Food Trucks

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Photo credit: Goodah Gastrotruck

A very quickly written post about food trucks in London

Following the last election which a change in council meant a change in views concerning food trucks the issue was brought back to life. Staff is sending a report to the Community and Protective Services Committee on Wednesday about a food truck pilot plan.

One thing that recently came up as a possible item in the pilot will be the requirement that the food truck owner pay for the installation of a city supplied GPS unit. This in my opinion is an unnecessary addition to the challenges a food truck operator will already have.

The staff report says that having a GPS will allow bylaw staff to determine where a food truck is and if it is obeying the rules set out in the pilot program. In particular the rules regarding distance from an existing restaurant and being in a parking place for a certain amount of time.

Requiring a GPS unit is not only an unnecessary burden for the food truck owner but will not do the job the city wants it to do. A GPS unit is accurate but not so accurate as to pin point the exact parking spot a food truck is in. It will take one court challenge to bring this crashing down. Why would the city want to waste money where there is bylaw enforcement staff already in place? We have a complaint and reporting mechanism that seems to work for other bylaw issues. If were talking about dozens of food trucks then a monitoring solution like this might be an idea but this is not the case.

Restaurants who complain about food trucks threatening their business is a bit of a misleading statement as well. Depending on my mood and how much time I have for a meal determines where I go. I don’t consider them competition. If you are a restaurant owner and are that close to the edge financially then there are other things you need to worry about before food trucks.

Recently during the Mayors state of the city address, it was said that one of councils goals will be to make London a friendlier city to small and medium businesses. Food trucks are a small business. If we are trying to become a ‘startup city’ then lets stop putting roadblocks up on these sort of things. The concept has worked in other cities across North America.

I’m sure when the Community and Protective Services Committee meets it will take a good look at all these issues. The food truck issue first came up in October 2012, it’s time we get things going.

Let’s not screw it up.

Posted in Politics, Random Thoughts Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

David Carr & the future of professional media

https://www.flickr.com/photos/scriptingnews/1562975448/in/photolist-4niVFK-ePS2WK-9gCcS4-h3b6hC-dsDEAS-4EUb8N-6tSxSw-3o7E9y-4oJnG6-3o7E9f-3o7E9j-5A1GBP-diWEXw-4EUabQ-iJPMvy-4ExRVr-9cG6xs-2zmUJE-4qhSrH-2fgZ6U-5eVohs-5QGGhU-7SvKy-6zX8ix-5dTFF2-2xPFfv-5dULGX-5dXR7h-5dUGEz-5eV3mA-5eQyaK-55hEcJ-5V3p53-7SvyD-7SvyG-7SvyF-5mMGQ2-5nbozW-5eQYvT-2eoRy4-7xN511-5dXBLh-5eQz8g-5dXKqh-5dTgPH-5eQncp-5dTgHM-5eUVjq-5dXTo1-5dXNCu

David Carr,a media reporter for the New York Times, passed away suddenly in the newsroom of The Gray Lady on Thursday night. His death is a shock to those who were fortunate enough to know him personally as well as many people (like myself) who read his work.

I remember first reading one of David’s columns back in 2009 and always found them very good. I heard more about him when he released a book about himself called “Night of the Gun” in which he describes his battles with drug and alcohol addiction.

In 2011 he was featured in a documentary called Page One: Inside the New York Times. It’s currently on Netflix Canada and is well worth a watch. There is one very memorable scene in the film where David Carr is interviewing executives at Vice.com a “new” media website. At one point the CEO of Vice throws an inaccurate shot towards the NY Times, David stops him and basically tears him a new one in a very polite but forceful way. This is an example of a journalist who cares about his paper and his craft.

David was first a journalist before anything else. He and many others like him show the value of professional news organizations even in today’s internet society. In the documentary he is filmed working on a story about several problems with the management culture at the Chicago Tribune. You can see how a real news organization gathers information about issues that may not always be the most exciting but are important nevertheless. His co-worker A.O. Scott in his piece today has a great paragraph which sums things up rather well.

“A warrior for the truth.
I can picture his eyebrows shooting upward at that last sentence. A bit much, maybe. But he regarded the newspaper — and all of its digital, televisual and other cognates — as a big, clanking machine for churning out stories. The only rule was that the stories had to be true.”

