Management by Committee…

Two themes may flow through this, so I will try and separate them out because I have another blog post planned, let’s just say it draws on my Theological background, but here it is. Man this social media thing is awesome!! I was going to say “cathartic” but it is right before lunch, has anyone who overuses the word cathartic (read media) ever looked up the word CATHARTIC?

Unlike the other day, I did not rush out to congratulate the mayor via Twitter this morning because I worry last night that the hen house door was left open. We witnessed an incredible example of democracy at work the other weekend in Red Deer and I am proud to have already blogged about that. I think there is a bit of a rush to become disciples of Nenshi and in many ways there is much to be proud of for that and much to applaud, but…

My shareholders look to me for leadership. They look to me to make daily operational decisions that we trust steer us left of the iceberg. They also look to me to sometimes crank the ship sideways, bounce it off the iceberg and narrowly miss the rocks on the other side, followed by another iceberg. To be honest, I had hoped for some of the same sort of steering when I cast my ballot on October 18th.

We aren’t setting policy here, or building a new “bright and shining city on a hill” from the ground up after we all rolled into this strange but beautiful piece of land in our wagons on this snowy day at the confluence of two rivers. Just as an aside; if we had, I would have suggested we put Mount Royal where many of the Nenshites live, just off of Barlow, say around Mayland Heights/Franklin Park Area, but once again, I digress. The Council, most of whom know the passcode for the washrooms, should have by now a pretty good grip on what needs to be done. I fear some of the examples below on our new “budget committee” should be questioned.

I’m going to go off on a tangent here because this one example alone puts 3 blog posts in my head:

When I was a kid I used to walk 5 miles to school and back uphill both ways”… Why are city elementary kids being bussed to school?

The driver on the bus says “Johnny eat your Egg McMuffin, and shut up”… Why are we entrusting our most precious resource to parents with kids trying to make ends meet by driving a school bus?

And “HOLY SHIVA I forgot to google where the school was”… Why the hell are Immigrant PhDs driving school buses and cabs and cleaning my office, etc etc?

Told ya I was going to go off on a tangent, but back to the mayor and SILLY HALL, sorry Rick Bell…

What fired my engines the most this am was the school bus driver that got stuck on 10th Street NE hill in Bridgeland; one of the steepest hills in the city, I don’t want them looking at the budget docs online. They stuck a bus full of kids in the middle of a hill with no way out (ever tried to push a bus) and sat there with emergency flashers on. This is bad. Uncle Ed this is one time when you need your cellphone with you and a quick call goes like this:

“Ground control to Major Tom, countdown started, engines on, though I’m not entirely sure about that because the bus hasn’t been in for maintenance for awhile ever since we turned it over to a PRIVATE BUSINESS to run, but I digress and the kids are getting restless. I’m not sure I should run the bus up the hill. I could be mistaken, but it looks like there are hockey markings on the road, and what seems to be a goal net and someone is lacing up their skates (Another Blog: “While on hold, we are pleased to provide you with the following choices in music…” The effective ineffectiveness of the 311 SYSTEM) I think I will take a few minutes to be safe with A BUS FULL OF KIDS and go “the long way” to Edmonton Trail, surely being such a major route (read blog concept above) it will be plowed and much safer”. Okay, admittedly, it was actually pretty passable, I had to run the stop sign at the end of 4th Ave and Edmonton Trail to get the momentum to drive my 1995 Ford Ranger up the hill (I’ve garaged the Jaguar for the winter) but you get the point. LEADERSHIP folks, what follows for the kids is like a Simpson’s cartoon with Otto Man the bus driver taking the kids in reverse down the hill. I left, I couldn’t watch, by the way trying to avoid the kindly East Indian cab driver (who more than likely designed the mechanics for the bus, see blog concept above) who like me backing down the hill was probably wondering what he was doing here in November, in the snow, behind a school bus full of kids, with someone who may today give their opinion on what to do with the city budget.

