Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why you should always have a healthy disrespect for politicians .....

"Juday! Juday! Juday!"
Good Day Readers:

As much as she might like Cary Grant was not referring to mayoral candidate Judy Wasylcia-Leis, rather, to Judy Garland. As host of the 1955 Lux Radio Theatre that's how he introduced her.

Why should you have a healthy disrespect for politicians? Because they're all Mark Twains, "Do as I say not as I do." Alternatively stated by American documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, "Keep a very close watch on those in power. That pretty well sums it up.

Even on her way to City Hall to sign her nomination papers it was blah ... blah ... blah ... blah ... blah for JWL. Next day it was more blah ... blah ... blah ... blah ... blah ... for the benefit of the media. Some might refer to it as pandering before the cameras but she hit the ground running.

It's interesting to compare that approach to "Dapper Dan The Man No Scandal Vandal's." On May 28 of this year he was nominated to run against Shelly "The Shelly" Glover federally in the Saint Boniface, Manitoba riding. To date not a peep from him. To defeat Canada's most patriotic (colour her Canadian flag red) Member of Parliament he's going to need one hunkin, mother of all campaign teams.While you can expect an anti-Harper government wave of sentiment to flow across the country (the Harperites have ...ed off far too many Canadians), more pronounced in some regions and areas than others, "Dapper" would be very foolish indeed to assume that will be enough to blow her pantyhose off to get her out of office.

Besides, there are rumours already starting to circulate the next federal election may be moved up from the October 15 mandated date. If true "Dapper Dan" better quickly transform into "Fast Dan."

Truth is the Harper government could have balanced the budget with a tidy surplus last time around but knowing an election was on the horizon waited for the next one. There will most likely be an election call very shortly after it's handed down. Why? Simple then it will be flush with your money it can use to buy your votes. You've got to love Stephen Harper style democracy.

A special thank you to the reader who sent these two articles along about Manitoba's "Judah! Judah! Judah!" The Winnipeg Sun's Tom Brodbeck is worth a read because of his knack for cutting through a whack of information to quickly cut to the chase. Topics covered by The Rod, on the other hand, are part humous, satirical and acerbic.

But above all, folks, never trust a politician especially if an election is near or underway and you won't be disappointed.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Nowhere fast: Judy's plan ignores gaping infrastructure deficit

By Tom Brodbeck
Tuesday, June 3, 2015
If mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis wants to make infrastructure renewal the main plank of her campaign platform, she better start doing some research on how much it will cost to fix our roads, sidewalks, back lanes and sewer and water system.

Because after Tuesday's official campaign kick off, she doesn't appear to have a clue how much funding is required to even start repairing our aging infrastructure.

"We want our city to be known for the good, not the bad," said Wasylycia-Leis in her inaugural campaign speech. "We want our city to be known as the home of the Jets and the Blue Bombers, not for potholes."
Trouble is, the former NDP MP doesn't have a plan to fix the city's crumbling infrastructure beyond annual tax hikes that look very much like the tax increases homeowners are already paying.

Wasylycia-Leis said she would cap property tax increases at the rate of inflation and population growth.
"I am committed, as you would guess, to an affordable, no-surprises tax plan that invests in the services you need but keeps taxes connected to the rate of inflation and population growth," she said.

When asked later to clarify what she meant exactly by that, she said:

"I promised that I will have an affordable, no-surprises predictable tax increase that will set as parameters the rate of inflation and population growth," she said. "It will be no greater than the rate of inflation and population growth."

OK, so let's do the math on that. According to Statistics Canada, Winnipeg's consumer price index is 2.2% right now. And population growth is projected to be 1.3% in 2014, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

Combined, under Wasylycia-Leis's plan, that would be a maximum property tax increase this year of 3.5%. It's not much different than the 2.95% property tax city council already approved for 2014, especially when you consider that a 1% increase in property taxes only brings in about $4.5 million.

