Thursday, March 25, 2010
Never was much on Rap music but this one has such a poignant message it is hard not to relate and appreciate.
Today's youth see our world for what it is, while their parents and grandparents still live in a world of American idealism having not yet learned to come to terms with what their experiences have shown them... and should have taught them. No wonder there is so much cynisim in the world today... everyone is in denial.
Lyrics to Uncle Sam Goddamn :
"Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows."
Monday, March 22, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
The BAD! is that while they are now trying to be all things to all people and painting themselves with a white brush while wearing a Halo, their track record speaks volumes as far as their dismal failures are concerned. Maybe I error here? Because in order to have failures one must have at least tried to attempt something e.g. CLC, Hotel/Casino, River Run, etc. From the mouth of their own manager they admitted that over the years since their inception (1988), they have invested (on average) a total of $90,000/yr into our community. I think a modern day hot dog stand costs about that much? Millions of federal taxpayer dollars has come into our local Community Futures office, but very little has ever come out of it... and into the hands of our local businesses and entrepeneurs, as it was meant to?
The UGLY! part is that Community Futures is a 'society' similar in all aspects to what our local Chamber of Commerce is. Now our Chamber of Commerce provides its members and the public with Financial Statements, its Bylaws, Board/Membership List, and advertises for new members and conducts Annual General Meetings (AGM's) open to the public. And prides itself on being an open, accountable and transparent entity that serves the needs of the community.
On the other hand, our local Community Futures does none of the above. They are secretive, unaccountable and have agendas best described as hidden. Having tried, I know for a fact, you cannot get Financial Statements off them, their Bylaws, Annual Returns, a Board/Membership List, and in the 15 years I have lived here I do not recall ever seeing them advertise when and if they have AGM's that are open to the public. For all intents and purposes they are a 'closed shop', despite being a duly registered Alberta 'society'? How the members of their Board are elected is any body's guess? If that ain't UGLY, I don't know what is?
So the moral of this story is: you can try and bamboozle the public all you like with your massive advertising and propaganda campaigns, paid for with taxpayer dollars, designed to fool the public that you actually serve a useful purpose, but at the end of the day all you will have accomplished is to have put lipstick on a pig. But you are still a pig!
It takes too much energy to be against something unless it's really important.
Friday, March 19, 2010
ALWAYS ASK, NEVER ASSUME !!
Comment: This morning, whilst taking the wife to Timmy's I couldn't help but see a local councillor and a Realtor huddled in the back going hard at it over a document(s) like it was a map to hidden treasure. :-) So absorbed in what they were doing I am sure they were oblivious to everything and everyone around them. They were still at it, when having finished our leisurely breakfast, we departed Timmy's.
I thought nothing of it at the time until I got a call later in the day from another Realtor enquiring as to if I had received my proposal package from the municipality in today's mail? I later told her, I had not?
I wonder if I have been arbitrarily excluded from receiving what other Realtors in our community have received by way of an invitation to submit a proposal to the municipality, in order to have a chance at being awarded a contract to act as their agent and thereby have exclusive rights to list municipal properties on the multiple listing system (MLS) on behalf of the municipality?
I'm sure it is just an oversight and that it will be in my mailbox on Monday (not that I plan on submitting one, as I'm sure I already know which Realtor/Brokerage will be awarded the contract).
Now, if I hadn't read the above good humour tip, I might now be thinking and 'assuming' too much. Might'en I?... :-(
Update (March 20): Boy, am I glad I didn't 'assume' too much. :-) As it turns out the councillor and Realtor were going over the Unsightly Premises Bylaw (Community Standards ByLaw). So says the councillor. I believe him. As the Realtor and I a week or so ago over breakfast, again at Timmy's, discussed his ongoing work on this important issue.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
By Debbie Houghtaling
A new housing project has been announced in Pincher Creek. The Fast Track Group and Fast Track Capital, is promising a new Terra Vista project in Pincher Creek, Alberta.
Fast Track Capital is partnering with Greenfield Development Corp (GDC), formally Pinchme Corp.
Now that the announcement has been made, fund-raising will shift into high gear.
