Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ya aint gettin da full truth

In a news report by Scott Johnston from 630 CHED, titled 'City portion of arena deal "covered" says city manager', it is my belief we are hearing fudged information. In court, the proverbial oath is to tell the truth, the whole truth,  and nothing but the truth.

We are not getting that full truth, which it is my belief that makes the city manager a liar.

Just along the same lines as the cities CFO said at council, with a wink wink nudge nudge, that taxes are not going up because of the arena. She too, was telling a partial truth. And the only reason why she could get away with the response was because the question was related to "this year". And of course, since the city really didn't spend any money, it's kind of hard to raise taxes on something not yet disbursed. DUH. But hey, the city ran around screaming and cheering that taxes were not going up. .. And you fell for it. Right?

Anyway, getting back to dear Simon, who was quoted as saying :
“If you take the arena project, the city office tower, and you take Stantec, there’s a billion and a half dollars worth of investment into the core and that will be sufficient to pay off clearly any of the municipal portion on the arena”
 What Simon fails to add is this. All of the tax revenues from the CRL zone, based on the existing relocation of other businesses, means the areas vacated are no longer going to pay those property taxes. Empty buildings do not generate tax revenue. So those 10's or 100's of millions of  tax dollars are lost. When you add into this the fact that all new property taxes raised within the CRL zone will NOT be going into paying for the required services the city and it's residents needs (fire, police, infrastructure etc) then this means we are in reality, out DOUBLE the amount of money required to pay for those same fire, police, infrastructure type items.

So, with a loss of double the hundreds of millions, I'm thrilled to know that Edmonton is becoming much more effective in dealing with crime and stuff, and we can start to get rid of the extra cops and fire fighters and paving equipment contracts that will no longer be needed.

Of course, the above statement is an oxymoron, because taxes WILL go up to recover the loss of the revenue stolen from city taxes, in order to support a billionaire. To think otherwise... well, I'm sorry. I'll call a spade a spade. You are just stupid.

By the way, did you note the part where he included the "city office tower"? Isn't that the one where city employees are all supposed to be going to? I seem to recall something about the city not paying property taxes on places it has. Maybe I'm wrong... *coughs

Have you also forgotten about that portion of the education tax which is part of property taxes, being stolen from our children? Meh... the kids certainly don't need that money, because you know, the teachers love teaching so much they will do it for free. Course, with that lost revenue for schools, you have to know your fees to send kids to school will go up. Buses, books, art supplies. But you don't care, right? After all, we have to support a poor billionaire. And even our Mayor has expressed delight in taking that portion of the taxes away from the children.

Yet another farce presented to the people was the item of Katz getting parking revenues. One would think that would mean he would be able to keep all of the parking money from the arena parking at the building. What you were not told is that the parking money is not JUST limited to "his" palace. What you were also NOT told was that the city is paying ... ops.. I mean you are paying ... to replace all of those parking meters in the area, with new fancy electronic programmable meters, so they can RAISE the price of parking.. ops, I mean so they can give Katz a lot more money. And of course, the spin provided for that aspect was that "we have to be competitive".

So much more is yet to come. The question is, since we all know that ignorance is bliss...

Just how blissful are you? Sheep being what they are and all.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Please Prove Your Ethics

In light of the latest Auditor Generals report, we have every political party jumping on the bandwagon, or trying to prevent the bandwagon from falling apart.

So here is a simple challenge to every politician or party in Alberta. The people are basically looking for party responses, but will take individual ones as well.

Just make up a blog post, and in simple basic language, tell the people why you are honest, why you have integrity, and why you will be transparent. Then respond here, anonymously if you wish, and post a link in your reply to that post.

We aren't looking for pages and pages of details... just your basic common sense layout of generic principles that you feel are important. If your blog post also links to party policies, that's fine if you want to expand things. But please, keep your basics as simple as possible.

It's really not that hard to do... is it?