Under Wasylycia-Leis's plan, if she reached her maximum 3.5% tax increase this year, she would only bring in about $2.5 million more than what the city is already raising. That's enough to rehabilitate about three kilometre lanes of regional road.

I asked her if she had any other ideas beyond raising taxes similar to what city council already has planned for the next 20 years, which is a minimum annual tax hike of 2%. She said we'll have to wait for more details on that. In other words, she doesn't know.

I don't expect any quick-fix solutions to rehabilitate Winnipeg's crumbling infrastructure. It took decades of financial mismanagement β€” including the past 10 years under Mayor Sam Katz β€” to get us where we are today. And I don't expect everything can be fixed overnight. What I do expect, though, is for a serious candidate running for mayor to have a working knowledge of the city's finances. Because to suggest that a two, three or four percent tax increase every year is going to make a dent in Winnipeg's infrastructure deficit is not just naive, it shows that Wasylycia-Leis and her campaign team haven't done any research at all into the city's infrastructure problem.

Funding alone for Winnipeg's local and regional street should be at $140 million a year right now just to maintain what we have, according to the 2014 capital budget. But the city is only planning to spend $75 million on local and regional roads this year, even with this year's property tax increase. Which means another $65 million will be added to the city's infrastructure deficit this year. And Wasylycia-Leis is talking about adding a couple of million bucks to the pot?

It's a pretty lame way to kick off a campaign.
"Knock! Knock! Knock!" ... Who's there?" ... "The Black Rod you dummies wakie, wakie parliamentarians time to get up, get off your ass to do some work and stop financially raping taxpayers!"

The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England. Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) E-mail: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com



Too much of her own money, not enough of yours. Judy runs for Mayor.

When it comes to electing a mayor, nothing says a city is dynamic, bold, and thriving like a stara baba collecting an old-age pension.

This week Judy Wasylycia-Leis, 63 in August, announced her second run at the mayor's job. She still has zero experience at City Hall, still marches to the orders of the NDP, collects two retirement pensions and would be getting a third, her old age security cheque, if Mayor. Do you feel the excitement, yet?

Despite getting trounced by Sam Katz in the mayoral election four years ago, JWL thinks her campaign the second time around needs only minor tinkering. Most specifically, she doesn't have to pretend to be apologetic for promising higher taxes.

Katz handily defeated JWL by at least paying lip service to protecting seniors and low-income homeowners from her promised tax hikes. Of course, it turns out he was either lying or ..., well, lying, because the first thing he did after re-election was start raising property taxes.

JWL can now proudly make tax hikes front and centre to her campaign for Mayor because most of the other candidates for the job also call for higher taxes for - wait for it - infrastructure. There. The magic word. Say it and you can spend endlessly, without shame or regret.

And JWL is proof of that. On the very first day of her campaign she declared herself in favour of spending $4 billion on a citywide bus rapid transit system and against a referendum to ask the taxpaying public if BRT was their priority too.

On her second day she spelled out her formula for constant tax increases---inflation plus growth. The Winnipeg Free Press worked out that this would have meant a tax increase of 3.5 percent in 2014 instead of Sam Katz's 2.95 percent.

Vote Judy for higher taxes and rampant spending. And that's a promise.

Oh, and here's the joke. You won't find JWL taking a bus. Like all the politicians who want to spend your money on a gold-plated public transit system, she's much too busy to take the bus. She brags she rides her bike when she's not driving.

On the day she announced her run for Mayor, JWL told CJOB her 25 year-old son was biking home to Winnipeg from the University of Waterloo. She wanted him to eventually move here after graduation to work, and she said, she didn't want to leave him a second-class city without a modern transit system. So ... what's going to keep an educated young man in his mid-20's in Winnipeg? The ability to take a bus around town?

Don't laugh until you see his field of study:

(from the blog Jessica's Transit Talks http://winnipegtransittalks.com/)

"... he’s at the University of Waterloo doing his masters in environmental studies. His whole research area is in community resilience and his thesis is going to be on linking culture and art, specifically linking festivals as a vehicle for helping build a transformative society that is sustainable in the face of peak oil and environmental deprivation and economic collapse.”