The new project will cover 148 acres at the cross roads of Highway 6 and Highway 507, and will consist of 231 single-family lots, 27 duplex and 20 fourplex lots, a child care centre, a seniors complex, a multi-family condominium site and 60 acres of highway commercial frontage.
Pincher Creek Town Council has reviewed the Area Structure Plan for Terra Vista and the initial concept plan has been accepted, the physical phase of the project will now begin.
"We have looked at several communities in Alberta and Pincher Creek had the most opportunity," According to Jim Sand, President of the Fast Track Group,
"The development will sit adjacent to two major highways (6 and 507) and will be located directly across from Walmart. It's an ideal site and we're certain future tenants and residents of Terra Vista and nearby communities will agree."
The next step towards development will be the final permits, which they hope to receive from council in the next few months.
"We hope to start development in the first part of next year," said Sands.
As well as being a welcome addition to Pincher Creek, Sands is promising that the new development will also be affordable.
"We have looked at the housing market in Pincher Creek and believe we can offer a competitive price for these units."
note: More good news for Pincher Creek. Good for them! Maybe the Pass should consider amalgamating with Pincher as that would seem to be the only way development will ever come to the Pass. The MD and town seem to be light years ahead of us in this department, due in large part to their having councils and economic development departments that are 'proactive' in attracting and pushing forward economic development, while ours have been and continue to be asleep at the switch. Which goes to prove... "It's not healthy having all the same people making decisions all the time".
Once again, it is apparent we need a shake up of our leadership on council and Community Futures. Until that happens, we will continue to be the poor cousins of our neighbours to the east.
To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.
Monday, March 15, 2010
My concern is not that the CLC will be sold but that for the sake of a quick sale and a commission cheque our municipality will be short-changed, because of a lack of 'vision and a plan'.
In my opinion, simply settling for an increased tax base through the sale of this property is short-sighted. We should be sending out 'expressions of interest' to major Hotel/Casino operations with the intent to 'lease' out this property (similar to what the Fabro's did with Timmy's and Mac's) or at the very least retain some control by way of retaining an ownership interest (partnership). This in turn will not only increase our tax base but ultimately give us much more control and bang for the buck in the long term, so to speak.
The suggestion above, is only one idea. I'm sure there are more out there if people start putting their minds to it, which is what the intent of this post is. Let's hear what you have to say? After all, it is your property they will be selling.
Awareness leads you forward, while lack of awareness leads you nowhere.
Pass Herald Reporter
According to a provincial survey, rental units in the Pass are looking a little emptier than they have in the past.
The 2009 Apartment Vacancy and Rental Cost Survey, released recently by Alberta Housing and Urban Affairs, looked at 59 rural communities with populations between 1000 and 10,000.
While the average vacancy rate rose from 3.8 percent in 2008 up to 8.1 percent in 2009, the Crowsnest Pass vacancy rate rose from 10.8 percent to 20.6 percent –– the highest vacancy rate in the last ten years, and significantly higher than the 1.4 percent rate in 2007.
The survey looked at four-plex units, apartment buildings, row-houses, store-top units, and larger multi-plex units. It did not survey single family houses that may be for rent.
Chief Administrative Officer Gordon Lundy, presenting the survey results to council, said that he found it interesting that rental costs have not gone down even though the vacancy rate has risen.
The survey presented a list of weighted rent costs by bedroom type. One-bedroom units were at $522, up significantly from $433 in 2007. Two-bedrooms are listed at $554, up from $487 in 2007. Three-bedrooms rose from $546 in 2007 to $695 in 2009. Bachelor units rose from $350 in 2007 to $425 in 2009.
In 2007, at the height of local growth expectations and before the global economic troubles, the Pass had only a 1.4 percent vacancy rate, the lowest of any point in the past ten years.
A total of 68 rental units were identified and surveyed in the Pass. The vast majority of the units were more than 10 years old.
Between 2000 and 2005 the Pass vacancy rate hovered between 12.5 percent and 17.5 prevent. It fell to 6.9 percent in 2006 and 1.4 percent in 2007, before rising again in 2008 and 2009.
According to the survey, the Pass has the fourth highest vacancy rate of all the communities surveys. Only Elk Point at 40.2 percent, High Level at 22.8 percent, and Tofield at 21.8 percent were higher.
