucks. And for taxpayers in Edmonton, and indeed the entire Province, this is very true.

Council needs to tell Katz that the public is not happy. They need to tell him that the current proposal is null and void, and Katz must come back to the table with something that works for taxpayers. So with that said, what would be a reasonable deal?

1) The City owns the building. All tenants in the building will pay rent and taxes to the City.

2) No CRL will exist, since it just robs taxpayers of that money. And that money has to be collected again from all residents to replace the missing funds that would have gone into revenues, so taxpayers are being double dipped.

3) Full profit sharing, based on the percentage of the project dollars invested. In the past I have suggested that Katz gets 10% more of the share. For example, if he puts in 30% of the costs, then he gets 40% of the revenues. ... ... albeit he is allowed to keep all of the revenues for Oilers games.

4) If a "ticket tax" must be collected on Rexall events (stupid equal competition clause) then those revenues must be given to NorthLands for facility improvements and NOT be directed towards general revenues or be applied to the City portion of the costs.

There should probably be many more points, but the bottom line is this deal must be good for the taxpayers FIRST, with the Katz Group as a "second". Unless of course, KG wants to fund the entire project in which case it would be his building, his revenue, his tenants, etc.

So where does the SNOW come into place? Well, many think Council has been carefully crafting this project so that when it does come time to vote on a bylaw to borrow the funds, the citizens of Edmonton will be in a nasty weather situation in order to inhibit as much as possible, a citizen created plebiscite.

And why do we know this? Well, in the past... Mayor Mandel has made it very clear that the citizens of this city are simply not allowed to speak out. Our voices do not count. Only the voice of King Katz is allowed.

And with that said... election 2013 is just around the corner, where everyone will most certainly have their opportunity to speak... loud... and clear.

Perhaps after the 2013 election, the RCMP can be called in to investigate the breach of trust of many of the current members of Council. Because for sure, if this current deal actually gets put through... well... you decide.

70,000th tweet of mine to post this. And I bet the people of this city have spoken many times more, to say this deal sucks. Did I mention? Election 2013 is just around the corner...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dear Daryl Katz

I recently read your "interview/statement" titled "All bets are off" on the Edmonton Journals website. And I have to say your whining is most impressive.

Rather than having the balls to come back to Edmonton and actually sit down in front of media and the citizens of this city, you continue to hide your face. You would rather give fuel to the slanted and biased commentary of the Journal's David Staples, in the hopes that we, the citizens of this city, will buy into your line of marketing.

Yet it would seem that more and more people all the time are having a bigger and bigger issue with your demands for corporate welfare.

As part of your marketing ploy (some say it's more of a scam) you try to touch us with your personal life by letting us know that your wife thinks you are crazy.

Katz said he chose to speak up about stalled negotiations because, “there’s a lot at stake and people in Edmonton need to understand the full picture.”
You say you want us to understand the full picture, yet you don't tell the full truth on the full picture, do you. Your choice is to continue to obfuscate the real facts. And to be honest, you are acting like a spoiled child having a temper tantrum by threatening to hold your breath until you die. And you know what? We don't care anymore.

You say that having taxpayers put in $350 million dollars is unfair and totally counter productive. You want more. As a matter of fact, you want taxpayers to pay every penny, and then graciously give you every cent of revenue. I suspect you might find that you and your wife are getting to be the only ones who think you should be placed on a pedestal... But since you want to take money, how about lets face off on this line...

Terming the CRL a “gold mine for the city,” Katz said it might produce more than $2 billion in revenue, and could be used as a source for the operating subsidy.
 Let's be perfectly clear here, the CRL is nothing more than a program that shifts taxes and education taxes, away from their intended debts. So if 45 million dollars in taxes went to services and education, then 45 million dollars more will have to be raised to replace those funds diverted by the CRL. And that is double dipping taxpayers. Not only the residents of Edmonton but indeed all taxpayers in Alberta will see increases, just so you can put money into your pocket. The money you take from our pocket. And guess what... chances are the province won't even approve this CRL because of all of the political outcrying that will happen. And they certainly don't want to cause a rift with taxpayers by gently sliding an extra $100 million to make up the current shortfall. Which we know will not be enough anyway, because these projects never ever come in on budget.

Oh yes, speaking of the CRL, lets remember this "loan" is only good for 20 years, regardless of what arrangements you make. The Alberta Government dictates this money must be recovered in full within 20 years. Then it is 100% due and payable.

The only difference between you and Peter Pocklington, is Peter sold out the players to make money. You sir, are selling out all taxpayers to make money. Including the poor and those on fixed incomes.

You may think you are Robin Hood... however many people believe you are nothing more than a robbing hoodlum.

Yes, you have a choice. Cancel this entire deal, and come back with one where you use YOUR money to build YOUR palace. And then you can proudly keep every penny it makes. Or... try to move the team. Good luck with getting the NHL to agree to that. Maybe better yet, why don't we the taxpayers, just pay you $200 million and buy the team. That way, WE get to keep all the profits. After all, WE ARE paying all of the costs anyway.

You have bitten the hand that feeds you. And to be blunt, we simply don't want you around anymore.

If you think taxpayers are furious now, just wait... Both civic and provincial politicians are getting ear fulls over this. And no one wants to have around politicians that do not work for the people.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Call BS on the Chamber of Commerce

I get that the Chamber of Commerce has a job to do, part of which is to promote Edmonton and business related things in Edmonton... but when you do this in a sly underhanded way, it makes one ponder on exactly what kind of respect the organization deserves.

On Sept 6th, Andrea Sands from the Edmonton Journal "reported" on a story where the Chamber is warning of "massive setbacks" if the proposed downtown arena is not built.

Apparently the Chamber doesn't care about what the cost is to taxpayers. They don't care that their will have to be a tax increase to all citizens in the city, and all residents of the province, just so a billionaire (who according to the Alberta Venture magazine, apparently grossed 14 billion dollars in the last 2 years) can literally nail taxpayers with every cent used to build this palace.

The same billionaire that will collect every cent of revenue from concerts and events, and every penny of rent from every tenant that would occupy his personal palace.

The people are not stupid. The world economy is in a dump. Forcing taxpayers to pay for this, when all over North America the same things have been tried before only to end in disaster...

Who the hell do you think you are trying to fool us into believing that this will be different? Shame on you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hello Quebec

A political change hit the province of Quebec yesterday. To be honest, I have not followed the politics of that province, but I thought I would take a moment to pass on some personal thoughts. With all due respect of course.

Quebec appears to be a proud province, especially when it comes to culture related topics. One should never object to people being proud, in theory. The concern I have is the way the political system in Quebec has been pandered to (for lack of a better word) by Ottawa.

Canada is a large country, with a diverse population of all types. And all types must be respected.

The other provinces in Canada have given up a lot (especially Alberta when it comes to transfer payments) to support the rest of Canada, and both the Ontario and Quebec governments seem to think they can put their hand out, and keep on taking.

My impression for hearing various discussions from many people across Canada, is people are tired of giving, when the end result seems to end up slapping you in the face for what you have done.

The world economics is clearly dictating that in order to survive, people must work together, and be mindful of the others affected. Biting the hand that feeds you is no longer acceptable.

Food for thought.