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2014 is the Chinese year of the horse. Does this mean I should blow a bundle at the track?

I don’t often “recycle” posts. Yes, I am lazy, but what’s the point of a blog if you just re-post old stuff?

But I thought that I’d dig up last years “Resolutions” post to see how I made out and to add any new stuff. Turns out it was a bit (OK, a lot) of a gag post, but no matter.


Resolutions for 2013 2014!!!…

… Before I have a second glass of Pinot Noir…

– not be as critical of our Dear Leader and encourage all my friends to cut he and his Cabinet some slack. They’re trying really darned hard

12 months later – hmmm… kind of a #fail on this one. But who can blame me! What with the whole Duffy/Wright thing, the ongoing del Mastro thing, the demonization of JT and the killer weed thing,… lotsa things, eh?

– not ridicule Tea Baggers and their ilk who are found south of the border. They think differently from me, but that’s OK.

Well, it’s NOT OK. They are as worthy of ridicule and disdain in 2014 as they were in 2013. Carry on.

– accept that religious arm-flappers may have a point. Hey! What do I know! Maybe there is a big bearded dude in the sky and some old guy with a big boat gathered up all the animals in a storm (except for the unicorns)

#Fail on this one too. I still don’t understand why the unicorns would have been left behind. And the dinosaurs? Why doesn’t anyone think of the DINOSAURS??? There’s a 99,9% probability that I will exit 2014 as I entered it – as an atheist. And if I’m wrong, may St. Unicorn strike Ezra Levant dead…

– understand that guns have a place the 21st century America. And perhaps we in Canada should have one of those Second Amendment things

I’m not making light of this one. After Newtown, this proud and happy father cannot simply swipe this away with a pithy remark. I don’t “get” the NRA. I don’t “get” gun rights advocates who, in spite of the evidence, continue to insist that killing devices like automatic weapons have a place in American communities. Maybe I need to be an American to understand, but from what I see, there are lots of Americans who don’t “get” it either.

Here is the link to a Slate post with some VERY sobering stats.

Wake up, America. You are killing your children.

– add Tim Hudak as a friend on Facebook

LOL! LMAO! ROTFL! Did I REALLY write that?????

But hey! Timmy is best defense that the Grits and Dippers have at Queen’s park to ensure that there will not be a OPC government in 2014!!

– and Rob Ford too

Man. I don’t know where to start with this one. I really don’t. So I’ll just leave it.

– swear off red wine, beer and single malt scotch forever

From a health perspective, this would have been a good idea… maybe this year… nawwwwww…

– give up meat

From a health perspective, this would have been a good idea… maybe this year… nawwwwww…



It’s JANUARY 1 and not APRIL 1!


Happy New Year!

THREE additions for 2014!

Alrighty, then…

And I’m dead serious with these ones…

– I’m going to get fit next year. I really am. I gave up smoking almost ten years ago, so surely I can change my semi-sedentary lifestyle, eat a bit better, etc. I’m 51 now and need to take this shit more seriously… else, I may one day not be around to write resolutions for the following year…

– I’m going to spend more time thinking about my direction in life in general. Overall (except for the fitness thing), I’m a pretty happy guy. But do I want to be doing 5 years hence what I am doing today? I dunno. Maybe a change in workplace would be wise. Maybe not.
Should I run for Trustee again? I don’t know. I do want to get back into local politics, but I’m not sure I want to spend a couple of months canvassing only to lose again due to low turnout and the incumbent’s name recognition advantage. However, I am still very disappointed with her complete lack of engagement with her community. I’ll need to decide on this fairly soon..

– I will continue to work my ass off to be a good husband, father and member of the community. It’s not always easy, but it is most definitely worth the effort.

May 2014 be filled with health, happiness and peace for you and those you care about.


A year on…

… since the Ontario municipal elections. Time flies.