Bowden, Drumheller, Fairview, Provost, and Jasper were rated at a zero percent vacancy rate.
Council did not discuss the survey results at this time.
Note: More proof that we have been poorly managed and are desperately in need of a fix. A fix that will surely come this fall on the heels of an election. Our community of communities needs to let go of the past and get on with the future. In this regard, a new mayor and council, a revamping of Community Futures, and hard-nosed bargaining (e.g. River Run) and promoting of a Community Plan are what is in order here.
It has been said, Community development leading to economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being is usually initiated by individuals who have passion and vision. I am still waiting to hear some 'passion and vision' from current and potential leaders in our community?
Support structures are necessary to manage the community development process as well as the change it creates. We have seen that our local Community Futures over the years has become 'static' and no longer serves a useful purpose as a result. As someone on this blog recently pointed out... "It's not healthy having all the same people making decisions all the time"... This council needs to start the process of change by attacking the symptoms of our disease. A change of mayor and some members of council is only half the battle, the other half is changing our organizational structures i.e. Community Futures, so that it is allowed to fulfill its mandate of bringing economic development to our community by supporting local small businesses and entrepreneurs, and by acting as a catalyst to achieve economic diversification for our municipality.
The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Usually I love a speech from the Throne. As far as politics go it's pure show business. Everyone gets dressed up. There's an actual throne for the Governor General and a little tiny chair for the Prime Minister to curl up in. And the whole thing starts when a dude in a funny hat marches up the hall and bangs on the door with an ebony rod, topped with the golden lion. Now unfortunately it all went down hill after that.
For starters it went on forever. Avatar was shorter. Now maybe it was the anticipation. After all, the Prime Minister closed down government for three months so he could "recalibrate". Sometimes it's hard to live up to the hype. Now when this happens in Hollywood they bring in experts at the last minute to insert some sex and violence, to distract the audience. Now unfortunately you can't just insert a car chase in a throne speech, so the Tories did the next best thing, they announced the creation of, wait for it... Seniors' day. Now that's good government! Because as we know the greatest problem facing senior citizens on a fixed income in this country is they don't have a day. Like, you know, secretaries do.
And then how about that twist at the halfway point, hey? The government announced the creation of a new award for volunteers called the Prime Minister's award, featuring, wait for it, the Prime Minister. How sexy is that?
And then of course, the climax of the entire piece – they announce they wanted to rewrite the lyrics to O Canada to appeal to more women. Well, that went over really well, didn't it? Especially on a week where the Minister in charge of the status of women, Helena Guergis, is so far off the rails she's not allowed within a hundred feet of an airport, let alone an open microphone.
So there you have it. They had three months to prepare and the best they came up with was Seniors' day, a Prime Minister's award and the only thing they tried to recalibrate was the national anthem; an idea that lasted two days.
That's not a speech from the Throne, that's a cry for help.
Note: "Humor is also a way of saying something serious." Harper, Helena Guergis and her husband Rahim Jaffer, and the rest of the Reform/Alliance/Conservative's are a joke, but nobody is laughing anymore! :-( We need a change... they got to go!!!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Ottawa to up prison spending to prep for inmate influx
Nothing the Harpercons do makes any sense? They are solely driven by politics and ideology. As such, they preach one thing and deliver another. Tough on crime (for you and me) while going easy on their establishment friends is the epitome of hypocrisy.
"A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy. "
Jaffer court case sparks outrage across Canada
As I have stated before, thanks to the conservatives, Canada now has a two-tiered justice system of Justice for the Rich and the Law for the Poor. Canadians faith in our institutions is at an all time low, and we are becoming no different than a third rate banana republic, where money and power talks and bullshit walks.
RCMP Officer Ducks Drunk Driving Charges
No jail in sight for Drabinsky
Class Warfare she is a comin'!!! The Harpercons know and are preparing for this and that is the real reason they are in such a hurry to build super prisons, and why Taser toting law enforcement (sic) agencies are running amok these days leaving dead bodies wherever they go, with impunity. And why Justice Ministers and provincial crown prosecutors say one thing while practising another. Obviously our justice system, RCMP and governing political party are out of control and corrupt to the core, and therefore, revolution is inevitable.
