Welcome to London Civic Watch

"Ever wonder if City Council is as contentious and chaotic as it is sometimes portrayed? Here you can get a progressive perspective on some of the issues from someone who spent four years in the trenches. Totally unbiased, though! Feel free to comment but keep it respectful, just like they do at council."

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The strike: Time to speak out

I haven't posted on this blog for a long time. Maybe I was too busy, maybe I wanted to give the new council, many of whom I supported during  their election campaigns, a chance to find their sea legs. But the events of the past nearly two months have made it very difficult to remain silent. "It's time," a friend told me a couple of weeks ago. I agreed, but still I wasn't ready. Then came the City Manager's invitation to the inside workers to cross their own picket line and the hiring of "replacement workers". And not a word of protest from council. My friend was right. It's time.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Chaos might ensue

CORRIGENDA: In analyzing the impact of the proposals on the final tax bill, I overlooked the effect of reductions in the education tax of 3.94%. These were introduced by the provincial government to offset the effects of reassessment. The net result is that for the coming year the tax increase  overall including the education portion, will be 2.5% as stated at the time of the passing of the budget. For the industrial sector, this mean s a 6.7% decrease and for the residential sector, 2.5% increase. The multi-residential rates will increase by 5.3%. I would like to thank the staff of the finance department for pointing out the discrepancy and regret any confusion that I may have created by publishing figures which did not include the education tax reassessment reduction for the residential sector. My intent was to clarify. Perhaps all will become clearer following the orientation at Strategic Planning and Policy Committee later today.

"April is the cruellest month" and not, for most of us, because we hate to trade the cozy blanket of snow of winter for the cold rains of spring, as T.S. Eliot suggests. For us, April is tax month. We see the deadline looming. We search frantically for all those bits of paper we have collected over the year. We open a computer program, start filling in the various fields, and hope for the best.

That’s for those who do their own filing. Many of us have given up on this. Who can understand the ins and outs of the Canada Revenue Agency’s rules and formulae? We take our bits and pieces to a tax specialist and hope the final tally is not too bad. Leave it to the experts.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The biggest loser

Your completed financial statement must be submitted to the clerk by 2 p.m. on the last Friday of March (March 27, 2015).

So states the Candidate's Guide for Ontario Municipal and School Board Elections.

It’s a serious order. Failure to do so automatically results in loss of office for a successful candidate, and disqualification from running in the next election or being appointed to office in the event of a vacancy. Still, a few contenders chanced it, seeing little hope of the latter and no point in running in 2018.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A tired council expense policy

So far this has been a rather snowy winter. Fortunately, some of the members who left city council last fall, voluntarily or otherwise, will be well equipped to deal with it. Thanks to the largesse of the taxpayers, they have new tires for their cars.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Requiem for Sherwood Forest School

Sherwood Forest School is about to be put out to tender; it will not survive the process.
 

Because nowhere in the plans that the city has discussed with the community was there any suggestion of the possibility of saving the school.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A nice Corporate Services Committee

They campaigned on citizen engagement; they campaigned on cooperation and respect. They had a group hug.
 

It was all very refreshing after four years of bickering and insults.

But when is enough enough? At what point do you cut to the chase? Is it possible to be too nice?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Poeticians

This afternoon I spent a fun four hours at the Yuk Yuks Comedy Club in the Western Fair District. The afternoon was dedicated to the creative efforts of the incoming council who were to entertain us with two poems they had prepared: one about themselves and one about the city they will soon represent. They were great!

During "half-time", I had an opportunity to present a song I had written in honour of the new council. I sang it with my friend Jackie Dix who can play the guitar and carry a tune. Here it is. The melody is from "Four Strong Winds" which also provides the format.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hugs and kiss offs

Within weeks of taking office in 2010, Ward 9 Councillor Dale Henderson, who had campaigned on a mean and lean government platform, was complaining that he needed more money. He wanted $10,000 to hire an assistant to deal with his heavy workload, especially all those reports to be read. He didn’t get that at the time, but a year or so later he and most of his colleagues voted themselves extra money for their expense accounts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Looking good

It has been more than a week since we learned the results of the 2014 municipal election campaign, plenty of time for analysis and reflection by those who won and those who didn’t, as well as the rest of us who cheered from the sidelines or from various campaigns. And just what is the takeaway?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thoughts on election eve


A lot of prognostication has taken place so why not one more. The analysis that follows is of what I think will happen, not necessarily what I wish will happen. In a few cases I hope to be wrong.