Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 15: So, so, so - what's going on here....?

Romspen, the developer, has withdrawn its request for rezoning of Royal Oaks. What can this mean?

It means we have a municipal election coming up. The present council has a majority in favour of the Moncton City Development Plan (which really isn't a development plan at all). There are people who would like to keep that majority or even increase it. They don't want a fuss over Moncton High and/orRoyal Oaks to confuse things - and then lose the ball on the development plan- (which really doesn't exist.)

That's not clear, is it? Well....

The Irvings are more influential in New Burnswick than Romspen.

One of the Irvings owns a hockey team.

He says, (as quoted in the TandT), it can be difficult to get the game schedule he would like with the existing arena.

So, in a world in the most dangerous recession we have ever seen, and with the Irving newspapers calling for desperate cuts in spending on frills like education and health, a hockey owner sees an urgency about convenient hockey scheduling as being so important it is essential we borrow a couple of hundred million to build a new hockey arena. (Notice that this is a realistic investor. He has no intention of risking any of his own money on such a bozo scheme.)

Of course, people - perhaps even those who spend their days in sports bars watching hockey on TV - may question the urgency of spending so much money, especially in this economic climate, on something so trivial. So the arena has to be part of a bigger plan - an events centre, boutiques and restaurants all along main, lots of parking, downtown housing developments, Moncton, the hub of - something, the little city that could....whatever....

Lots of emotional babble about how we have to revive Main Street. (Why? And what, exactly, does reviving Main St. mean?)

What is up for debate is a plan that has nothing to do with the future. It shows not the slightest sense of how the world around us is going to look in 2050 or even in 2020. It's vision is, at best, 1950. The main reason it even exists is to sell us suckers on a hockey arena that the hockey team owner will have more control over for scheduling games. And for that, some people will get sicker with less care; our children will have to make to with less in their schools  (and AIMS and the TandT will blame the teachers); and out city plan, now sixty years out of date before we even adopt it, will leave our children with an expensive and awkward shanty town.

That means a council of dolts is essential. (Some people will accuse of them of being corrupt. One or two of them might be. But my experience of politicians, especially at the municipal level, is that most of them desperately want to belong...they crave recognition and status. You don't need to buy them. You just have to be rich and smile at them.)

So what's going on is the high school issue being pushed into the background to keep election day simpler, to make it a day of the sort of boosterism we have become accustomed to - the little city that could - with its great plan for the future.

After the election, the rezoning issue will come back And so will the MHS issue. And, oh, it will be messy because by then it's quite possible the economic situation will make expansion of Royal Oaks impossible. Then we'll be stuck with a new high school that it's expensive to get to. It will, however, have acres and acres of grass for students to sit on at lunch hour on a nice day like today.

There will be a public meeting of council this Monday, March 9 at 5p.m. City Hall.    It'll be important to be there because the high school, the hockey arena, the re-zoning,  the "plan" are all part of the same bundle of manipulation and incompetency. And, believe it, you can't depend on the Times and Transcript to find out what's going on. It's one of the tools of the manipulators.

If you go, don't waste time on the sentimental aspects of the high school. That will just confuse some, turn-off some, and divide some. The central element is the great plan.
1. Is the great plan for the future to encourage urban sprawl and dependency on automobile transportation? Is this realistic? (how manyother cities in the world are thinking that way?) If it's not for urban sprawl, why on earth are we encouraging the development of Royal Oaks? And why are we sticking up a huge high school where there isn't yet a large population? And which may never reach its hoped-for population? That is going to be one curse of a location to maintain - for generations.

2. As for the bilge about NB having the power to build schools whereever it likes - Moncton City Council has the power to take leadership in fighting that decision - and in leading Monctonians in ensuring the provincial government pays one hell of a price at the polls for its arrogance.

3. Where is the solid evidence that a hugely expensive hockey arena will revive downtown? Let's see some examples of where this has happened. There are certainly a  great many where is hasn't happened. One of biggest rackets in the western world is sucking at the public teat for professional sports facilities. We're being asked to fork out hundreds of millions for a facility attended by less than 2% of Moncton's population. And not for any great need, but simply for entertainment. It would be cheaper to supply with 2% with free beer and porn flicks for the rest of their lives.

4. Where is the evidence that the arena will turn a profit or even pay the interest on the loan? If it were going to be a paying proposition, do you seriously think Mr. Irving would let you build it and get all that profit?

5.The arena, the plan, the high school, Royal Oaks are all part of the same bag of greed, self-interest, indifference to public need, and simple-mindedness that is so much of the political reality of New Brunswick. Council has to know that. Let them know. We don't have to lie back and let billionaires and hack politicians walk all over us.

Monday. March 15. 5 p.m. City Hall.

Oh, yeah - and show them a copy of the TandT editorial - which says Moncton has to get by with less. We're spending too much. Right. So let's borrow a couple of hundred million for a hockey rink.

(Oh, and hilariiously, we spend too much for senior advisors. We should spend less on such people - as the private sector does!!!!!)

Jody Dallaire has an interesting column on Harper's passion for snooping, prying into private information, his lust from putting more people into prison....

I used to think Harper was dangerous because he was an ideoloque. But he's not an ideologue. I doubt whether he has ideological principles of any sort. He's turned out to be just an old-fashioned opportunist and political hack.

He's very pro-business, it's true. Big business, in fact, sets our foreign policy. But that's not ideology. It's opportunism. Big business is what give his party the big money to win elections. If it didn't, he wouldn't support it.

He likes heavy prison sentences. That's because this country, like all countries, has many people of a self-righteous sort who want more people in jail and, preferably, in dungeons. There's votes in reaching out to those people. It's an emotional issue for them. You can depend on them to turn out on voting day.

Though he's backed off the issue, he used to be opposed to legal abortions. Of course. Lots of votes there. But it's tricky because there's lots of votes in supporting abortion. So he's now quieter on the subject.  Lots of votes in supporting highly organized groups like Christian fundamentalists and Zionists. There are very few votes in supporting, say, criminals who need treatment, or Moslems who suffer from persecution.  There's money in supporting private radio and TV, none in supporting CBC.

Harper is not a ideologue, and he not an ideological leader of any sort (or even just a leader of any sort.) As his handling of robocalls has shown, he has no leadership qualities. (A secretive controller is not the same as a leader.)

Harper is an old-fashioned, cheap, political hack with no sense of principle, only of opportunity.

Too bad. An ideological nutbar would have been less dangerous.


1 comment:

  1. And an ideological nutbar would be more obvious for voters to pick up on. But, I agree. Canada is in the grips of a level of cronyism, ineptness, and corruption it has never before experienced.

    Harper's lucky only in that there's no credible competition from the Liberal or NDP tribes. Certainly has nothing to do with his craven personality. Alberta with its ever growing population was a shoe-in for Harper given he's extremely anti-environment.

    BTW, I'm not sure if past posts mentioned who owns, or who stands to make money on nearby land to where the new high school is slated to go? (If it should seem obvious - forgive me but I'm not very familiar with Moncton.)