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Are you happy with your municipal government?

  • Yes! They are doing a fantastic job!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • They're doing a good job, all things considered.

    Votes: 2 14.3%
  • I'm not very happy. They could definitely do better.

    Votes: 2 14.3%
  • Sometimes I think a group of baboons couldn't do any worse.

    Votes: 10 71.4%

  • Total voters
    14
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Since moving to Ottawa, I've been amazed at the indecisiveness and apparent incompetence of the municipal government. Every single decision seems to be endlessly debated, they constantly seem to tread into areas that are more appropriately handled by other levels of government and generally the unions seem to be running the city.

I don't know if things have changed in the past 6 years since I moved away, but in comparison, the municipal government of Richmond BC and even Vancouver seemed much better. Sure they had the same left-right squabbles, but it seemed that eventually one side won out and a decision was made.

I think I attribute this to the following:

- In Ottawa there is a ward system, where every neighborhood votes in their own councilor. This leads to a tendency of councilors to look out for their ward over the good of the city in general. In Richmond or Vancouver, the entire population voted for their choice of councilors from a candidates list. (I hope they haven't change this -- there was great pressure to do so before I left.)

- In BC there was a municipal party system. This gave voters a good yardstick as to where a candidate stood and the tendency was for a party of like-minded individuals to win a majority. In Ottawa, a party system is currently not sanctioned by the provincial government and in my opinion this gives councilors much leeway to deceive voters.

- Ontario downloads a great deal of social services onto the municipal governments which further complicates and adds financial pressure to the municipalities.

- The following is a problem everywhere, but I don't think municipal public sector workers should be allowed to strike because unlike private industry the balance of power is totally in their favour. I would prefer a panel of citizens from various walks of life, determine the appropriate wage increase. If municipal workers are permitted to strike, I think that tax payers should have the right to vote on holding a "tax strike" whenever property taxes rise significantly above the rate of inflation.

So:

Are you happy with your municipal government?

What type of system to you have?

What do you think should be changed?
 

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"In Ottawa there is a ward system, where every neighborhood votes in their own councilor. This leads to a tendency of councilors to look out for their ward over the good of the city in general. "

This is almost the entire problem and unfortuneately, it is not going to change. The other problem, in politics in general, is that voters do not mind when a politician lies to them. They just keep re-electing them and then wonder later why these politicians act like this.

A pure mystery to me. Since almost all politician act like this (since if they told the truth, no one would vote for them), I tend to have to vote against all encumbent politicians, each election and only get to vote for the other guy/girl who hasn't lied to me yet.

My point is if more people acted like me, you would be surprised at how more honest your politicians might actually get. You only have their platforms to go on and if they are nothing but a bunch of lies, you might as well flip a coin. If all I end up getting is the biggest idiot in office, who is honest, I feel we would start to have some improvement.

That is why Dalton McGuinty and Stephen Harper must go. Not because they are not able bodied leaders and maybe even the best leaders, but because they believe that they can lie about their platforms during an election. I have nothing else against them, but honesty is more important that the platform itself.
 

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The in-fighting, pork barrelling and indecision have left Hamilton devoid of vision. In the truest sense of the word; a metropolis in decline. This has been going on for 50 years now and has left us with the largest employers in the region being Hamilton Health Sciences followed by McMaster University. If it wasn't for gov't sponsored or paid for jobs of one sort or another there would be nothing here beyond low wage service sector jobs for what amounts now to a bedroom community rather than the industrial manufacturing base of earlier times. The loss of high paying private sector jobs to Burlington, Brantford, K/W and Woodstock can largely be placed at the feet of a couple of generations worth of municipal politicians and bureaucrats who clung to a belief that this city was indispensable and refused to make investments in the future to attract future economic growth.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Even though I've been venting, it would also be interesting to hear from any of you who think your municipal government is doing a good job. What do they do that has you pleased? Generally how do they run the city/town? What kind of system is it - a ward system or a slate of candidates that the entire population chooses from?
 