Wow…I had to get that off my chest, but it doesn’t stop there. No, after going through the drive thru teller at the bank (you have to pull up to get the envelopes at TD, then reverse back to type in your info, SO the individual(s) who designed the branch and/or machines and/or drive thru should also stay away from the budget docs) I reluctantly decided being that every major artery was clogged including mine, to go and grab a coffee. Might I suggest that the 3 individuals that ran the red light because they might argue “I couldn’t stop safely” also “back away from the budget docs”.  I potentially, and I say potentially may be able to grant clemency to Driver #1, the other 2 for sure that followed Driver #1 just plainly make bad decisions, Driver #3 being almost a hood ornament for the Transport truck 2 cars in front of me. The transport driver, I wish to recommend, may want to peruse the docs online; I would argue he is rather tied up trying to avoid someone who may have been tweeting about the budget docs at the light.

Upon ALMOST reaching the sanctity of my office (I’ve been here for a 2.5h running this all through my head) so I could write this in peace and sort of get it all off my arteries, I happened upon the last individual whom SO FAR today (I still have to make it home) does not win my confidence for viewing budgetary matters online and commenting on them; that is the lovely lady, who upon seeing myself and the other car in front of me struggling to make the turn at 8th Street and 10th Ave SW ( the Ranger is a standard, in retrospect should have bought an automatic, but my wife was desperate to go for a huge reno run to Home Depot and we needed a truck) makes the decision after clearly looking at us and then clearly looking at the WELL KNOWN INTERNATIONAL SYMBOL for waiting at a crosswalk, the CLEARLY FLASHING FOR AT LEAST 5 SECONDS orange hand, to saunter across the crosswalk; then give an obligatory little skip at the end to show us she cares. All of this as the Lexus bearing down on us; ABS working double overtime, barely stops at the red light, and I and Driver ahead of me clear the intersection! The intersection WHICH WAS CLEAR until our “fellow citizen” decided to do the unthinkable, disregard her fellow citizens AND AN INTERNATIONALLY ACCEPTED TRAFFIC SYMBOL! I would prefer she does not get too wrapped up in thinking about the budget docs, instead perhaps a Dale Carnegie Course, say “How to Win Friends and Influence People” should be a priority (I think it is available online) and a review of common traffic symbols.

But finally, after pulling into my parking spot I see my daily constant, the Filipino Security Guard. He looks not unlike say a real Filipino policeman, save the fact that he does not, to my knowledge; have any concealed automatic weapons on his person. He is ALWAYS smartly dressed and looks proud in his uniform AND HAT which he wears with dignity and a quiet confidence, BUT don’t park in the wrong spot. If you choose to do so, he immediately contacts the girl upstairs at the leasing office; who immediately sends out an email that says “Mercedes parked in spot 82, where there should be a rusty 1995 Ford Ranger. If you don’t move it immediately IT WILL BE TOWED.” My friend the Security Guard or the girl upstairs I would gladly invite to peruse the docs online as they do not say “OOOh aaah a Mercedes! I better not squeal on the __________ who parked in someone’s RESERVED PARKING SPOT because they were too lazy to use PARKPLUS. They might be someone important, like a person in the Finance Department at City Hall getting input on the budget; or perhaps an Alderman using their $9400 a year car allowance on a sensible vehicle, because Mercedes was offering a low $$ down, low interest LEASE.” No, they make decisions. They show LEADERSHIP in their job. It isn’t steering the ship left of the iceberg or anything, BUT they make hard decisions for their task at hand, knowing full well it might not make them any friends (believe me Mercedes person comes looking for the Security Guard if the car gets towed), but they’re doing their job .

Again, the guard, the secretary, the transport truck driver, they lead busy lives, they have a job to do. At the end of their long day when they turn on the news and hear about “budget by committee” they probably think, wait “Didn’t I vote for that guy who said he was going to clean up City Hall and told me he had the experience to do it. Didn’t I vote for that woman who said she KNEW what had to be done and what Calgarians were asking for?”. CRAFT A BUDGET. The City of Calgary is in a heap of trouble. Many days my travel takes me past the SPANISH STEPS & BRIDGE and my blood pressure rises AND uh uh, (finger wagging) don’t anyone launch off into a discussion of Federal/Provincial/Municipal funding and that it is really “Federal” infrastructure $$ passed down by the Province. I call __________!! If out of ALL of the funding decisions this City and Province and Country have to make we couldn’t find something other than that bridge to spend $29++++ Million on; WHO ARE THE LEADERS? Who is the leadership AT ALL LEVELS that made decisions like that and WHO GAVE THEM THAT ADVICE ONLINE?? I want to know and Calgarians want to know.