The people thank you kindly, in advance. And they will also note any lack of responses.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Broken Politics

No matter where you look, politics is broken. Pick a city, province, country... the vast majority probably have major issues. For the most part, we as individuals have little control over world politics, and as we "drill down" closer to provincial and city events, our control increases in varying amounts.

In my opinion, the biggest reason people do not get out and vote is because they feel politicians never listen to them and never represent them, so why bother.

Time after time, an individual or a party that we feel would represent us the best, is not elected. And we have given up. No matter how much we scream at people to get involved... unless they feel what they have to say counts for something, they will continue to not show up to vote.

So for example, if a particular riding has a 30% turn out in voters and there are 4 parties running in that riding, then the person with the highest percentage of votes, wins. All of the others are tossed out. "A" got 35%, "B" got 30%, "C" got 25% and "D" got 10%.

The winner of 35% gets elected, and 65% (a much higher majority) get nothing. To make matters worse, only 30% of the voters, of that 35% winner, are really represented. And this is extremely dangerous for all.

And you wonder why people give up.

But what if... what if the concept, changed. I've heard other places in the world do this, and I'm sure that it also carries its own type of problems as well... but...

What if... the total number of seats in government, are filled by the percentage of the votes each party received. Yes, in this scenario, it is quite possible that the person you voted for in your riding, and won that riding, might not actually end up getting a seat. But please, follow along with the concept. :)

Lets take the same above percentages, and apply that to the entire province (or country if you want). Party "A" has 35% of the seats to fill. Perhaps they can take the "top winners" of the various riding's, by percentage, and fill those seats in order. The other parties would do the same thing.

So in this case, it is also possible that the person you voted for in your riding, and lost.... could end up with a seat anyway.

Would this type of scenario be more of what would entice you to actually vote? To actually know that what YOU think, counts a lot more?

WE are the people. it us up to US to drive a change. Take your ideas and present them, let YOUR voice be heard for a change.

Or continue on with thinking that Ignorance is bliss. Chances are one day, it will come back and bite you firmly in your ass. Enjoy that...

Friday, August 1, 2014

Microsoft allowing Google back door access?

I'm sure most of my readers know that I am not a fond fan of Google. The spying factors and all. And yes, blogger is a Google product, but I post things here, because I want Google to know what I think, and why. Anyway...

The other day I was (shush) forced into a corner, into using Google Voice. It was the only option I had at that moment. So I had to install their little "plugin" in order for things to work. One would think that a browser plugin should only work or be active, when the browser is active AND that plugin is being used. But we are talking Google here.

After the "need" was over, I rebooted my Windows 7 system and I noticed in my router log files, some outgoing connections to some "tools" thing at Google. So I opened task scheduler, and found 2 entries created by the Google software, that would run at boot, and then "every hour" after that. The (cough) idea being that Google wanted to check to make sure you always had the latest "tools". Yeah, thanks but no thanks. So I disabled the tasks from running. That should solve the problem, right?

A short time later, I rebooted again... and... damn... there was that traffic in the router again. So I started up Process Monitor (a great free utility from Mark over at SysInternals) and asked it to make a bootlog of the processes being run. Rebooted, and then looked at the log file.

Low and behold, Google was still DIRECTLY calling the task files (they are stored in the Windows Tasks folder) even though they had been disabled in Task Scheduler. Well, screw that, I though.. So I deleted the tasks, and rebooted again. WooHoo!!! Yup, that solved that. Success!!

But.. wait... my IP blocking program (PeerBlock) was showing that there were about 200 attempts in the space of 3 seconds, to go out to the Google address, again.

So this time, I went in and uninstalled the Google plugin. Google was still blocked, and that caused close to 500 attempts to speak with the Google servers. So once again, I rebooted. And it finally stopped.

So... Dear Microsoft... WHY is it, that Google can still run tasks, even though they have been disabled? What kind of "special" access do they have?

I'm really not liking this. At all.

Just sayin.