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i'm the solitary voter who voted that "they're doing a good job all things considered."

its a tiny municipality, less than 5000 voters. It's a ward system. It's mostly a residential community. There's a touch of light industry, a few commercial districts that have been dubbed "villages," complete with flowers trailing out of planters & the odd strolling minstrel in summer, plus a fair number of small service industries with fewer than 40 employees.

i don't know if we're lucky or what, but the councillors tend to be civic-minded, conscientious, hyper-educated. I've never seen a case of one ward being favoured. It's a cross between brigadoon and socrates-in-the-agora.

when i compare local muni politics to the federal murkiness in ottawa, all is translucent & bright.
 

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My municipal govt. (town govt.) has been corrupt, lacklustre, laid back and free-loader.
They have sold out the town to the likes to builders, property developers and big business real estate developers.
They have turned the town from a quiet, friendly, hospitable community into a land grab opportunity for big city developers.
That has brought traffic, crime, industrialization and all its accompanying problems with it.
At the same time, the money has not been invested in bettering infrastructure, local hospitals, day care centers and social services.
Taxes are increasing at an inexorable rate of 6% every year and all the money is going towards lining the pockets of the local councillors.
Long live grassroots capitalism.
You can guess which one of the options above my vote is.
 

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I live in Edmonton, and I'm unhappy with my municipal government too. My main complaint is that the mayor and city councillors are spendthrifts. I've seen my property tax double in the last 7 years without any increase in services. In fact, the quality of service has decreased. There are more and more potholes, and the snow removal service is less frequent now.

The local government has bizarre ideas on making Edmonton a "great" city. The Edmonton Indy was put on with support from the city and has lost money the last 2 years - according to organizers (they won't release final attendance figures). Also, we (the taxpayers) just spent 88 million on an ugly-as-sin new art gallery. How many people are going to move to Edmonton just for the art gallery? Now the city council is pursuing the World's Fair - at a projected cost of 2.4 billion dollars. If the projection is 2.4 billion, the REAL cost is almost certainly higher. While city government pursues all these idiotic ideas, basic services are suffering. A while ago someone snuck into my brother's backyard. It was probably a drunk kid of a neighbor (there was a party), but it was too dark to be sure. When my brother called 911 he was told that police would probably not respond (they didn't) because they were too busy!

I would much rather city government concentrate on making Edmonton a good city (low cost of living, reasonable cost of city services, prudent fiscal management) rather than pursuing idiotic, pie-in-the-sky events in the hopes of making Edmonton a "great" city.
 

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I live in Osgoode, which became part of Ottawa when 'they' decide it would save $ to combine some surrounding areas of Ottawa into Ottawa itself.

So far all I see is my property tax bill going up and up based on Ottawa increases while we get nothing new in return. Not even public transit here. Nothing has changed from what I can tell except that I pay way more to now be a proud member of 'Ottawa'. :mad:
 

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Are you happy with your municipal government?

What type of system to you have?

What do you think should be changed?

Overall I have minimal complaints. We have a ward system, 10 councilors and a mayor. We tried the "no-ward" thing a while ago but nobody really liked it. Too many neighbourhoods felt they were "not represented" because even though the councillors were supposed to represent the whole city, there was "over-representation" from certain areas. We went back to the ward system

I think one of the things that seems to be good is that even with the wards, councillors don't seem to put their ward ahead of the good of the city as a whole. Plus, I don't know of any councillor (oh, maybe one) who is openly a member of a political party, so "party politics" are not really a part of things. Yes, some councillors lean a bit one way or another, but there is no open party participation/influence in elections.

I am one of the only people I know that actually pays attention to city council, and watches all the meetings (when I can). Friends/family/neighbours that complain, do lots of whining, but don't pay attention at all. While I might not agree with some decisions, because I actually pay attention I usually understand why the decision was made.

Lately everyone seems to be complaining about snow clearing. You hear lots of "Winnipeg is way better". Sure they are, they spend 4X as much per Km of roadway. Everybody wants more/better, but nobody wants to pay for it.
 

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My current town, Milton, sucks big time, although that is largely because there was a huge gap in development. The town built up in the late 70's then because of water didn't grow for 20 odd years. So "old" Milton votes for the old boys club, but it's encouraging that "new" Milton now has enough people to get a fair number of wards so we might start seeing some change.

