Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed out

Duped again, Charlie Brown

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No one believed they were attending yet another collective jerkoff. When will we learn? How soon we forget the lessons of, oh, last October’s utter and complete waste of time town meeting, the various lost hours offering public input on Lot 1/9, the… you know the litany of going-through-the-motions, your-concerns-are-our-concerns public meetings that have been about as productive as watching reruns of test patterns.

For my part in these charades, I apologize. Never again will I implore any of you to put down your Gameboys and come out to do the civic-minded thing. You can choose your own way to waste your own time.

I don’t understand whether it’s the blinding light of the Olympics, the false sense of aggrandizement that this council seems to feel because of it, mulish stubbornness or just a serious lack of understanding of the nuanced points of the political process but this has got to rank among the mother of all blunders.

“We’re looking for your questions, ideas and suggestions,” said the muni’s budget ad in last week’s Pique. “Council will consider this information and your input in determining the budget guidelines….” it concluded. This isn’t the first time our municipal leaders have used the word “consider” when they actually meant its Orwellian synonym, “ignore”, it’s just the latest and perhaps the most egregious.

It is said that reasonable minds can agree to differ. But reasonable minds generally consider — v.t. To think about or deliberate upon — the other side of the coin in coming to a reasoned decision. Given the mayor’s pique at the three councilors who wouldn’t go along with this charade, one wonders about the reasonableness, indeed, the efficacy of this whole PR campaign. While never suggesting anyone should stint on full-page, colour ads in Pique, the one council ran last week was simply another example of its profligate waste of money. Actions speak and council’s actions Monday night support the reasonable conclusion their minds were made up long before they heard any of the points raised at Friday’s public waste of time.

And just to add insult to injury, council not only dismissed pleas to at least go through the motions of trying to hold property tax increases to the rate of inflation, they tacked on some service charges for good measure that will boost the total tax bill well into double digits for many villagers. Worse still, they demonstrated an almost imperial degree of callousness toward a significant swath of taxpayers who will now pay twice for the same service. In assessing a $170 recycling fee on townhouse/condo owners, no consideration seems to have been given to those many who live in condos with on-site recycling already paid for in their common area charges.

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