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Life is a journey, Enjoy the trip

Tag: Citizen Engagement (page 1 of 3)

50 Years

50 Years

Where does the time go?

This is my first thought upon realizing my 50th birthday was approaching. In many ways it seemed just yesterday I was celebrating my 40th birthday. Many things have changed since then, some good, some not so good.

To say the previous decade has been a challenge would be an understatement. There have been far too many stressful days (weeks months…) at the same time there have been some good things as well.

One thing that has always happened through the good times and the bad are the support of friends and family. This support has taken many forms from actually helping us through things live moving houses to simply saying “I understand” It has all been helpfully and gratefully received.

The last decade has seen a big change in my professional career. The beginning of the decade saw me in a role I had been in for quite a while and which I was content with. Then with my employer at the time being purchased resulted in going back into the very challenging job market. 6 different positions later I find myself back in the corporate world with the much-needed health care benefits for my family situation.

The previous roles all taught me or confirmed beliefs I had and I am thankful for those opportunities. I hope that I contributed as well to make each organization better as well.

As I look back upon the previous 10 years, I have to look beyond myself but to my community and the world as a whole. Again, a mix of good and not so good but looking back through history we have seen that similar events occur over and over again. The one tragic thing is that we don’t seem to learn from those lessons of history.

Despite that I see good things happening. In the last decade, social media has come into it own for connecting people with ideas (for better or worse). Like any new thing, there are good and bad points. My personal experience has mostly shown good things. I’ve met a bunch of amazing people and had to the opportunity to work for and with some amazing organizations.

One think that has been re-enforced is my belief that people are basically good. In the end, the majority of people want what is good for them, their family and the community as a whole. We should never let those who don’t subscribe to that thinking derail our own beliefs. That does not mean we should ignore them. Looking at all sides of an issue is always a good idea. I still believe there is no such thing as just 2 sides of an issue.

As for the future, I’m looking forward to some projects ahead. You will be hearing/seeing from me more on the broadcast front as well as continuing my work with the London Public Library board. Let’s see what the next 10 years bring.

Thank you and be well.

More than a Promise Broken

The decision of the Federal Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to break their campaign platform promise of Election reform is a truly bad idea.

In the last election, the liberals promised a new era of transparency compared to the previous party in power and in some ways they have done that. However, this was a key campaign platform and many people voted for the Liberals instead of the Green Party or the NDP based on what they promised to do on election reform.

In recent years we have seen people’s views of politicians and the political system become more cynical. This is not without some merit if you look at the last campaign both in the US and Canada.

Many people were hoping that a change was happening from business as usual politics but it looks like it is just more of the same. I found it striking to read tweets and Facebook posts by supporters of the party and I found them very similar to supports of the Conservative party defending a policy that the public did not think was right.

Beyond the issue, itself is the fact that this will make more people more disappointed and cynical about politicians and the political system in general. Having more of the electorate disengage and not being as informed can be a dangerous thing. People are more likely to believe fake news sites and other sources of misinformation.

This issue could have been handled much better. Make a decision on what sort of voting system would be best and put it to the citizens in a referendum. In this way, if the majority of voters did not like the idea then you could say you put it to the people. Instead, all this has done is anger many people who took a chance and wanted change. Those that do choose to participate in the voting process again may not be as trusting in future. And that is the real shame.

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.

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