So how have things gone here in Ottawa, anyhow? Has the School Board addressed some of the issues around communication and transparency?… issues that I campaigned on last year. Are they any closer to solving their long-term infrastructure deficit?

Has the City Council lived up to its early promise given its new Mayor and several new Councillors? Are our local reps reaching out to their communities to a greater extent? Are they implementing into policy what they are being told?

Lots of questions. And maybe they are a bit unfair, a bit premature maybe? Like, give them some time, Trashy!

But guess what? I’m not here to slam our new and returning Trustees and Councillors – rather, I praise them!

Or at least some of them.

OCDSB Trustees
Some have performed better than others. That’s a given. This term has seen a few Trustees rise as cream does to the top. They are very active and effective in their use of social media. Some are also very active in engaging their constituents the old-fashioned way; by holding meetings and forums. They listen and they act.

In other words, they are carrying out their roles well and their communities should be proud.

Others, not so much.

Bronwyn, Bronwyn, Bronwyn. I had hoped that campaign last year might have twigged you to the fact that you need to be more actively engaged with your Zone! But where have you been? You need to get out more. Hit some School Council meetings. Some school events (woulda been nice to see you at the book sale on the weekend) wouldn’t kill you either.

If you need examples to draw on, talk to some of your colleagues like Mark, John, Donna and Cathy. You could learn a thing or three.

City Council

Overall, I’ve been pleased with what I have seen coming out of City Hall…. especially from my own councillor, Peter Hume, who seems to have solidified his position on Council as the one who speaks for the City vis à vis development and planning issues. I especially liked what he said a few weeks ago to the Ottawa Real Estate Forum – zoning by-laws are zoning buy-laws. Deal with it.

“We believe that community design plans are incredibly important. They are designed to tell you where height is and is not appropriate. And we believe they are not jumping-off points. Once we complete a community design plan, and we zone appropriately to the heights that are designated in the plan, it’s not a jumping-off point for more.

Wow. A Councillor standing up to developers. What a concept.

I do, however, wish that Peter was integrated into social media. It appears that the newbie Councillors like Steve Desroches, Mark Taylor, Tim TierneyMathieu Fleury and Stephen Blais have caught on to itand have carried on with what they started duuring their successful elction campaigns; that is to use Twitter and Facebook to engage in a two way conversation with their constitutents and the wider City community. And Council vets like Eli El-Chantiry have caught on too! Kudos to them!

But Councillor Hume is a smart cookie. He’ll figure it out eventually.

So overall, I’d say that from my own backyard point of view, high marks go to my Councillor but lower marks to my Trustee. But hey, she has three years to make it right…

From a City-wide point of view, I have been happy with the attempts at better engagement shown by many of the Councillors – and the Mayor as well. There have been some policies and developments that I have not been particularly enamoured with (e.g., the OC Transpo changes, the decision to cease the publication of detailed minutes, how Lansdowne has been handled)… but… ya can’t keep everyone happy all of the time, right?

Check back next year for the mid-term review!



Good on the OCDSB…

for the largely symbolic move to take part in Ottawa’s pride parade later this month.

I say largely symbolic because “inclusive” policies at the Board are already in place and staff and Board members consider intolerance toward any students for whatever reason as inexcusable. Forward thinking stuff.

But symbolic actions are important; especially in these politically and socially polarised times.

One thing that does surprise me though has been the deafening silence from those in the conservative corner of giggling journos and commentators. There are a couple of Tweeps (you know who you are) who I had thought would be all over this like dogs in a butcher shop. Maybe they missed it?


Ottawa election financial statements – I needed a fundraising coordinator

Gotta love transparency! True to their word, the mandatory financial statements as submitted by the candidates involved in last Fall’s municipal elections were published on the City website yesterday and WOW! Was I ever outspent! It is amazing how much $$$ some of the candidates sunk into their campaigns and how much they raised through contributions! Even the 3rd candidate in my Zone spent about 8 times more than I did (but he got only ¼ of the votes).

