"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mais Non ,Mon Ami

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Rid...":

"A policy is not cast in stone." ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!

You say: "the policy was adopted to have sidewalks on both sides of streets during the last term."

What "streets" does this policy apply to?

Why does Kennedy Street West not have sidewalks on both sides? It is a residential street. This street is used by hundreds every day who walk, who walk their dogs or their baby carriages, who jog, who ride their bicycles. It is a major walking route for kids going to and coming back from school. It would be far more appropriate to apply the "policy" to this street than to Industrial Parkway.

You say that "Council has been reluctant to exercise personal judgement. It seems easier just to do as they are told."

Told what and by whom?

Are members of Council lacking in grey matter? They sought public office so that they COULD and WOULD exercise personal judgement. Did they all, instead, seek to serve the public by not having to think, to simply act as RUBBER STAMPS for staff?
This is potentially a gross outrage!

No it's not. Kennedy Street West allows me to illustrate.
Policy applies to decision-making.Not road building.
Before  the Region, the western end of Kennedy Street was not urban. It was in King  Township.
 There were few homes. It was a dead-end.  It was  a truly rural right of way. No pavement, sewers, water lines or street lighting.Certainly no sidewalks.I'm not even sure it had culverts for drainage. 
It was one of the first in the town proposed  for reconstruction in the seventies.
Residents fought furiously not to have the character of  their street changed.
I agreed with them but not for their reasons. I didn't see why I should help pay for amenities I didn't have.
I  believed  if they were to get all those  expensive improvements, they should  pay for them with a local improvement tax.
I  saw no virtue in foisting  expensive amenities  on people who didn't want them.
Of course there was a rational argument. I just didn't choose it as mine.
Dick Illingworth was  Mayor at the time. I heard someone had his photograph on a dart board that neighbours enjoyed  piercing with darts.
It was a bitter battle. The residents got what they wanted. 
It happens a lot.
Policies be damned.
In those days, the town didn't have an administration to speak of. We had a consultant engineer on retainer.
Decisions on road design  rested on engineering principles,  the judgment of  the elected and a public keenly aware of how taxes were being spent.
If I remember correctly, the province shared  costs of road-building at the time and provincial standards had to be met. 
But even some of those were twisted and turned to avoid running afoul of residents on a particular street.
People do have an influence on how Councillors vote. .
Nowadays, it's safer just to accept professional advice.Lots of people think that's how it should be.
Councillors  are continually  reminded  how little they know. How dependent they are on experts.
Our society is chock- a- block  with experts. Graduates with degrees that may or may not stand for something.
Public servants made redundant from successive amalgamations. 
They write books and articles, get  nominated for awards from associations they created  and offer workshops to teach the unwary newbie politician for fees paid  for by  municipalities.
There's always more money where that comes from.
Off the newly elected  go with due diligence and back they come full of wisdom and knowledge and "innovative' ideas.  
Fifty years ago, York County's solicitor,Doug Lucas was on retainer. One of the few in Canada, who specialized in municipal law.
There wasn't a living to be made in municipal law so few municipalities had the resources.
Not like today. 
When, Oh My God, expertise spills over  in abundance like Niagara Falls. 
It's  common sense that's in short supply.

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