Friday, October 24, 2014

SUDBURY VOTES 2014: Same shit, BIGGER pile!

Brian Bigger did this city an invaluable service by exposing corruption and dirty dealing by city staff and council in his position as city auditor.
His revelations were a shock to some citizens, but most of us had at least a pretty good idea that something shady was afoot at Tom Davies Square. The foul stench of glad-handing, nepotism and general corruption has lingered so long we'd become like Espanola townsfolk or residents of Copper Cliff, accustomed to the ugliness, acclimated to the stink.
What I found the most disturbing about  the many instances of incompetence, oversight and out-and-out thievery (if you believe the kiosk guy acted alone in the transit scam and $800, 000 worth of bus ticket money was missing over 3 years and nobody noticed, I have a bridge to sell you on Eva street.)
 What made me angry was the response by many councilors  once they were caught. From scandal to scandal, most of them sat there wide-eyed and incredulous, their sense of entitlement was so ingrained they openly balked a local reporter who broke embarrassing stories about their misdeeds and made snide comments about the intelligence level of people who read the newspaper the journalist was employed by.
As an auditor and whistle-blower Bigger did a great job.
The position of mayor however is a whole 'nother ball game.
 During the last debate the former auditor-turned mayor-hopeful often seemed to be struggling to text someone while repeating his mantra of "openness, accountability and transparency" whenever his turn came up to respond to an issue. He looked positively lost.
 At today's press conference it seemed like he had a chance to memorize the new script he was given by his campaign advisers. The promise of responsible government was all well and good, but the voters wanted specifics. Mr. Bigger's team had to think fast. Besides corruption, what other issue appeals to the northern masses who aren't fond of critical thinking but love to complain about the "crooks down at city hall" while standing around at Tim Horton's waiting for their double-doubles?
In municipal politics, you can't go wrong with a pledge to "finally fix the roads the right way!"'s so easy it borders on uninspired and lazy, like the chorus of a Bruce Springsteen song.
 I'm a life-long Sudbury resident and I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent man. As such, I came to the conclusion a long time ago that we all just passively and quietly accepted that road maintenance in this city is a racket. You may think I'm being facetious but I'm really not.
I mean, how else can you explain the construction every spring summer and fall on the same roads over and over? Nobody is interested in fixing it "right the first time" because there's no money in it. Hundreds would be outta work. How would Sudbury's thirty-something part time musicians and marijuana enthusiasts collect enough hours to sit at home on Employment Insurance and drink beer all winter? I thought this was Canada, eh?
I always imagined that if an honest construction crew ever actually did fix the roads correctly they'd be treated like a magician who shows the public how stage illusions are performed. They'd be pariahs. Outcasts amongst their peers.
A city politician promising a permanent solution to Northern Ontario's weather-beaten roadways  is like showing up stoned to your grade eight science fair with a crappy paper-mache and baking soda volcano, shrugging your shoulders and saying "Yep, this is the best I got."
We all know the roads will never get fixed properly. It's the same thing as a promise to "Balance the books by the end of my term!"
It sounds great....but we all know it ain't gonna happen.

Gatchell Forever,
Bobby Dee

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