Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa’

Keyboard warriors!

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Maybe it’s because I am getting a bit older and my skin is thinning somewhat, but more and more, I am getting annoyed with these Keyboard Warriors© who like to furiously and constantly hammer out their frustrations with <insert topic here> and the incompetence of the . That is all well and good. We are free to tappy-tappy on our screens or keys to our hearts’ content when the universe is perceived to be askance.

And hey! Exercising this freedom is one way to hold politicos to account. No more can your local School Board Trustee, Councillor, MP, MPP, Prime Minister or Assistant Dog Catcher (if you’re in the States, cuz they elect EVERYONE down there!) hide in their leather appointed offices sipping their lattes and pretending not to hear the mobs at the door! No way, uh-uh! Those warriors will track you down and give you a good whippin’ on Twitter or on Facebook or Instagram, etc., etc. You will be humbled, humiliated and dragged through Swamps of Digital Slime!©

But for the sake of all we volunteers and activists everywhere: if you’re not happy about something, please do more than take pot-shots!

Keyboard Warrior© guys and gals are everywhere – quick to point out faults, deficiencies or inconveniences in their communities but slow to step up and get involved and do something to change the things that they finds so objectionable.

There are a couple of these Keyboard Warriors in my community and on my Twitter feed. Most of their venting is aimed at a couple of the local Councillors, but the Mayor himself is often the target. I mean, this one guy blames the local politics for EVERYTHING! Hydro trucks blocking bikes lanes, dirty road signs, faulty card readers at city parking spots, snow on the sidewalk… the list goes on ad nauseum. I’m not saying that local pols shouldn’t be informed if services levels are not up to snuff, but geez, do they HAVE to be berated for EVERYTHING?

And when they run out of tangible things to complain about, said targets are then told they are wasteful spending, ego-driven, budget-unconscious, deaf-to-the-community, anti-cyclist demagogues.

So fine – feel free to complain. But you know what? I never seen one of these Keyboard Warriors out in the community working to improve it in some way. I don’t see them volunteering at a school, their community association, their place of worship, their kid’s hockey team.. nada. I’m a pretty plugged in guy in my neck of the woods but have never seen one of these Keyboard Warriors© or have heard their name mentioned in a community involvement context.

So, Keyboard Warriors©? Go ahead and whine all you want. Because to me and lots like me, until you pick up that clipboard, run some soccer drills, volunteer at a community health centre or organise a potluck community dinner, I’m paying little attention.

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Had a weird dream last night…

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

I haven’t posted for a while, but I had this weird dream last night that involved:

  • being attacked by a black bear and my gut was ripped open by it in a gravel pit
  • me killing the bear with my bare hands
  • both the bear and yours truly turning into zombies
  • but I was a good zombie and my wife stayed with me in this shelter until she bolted when the bad zombies started streaming in because she had promised to meet a friend for drinks
  • and the bear zombie defended me
  • but I was eaten anyways…

The was probably the weirdest thing I have experienced in a long time.

But then I saw the proposed changes to the Château Laurier, and my weird dream didn’t seem so “out there” anymore.

chateau-laurier-expansion-ottawa

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Let’s call this a Thursday rant…

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

(… well, technically I am writing this on Wednesday night but it won’t pop up till tomorrow..)

Rant # 1 – People on social media who make a fulltime job of bitching and complaining about everything.

Like, EVERYTHING!

A sampling from a scan of my City of Ottawa feeds this evening:

  • There aren’t enough bike lanes. Vehicles block bike lanes. Bike lanes aren`t maintained well enough. Cars don`t respect cyclists. (Ottawa cyclists are REALLY good at complaining)
  • Taxes/user fees are too high and I refuse to pay that extra $25 on my annual tax bill (prolly said by folks with 500K + incomes and who live in 4000 square foot mansions).
  • Building a (fill in the blank) is a waste of tax dollars. I would prefer that you waste those tax dollars on something that I want! Like more bike lanes!
  • There hasn`t been enough public consultation on (fill in the blank) and someone is trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes.
  • The process is too slow (because of public consultation).
  • Politicians are all in developers` pockets. Every last one of them, dammit.

And most of these “experts on everything” hide behind fake user names (at least on Twitter) so have a lot of courage when at a keyboard.

I am not saying that peeps shouldn`t be critical and maybe their aren’t enough bike lanes, etc., but when it is all that you write about, then I have to question their general level of happiness with life for these negative natties. I guess I should pity them.

And yes, I see the irony in posting a note complaining about people who complain. Carry on.

Rant # 2 – OC Transpo buses that cut in front of you.

Yeah, yeah, I know they have a right-of-way, but they really need to train the drivers better to use a signal IN ADVANCE of cutting into traffic and not just cut into it forcing folks to slam on their brakes, like I had to do this morning.

