Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Privatize the campaign to privatize Golf courses

The importance of sound judgement when it
comes to the use of public funds is no
laughing matter.

Image Source:
Borris Minkevich/Winnipeg Free Press
Well, the country club conservative of Tuxedo and mayor of Winnipeg Sam Katz wants to privatize city golf courses. Deputy mayor and fiscal axman Russ Wyatt says we have "no choice".

There's likely little benefit to the city in having a plethora of public or private golf courses. It'd make more sense for golf courses be converted into multi-use public parks, some used for the development of cooperative housing, others for mixed-used development or market-driven housing development, and a few retained as affordable public golf courses for all Winnipeggers.

A good way to conduct a review of our City golf courses would be to run a thorough public consultation. That way we could get citizen input on a broad range of alternative uses.

But the City doesn't seem to be conducting such an open-ended, listening exercise. Rather, it looks like the Katz administration is telling the public that City Hall should privatize golf courses. He's trying to use such ads to get constituents to pressure critical councillors to pass his measure.

The ads say they're from a group called Responsible Winnipeg.

Problem is that the $90,000 ad campaign of Responsible Winnipeg is funded with public money!!!

It's a City initiative, though initially the City logo didn't accompany the ads. Katz called this an oversight and subsequent ads now have the logo.

What this means is that the City bureaucracy is getting involved in a political, City Council debate - trying to influence a vote through public messaging and pressure politics.

If this isn't illegal then it should be. This is bloody obscene.

The civil service side of our City is supposed to be about implementing the policies of council, not making council chose certain policies. The City budget isn't Sammy's to use for whatever he wants, it's our money. Russ Wyatt should be swinging his financial axe at this waste of public money.

 Meanwhile, the "independent advocacy group" known as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is deafeningly silent on this issue.

Strange that this use of taxpayer money for a political campaign hasn't caught their attention. I mean, as a taxpayer federation they're all about the prudent use of public monies, right?

It's almost as if the "Taxpayers Federation" cares more about an ideological, slash-and-burn agenda than the appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.

But that couldn't be right, could it?

Regardless, I suggest our Mayor and the financial axeman respect the spirit of this initiative. If we're going to save big bucks privatizing public golf courses, why not start saving bucks now by privatizing the campaign to privatize golf courses?

I'm sure Sam Katz could fund the campaign for this deeply-held conviction of his. Heck, maybe Wyatt could give some of his salary to make this media blitz happen.

After all, one must make great sacrifices in the call of public service.


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