Maybe that is why this government recently signed an agreement with a foreign government (U.S.) to 'invade us' if the people here dare to rise up against their oppressors? Think about it! The Harpercon traitors are creating Canada's very own version of 'Fortress America', where the minority will be the 'have's' and the majority will be the 'have nots', with the middle-class wiped out of existence. Justice will be dispensed on the basis of how much money and influence you have, and the Law for everybody else.
From the examples above, that is pretty much what we have now. Expect more! Much more!!! And of course, you will learn to take it... because after all... "humans are fundamentally selfish and egoistic and they don’t care about society-as-a-whole." Well, you better start caring! Because the way things are going, sooner or later, you too will fall victim to the system... if you don't start standing up to do something about it. We need an election and we need it now! Anybody, but the Harper conservatives!!
The country had fallen into a state of moral putrefaction, with corruption running rampant throughout the government ranks.
This is from the NBC Olympic anchorman:
Leaving behind a thank-you note
Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor
After tonight's broadcast and after looting our hotel mini-bars, we're going to try to brave the blizzard and fly east to home and hearth, and to do laundry well into next week. Before we leave this thoroughly polite country, the polite thing to do is leave behind a thank-you note.
Thank you, Canada:
For being such good hosts.
For your unfailing courtesy.
For your (mostly) beautiful weather.
For scheduling no more than 60 percent of your float plane departures at the exact moment when I was trying to say something on television.
For not seeming to mind the occasional (or constant) good-natured mimicry of your accents.
For your unique TV commercials -- for companies like Tim Hortons -- which made us laugh and cry.
For securing this massive event without choking security, and without publicly displaying a single automatic weapon.
For having the best garment design and logo-wear of the games -- you've made wearing your name a cool thing to do.
For the sportsmanship we saw most of your athletes display.
For not honking your horns. I didn't hear one car horn in 15 days -- which also means none of my fellow New Yorkers rented cars while visiting.
For making us aware of how many of you have been watching NBC all these years.
For having the good taste to have an anchorman named Brian Williams on your CTV network, who turns out to be such a nice guy.
For the body scans at the airport which make pat-downs and cavity searches unnecessary.
For designing those really cool LED Olympic rings in the harbor, which turned to gold when your athletes won one.
For always saying nice things about the United States...when you know we're listening.
For sharing Joannie Rochette with us.
For reminding some of us we used to be a more civil society.
Mostly, for welcoming the world with such ease and making lasting friends with all of us.
note: Thanks to Stan McLeod for this. Thanks Stan! Canada's Olympics sure made us all feel proud, and this is just more icing on the cake, isn't it? Got to love it!!! :-)
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Here is a man from B.C. speaking out against the "two most corrupt organizations in Western Canada: Community Futures (CF) and Western Economic Diversification (W.E.D.)".
This man, who has been speaking out for years, has dealt with many of the issues and problems we in our community find ourselves now dealing with as well... The Facts on Community Futures
He too has seen millions of federal dollars come into his community only to disappear into the bank vaults of CF's, never reaching the people it was intended for i.e. local small businesses and entrepreneurs. How can this be you say? Well let me tell you!
W.E.D. is the federal agency in charge of this program and is of course run by 'bureaucrats', who turn a blind eye to what is really going on. Bureaucrats who care more about their own thing, than doing the right thing, and as a result there is little to no transparency or accountability. It's called 'willful blindness'.
So while communities like Fred's and ours see stagnation and decline all around us, W.E.D. paints a Potemkin village picture for their bosses in Ottawa that the money is getting out there. And it is, but not to the people it was intended for. Instead, it goes to the greedy and not the needy. While the bureaucrats tap themselves on the back and the politicians glow in the sunlight thinking they are doing good things, the reality is people (communities) are dying a slow death from starvation, neglect and want... in a land of plenty.
p.s. Thanks Fred for being a tireless crusader on behalf of the people against those who would exploit and use us for their own greedy and self-serving good, instead of ours, as it was intended and suppose to be.
As long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
- Membership List (who votes in the Board?)
