Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Arena ElToroPooPoo

There is no question that the Mayor of Edmonton is a master of the art of manipulation. And he has taken his latest round to the Edmonton media, who have come out with various titles like "Public tired of Edmonton arena discussions" and "Six weeks left to strike arena deal".

Well Steve, you are right. The public is tired of hearing about the handout of 700 million dollars of taxpayer money given to a billionaire who in all practical terms is not putting a cent of his money (other than perhaps some land deals that some people are calling shady) into this project... and where it's been projected that the same billionaire could potentially pocket a good 400 to 600 million dollars in profits over the term of the deal.

And I have to ask, why is it that we only have 6 weeks left to nail this, otherwise it will never be done? Would it have anything to do with the fact that the majority of Edmonton taxpayers do not like this deal, and you are afraid that a new council to be elected in 2013 will not approve of the theft of taxpayer money?

I mean after all, the Oilers are certainly not going anywhere, they can still play at the current Rexall place until a proper deal can be reached... so why the rush?

I think you will find most people are passionate about keeping the Oilers here. But we are not passionate about having public dollars going to a private company into the pocket of one of the (supposed) richest men in Canada.

In my humble opinion, if you try and force this through, you and the others on City Council will be committing political suicide. Remember when you said that no tax money would be going towards this? And what about your council partner Kim, who stated that a pleb would be needed? It would seem that both of you are liars.

Citizens will hope for a pleb to be called, and in the past you have proven with the City Center Airport that you will do everything in your power to make sure that the people will not be heard. This will naturally place a damper on having a citizen driven pleb successful... and I can envision you rubbing your biased hands together with glee because that is exactly what you want.

But that will not stop a newly elected Council from putting a halt to this. Which of course will result in lawsuits flying all over the place. And I think that might just be a really good idea, because then the truth will come out, and taxpayers will see all of the dirty deeds done. And I'm betting there is a lot of "dirt" to dig up.

Of course, you do have the opportunity for Council to actually call for that pleb, and to make it a part of the election coming up, which will minimize the costs to taxpayers. You are totally aware that a pleb called for by Council will not be legally binding, where as one called for by the citizens would be.

But then.... that would mean you would need to do the right thing. Something we know you probably won't do because you have already proven your word means nothing. Add in how people are comparing Katz to Pocklington, with the former now smelling worse than the latter...

Ah.. you don't care. And the people see that. We are not as blind as you want us to be.

Doing it for the Kids

A short time back, I had the privilege of attending a luncheon hosted by the Edmonton Public School Foundation which I discovered from the @EPSFoundation twitter feed.

When my daughter was in elementary school, I was able to do many of the 'parent things' like being a teachers helper in classes, being involved in school field trips, etc.I was passionate about participating in these things since I could not remember my parents having that type of involvement. Of course, things were different 50 years ago... but one of the things I do remember was the excitement of kindergarten.

As I grew older, started a family, watched my daughter grow up (she's 25 now) I had always presumed that kindergarten was one of those inalienable rights to prepare children for school... however somewhere along the road I fell asleep as a parent and a human being and did not notice that "right to a better beginning" had been lost.

There is no question in my mind that the children are our future. They are born innocent, free of hate and biases, zero understanding of race or color issues. And those early years of life are THE time when the basic building blocks for their futures happen. We as a society, should be doing everything possible to give the children the best chances we can. Sadly, this is not happening.

The Edmonton Public School system has seen the need, and set up a Foundation to promote the sanity of early education. They cover all of the costs of the Foundations work, performed tirelessly by two major players, Sandra Woitas and Alva Shewchuk. Please... take a few moments and visit the Foundations website, the information is extensive, but some of it has not been updated because of internal objectives within the EPSB... they are trying to get all of their websites into a "standard", and the IT department hasn't been able to update the events information. Sandra has kindly passed on some new info as follows:

Upcoming info sessions at Lauderdale School, 10610 - 129 Ave.

Call the Foundation to book your free lunch for Friday January 18th, Tuesday January 29th, Thursday February 14th (be a foundation sweetheart is easy on this day) or Wednesday February 27th.

As well, there is a Ready to Shine 3 Fashion Show at Kingsway Mall on Thursday April 25th. Sandra has also advised me that their main fund raiser will be held on Thursday May 30th, at Harry Ainlay School, located at 4350 - 111 street. And a "yet to be announced" Ready to Frame event, featuring high school student art for sale.

If the love of kids doesn't get your butt in gear, then perhaps you should consider the following. I was shocked when I found out this fact during our luncheon... When you look at the "rich kids versus the poor kids"... a study by Betty Hart and Todd Risley has determined that by the age of THREE YEARS OLD, there is a 32 million word gap exposure. Yes... 32 MILLION words.

Do yourselves a favor... check out the work of the Foundation, where 100% of the funds raised go towards providing a better education for the kids. And thank the EPSB for having the decency to cover 100% of the costs of the Foundation.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Miss Communications

Twitter has been, shall we say... quite active in Edmonton over the past few days. Two of the recent major events causing the locals to uproar was the tragic massacre of little children and adults in Newtown, and the tweeting of a check stop location.