That said, I have to say that I really do regret leaving Mississauga. It was really well run, and not just by Hazel, although she's fantastic, but their planners and co-ordinators are top notch. They don't cheap out on contractors or give them "whenever you're done" contracts, and unlike Milton, they don't build new bridges without making sure they own the land on the other side. (Yes, for over a year now we've still had to use the old one-lane wood bridge because they don't own 50 feet of land at the other end of the brand new concrete two-lane bridge).
 

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I live in Ottawa, guess which vote option I selected. Public Transit (strike), green bin roll-out, property taxes, lack of infastructure (Farhaven), city sprawl (what Greenbelt?)... this place is a MESS.
 

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Overall I have minimal complaints. We have a ward system, 10 councilors and a mayor. We tried the "no-ward" thing a while ago but nobody really liked it. Too many neighbourhoods felt they were "not represented" because even though the councillors were supposed to represent the whole city, there was "over-representation" from certain areas. We went back to the ward system

I think one of the things that seems to be good is that even with the wards, councillors don't seem to put their ward ahead of the good of the city as a whole. Plus, I don't know of any councillor (oh, maybe one) who is openly a member of a political party, so "party politics" are not really a part of things. Yes, some councillors lean a bit one way or another, but there is no open party participation/influence in elections.

I am one of the only people I know that actually pays attention to city council, and watches all the meetings (when I can). Friends/family/neighbours that complain, do lots of whining, but don't pay attention at all. While I might not agree with some decisions, because I actually pay attention I usually understand why the decision was made.

Lately everyone seems to be complaining about snow clearing. You hear lots of "Winnipeg is way better". Sure they are, they spend 4X as much per Km of roadway. Everybody wants more/better, but nobody wants to pay for it.
Wow is this ever coincidental. On Monday evening I appeared on a panel with the presidents of other provincial parties to discuss the topic "Does Winnipeg City Hall Need Political Parties?" It is unbelievable how little people understand about the interference of provincial parties (well mainly the provincial NDP) in Winnipeg elections and council. I represented the point in favour of formalizing the role of parties at City Hall and got the impression the audience agreed with me.

Winnipeg is just awful in regards to our City Hall...embarrassing even.
 

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David I think overall Wpg is doing a good job. The laast few snow dumps were cleared away quickly, my garbage is picked up weekly, and lets not forget property taxes have stayed the same for over a decade.
Mind you this is at the expense of the south end of the city that pays taxes, but has to use existing infrastructure.
Our school boards on the other hand, lets just say there should be a criminal investigation.

As for Larry, and CC saying Edmonton is bad, I thought Alberta was the land of milk and honey where taxes are low and living is cheap? My ex bro in law lives in Calgary and seemed to think it was mecca.
 

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Hi:

Having run for municipal office, I'd say then guys are doing OK all considered. The reality is that most of what they do is dictated by the province.

Things like wheelchair ramps that have never seen a wheelchair because there is nobody in my township thus disabled.

Things like the disaster planning expenses when in reality the rural people around me are in far better shape to look after themselves than city people if the electricity goes out for 2 weeks or whatever.

Things like $170,000 to replace two culverts covered with gravel than one knows darn well that 70 years ago it was done by two guys and two horses in two weeks. Now we need the engineer and the building inspector and the environmental impact assesment. What is particularly galling is that when the government has a project that they are interested in, they waive the environmental impact assessments: see the plasma gasification prototype project in Ottawa.

Things like the zoning bylaw which nobody is interested in around here, but I am sure the province dictated that we must have one.

There is no distinction by the province in the responsibilities and rules of a municipality of 1200 and the city of Toronto. Apparently there was a report some years ago about shutting down rural Ontario because we are not cost effective. Of course, the reason we are not cost effective is because of all the provincial rules and regulations.

If I had my way, I'd eliminate municipal government. The province basically dictates what the local guys do, but the local guys take the heat. Nice deal for the province.