- Annual Reports
- Financial Statements
- Contract (between CF and W.E.D.)
- Crowsnest Economic Development Board (who sits on this Board?)
To-date, I have received ZIP! In addition, the Western Economic Diversification (W.E.D.) representatives that I had several email and phone conversations with, and to whom I appealed to as the Federal Agency that provides CF's with our public money, at first ignored me, then tried ducking the issues, and then finally brushed me off without ever providing me with one piece of documentation that I requested (see above), even though they are a federal agency with the responsibility of overseeing CF's and therefore accountable to the public for how our tax dollars are being spent? In addition, I got no reply or acknowledgment with respect to my sending them our CF's Articles of Incorporation and Corporate (Society) documents that clearly show irregularities? The impression I got from them is "out of sight, out of mind" i.e.: we know there are problems in the system, but we don’t care. As long as our pay cheques keep coming in and we have secure employment, why do we want to rock the boat and jeopardize 'our thing'?
Over the years, millions of taxpayer dollars have gone into our local CF's and the bottom line is that a taxpayer such as myself (or you) can get stonewalled by these people like we don't count... and they do!? The sadness is W.E.D. (bureaucrats) condones and perpetuates this type of conduct for their own self-serving reasons.
The only conclusion I can come up with (which should be obvious by now to regular readers of my blog) is that now 'I know' these people have something to hide, as no one would go through the great lengths these people have with me, to avoid accountability, if they didn't. Don't you think??
In any event, they might not want to provide me with the information I requested above in order to cover their asses, but others do have to, and soon I will have what I need to shed light on how and why it is that millions of dollars have been flowing through our local CF's office intended for small business and entrepreneurs, only to have disappeared somewhere, never reaching their target audience? It is my intention to find out where that somewhere is? Did it go to the 'shareholders'... 'members of the board of directors'...???
All I know for sure is that CF's got the gold... and we as a community got the shaft!
Obviously, I will be doing it (my investigating) without the help of both CF's and their watchdog W.E.D. (sic), so they can continue to run and try to duck their responsibility and accountability, but they can't hide forever. The truth will be revealed and at the end of the day I am sure we will find corruption and complicity, at both the local and federal level.
The country had fallen into a state of moral putrefaction, with corruption running rampant throughout the government ranks.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Rest in Peace my friend, and thank you for showing us the way and for being an inspiration to us all!
p.s. He leaves behind a loving wife Mary of over 60 years, and true sons' and daughter in Ron, Jim and Catherine, as well as many other loving family members and friends. Our love and support need to go out to them, but at the same time, we all can take some comfort knowing now his suffering is over and that he has gone to a better place.
A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire.
Monday, March 1, 2010
That’s because he had no answers – especially after Canada’s top soldier, General Natynchyk, bluntly contradicted Mr. Harper’s lame stories about what he knew and when he knew it. The heat was on!
So the Conservatives ran away. Acting like cowards, the Harper government ordered the Parliament of Canada to completely shut down – until March. This week, finally, the House of Commons is being allowed back to work.
We’ll soon see what, if anything, Mr. Harper has done with his extensive New Year’s vacation. He claimed he needed all that time from December to March to “recalibrate” – whatever that means – without the nuisance of being accountable in the meantime.
One key indicator will be the budget on March 4th. Here are four questions to measure its credibility:
One: Does it tackle the issues worrying average middle-income families? Household debt. Pension insecurity. New jobs for the 21st century. The high cost of higher learning. The personal “care” needs of children, the elderly and the disabled?
Two: Is it fair among all groups, regions and sectors? For example, are public servants singled out for particular abuse? What about church groups like Kairos? Do long-suffering beef and pork producers continue to get nothing?
Three: Is there a properly-anchored “fiscal framework” (no smoke-and-mirrors) that proves the government’s “commitment” to responsible behaviour is more than vacuous rhetoric? Remember this is the same Prime Minister who said, just a few months ago, there would be no recession and no deficit. He is not easily believable.
Four: Is there any attention to Canada’s biggest long-term problem, namely sluggish growth in economic productivity? How will this country become more innovative and competitive? Where’s the plan! That surely is something that needs recalibrating!
Ralph Goodale, M.P.