For those who don’t know what Tammany Hall was.
Two people I greatly admire and respect recently asked questions that baffled me. What is wrong with fridge magnets? What is the risk? These questions are about the City of London’s Councillors voting themselves a larger budget for expenses and relaxing the rules on how those funds are spent. I know London is in its own surreal little bubble but how can people not see the damage this causes. In order to keep property tax increases low and to increase the councillor slush funds the city budget has cuts and dipped into reserves. Services the city provides to the poorest and most vulnerable residents have been cut, frozen or deferred to the next council.
The LTC is in need of major investment to meet demand levels from ten years ago. Many people on Ontario Works have to refuse jobs because the bus system doesn’t serve the sprawling areas where the new minimum wage jobs are being created. London’s affordable areas to live for people on social assistance are under served as well. At least they have a fridge magnet to keep their income reporting statement handy for when they need to get it in on the 16th.
The City of London is a death trap for cyclists and pedestrians with inadequate connections of bicycle paths and walking paths. Bike lanes end abruptly in the middle of traffic and sidewalks are so bad that someone could easily need hip replacement surgery from falling. With the cycling, walking infrastructure deaths are inevitable. A couple who is killed while out for a walk or ride can take comfort that the orphans they leave behind can get tickets to Disney on Ice or something from their councillor.
How does a city councillor get away with $5000 in gas claims and $12000 in videos for a YouTube channel? If these people on council were Senators they would be audited and charged by now. I guess the Senators forgot to move the goal posts before dipping their snouts in the trough. The fact the outrage about London’s expense scandal isn’t as loud as the Senate scandal tells me how normalized this sort of thing is in London politics. Fraud is fraud, a bylaw isn’t a get out of jail free card. Let’s replace the gas card with a bus pass and see how long it takes them to fix the bus system.
It really shouldn’t surprise me there is this culture of looking away from the corruption. London for decades has been conducting a grand Ponzi/Pyramid scheme that it calls urban development. Joe Fontana is a great guy for not wanting to reach in our pockets to take more money to fund growth(malignant?), right? He wants Kathleen Wynne and Stephen Harper to do it for him, or call it an increase in water bills, whatever it takes to bait and switch. Hey, guy in Saskatchewan, you don’t mind higher gas taxes to fund London’s sprawling infrastructure right? I’m sure the hard working people in North Bay don’t mind higher provincial income taxes to pay for another highway on ramp for the 401 or 402.
Members of this current council have already been found to have broken the law and betrayed public trust. Add that to everything above along with the business playing field being uneven do to the city’s corporate welfare policies and we see why it is a challenge to get investment and entrepreneurs to this city. London is a city of great potential being held hostage by sleazy practices, cliques, silo building and inertia. Levelling the playing field will go a lot further towards creating jobs than being sugar daddy to a few.
On October 27th 2014 London has a choice to make. If it stays on the current path London will deserve to be as fiscally bankrupt as it is morally bankrupt. The other, more favourable option is to have an election solely on ethics, because if London cleans up its ethics problems it will be seen as a good investment for people and businesses. London will also notice how much of its resources and opportunities have been thrown away by doing things the current way.
Okay, rant is over. Time to read the words of a dead German Tyrant, who appears more enlightened than the living in this city.