Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed out

Duped again, Charlie Brown



Oooooh, my aching back. I feel like I’ve been punted through the budget goalposts of life.

Come to think of it, I have.

And, to borrow a phrase from Lizzie, “We are not amused.” In fact, we are royally pissed off.

Once again, I’ve played Charlie Brown to the mayor and council’s Lucy. Once again I’ve charged the football and given a mighty kick. Once again, the duplicitous rabble have pulled the ball away. Once again I’m lying flat on my back muttering, “Never again.”

I take no solace from the fact that several dozen other people were duped along with me and missed whatever they might have done last Friday night instead of wasting their time going through the motions, expressing their concerns, imploring what were apparently stonedeaf, timid, mind-made-up councillors to sharpen their pencils, revisit the budget, leave no stone unturned and find a way to do what numerous councils have done in the past: keep the increase in property taxes dancing in lockstep with inflation.

Council to Whistler: “Screw you!”

It would probably be a good time to point out that councilors Wilhelm-Morden, Forsyth and Zeidler danced on the side of the angels Monday night. They voted the right way. They implored their colleagues to send staff back to work to find a way to keep taxes delicately balanced with inflation. They couldn’t understand the urgency to make a decision right away. After all budgets don’t need to be in place until well into next spring. There’s time enough to bring a fresh look to all the various prettying-up projects. Time enough to decide whether we can live within our already bloated budget. Time enough to… well there’s never time enough to discuss the elephant in the parlour — staff themselves.

That seems like a reasonable request. After all, less than 72 hours earlier the mayor and four councillors stood in front of the assembled, civic-minded suckers who showed up at the GLC to discuss the budget and at least one of them said, “Nothing is cast in stone.” No one in the room sneezed, “Bullshit!” in response. No one in the room expressed the opinion that council needed to reassemble under the cone of silence on Monday and rush through the budget as proposed. A number of fiscally-sound suggestions came up. A number of concerns came up. A number of crackpot ideas came up. Everyone in attendance believed this time the football would stay in place, that council would get staff to pull on their green eyeshades and at least go through the motions of revisiting the budget.