Posts Tagged ‘secrecy’

Pedestrians Are Being Shafted

August 1, 2008

You’ll recall that I applied to be a pedestrian representative on the city’s Transportation Advisory Committee and on the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Committee. There were vacant positions on both, and the city subsequently even went so far as to advertise the need to fill a lot of positiions. I was invited by the Chair of CSCPC to apply to that committee, and my name was put forward for TAC by Councillor Baechler and approved by ETC. So, what’s the problem?

Well, it may be that I’m not a very good schmoozer. I’m not very good at staying silent when there are things going on that just aren’t right. I’m not adverse to naming names. I’m very well known in many quarters as London’s most publicly outspoken pedestrian rights/safety advocate, something I’ve been doing for decades, for good reason.

Readers of this blog know the kind of pedestrian-related issues that concern me, and the kind of advocacy that I’ve been making at City Hall on behalf of pedestrians “from the outside” for these many years.

This blog’s readers also know many of the valid criticisms that I’ve had of City Hall and the several presentations that I made to the Governance Task Force, including my concern for transparency, accountability, and due process.

It appears that there are those at City Hall who don’t appreciate the kind of change that my appointments could bring. Which is why they don’t want me there, and probably beat the hell out of the bushes to find alternatives for those vacant positions.

You may recall my telling you how the City Clerk interfered when I asked to appear before the Disability Advisory Committee during the last election campaign. You may recall that I called for the termination of Mr. Shane McGuire with respect to the Commissioners/Pond Mills intersection. You’ll recall the way that I was lied to by senior city staff last Fall when I indicated that I wished to have the opportunity to provide pedestrian-related input into the review of the Master Plan. More recently, you may be aware of the way that city Planning Staff have failed to inform the local community association that I’m active in with respect to certain proposed zoning changes. And you may remember that a local walkway was allowed to remain in absolutely deplorable condition until I started going door-to-door trying to drum up citizen support for a class-action lawsuit against the city.

I understand the fear which may exist down at City Hall lest I get the opportunity to be more acquainted with what’s going on and to report back to you about it. Lest I cause them even more “inconvenience” than I already do, at this particular time when they’re sitting on a rather large pile of money from the two upper levels of government for transportation-related projects. God forbid that pedestrian concerns be allowed to impact the spending of that money!

Which maybe explains why the appointments process ended up being carried out in secret, instead of being vetted in a public meeting by Board of Control or City Council, and ending with my receipt of this cursory statement from the City Clerk:

I have been asked by the Nominating Committee for the Transportation Advisory Committee to express its thanks to you for submitting your name for consideration to the Advisory Aommittee and to convey its regrets that it was unable to favour you with an appointment at this time.

There’s more to come. Stay tuned.

Added 2008/08/02 @7:00pm:

I’ve just checked the City of London ‘Media Releases’ page to be sure, and it’s as I suspected. There’s no mention of the underhanded secret process in which my application to TAC was rejected.

Although most decisions at City Hall ought to be reflected in a media release, I’ve decided in this instance to leave no slimy stone unturned. So I checked out the ‘Committee Vacancies‘ page as well. Again, no indication of what’s going on. Not even any mention about whether or not there are any outstanding vacancies, much less the ones that have been filled.

Do citizens know that this is how decisions at City Hall are being made?


Alt-Journalism, London Style

March 24, 2008

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Paul Berton over at the London Free Press likes to harp about the professionalism of his industry and to make aspersions about citizen journalism, but I think the fact is he’s scared. Scared that his shrunken workforce is no longer capable of turning out a quality NEWSpaper, and scared that the local online community is rapidly evolving into a force that can.


Evolution Part #2

March 24, 2008

Hard on the heels of the previous ‘toon which Clay Butler suggests is ‘proof that we didn’t evolve from apes,’ an A-Channel report and accompanying video which supports that premise. Apparently, our species is not evolved enough to deserve such intelligent anscestry.


Ridership Rhetoric

January 2, 2008

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On the ‘In Brief‘ news page of the most recent The Londoner weekly, in a section titled ‘Cash for London Transit,’ readers are told that “the gas tax funding program has increased ridership by 23 million passenger trips a year since 2004.”