Rant #3 – People who don`t have their money or card at the ready to complete a transaction at the cash.

Seriously? You didn’t think you`d have to pay this time? You stood in line for 5 minutes and you couldn`t find the time to reach into your purse or pocket to get ready to pay??? Instead you dig into your purse or pocket and rummage around before finally finding your card or cash?

Sheesh.

Rant #4 – Sinkholes.

Oh, wait. I actually kind of like them. Good conversation starters. Never mind.

Rant # 5 – The High Squirrel or Sparrow or whatever he is called on Game of Thrones

His feet. They are gross. Will someone please kill this guy off? Please?

 

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Much ado about almost nothing…

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

So here I am sitting wide-awake at 2 am because I couldn`t sleep last night, woke up with a blinding headache and spent most of the daylight hours slumbering away…

In an attempt to find the peace that is sleepy-land, I thought I`d throw some words down about the latest local (non)-issue of the day; namely, the construction of a new playground at Mooney`s Bay here in O Town.

The local burghers have their knickers in quite a twist over a proposal (more of a done deal, actually) to construct a one acre children

The upshot is that a private film production company from Toronto (all things from The Big Smoke are evil in Ottawa unless otherwise designated, ya know) wants to build this facility and kick in $1 million to make it happen. The City (who leases the land from the NCC) would kick in a million (without going to Council – staff decision) and the thing would get done, and the company would film it as part of a series on TVO.  The knicker-twisting part is that the whole process has happened behind closed doors at the request of the private company and not even the local Councillor, Riley Brockington, has been able to say a peep about this as per instructions from the City parks and Rec. senior staff.

Of course, the local NIMBY apparatchiks scream foul because the usual public consultations sort of didn`t happen. Trees were being cut down, the traffic would be horrendous, what about the water quality… etc. What about the Hope Volleyball Tournament? What about the boaters? What about the ducks?

And I get that. Wherever possible with any large scale plan that may impact a community, there should be extensive public consultations as soon as possible and the advice from the community should be taken into account in the final design plans.

Now, bowing to local pressure the Councillor did propose a walk-on motion to Council yesterday asking that the project be delayed until the anti-tree-killers and water quality worriers could have their say. This motion was defeated and the project will go ahead.

Out of this, I do wonder about the staff having the authority to spend $1 million without Council approval and maybe this should be re-visited. However, I really don`t see the issue with the lack of advance public consultations in this instance. This was a situation where the City was being offered a $1 million in times of budget shortfalls. It looked to be a solid, viable and valuable project for the community with little negative impact. After all, it is just a playground, not a PCB incinerator!!! The public will be consulted, I imagine, as the project proceeds and this should suffice.

Should it have come to Council? Maybe. But all City and NCC requirements going forward will have to be met about traffic, environmental protection and the lot, so it isn`t as though the film company can go off willy-nilly and do what they want.

Should the lure of private dollars allow for the bypassing of agreed-upon public processes? Not usually, but there are sometimes exceptions. And this is one of them.

I look forward to seeing the new park!

 

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Muzzling elected officials…

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

… is a worrisome development and one that has been codified by the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB).

Trustee Blackburn is outspoken, no doubt. And sometimes, like all of us, she likely says things that she wishes she could take back. But Donna alone is responsible for what she says and how she says it and if her bosses (the voters of her zone in Barrhaven) do not agree, they will turf her out in 2018.

She is a fine representative of her constituents and works harder than any other Trustee I have seen. Some may not like her style or her politics, and that is fair, but it does not warrant what is, in essence, the passing of a motion of censure.

Go get ’em, Donna!

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The anti Uber argument…

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

… reminds me of the old story of the electric light and the candlestick makers…

NO! The candlestick makers said. We invested. We thought our industry would last forever! The electric light makers don’t have to go by the same rules!

IT ISN’T FAIR!!!

It is sad and unfortunate that the candlestick makers are going to have to change their business models and that some will suffer.

It truly is.

But the world has changed. Consumers want light at the flick of a switch and for-hire rides when they want one and on their terms.

Should the free for all that Uber has enjoyed so far carry on?

Nope.

Should cities like Ottawa find a way to accept times have changed and consumers demand a level of service above what the taxi industry has been offering?

Absolutely.

Ottawa City Council must accept reality and create the environment where Uber can compete with the taxis. And if the taxis don’t like it, they should find something else to do aside from the candlestick business.

 

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Harper is pandering to the victims of communism…

Friday, May 29th, 2015

… in fighting tooth and nail to have it located in one of the most iconic spaces in the Parliamentary Precinct.

That is obvious and typical Harper.

And City Council thought they should have at least been consulted about this. After all, the proposed redevelopment of Tunney’s Pasture and the old Rockcliffe air base have been through a very thorough consultation with Council and with local residents. So why not this memorial?

