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The Podcast Ep. 01 Posting Fire Code Violations

My first episode of putting some of my casual thoughts on topics of the day down in podcast format. These will vary in length.  Tonight’s, for example, is under 4 min.

This time. London City Council and posting fire code violations.

 

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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