Bronwyn (the incumbent) spent $3,500 – which was peanuts when compared to the candidate who went up against John Shea in Orleans – she raised 11K! On the other end of the scale, ex-Chair Cathy Curry claimed only $600 in expenses… she was even more frugal than yours truly!

Note to self – next time, if there is a next time, find a fundraising coordinator!

Of course, as a statistician, I have to look at this using a common denominator – money spent per vote received. And  I guess on a dollar per vote basis, I rocked. Yay me.

  • Me – $0.17/vote
  • The incumbent (Bronwyn) – $0.48/ vote
  • The third candidate (Mohamoud) – $4.23 /vote

Some of the statements really blew me away! Aside from the one candidate who received over $11K in contributions,  Another sunk more than 10K of his own money into it! Another contributed $7,600 out of pocket!

Sigh. And there I am with my big 780 bucks in expenses.

A couple of lessons I’m taking from all of this:

  • Fundraising is a big weakness for me. I have a hard time asking people for money. I’m just not comfortable with it. I had a hard time doing it when I ran in 1993 and always when I volunteered to for one campaign or another.  Again, if I do run again, find someone who can help me with this.
  • Union endorsements = donations.  A quick perusal of the candidates who were endorsed by organized labour reveals that they all received some level of financial support from one of the teacher’s unions. I don’t have an issue with this, but next time, don’t expect me to fill out your long questionnaires if you have already decided on who to endorse beforehand! All I ask is for a level playing field. I don’t know what I did to offend organized labour in this town, but I suspect it may have something to do with a certain failed candidate who tried talking me out of running at the outset of the campaign… Hmmmm….

All in all, I’m glad that these have been made public. The amount of money spent by School Board candidates to win a job that pays a pittance shows a level of commitment to public service that other candidates at other levels of government should regard with envy – and aspire to!

OCDSB Zone 6

Total %
Number of Polls/Nombre de bureaux de scrutin 76
Polls Reporting/Bureaux de scrutin rapportés 76 100.0%
Total Votes/Total des votes 13127
Mohamoud Abdulle 1311 9.99%
Bronwyn Funiciello 7354 56.02%
John Marshall 4462 33.99%


2010 – the year that was…

It is time for my end of the year / beginning of the year summary post about the YEAR THAT WAS…

In January, I blabbed on a lot about Harper’s prorogation of Parliament. And yeah, yeah, yeah – it was perfectly legal… but so are coalition governments…

But the story that touched me the deepest – and still does – was the Haitian earthquake. And from the news reports coming out of this impoverished nation, things have not improved a great deal a year later. I don’t think that the big players on the world stage, as global citizens with global responsibilities, have stepped up to the plate as much as they should have .

Hopefully, 2011 will see some improvements.

February brought the Great Onion Ring versus Harper popularity contest! Had some fun with that! But it also brought the Olympics to Vancouver. And while Canada did well in terms of the number of medals won by our athletes, I still question the purpose of such an extravaganza in terms of how $3 billion could have been put to better use. The Squid Dude put it well when he said:

This is a back-of-the-napkin calculation, but I think that $3 billion would allow the government to replace every car and truck over the age of 5 or 7 years for every person who has one in Canada.  This would boost the auto industry, boost the economy, and clean up the air.  Every junker could be taken off the road.

And that was reason #7 of 13.

March, March, March… it’s usually a month where I’m in a funk from a mood point of view – and the 2010 edition was no different. I especially liked this post that I scribbled that wasn’t about much else aside from bitchin’ and complainin’.

The end of the month was all about my second visit to Beijing – and it looks as if I’ll be back there in April 2011.

April 2010 saw the great Icelandic volcano that halted trans-Atlantic and European air travel for weeks. It was also the month when I chose to rant about my second fave rantable subject – WalMart. I like ranting on the Evil Empire – and it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll do it again in 2011.