I'm not sure you can even come close to relating these two items on a scale of 1 to anything. I for one can not even BEGIN to fathom the pain of all of the people affected. My heart goes out to those who have been.

With that said, this post is about the challenges people face in expressing anything within the world of 140 characters. They say communication comprises about 7 percent of the spoken words, with the balance coming from facial expressions, body language gestures and the tone and voice inflections. Bottom line being, when you get into something as complex as these two issue have been, you have about a seven percent chance of your text words being received in the manner you meant them to be. ... All within 140 characters.

Common sense would dictate then, that if you see something that irks you, you would take a moment to ask the other person what they meant. And I get it, really... I do. When you deal with emotional issues of any kind, the mouth speaks (or in this case the fingers type) much faster than the brain thinks. And in dealing with complex issues, you generally are involved in a "thread" of chatter. People must also remember that the number of followers differs between "you and me and them" (this can dictate the speed of ones feed) and the people I follow are going to be different than the people you follow, which increases the challenge of being involved in that thread. Anyway...

When the Newtown news hit twitter, it went viral. Horror... shock... and speechless to start with. Information came pouring in, the urge to "speak" was huge. The question was "what to say" to make some form of valid contribution. Not wanting to jump to any conclusions or onto any bandwagons, I simply stated "Killing kids.. sigh. #Newtown". Time went on, more information came in, and I added in a few simple statements representing the shock and horror to a few friends, and sent out "Dear #USA. Ya know... it's time for some serious gun legislation. #uspoli" and a few comments on my disgust for the reporters who were in such a hurry to scoop interview time with the kids involved. On a side note, any who did this should be fired.

After watching more and more information, I then stated "God Bless America... how's that working for you? #Newton". (yes, I know, I misspelled the hash tag.. sigh) The statement was meant to be challenge to the concept of what the USA is (in theory) supposed to represent to the world. How great we are, how much we value freedoms, etc etc... Perhaps what could be more known as the "American Arrogance Factor". Let me first state, I love the USA and the people. I have MANY dear friends that live there and I have visited the country many times... as recent as this summer. My USA buddies have been the first people to acknowledge this, many openly admitting they have issues that need fixing. (I kind of think we as a world, all have things needing fixing, I just wanted to point out the 'statement' was not a slap in the face to the USA, but as a wake up call for their values.)

A short time later I was accused of religion bashing and told to "grow up" by an individual with whom I've had many extremely positive discussions with, and despite political differences, one that I had a lot of respect for. ... I admit, that comment pissed me off because it had, in my mind, nothing to do with religion in any way shape or form. We had a few more tweets, with my blood boiling, and I knew I was not in any emotional state where I could handle any more of the horror, and I left twitter for the rest of the day.

The following day, the Newtown incident stream was down to a more manageable level, but along came tweets about a check stop that had been broadcast. Before I delve into this issue, a tweet came along from @Social_Moi with a reference to my "god bless" comment that I found to be fitting. Note, her comment was not in reply to what I said, but fit with the concept I was trying to address. I will include that now for your viewing pleasure... It appears to have originated from Handgun Control Inc, in Washington D.C.

Back to the check stop issue. Now I do admit, I have issues with the logic of the police service asking those locations not be told, yet in the next breath they contact media outlets on where they are doing radar locations. Seems even tweeting those is "approved". Do let me state that I detest people who drink and drive. My issue is not with their stupidity, but with the concept of tweeting to evade. Those who speed probably cause more accidents and (ugly word.. please over look it) damage... but we clearly see a lot of deaths that happen from drunk drivers. I tend to be of the mindset that I wish it were just the drunks that got killed instead however this seldom happens. And yes, I know it's not politically correct to wish death on anyone. So anyway...

The cops don't want people saying where the check stops are. I get it. I still don't think that the majority of the drunks have got the smarts to check twitter in the hopes of finding the locations.But maybe some do. Who knows. The twitter discussions on this reference the fact that a drunk can not become "un-drunk" but a speeder can slow down. And yes, the speeders... at least those who are aware of the locations, do indeed slow down so they don't get a ticket. And I'm guessing the moment they pass that radar trap they speed right back up again. So I kinda fail to see how this really helps matters.

My logic is, if you are going to deal with one then you should deal with both. Both cause problems. Bad problems. So why is one okay, and the other not. In closing, as for the "religious" slam... I don't think I have portrayed an image of 'prejudice' against anyone. I've always said that I don't care what color you are, what religion (if any) that you prefer, what your sexual preferences are, or anything along those lines. You are either a good person or a bad person, in simple terms. I will respect your right to your opinion. I may not agree with it. And unless it's an opinion that really stinks (according to base society standards) then I will not continue to communicate. If you block me or I block you over something, then it is what it is.

Just don't judge me based on a few pieces of miss-communication.