Monday, February 18, 2008

Start Spreading the News

Over the last week or so, a couple of media outlets have done interviews with me about this blog. The first to pick up on it was CTV, who had left a message while I was in Regina at SUMA, and we did an interview when I got back which aired on the weekend. Then last week CBC Radio called and we did an interview which aired Friday morning. The result has been emails and enquiries from people asking for the blog address, which is good. The whole point of this blog is to improve communications with the residents of Ward Three and Prince Albert as a whole, so more people reading it accomplishes at least half of the communications picture. The other half is people responding, and I appreciate the positive feedback that I've been getting.

CBC Radio did ask another councillor what he thought of the blog, and his comment was something to the effect that I shouldn't have said that council is dysfunctional, because that makes council look bad. In other words, appearance is what is important, not effectiveness, and we should all pretend that things are working just fine.

When I said that council was dysfunctional, I was just agreeing with an assessment that had been in an editorial in the local paper, so I'm hardly the first one to raise this. In my opinion, a functional council would be one that discusses issues openly, gives ample opportunity for the public to have input on these issues, votes according to what is best for the city as a whole, and focuses its efforts on those issues within its mandate. I think that the current council discourages discussion and debate to an amazing extent, rushes through votes before public input, and raises issues within council that are not appropriate. To pretend that this is an effective way of leading the city doesn't fool anyone.

As Dr. Phil says, "You can't change what you don't acknowledge." I think that the people of Prince Albert would welcome a council that recognizes its difficulties, and works towards resolving these difficulties, not one that tries to put on a good front for the media, but then continues its dysfunctional ways.

I don't know if things will get better at council, but I will continue to ask questions, propose solutions, and try to get answers. I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't.

No council meeting this week. Normally on a holiday Monday, the meeting would be the next day, but because this is the school break when people might be away, it was decided that council would be postponed until next week.

"If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people." - Virginia Woolf

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