Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Blast from the Past

Wasylycia-Leis says property tax freeze is unsustainable

2012 Sam Katz agrees.

Tax Plans vs Winging it with Tax Hikes

Well, good ol' Sam Katz harshly criticized the Judy campaign last city election - with robocalls - over property tax increases. The country club conservative of Tuxedo just oozed compassion for how poor homeowners would be affected - what, with the threat of losing their homes if Judy's 2% tax increase per year for four years was enacted. 

So, what's happened now? Well, after hurting poor transit users and hiking frontage taxes (which are pretty similar to property taxes), the Katz mayoralty is now going to hike property taxes by 3.5%. Katz is blaming other levels of government for not giving him money. Because, as we all know, sound financial planning is based on assuming you'll get money that nobody's promised you and you're not entitled to.

So, in hindsight, it looks like the 2010 mayoral election was between two candidates - one who had an understanding of the city's finances and well thought-out tax plan and one who was just winging it. Judy's tax plan - told well in advance - would have contributed to an environment of certainty. Katz's flip-flops and on the fly decisions contribute to an uncertain climate for businesses and consumers in Winnipeg.

24 Hour bike trail snow removal? Oh the envy!

Well, to the southeast, Minneapolis has bike trail snow removal in about 24 hours. Meanwhile, snow obstructs and endangers Assiniboine Avenue bike path cyclists daily.

This is largely because the City Hall would rather spend the money subsidizing sprawl. Cheers, City Councillors, cheers.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Manitoba PCs - The Party of Ludd

Well, with the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba leadership convention set for Oct. 27 of this year, the party's fast at work finding the right person for the job of leader. Some rank and file have even started tweeting about the various people they'd love to see as Manitoba PC leader. Despite the older  supporter base, I'm sure the PCs are fully in touch with the new, social media reality of politics. Just look at this Metro article:

Two Twitter accounts set up to draft Winnipeg Coun. Scott Fielding into the race disappeared after one day. One of the accounts is associated with an anonymous blog that trumpeted a self-congratulatory “Mission Accomplished” on Thursday, saying they’d heard — accurately — that Fielding is mulling over a leadership run. “We’ve done our part and planted a seed,” reads the blog entry.

Fielding, a Twitter non-user, told Metro he views April 1 as the point by which potential candidates must decide. He said it’s an “honour” that people are trying to draft him and that it “does have an influence.”

Twitter is also wielding its drafting prowess at PC MLA Leanne Rowat, another non-tweeter.

...

PC MLA Kelvin Goertzen, an active tweeter at @KelvinGoertzen, is also mulling over a leadership bid. He, along with  Brian Pallister and Coun. Paula Havixbeck, were reported to be interested but no one has confirmed a run yet. Goertzen, responding on Facebook, said he doesn’t use social media much for politics.

“I see the power of social media as being that (it’s) ‘social,’” he wrote.
Because we all know politics has nothing to do with social relations or - dare I say - people deciding what society should be like. That 2008 campaign by ... what's that guy's name? .... Obama totally went nowhere because of all that "social media" stuff.

Racknine Priorities

Given that fradulent robocalls have been traced to Racknine, you'd think that the Edmonton-based company would be focused on finding how the hell this happened. If their own staff weren't involved, then who was using Racknine services to suppress votes. But apparently - in their single-minded pursuit of the truth - Racknine has time to issue legal threats against critics.

Nice priorities, Racknine! 

Rick Mercer at The Forks

Voter Suppression in Winnipeg?

Note: The first sentence initially read "Last Federal election a lot of ridings in this provincially Orange city went Tory Blue". Given that a commenter interpreted that to mean that I was insinuating all or most of the Federal-Provincial discrepancy an anomalous outcome, I have since changed the the wording. A divided centre-left vote and a cautious preference for the more established Federal Parties has all lead to less NDP seats in Winnipeg (confined to 3 MPs in recent memory). 

However, the Conservatives don't generally do an absolute killing in Winnipeg, winning 6 of the 8 seats (3/4 of the seats) in this city. It looks like - in at least two of those victories - the Conservatives may have gotten over the tally using dirty tricks. Given that Winnipeg has 8 seats, that means that the Conservatives stood to gain 25% of this city's seats by voter suppression - not a lot compared to the rest of the nation, but still potentially a significant distortion of the Winnipeg electorate's intentions. 
 
Last Federal election a lot of ridings in this city went Tory Blue. One of those ridings was Elmwood-Transcona - where New Democrat Jim Maloway lost by under 300 votes to Conservative Lawrence Toet. The Conservatives also turned the formerly Liberal riding of Winnipeg South Centre Blue as well and held onto Saint Boniface (by a comfy margin).


Sunday, 26 February 2012

One Happy Louis Riel Day

Louis Riel, father of Manitoba.

Image Source: Photo by The Analyst. Taken a
few weeks ago (on a day less cloudy than today).
While my posting frequency is going to decline, I can't help but talk about Louis Riel Day.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Hiatus

The backlog of other stuff I have to address has finally interrupted my recent burst of postings. When I get back to regular posting, sometime in March, it'll have to be at a more modest rate - probably a post a week. Which is such ashame as there's so many interesting things happening in this city and province to commentate on (particularly the Assiniboine Bike Path and developments on Youth for Christ). 

Until the next time.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Assiniboine Avenue Ice Path

Well, as a winter road cyclist, this has been one interesting winter - a lot more mud than pure snow and ice. Still, I and many others have suffered from snowed in bike lanes, paths, and even the far-right of conventional roads.

Iced-up Assiniboine Avenue Bike Path.

Image Source: Photo by "the Analyst".


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Hope to see you better soon, Councilor Smith

Smith injured after transit fare protest

Okay, initially I was torn on the transit hike - that was before I realized that the $0.05 increase was just the beginning - that it'd eventually be raised by 25 cents. As time has gone on, the transit hike as become increasingly absurd - its effect on hard-working poor Winnipeggers, the stalling Katz's has done on Rapid Transit, and the realization that subsidizing sprawl is a higher priority for the city than fixing public transportation all sunk in. City hall has seriously misplaced priorities, so I salute Harvey Smith and the fellow councilors who've opposed this bad idea.