So I say kudos to Councillor Nussbaum and those others who supported his motion to ask the feds to move it somewhere else. Yes, Ottawa is a weird jurisdictional arrangement where so many levels of government have jurisdiction over so many aspects of our built and natural spaces. And yes, the City is risking pissing off the Cons and perhaps risking retribution down the line (hopefully, there will a new government this fall who will take another look at the location of this ugly behemoth). But it was the right thing to at least symbolically opposes this heavy-handed move by the CPC.

Too bad that the vote wasn’t unanimous and 6 Councillors (Councillors S. Moffatt, M. Qaqish, R. Chiarelli, A. Hubley, J. Mitic and G. Darouze) perhaps chose to put their political allegiances ahead of what would be best for the City. That’s too bad since a united voice may have been noticed a bit more.

Wait. What am I saying?

This government doesn’t listen to advice from anyone unless it serves their political ends. So I guess we shouldn’t be all that surprised, right?

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Yet another rant about texting…

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

… and driving.

So here I was last week, coming home from work along my usual route. I stopped at the Heron/Riverside lights and looked around me at the other vehicles. I really wasn’t to surprised to see that every one of the drivers were “heads-down”, furiously typing away or reading whatever was on their screens.

I have included a diagram below, for illustrative purposes. I have even given my intersection buddies cute nicknames.

I mean, I’m SURE whatever they were doing was vital and important. Maybe it was the latest post from Mashable. Maybe the newest trailer from Game of Thrones. Maybe they were discussing the effect of fracking on climate change. I really don’t know.

But I’m sure it was important.

Look, I’m not pretending to be the ideal driver who obeys every rule. I speed, for example. Not in residential areas, mind you, but my cruising speed on the 400-series highways is often over 120 kph if the conditions are OK.

But using a mobile device – EVEN IF PARKED AT AN INTERSECTION – is just plain old stoooooopid!

And I’m not big on bellowing for better police enforcement on something, but this is one completely asinine act that has to be clamped down on… soon.

Here endeth my rant.

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Helping out Clifford Bowey PS…

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

… in the Aviva Fund competition.

Hi all – PSA time: Clifford Bowey PS has moved into the Aviva Fund Semi-Finals! I like to think that our school community last year helped Vincent Massey win this competition – and a new playground!

Please visit the site and register and VOTE – one vote per day is allowed.

Spread the word and let’s help this very special school build a new accessible playground.

https://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf21580

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Ottawa City Council candidates worth voting for!

Friday, October 24th, 2014

I have already endorsed some of these candidates in past posts, but being that it is only a few days till E Day, I thought I’d go over some of them again.

Jean Cloutier will be a fine representative for Alta Vista on Council. Jean and I have worked together at the Canterbury Community Association for about 4 years. He and the rest of the Board has made this particular volunteer experience a positive one. He is extremely hard-working and he knows our community inside and out. Other candidates in the Ward have run good, strong and clean campaigns, notably Clinton Cowan and Hussein Mahmoud. I thank them for sticking their necks out there. Running for a political office is a very humbling experience but they have stood up for their community and should be thanked.

But Jean has demonstrated that he is a leader. He has taken the reins in the community and has guided good policies, initiatives and programs. He has set an example in the community through his leadership and have inspired others (like yours truly) to do likewise. I look forward to working with him in his new capacity as City Councillor.

Riley Brockington is a colleague and a former OCDSB Trustee who gave me lots of advice and motivation when I ran for OCDSB Trustee in 2010. He knows his community well and was a leader on the Board. His involvement on the Board speaks well to his ability to build bridges. Anyone who knows anything about the School Board knows that a variety of personalities and agendas are at work around that table, and he knows how to make them speak as one voice. He will do likewise at the Council table.  He will serve well in River Ward.

In Somerset Ward, Martin Canning is your best choice. He is the former City Environmental Advisory Committee Chair and has been involved deeply in his community and the City in a myriad of ways.  He is running a uniquely enviro and community-focussed campaign in Somerset. Martin is well-grounded and will work hard for the people of the Ward. He has a great team and he’s also a top shelf guy. If you’re in the candidate-rich Somerset Ward, You can’t go wrong by ticking the box beside his name.

I’d also like to nod my head to Donna Blackburn, who is running for re-election as OCDSB Trustee in Zone 3, Barrhaven-Knoxdale Merivale. Because my own Trustee in Zone 6 was more or less invisible for the past several years, I have turned to Trustees like Donna, (or John Shea or Mark Fisher) when I have had Board-related questions. She clearly cares and works hard for the schools in her Zone. I wish she was running in my Zone!

Plus, I wish Jim Marshall, all the best in his quest for a seat at the Council table in my old home town of Parry Sound. He is a man who exemplifies integrity and hard work… The folks in P Dot will be well-served.

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