Oh, and that oil rig went kablooey in the Gulf of Mexico… which segues into..

May was a time when we were hearing about the environmental catastrophe that was unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. Negligence. Neglect. Lack of regulation. George W. Bush. All came together in a massive perfect storm to create the BP disaster.

June was the month of the Great Ottawa Earthquake! OK, it would have been barely a shudder for someone from California, but it caused quite a ruckus around these parts.

It was also the month where Canada saw the police-state-like actions at the Gee-Score Summit in Toronto. Forget about the fake lakes and the political posturing for a moment and think about these over the top heavy handed tactics that were used against what was largely a peaceful set of protests.

Besides, why do we need these expensive photo ops at all? Can’t the world leaders teleconference? Or hold the meetings on an island somewhere where security would be less of a concern? But nope – not gonna happen because they are indeed just photo ops.

June was also a time when I finally got completely disgusted by Don Cherry – and I thought that the limits to my disgust had been reached… until later in the year when he spoke at Rob Ford’s (again – welcome Toronto to Ottawa of 2006!) induction as the mayor of Hogtown. Please, PLEASE make 2011 the year that his tacky, bigoted white ass is shown the door!

Upon looking at my posts from July, I see that I was all over the map from a subject matter point of view… though a mid-summer anti-ReformCon trend was clearly there. Lot of ruckus in Canada about issues that would normally not be headline inducing, but rather more coma-inducing… big oopsies courtesy of the communication plebs at the PMO!

I did like this particular missive that I scribbled that month and still laugh a bit to myself upon a re-read.

The dog days of August kicked in with a number of posts focussig on some specific Harperites. Stockwell Day was the target of a couple of these.

You know, as much as I hate to say it, I hope bozos like Day, Polievre, Baird and Toews stick around for a while! Canadian bloggers would have much less to write about if they were ever defeated or abandoned politics!

The latter part of the month was the point where I went into full municipal governance mode… and have stayed on this track ever since.

To expand a bit – I take pleasure in writing about local politics and local issues – especially those that impact education in the City. The local levels of decision-making is what touches each of us the most in our day to day lives and we should pay close attention to who are the players managing this ship.

And I also enjoy learning more about the strengths and weaknesses in this province’s systems of education. Hey, I have three children – two of whom will be in the “system” for a long time to come… so why wouldn’t I take an interest?

September and October was all about the municipal elections and my run at a School Board seat. And while I don’t at all regret running and really learned a lot about our system of public education the campaign was quite tiring for me and my family.  However, I am well aware that if I were to run again – and be successful – that the job of the Trustee would be many, many more times taxing on the ol’ endurance thing than a simple campaign.

Trustees do much, are paid little and ask for ziltch in return. Even if you do not agree with them all of the time – please respect them.

November saw little activity on my blog except for my accounts of the second trip of the year to Beijing.

There was nothing remarkable about December. The WikiLeaks controversery carries on and more and more government are getting pissed at Julien Assnage. And no, I don’t think that the guy is some sort of über folk hero, but I do think that this has been a wake-up call for governments everywhere about the way that they manage and guard information.

It was also the month where the winners of the October municipal elections took their seats and were appointed to Committees. The OCDSB has taken a bit of a leftward veer and Ottawa City Council – with all of the new faces – is still in the honeymoon stage… but that may end soon if the ATU again starts to worry folks about job actions.

I haven’t covered everything in this post. Chilean miners. The World Cup (and those damned vuvuzelas!). Wacky weather in much of the world.

And I won’t even get started on the purchase of those fancy-schmancy fighter jets that the Harperites think we need in order to defend ourselves from the Commie threat… Nope. Won’t go there. My old buddy Mike would just get himself worked up again 🙂

But it was indeed a busy year! And one with lots of fodder for my keyboard.

Happy 2011 everyone! I hope to keep you entertained again over the next 12 months and wish all health, happiness and wisdom!