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’ve questioned the reported public transit ridership numbers, and that there’s been no response from Larry Duscharme even though it’s been 4 months since I sent him this communication.

Skewed Priorities?

December 3, 2007


That’s how much some senior members of City Hall staff and some members of Council appear to be willing to pay to “beautify” the pollution plant/ waste depot that’s on Oxford Street West.

I’m not opposed to visually enhancing our community. In fact, I’ve advocated for graffitti removal, public art, regulation re abandoned grocery shopping carts, etc. But is this a good deal for the money? Could it be done as well for less? Should it be done as long as other more important things are being underfunded or ignored altogether?

What ticks me off is the way that the City appears to decide upon the propriety of spending tax dollars, sometimes large amounts of it, without attempting to weigh the comparative importance of one initiative against another.

This “beautification” project is a perfect example, because the amount of money being proposed is almost as much as the City spends over the course of an entire year on Walkway Lighting. And let’s not forget to inadequate way that City Hall attends to landscaping along sidewalks and pathways. And let’s certainly not forget the pedestrian safety concerns that I’ve raised with respect to Commissioners Road East, particularly the design of the Commissioners/Pond Mills intersection (which a police report confirms is dangerous to pedestrians and which City Hall has ignored for this entire year).

But there’s little cause for City Hall to worry about such trivial concerns as pedestrian safety, having secretly “swept” my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee “under the rug” instead of dealing with it in public. Until pedestrians have a seat at the table, we’ll continue to be attacked and injured and killed needlessly.

2005/05/17 – FMBS: Eagle Crescent Walkway
2005/07/22 – FMBS: Eagle Crescent Walkway
2005/08/10 – FMBS: Eagle Crescent Walkway
2005/08/29 – FMBS: Eagle Crescent Walkway
2005/11/15 – FMBS: Walkway Lighting Budget
2005/12/10 – FMBS: Public Letter to City Council
2005/12/14 – FMBS: Eagle Crescent Walkway
2005/12/21 – FMBS: City Refuses to Reveal…Salary
2006/02/13 – FMBS: Unlit Walkways
2007/04/20 – FMBS: Eagle Crescent Walkway
2007/05/14 – FMBS: Walkway Fences
2007/05/14 – FMBS: Waiting Patiently
2007/07/14 – FMBS: Still Waiting Patiently
2007/08/18 – FMBS: Anybody Seen This Missing Councillor?
2007/11/14 – FMBS: Letter to ETC re Obstructive Landscaping

(It’s a Secret)

November 9, 2007

Thanks to this evening’s A-Channel newscast for breaking the secret… City Hall is allowing free parking in certain designated downtown areas while the sinkhole is being fixed.

The kicker? There are no plans to provide signage to let anybody know that it’s not necessary to put money in the meters.

Only in Melonville ;(

Appended 2007/11/10 @ 6:00 a.m.

People who don’t have Internet access may feed meters that they don’t have to, but here’s your reward faithful reader for visiting this humble blog… scooped off the city website after some super sleuthing…

The City will offer two-hour free downtown parking seven days a week beginning today… Currently, there is two-hour free parking on Saturdays in an area bounded by Wellington, York, Ridout and Queens. The two-hour free parking will now be available every day. In addition, the city is extending the two-hour free zone east to Waterloo Street.”

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City Secrecy Slammed by Ombudsman

October 31, 2007

Ontario’s ombudsman, Andre Marin, today slammed municipalities for being so secretive (“Ontario ombudsman slams municipal secrecy“; CBC News; 2007/10/31). Geez, do you suppose he’s been reading my posts?

copy of 2007/11/16 email removed
this post

Planning Department Secrecy

October 26, 2007

Here’s another one of my inquiries which is being ignored by City Hall. It follows the recent appearance of a sign (see photos) which suggests a change of land-use designation for a property on Commissioners Road East where it’s already very difficult for pedestrians to safely cross.
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 01:05:48 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gregory Fowler
To: R Panzer
Subject: Possible Land Use Change

With respect to the sign which announces a possible land use change for the property on the south side of Commissioners Road East between 931-951. Please be advised that I did follow the “Possible Land Use Changes” link from the “City Council” page and from there did check out the “Street Listing (A-F)” applications, but failed to find any pertinent information re this location. Can you assist?

Greg Fowler