A Few Thoughts on Week 63

  • You can listen to this week’s episode of Council Conversations featuring Libro Credit Union President, CEO and Head Coach Stephen Bolton. This Thursday’s episode features Mayor Hilda Macdonald of the Municipality of Leamington, so keep an eye for that!
  • I popped up on CBC this week talking about Alleyways. I am actually doing some additional research work on this right now. More on alley prioritization is likely to show up on this blog.
  • The street car on the waterfront saga seems to continue following the City more or less not contesting LPAT meeting.
    • If there was only a Group or Centre of some sort, that talked about cities, law, how they interact. Who could breakdown for the community what happened here and why it may be important to get involved in an unbiased way.
    • The result led to what was a “classic Anne Jarvis” editorial that residents need to rally against a potential by-law change by the city.
      • This piece has broken a relatively more recent series somewhat positive takes on City comings and goings from the Star in my opinion. Nothing wrong with that but I have felt that some balance of coverage has been missing.
    • Sarah Mushtaq did say it pretty well on Twitter. “The thing I can’t get over about the celestial beacon project is council being willing to spend $7 million on a *tribute* to public transit but struggling to come up with $179,000 to support real-life transit in the middle of a pandemic.”
  • The contrasts of two developments, one in Walkerville and one Southwood Lakes, seems to show two different perspectives of municipal councillors.
    • I do recognize that the projects are different scale and scope and both still have to go through various planning process. Certainly something to watch.
  • Can’t build affordable housing anywhere it seems.
Hey look a city with vote tracking.
  • An interesting piece of research looking at tax policy, min wage and the impact on food insecurity.
  • We can contrast how cities respond to COVID and their bailouts. I recognize that Canada and the US are very different but Detroit which is about to receive $800M from the federal government as a part of COVID relief to target poverty reduction, job retraining and small business supports. 25 community meetings will be held (from the sounds of it in person)
    • I would remind you from last week’s post the report on inequality from Detroit.
    • This approach is in contrast from the City of Windsor that did receive bailouts from both the Province and Federal government. I recognize that the funds were enveloped or targeted to specific services but there was no consultation or public prioritization. Money was just spent, and although dollars backfilled shortfalls, that enabled admin and the Mayor’s office to get to their 0% tax increase that was passed that really wasn’t actually true for the people who live in Windsor.
This is what the City saw as public consultation last year.
  • We are now approximately 17 months form the next municipal election (with a provincial and likely federal election in between) and things feel a lot like like they did in the old “6-4” days of the last term. Certainly new faces are around the table but the patterns do seem to be very similar. The cynicism is back just like in 2017.
    • For progressives that think that the Mayor can’t possibly be re-elected, I would say how does he not get re-elected. He will be a two term incumbent that no one from the existing council will likely challenge.
    • My feeling is that he could sleep through the next campaign and be competitive. If he puts work in, he is a lock barring something unforeseen.
      • The question that has to be asked is who from outside of council is going run and win? Who is going to spend the next year prepping a shadow campaign?
  • Not to transition too harshly but the horrific discovery in Kamloops raises an uncomfortable question – how many other bodies are buried at old school sites?
    • I was asked by someone how I felt about it, and I had to think.
      • Was I surprised? No.
      • Was it shocking? Sure.
      • Does it change anything? I don’t know.
    • But where I am is that what was done in residential schools was designed to ethnically cleanse indigenous peoples and cultures.
      • To quote a monster, Stalin said “Death of one man is a tragedy, the death of a million is a statistics.”
    • What residential schools did accomplish was converting the horrors government policy into a statistic. It silenced the individual voice, under the weight of horrors. In my opinion there are likely thousands of other bodies waiting to be found, stories lost to statistics – children who died at school.
  • I am by no means an expert on what it will take to reconcile and heal these wounds. From a policy standpoint the fact that first nation communities still can’t drink water from their taps may be a place to start.
  • Our 7 day rolling average of cases is now 22.85 cases per day. The last time it was that low was March 25 at 21.64 cases, and before that was November 16th of last year at 22 cases. A hopeful sign!

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