Okay, laugh now.

During the last election, we pointed out how completely out of touch with the voters 'Just Judy' was. Her whole life had been spent as a soldier in the NDP army, towing the party line, voting the party line, living the party life.

Having never worked a day in her life in a real job, she had no clue what life was like for an ordinary working family.

It was only during this campaign when we realized how far off the mark we were. Judy Wasylycia-Leis is even more out of touch with the average taxpayer than we ever imagined.

She's a white-wine socialist. A one-percenter slumming as a 'woman of the people.' She pledged on radio to give her MP's pension to charity if elected mayor. That means she's willing to give away at the least $68,000 a year without a thought. And, she added proudly, she'll give away her MLA's pension from the Manitoba Legislature, as well. In 2010 she actually said she didn't know how much her MLA pension was, that's how insignificant it was to her bottom line.

In a political riding that's one of the poorest in the country, Judy Wasylycia-Leis is ready to give away -- what do you say?- at least $80,000 in total pension income because she will be so flush that she won't need the money.

Yep, she really relates to her former constituents, the very people she intends to soak with higher property taxes if she gets the chance so that she can spend their money on her boutique projects - - white elephant museums, a BRT system they'll never use, interpretive centres nobody wanted, a spectacular exhibit for polar bears that they can't afford to attend or bring their children.

Judy Wasylycia-Leis has her priorities, only they're not the public's.
Listen to the so-called pundits and they'll tell you JWL is the front-runner in a field of right-wing candidates and her.

They're wrong.

This election is not about political wings. It's about voting for unending tax increases or not.

Since these pundits are all in well-paying jobs where annual tax increases are just a mosquito bite, they're in favour of spending on boutique projects. (Winnipeg Free Press columnists and editorialists earn $70,000 and up and have guaranteed jobs for life.) They'll be promoting the tax hikers over the tax resisters and, of course, the biggest spender-to-be will get the most favourable coverage.

Current Mayor Sam Katz is not going to run again. You can call him many things, but stupid is not one of them. To run for Mayor again, Katz would have to run against himself. In the 2010 election he either lied about not raising taxes or flip-flopped so quickly that there's no difference. In either case, he's proven he can't be trusted to keep his word.

He would be running with the stink of Phil Sheegl choking everyone around him. Sam Katz brought Sheegl into civic government, endorsed him, publicly insulted anyone who challenged Sheegl's competence as the city's Chief Administrative Officer, covered up as long as he could for the scandals sweeping Winnipeg that all lead right Sheegl's office. Katz would be carrying that dead albatross around his neck everywhere he went.

Katz would be running on a track record of his own incompetence. Remember his own declarations that the new football stadium wouldn't cost taxpayers a cent more because of a "guaranteed maxium price"? Or his claim that he knew all along that the "guaranteed maximum price" for the new police station was not guaranteed, nor a maximum.

And, of course, there's that niggling question of how Sam Katz, the Mayor, managed to buy a million dollar house in Phoenix for $10 from a relative of an official of Shindo, the company that got the contract for four new firehalls from Phil Sheegl after a rigged bidding process that eliminated every other potential contender. When the sale was revealed, Katz said he paid cash for the house above the $10 on the books, but he offered no proof, which, of course is the purpose of an alleged cash transaction.

So there won't be a rematch between Sam and 'JustJudy'. Not that it matters.

Because she's not really running for mayor. Remember, she's a party hack and has always been a party hack. She's running as a trial horse for the provincial NDP, which wants to see prior to the next provincial election just how much the NDP brand repels voters. They want to see if they can buy their way back into office, if taxpayers will forgive the increase in PST if the government can utter the magic word - infrastructure - and spend, spend, spend to victory.

In the Brave New World of the NDP, even a stara baba has her role to play.

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