At the same time that the importance of news organizations has never been more important, the challenges to those very organizations have never been more numerous. The same day that David Carr has passed away, 1/3 of Yahoo Canada’s editorial section were laid off.  In addition Sun News a conservative news network billed as “Fox North” is also shutting down.

Much has been written about the challenges to the traditional media funding model with the rise of the internet. We are able to gather the news quicker and cheaper than ever before, but there is still a need for experienced journalists and news gathering organizations. The need to help analyze these stories and look beyond the ten word soundbyte has never been more apparent. The fact that media organizations that provide a heavily slanted view are running into financial difficulties should not be a surprise to anyone. There is only so much of that sort of “news” an informed public will consume without realizing that there is something missing.

The challenge now is finding a financial model to keep the “true” news organizations around and healthy is more important than ever before.

 

Posted in News, Politics, Random Thoughts, Rants Tagged with: , , ,

For a friend who needs cheering up.

Good things

The sun is shining.

The next generation is being brought up right. We see that in many ways each day.

We live in a city where we have a progressive council open to new ideas. We may not always agree with them, but at least we know they are listening.

We have great organizations both old and new that continue to do good work. Groups are using technology to help get their message out to the communities they serve.

We have friends, colleagues and even strangers that will support each other when needed. I look at all the tweets and facebook posts yesterday with people helping others dig out from the blizzard and I know that many other examples were not posted to social media.

There was a fire in the barn at Storybook Gardens but all the animals made it out.

Despite the cold the sparrows continued to sing in the hedge by the front of my office.

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Seeds for the garden have now arrived.

We can still toboggan in London, and Google has a way to tag your favorite hill

Researchers are working on cures for HIV/Aids and cancer. It will be beaten.

Mental health is no longer talked about in whispers but is instead talked about openly and people are being helped.

We live in a free society where freedom of speech exists. We also live in a society where we are not forced to listen to those who are bigots, negative or have an agenda.

And as a favorite teacher says “Find room to breathe”

Now go out and continue to be amazing.

 

Feel free to add more good things in the comments.

 

Posted in Life, Random Thoughts

Homelessness in Canada. What is the next action?

So everyone is clear I am not an expert in any of the following, it’s just a collection of thoughts and comments that has been spinning around my head the last few days. If you find it useful then it’s a good thing.
Over the last 40 years the homelessness problem in Canada has gotten much worse.

In most provinces and federally, governments of all political sides have not been able to solve the problem. I have become much more aware of this issue thanks for the efforts of groups and individuals to let all Canadian’s know. Homelessness like health are seems to be a very polarizing and complex issue that many citizens would rather leave for someone else to try and find the solution for.

After 40 years we need to & tackle this seriously.

We have had countless studies and trials program showing that the simple fact of providing the homelessness with sage affordable house ultimately solves many problems. It’s also been proven to be cheaper for government and ultimately taxpayers in the long run. Why are we not embracing this approach more?

Political parties of all sides have to work together on this problem. This is not a left vs. right issue. This is an issue that just needs to be solved. Just because the other party has an idea to help move this issue forward does not mean it is wrong. Parties have to realize they are working for all Canadian’s not just the ones that voted them into power. At the same time citizens expect their government to be as transparent about moving these issues forward. Sometimes the choices may not be popular, but is that because citizens have been told things that make for a good sound byte but in reality is stretching the truth? We have seen that through all levels of governments and from all political parties, no one side has a lock on being transparent to the people.

In the case of homelessness we have a solution that gives the people the help they need (making the left happy) and ultimately saves money in the long run (which makes the right happy) Why are we not going forward with this?

Some random notes

  • One reason we need a national strategy is that if one province or local community does a great job in solving homelessness what is to stop everyone from showing up at their doorstep? It needs to be a national response.
  • Some have said there is something about having larger regional hubs.
  • There will always need to be some short of shelter system for emergency and crisis issues.
  • Cost of rental accommodation is out of proportion to what people can afford.
  • Could a basic income strategy help with this and still be cheaper in the long-term?

 

Thanks to some great people such as Cheryl and Abe there are some great resources to learn more about this issue. And these folks are much more knowledgeable about this important issue then I am.

London Homeless Coalition

London CAReS

The Homeless Hub, state of homelessness report for 2014

City of London Homelessness and housing plan

Posted in Life, Random Thoughts Tagged with: , , , ,

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