I am hired to do a job. If I fail at it, which admittedly being a homo sapien (I’m watching a fascinating series on CBC called “The Human Journey” BTW Bill Gates, how can homo sapien be spelled wrong Spell Check can’t fix it) I do. I have somewhat patient shareholders, BUT at some point in time the meetings stop, the consultation stops and THE WORK has to begin. This Council can’t CUT??? Give me the scissors! Don’t go through some namby pamby “public process” that just lets you sit back and “build bigger bridges”. MAKE THE TOUGH DECISIONS, YOU ARE AN EXECUTIVE, NOT A JUNIOR MANAGER!

My dear wife is from St. Albert (I try not to hold this against her, hahaha). My relatives pay much more in property taxes than I do. I don’t hear them particularly complain all that much, St. Albert is one of the fastest growing cities in Alberta, and dare I say, sort of pleasant place. The people there realize or at least seem to, that if you want to run your famous summer street market on a street that isn’t full of gaping potholes; that you need to ensure there is $$ to fix the potholes. If you prioritize the preservation of your heritage (The Father Lacombe site, I know, I know it is Federal/Provincial Heritage Site blah blah blah, but the City puts $$ into it too and it is a source of pride for residents and all the little StA schoolkids) and downtown that there is a cost to that. St. Albert is complete with all the trappings of a major Alberta City. Obligatory big box stores like Wal Mart and Best Buy, countless fast food restaurants, etc. Those same relatives are dumbfounded at how low our property taxes are. Are there problems there, sure there are. Every municipality has issues, BUT LEADERS make choices and then act. They make those choices because they have been empowered and ENTRUSTED by their constituents to do so. I am a lifelong believer in democracy, and democracy happened OCTOBER 18th. Democracy happened last weekend in Red Deer; BUT there is a time when you say ENOUGH of the democracy, be the leader we pay the car allowance for. You wanted it, you told me you deserved it, I believed you, NOW EARN IT!

Get cutting City Hall, and if you have to raise our taxes $200 a year let us know! There I just found you $20 Million (for the accountants in the BIG SHINY BUILDING that’s 100,000 homes x $200). You can have it for the next couple of years, but you BETTER TELL ME HOW YOU ARE SPENDING IT, NOW ENTERETH THE DEMOCRACY! If a bunch of the Seniors can’t do it (you better check the ones living in “the wrong Mount Royal”), then by all means make an exception. If Otto Mann the bus driver, with their kids and a bunch of other kids in tow, sliding backwards down a hill in Bridgeland, trying to make the mortgage payment can’t pay it (shame on the banks for allowing the mortgage, and shame on the govt for not providing proper housing alternatives) make an exception. CHARGE ME $400 a year more for crying out loud, BUT GET EARNING YOUR PAYCHEQUE or we will throw that into the kitty too. No X Large skim milk latte for 2 days a week Calgary and you’ve almost covered the shortfall. DONE. YOU WANTED MY INPUT, THERE IT IS. I don’t even have to view the docs, although I have. Oooh cutting jobs that don’t exist, taking away TAXI SUBSIDIES, DECREASING increases to ARTS & CULTURE, what?? C’mon, use my formula above, it is simpler, especially for people that intentionally run red lights or strand children, don’t tempt fate. That’ll make up your balance. Next time there’s a shortfall you’re all – in the words of the immortal Mr. Trump – fired!

My next blog will be “Looking for a Saviour”… drawing on my Theological background and love of politics and the fact that “Jesus M Christ” tweeted me yesterday???? but for now I have to go eat a SIMPLE SIMON PIE (shameless plug) and then for an EKG (not for the pie, for the budget committee).

~ by lotsofenergy aka Chris D. Tesarski on November 18, 2010.

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