Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4: The Moncton Times and Transcript is changing....

.....it's getting more boring.

Up until two years ago, the TandT was a vicious, ranting paper - rather like Norber on a bad hair day. I remember, in particular, its vicious  (and ignorant) attacks on the public school system. Since then, it has simmered down.  Unforturnately, the result is not an improvement. In human terms, the paper has gone from being a violent sociopath  to be being a body in a coma.

In the old days, it was ill-informed, biased, coarse - a bully on a rampage. Now, it's just irrelevant and boring.

I don't know now many stories and columns we've seen on the end of the penny. Even Alec Bruce went for it today. So did Norbert.

 Then we had the usual irrelevant columns by Eric Lewis and Brian Cormier on the op ed page. In most newspapers all (or at least most) of this page is given over to serious analysis and opinion. 

But, here, Lewis talks about main street  parking - though he knows so little about the issue, he can't drag a whole column out of it - and he has to  switch to five paragraphs of  geegollygoshI'msoexcitedIcoulddieI couldjustdie about his favourite pop star.

Brian Cormier, lights up the sky with the revelation that politicians are human. Thanks, Brian. We were really wondering about that.

To be fair - and for the first time in my memory, the editorial and op ed pages were saved by an editorial that was worth reading. It's about parking on Main Street. It  was the automobile that destroyed Main Streets all over the world. If curbside parking were healthy for Main Steet, we wouldn't  now be discussing reviving Main St. becaue it wouldn't have died in the first place. And we're going to revive it by bringing more cars back?

Have you checked gas prices lately? Have you checked the increasingly desperate efforts to get gas at whatever cost, and whatever risk to the environment? If Moncton council has the plan for the future that it claims to have, is it seriously basing that plan on the automobile?

Just about every other city in the world is looking at mass transit. The ideal for big cities seems to be the subway. For a city the size of Moncton, it would probably be the electric tram. Subways and trans build up business whereever they go. You don't start with places to go. You start with mass transit. Build that, and the places to go will spring up without you borrowing a hundred million or more.

The shopping mall did not begin with stores Stores have been around for centuries. So had specialized shopping areas.What created the mall was a new form of mass transit, the automobile. What was new about the mall was not the stores. It was the parking area.

But that sort of individualized mass transit is enormously expensive and environmentally damaging. It's days are numbered.  The city should be looking at mass transit as the starting point for a vision of Moncton fifty years from now. It obviously hasn't done so.

The same lack of any plan shows up in the discussion of the sale of Castle Manor. The Times and Transcript seems to be in favour of peserving buildings of historical interest. Agreed. I ithink such buildings should be saved.

But where is the plan to decide what to do with them? If we just preserve them, then they become an economic burden, nothing more than that. So how do we plan to integrate them into the new city? And how do we plan uses for them that keep them alive and contributing to the life of the city?

If we don't plan that, then all  you have is a chunk of dead history, the litter of another time - rather like the bodies of Lenin and Mao preserved in their glass tombs.

It's obvious that city council hasn't answered these questions - and that the TandT hasn't asked them. The result is that these is no plan, and the development of Moncton, as always, is really at the mercy of the most recent fast-buck artist who can sell the government on where to put a school. Or a hockey rink.

Similarly, the big question at the provincial level is shale gas development. But where is all the news about it? In recent months, we've seen passionate reporting about the use of the boot on parked cars. Scarcely a word on shale gas.

Mr. Hogan - may I call  you Al?  Look, Al. there is no news in your paper. Except for those few who lives have been crushed by the cancellation of the penny and those who lust to use parking meters on Main St., there is nothing to read in your paper. On balance, when I open my front door in the morning, rather than see The Times and Transcript on my gallery, I'd be happier to see Mr. Alward doing a sriptease to the tune of Mary had a little lamb......

....well.....lemme think about that....lemme take another look at what Norbert has to say about pennies.....

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