I moved out of Ottawa into the middle of nowhere because I wanted to escape government. Unfortunately, I didn't understand at the time, but I needed to at least leave Ontario, if not Canada, to achieve this goal.

hboy43
 

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David I think overall Wpg is doing a good job. The laast few snow dumps were cleared away quickly, my garbage is picked up weekly, and lets not forget property taxes have stayed the same for over a decade.
Mind you this is at the expense of the south end of the city that pays taxes, but has to use existing infrastructure.
Our school boards on the other hand, lets just say there should be a criminal investigation.
I think your opinion of what city policy covers is too narrow. Think about City Planning and our city is a failure. Have you not heard how our infrastructure needs BILLIONS of cash immediately just to maintain what we have? Our parks are neglected. Housing is on shakey ground. Transportation is ineffecient. Developers tell the City what we need and the City bends over backwards to do their bidding. We don't compare to other cities.

This is not really a topic for this forum.
 

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i'm the solitary voter who voted that "they're doing a good job all things considered."

its a tiny municipality, less than 5000 voters. It's a ward system. It's mostly a residential community. There's a touch of light industry, a few commercial districts that have been dubbed "villages," complete with flowers trailing out of planters & the odd strolling minstrel in summer, plus a fair number of small service industries with fewer than 40 employees.

i don't know if we're lucky or what, but the councillors tend to be civic-minded, conscientious, hyper-educated. I've never seen a case of one ward being favoured. It's a cross between brigadoon and socrates-in-the-agora.

when i compare local muni politics to the federal murkiness in ottawa, all is translucent & bright.
oh,sorry I don't understand.
does It have purpose for us ?

Thanks
_________________
_Kaleo Handing
[email protected]
[email protected]
 

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David I think overall Wpg is doing a good job. The laast few snow dumps were cleared away quickly, my garbage is picked up weekly, and lets not forget property taxes have stayed the same for over a decade.
Mind you this is at the expense of the south end of the city that pays taxes, but has to use existing infrastructure.
Our school boards on the other hand, lets just say there should be a criminal investigation.
I think your opinion of what city policy covers is too narrow. Think about City Planning and our city is a failure. Have you not heard how our infrastructure needs BILLIONS of cash immediately just to maintain what we have? Our parks are neglected. Housing is on shakey ground. Transportation is ineffecient. Developers tell the City what we need and the City bends over backwards to do their bidding. We don't compare to other cities.

This is not really a topic for this forum.
I agree 100% when it comes to planning.
We are pathetic, behind the times, and a decaying city.
Way back when we were actually cutting edge, the hub of north america. 1st city to have 911 computer dispatch, 1st modern fire hydrant system, etc.
What the hell happened? We cannot move trafic, our trafic lights are not timed properly. Who the hell puts lights on a perimeter hyway???

We put up big box stores, and instead of a service road to turn off (like the US), we throw up more lights.
How many lights are on bishop from 59 to the airport?
 

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David I think overall Wpg is doing a good job. The laast few snow dumps were cleared away quickly, my garbage is picked up weekly, and lets not forget property taxes have stayed the same for over a decade.
Mind you this is at the expense of the south end of the city that pays taxes, but has to use existing infrastructure.
Our school boards on the other hand, lets just say there should be a criminal investigation.

I agree 100% when it comes to planning.
We are pathetic, behind the times, and a decaying city.
Way back when we were actually cutting edge, the hub of north america. 1st city to have 911 computer dispatch, 1st modern fire hydrant system, etc.
What the hell happened? We cannot move trafic, our trafic lights are not timed properly. Who the hell puts lights on a perimeter hyway???

We put up big box stores, and instead of a service road to turn off (like the US), we throw up more lights.
How many lights are on bishop from 59 to the airport?
The point is not that we cannot handle our traffic so much as our planning has failed to minimize the dependence on vehicles for any real quality of life. Developers tell the City that 'we' need another residential development (the one they are proposing!) and our City says 'Oh - thanks for letting us know. We will have to twin this road and that road so you can build your development...and we will get the taxpayers in the other neighbourhoods to pay for it. We will run transit there at great expense and no one will use it because our routes are so limited. Every one will drive anyway because there is nothing to walk to for 5 kilometers in any direction (except a car dealership or a gas station). Cities that are attractive and pleasant places to live/visit are ones that invest in the downtown and parks, shorelines, historic neighbourhoods etc. Not stucco shack tract housing with a street plan that looks like brain coral (from google's satelite images).
 
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