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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Economic Development - Nanaimo

Below are a couple of news items in a sense related to the prsentation given by the CEO of Nanaimo's new Economic Development Corporation at Mondays City Council Meeting . The CEO Susan Cudahy is not getting off to a great start as can be seen by the news items and the comments made on these items. Following the news items is a letter I wrote to the editor in response.

March 29
Philip Wolf: Cynicism has legitimate roots for Nanaimo residents

March 28
Economic development CEO wants to end negativity about the city
Editorial: Nanaimo could use return of civic pride

As one of those that frequently speak my mind I want to say I contend the vocal minority aka. naysers actually care a great deal for this city and recognize its potential to become great.

Should we sweep our opinions under the rug, gloss over the facts, or like the three monkeys; hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil? I think not. In recognizing potential one must also recognize flaws. Only then can we work to make things better.

Statements like Ms. Cudahay’s ‘the idea we have a lot of unemployed or that people can’t find jobs here is a bit of an urban legend,’ are a perfect example of what raises people ire. Perhaps Ms. Cudahy would like the newly created position of Communication Manager with the City.

Some not to pretty truths about Nanaimo; 18th worst of 92 health areas for Economic Hardship in BC; 15th – More than twice the provincial average - for those on Income Assistance and E.I.; 15% of the population of Nanaimo receiving some form of Income Assistance; 11th highest for youth 19 – 24 on income assistance; 40% of the workforce has only part time jobs; 7.8 percent of families live on less than $20,000 per year; 26% of wage earners earn less than $15,000.00 per year, $3000.00 below established poverty levels.

Sifting through spin there is much the new Economic Development Corporation is doing that makes sense and can have a positive impact however let’s not gloss over the reality. I am proud to be associated with those that are willing to speak out; I am proud to call Nanaimo home; I am proud to be working towards making the community a better place for ALL.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My tardiness explained?

So three posts today, counting this one you could say 4. Part of the reason I have been a tad tardy again in posting is that I have been doing far more with my facebook page Gord Fuller Municipally (A)MUSING

Not much of an excuse but an excuse none the less.


Conference Centre hits capacity

VICC hits maximum capacity next week March 17, 2012
Some excellent comments on this one.

In some effect it really puts into question City Council's obsession for a new hotel for the conference centre. If a conference the size of this one can find enough accomadation then why can't others?

Unbalancing the Budget

Below is a letter to the editor, my first in 5 months, I wrote shortly after Nanaimo City Council passed its 2012 budget as well as recent stories and other letters to do with the 2012 council budget. It is important to know that feedback can still be given to council but the liklihood of the budget now being reduced is slim.

As I mention this is the first time in living memory a budget sugested by staff has actually been increased by council and it all in effect started with council approving themselves a raise.

City finance decisions often made 'In Camera' Gord Fuller March 17, 2012
City finance decisions often made 'in camera' The Daily News
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012

For the first time in living memory of present and past Nanaimo councils, this council has actually approved a budget greater than that initially recommended by city staff.

Starting with a pay raise of 26% over three years then moving on to tax incentives for hotel development and increasing the already top heavy bureaucracy of the city by creating the position of Communication Manager it is no wonder taxpayers feel frustrated and unheard.

These decisions and other wondrous ways of increasing the budget and taxes were all initiated at the little known other regular meeting of city council, the Finance Policy Committee of the Whole. Council has also chosen far more often, it seems, to meet 'in camera.'

An opportunity exists, though council seems reticent to implement it, to video and make available to the public proceedings of Finance Policy Committee of the Whole meetings. This and a distinct time period when 'in camera' meeting information will be made available to the public could go a long way towards the oft-promised, by all candidates during the election, but seldom implemented openness and transparency of council.

Will council learn from its mistakes or will it continue to, as it has in the past, be an example to other cities of how not to govern?

Gordon W. Fuller, Nanaimo

No say for those who don't pay taxes here J.C. Broderick March 24, 2012
Has a point though I wasn’t aware of a lot of letters from out of town. Guess I need to pay more attention or he does.

Escalating city expenses unsustainable and risky Wayne Schulstad March 23, 3012
End urban sprawl to control taxes Ian Gartshore March 19, 2012
Public must challenge council on spending Robert Fuller March 15, 2012
Philip Wolf: City officials need help with communications March 15, 2012
Lowering property tax is not so simple March 14, 2012
Homeowners will bear brunt of new costs in city's financial plan March 13, 2012
No need to spend more money on city pr officer N.A. Ravensbourg March 6, 2012
Mouthpiece may help city Philip Wolf March 1, 2012
City's communication post draws out critics the expense Feb 29, 2012
Bulletin letters and story’s re budget.
Nanaimo Council adopts budget March 17, 2012
Non-essential costs need to be reduced Frank Mendelson March 23, 2012
Financial crisis looming for city Wayne Schulstad March 22, 2012
Council remains tight lipped on many decisions Gord Fuller March 20, 2012
Citizens can’t afford frivolous spending Ron Makepeace March 13, 2012
No research behind new staff position Drake M. Churchbridge March 6, 2012
City outsourcing roles S. I. Petersen March 6 2012
Nanaimo residents already speaking out March 6, 2012