On racism and the truth in campaigns and the media

I’ve have been fortunate enough to know and work with several communications professionals in my personal and professional career. What we saw today from the Paul Cheng campaign would make any of them cringe.

I think I can safely say that any of them would agree with me on the following points.

When a member of your volunteer staff does something extremely stupid and wrong, like post a racist tweet. It’s a good idea to get rid of them. - Paul Cheng did this.

Instead of just moving on at that point instead blame your opponent, the victim of the racist comment or anyone else who brought it to you attention. – Paul Cheng alas did all of this, therefore politicizing the issue. Racism is an independent issue outside of politics. This then made a small issue bigger.

Then his campaign manager accuses a local media outlet for putting words into Paul Cheng’s mouth. Only problem was Paul was recorded saying that and knew he was on the record. Never tell a lie particularly when there is proof out there.

I don’t always agree what is presented in print/radio/tv , but the ones I’ve met are good people and realize that lying would be very bad for their professional careers and for the industry in general. I realize that the media has a job to do as well, and in the era of cutbacks and mergers it’s tougher then ever. I have a great deal of respect for the profession in general.

There are people I agree with and people I disagree with on issues, but if anyone I know ever behaves in the manner that this person did, they will get called out. Racism has no place in civilized society. No excuses.

UPDATE: Just before I hit publish,  Paul Cheng has offered his apology to Craig Needles and AM980 for the statements made by his campaign manager.

Posted in Politics, Rants Tagged with: ,

On tea and tools. Why choice is a good thing.

keyboard coffeeI

’m sitting here on my front porch on a gorgeous sunny September morning and having a cup of tea. I realize this is the first cup of tea I have had in several months. For me tea seems to be a more cooler weather drink then my usually morning coffee.

For many a choice of beverages is a good parallel to what sort of tools we use in our professional and personal life. For example I may use Focuswriter to write an initial blog post than import it into another application for the formatting and final editing. There are many different apps and services that can help you manage your todo list. Every single one will have fans who think it’s the perfect tool for their needs, and to them it is. Someone else may have tried the same tool and found it lacking, instead turning to another one that meets their needs.

In this way both people are happy. There is also nothing wrong with trying another tool to see if your opinion of it has changed. Like the tools, those who use them may change over time.

A personal example – Over many years I grew to become a big fan of Microsoft’s Outlook email client. I loved the way it displayed and managed several email accounts I have. When I got my first iPhone I started to use the built-in mail client and one feature I loved was a unified inbox. This allows you to view mail from multiple inboxes all in one place. Unfortunately Outlook never has had this feature.

I’ve tried several other email clients, before finally settling on Gmail through the web browser using the activeinbox plugin. With that it met the needs that I needed the most currently in my personal and professional live. If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would use gmail on the browser I would have just laughed.

Similar cases can be made in many other aspects of technology, productivity and life. Use what works for you but be open to change, both in the tools and in yourself.

Question: What tools have you changed that makes you more productive now?

 

Posted in Life, Productivity Tagged with: , , , , ,

Finding Our Way

Most of this was written several months ago but it has been occupying my mind of late. With recent events I think it is time I get it out of my head. Perhaps it’s another step in helping myself (and others) in finding our way.

This post will probably not make me popular with some folks, but please read it all the way through. This has been very difficult and conflicting for me to write. And it is still is more of a rant than a fully structured blog post.

As has been reported in the media, the London and Middlesex Health Unit is looking to distribute crack pipes in two of its locations. This is similar to a program currently in place that distributes free needles to intravenous drug uses.

I have no objection to this plan as long as it’s is fully implemented including offering these drug users alternates and ways to kick the habit. Over the long-term this sort of program does save money in the health sector. However you will never get someone to quit until they are ready to quit.

Many people have spoken out against this program, including business owners and residents in areas where high drug use and homeless / mental health issues seem to be concentrated. I think these business owners and residents should not be dismissed as being NIMBY. Many of these business owners and residents care about and want to help people in these circumstances. But if they are out of business because no customers are coming in, or feel uncomfortable stepping out of their homes, what should they do? Do we allow someone to commit a crime or be anti social just because of their income or health?

Many will say the businesses and residents should suck it up and help change the system. Most people will agree the system has to change, but the complexity’s involved mean that it is going to take time. What can be done in the mean time?
There will always be a small percentage of people who do not want help and will be anti social. How does it helped the community if a business moves away because of this issue. We all have equal rights, but do we have blind spots in some areas?

We see similar things in terms of mental health. We all know the current mental health system has many problems and far too many people are not getting the care they need. This can also be tied to the state of homelessness in our country.

There is also a shift needed in health care for people on low and fixed income. These folks are often shocked to see drug users obtaining needles for free where they have to pay out-of-pocket for needles and supplies for valid health issues like diabetes. Not having the ability to afford such items ultimately drives up health care costs. These concerns need to be addressed as well.

Helping those who need the help the most should not just be restricted to the most at risk. How do we bring all these elements together? How do we draw a line that all can agree and live with? There are no simple answers and it’s going to take all of us to come up with it.

 

Posted in Random Thoughts, Rants Tagged with: , ,

Letter to Council re: Kingsmills – Fanshawe

Here is a copy of a letter I am sending to the Mayor and all members of London CIty Council in regards to the Kingsmills – Fanshawe proposal for downtown. For more info see here or here.

 

I am a resident of London in Ward 7, work in Soho and enjoy all aspects of what London has to offer.

Council’s decision to stop funding for Fanshawe’s expansion plan into the old Kingsmill’s building is a very shortsighted decision.

Many of you who voted against this campaigned on “Jobs Jobs Jobs” and to increase the tax base. Fanshawe expanding into the core will bring $86 million of “shovel ready” projects to the downtown core. In addition, over $9 million worth of direct economic activity would be realized for years. Not bad for an extra $1 million per year.

In addition reopening this debate would show great leadership of council in supporting the London Plan. Council has shown its support for the London plan and the downtown in the past. Studies have shown time and time again that bringing higher learning into downtown are a benefit to the downtown but also to the community as a whole. Look at Cambridge, Toronto and other centres for some examples. Please listen to the experts, particularly your own planning and financial staff. Part of council’s job is looking at the long-term, not just what may get you some sound bytes and votes in the next election if you are running again.

Several of you have indicated you are not planning to run again. Support a visionary project like this and let that be your legacy. There has been enough negative things said about this council in the last 4 years. Let’s try and have a positive thing.

Respectfully

Stuart Clark

Ward 7

Posted in Politics Tagged with: , , ,

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