Council’s Last Chance at Transit

It is now 7pm in the council chambers and the councillors are now arriving. As council begins there is 44 people here.

The meeting has now begun the councillor are doing their opening thanks to different community groups.

Joe Mott is absent tonight. Most of the routine business is quite boring and routine. The first item is 12.1 on the demolition of a dilapidated building on city road no one will miss. Next is a review of the Taxi by-law review and a full presentation with slides.

Council has after an hour approved starting the process of drafting the new Taxi By-Law something that has been talked about for close to 15 years now. Now they are discussing changes to the procurement policies.

Now it is time for transit (11.2). Councillor Higgins has moved to reassess the decision to cuts. Now the motion is a refer to budget deliberations. Councillor Farren sounds hesitant as long as it does not increase taxes. Deputy Mayor Chase does not seem to really support this. He is even denying that Higgins did know that the facts that she is denying and is stern on holding the budget. Councillor Norton is proposing a public review on route changes, but is being cautious. Councillor Snook is supporting transit but is supportive of the public consultation of optimizing routes. The City Manager is trying to educate council that this is not a cut but a limit to the increase to 1% even though Transit has been increasing the city’s subsidy by about 8%. Court was not favourable to the motion. Councillor Sullivan is not wavering on the fact that Transit is not a council priority. They are trying to wash their hands of transit and placing responsibility on the commission and the province for the taxes on the garage.

Some appear on delaying a decision. Councillor Titus, the council representative on the Transit Commission, is placing the blame back on council. He is insisting that the transit commission placed much thought on the routes. The cuts were based on cost effectiveness of service. The pension issue is of great importance and that money has been already been spent on printing of new schedule.

Titus insists that there is not really $5-million dollars extra. Insists that we have really good services, that citizens should be proud of.

Higgins makes a good closing point that perhaps if more than one transit passenger was on the commission it could be more efficient. It could be better promoted, and that the larger percentage of users are renters and renters pay 2x the tax rate of regular residential.

Considering that East Saint John is getting hit the hardest. It is despicable that Councilor Court is taking such a hard line against the prosperity of transit. Councillor Court does not stand up for is own ward and should likely be cut come election time. Voting time it is a referral motion 8-2 in-favour. Titus and Sullivan against.

A Memorable Mass Transit Story

Remember that one time on the bus, when…? Share your mass transit stories.

One of my best memories on the bus was on an East bus headed to the mall on March 25th, 2004. I happened to run into my friend Tony, we were both heading to the mall. At this point I had my first batch of 25 names on the nomination papers. This was where Tony signed as the witness.

As soon as I got to the mall I instantly went to head back to the north end to file the papers. The first time 8 of my names were rejected as the people who signed were not actually registered to vote. Then the second time 45 minutes later I was 2 names short. Then 25 minutes later, I was officially on the ballot.

When it finally got approved, the first thing I did was to run to every media outlet that I could find and dropped off my Press Release.

Running for Mayor was one of the most interesting times of my life, and all the people and aspects of the community that you get exposed to is unreal.

Then six and a half weeks, and 448 votes later that part of my life was over. Thus leading the way for 2 days later when I left the province on my first vacation and train ride later.

And the travels continue…

Taking Perfect Long-Exposure Pics

Today is Election Day. Sure I could write about the election but, instead, I’m going to write a self-help post about one of my favourite hobbies, photography.

The first tip to long exposure shots is to use a tripod. What is the fun in that? Knowing that your shot will be perfect first time, every time.

That leads to tip 2, lean on something. It is almost given that this will work best most of the time. Tip 3 is to hold your arms close to your body. They are the main tips that most people who teach photography will say but I have a few of my own that work better in a digital world.

Tip 4 is to use the delay timer set to like 2 seconds. I find the movement of pressing the button has ruined many photos. Tip 5 works off of the same idea. Use the multiple photo mode. You are likely to get one of many right.

The next tip is to use the LCD screen. There is no way you can hold it still enough up to your face. If all else fails then my last tip is to fake it in PhotoShop.

Election season again, count me out!

So once again we are in the pending situation for an election in October, the question to ask is why?

The governing conservatives haven’t even had a chance for their national meeting in November to develop a new policy document to drive the platform from. So they will be forced by the party to develop a new platform off of an old and aged policy.

Or perhaps, Stephen Haper is afraid of facing the music of a new policy, and National Council and also interferes with the election this fall of the hunt for a new leader for the NB PC party.

Post-Election Post

So we all know how the election turned out. As every one that knows me knows I enjoy relating the statistics. This year 23,977 voted for a mayor candidate, 24,078  voted in total. Therefore, 101 voters did not vote a mayor. In 2004, 25,489 voted for a mayor, 448 voted for me. Between 2004-2008 Saint John has 1,618 (source: Statistics Canada) less people. Between 2004-2008, 1512 less people voted for a Mayor. Conclusion, most of the people who used to care are the people that are leaving.

My Post-Birthday Post

Boston Pizza Vanilla Bean CakeYesterday was a very interesting day for my birthday. For a change people seemed nicer. It seems like it was no time ago, let alone four years ago today that (in 2004) today (May 11th) I was working at Client Logic, done after a hectic month and a half of campaigning and just waiting for election day to be over, wait a minute, that didn’t happen as a recall at that time I was ditching Sunday shifts to go to Empire Theatres probably to see Mean Girls, New York Minute, or 13 Going On 30 (I seen all of them in the theatre and cant remember which.) Then off to go do Too Close to Call, back in the days when it was only a half hour long show. Then off the day after the election to the great city of Toronto, ON for the first time ever, and my first time on a train too. It is too bad that a lot of my blog here didn’t survive from that time.

So yesterday… after doing some overtime and fighting with the Royal Bank, I went to Boston Pizza and had an appetizer of Thai chicken bites, Caesar Salad,  Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti, glass of Keith’s, and Vanilla Bean Cake. Then I went to the theatre and seen “Maid of Honor.” I got to say it was a very good meal and very good movie (4 stars.)

Third Election Update

So, at this point I can’t be persuaded on a candidate because I already voted. I do believe in open transparency in politics, and since lynch mobs are so 1800’s I’m going to revile my votes.

Mayor of Saint John: Michael Richardson
At-Large: Danny Jardine and Chris Titus
Ward 4: Kevin Goggan and Ralph Landers

Okay, a second look at the election.

So now that I have looked into the election a little harder, I am changing some of the options.

Mayor:
Mike Richardson- I’m not quite sure what it is but Mike seems to have a well thought out plan, no dirt and the just has a personality that one would pay attention to as mayor.

Councillor At Large:

Danny Jardine- I remember Danny from the last election he was one of those people that are deeply rooted in the social aspects of the community, like Donny Snook, that understands the poverty aspect of the city but is that enough, I’m adding this name to my shortlist because the list of candidates that I get to choose from is so pathetic, I think ward 4 might just have the worst turnout than any other part of this city.

Mark LeBlanc- A maybe

Rick Mantle- I think this one could make the council a little interesting.

Chris Titus- This one is a definite vote, many of my favourite memories of council involve this fellow, especially back in the Shirley days. I like that Chris is involved in the community not afraid to express new ideas, and knows the when a horse is being flogged too long.

Councillor Ward 4:

I don’t seem to think that any of these people would be beneficial at the moment on the council chamber, this is one of the reasons that I was so opposed to the entire ward system is that the east is the area where no one that matters seems to ever run.

District Education Council District 1

Sub District 9: No one is running

District Education Council District 8

Zone A: Acclaimed