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previous: Mark Hammer 1) "Hamilton". I hear you. My in-... -- 1094572230 View Thread

Re: Apologies in advance for the length

9/8/2004 8:48 AM
Wild Bill
Re: Apologies in advance for the length
Well, we seem to agree about amalgamation! :)  
I would differ about the only thing preventing municipalities from de- amalgamating is being broke. Suburbs would love to dump the "black hole" of the core city!  
I think it's more likely that the province saw cities running big deficits and stuck the suburbs rather than have to pay for the bailout themselves. This is the only reason I can think of as to why Harris would have screwed his suburban voter base to favour the Hamilton core, which always voted for his political opponents. It cost him badly at election time in this area.  
So universal bans are necessary because the situation is so complicated? Could be! I've never been impressed with the intelligence behind most political solutions. I'm willing to believe the problem is too much for them! :)  
However, I don't see why it has to be THAT complicated! You argue as if clubs must cater to everbody, of any smoking preference or of any age. Why? Why can't an owner simply choose his market? Those that don't like it can go somewhere else! Then there would be no extra costs such as ventilation or a designated lounge at all.  
Is a solution that puts them out of business fair?  
To return to my original point about misleading stats and data, I was watching a news spot yesterday showing workers in a club expressing gladness over a smoking ban. They spoke only of being glad to escape the smell on their clothes and the offense to their noses and made no mention at all of any effect on trade or their job security. I found this rather contrived and totally irrelevant to any loss of business. I wondered if they had scoured the city and at last finding some staff that would say what they wanted. I've spoken to many people in that trade and have never heard anything but complaints about job insecurity. Perhaps it's like that old story of a commercial touting "4 out of 5 doctors prefer..." when the kicker of course is that they went through 100 doctors to find that 4...  
BTW, it was the CBC. 'Nuff said!  
As for your point about the "state having a social/moral responsibility to help people off one chemical dependency..." again my answer is that not all of us share this view. Furthermore, once you go down this path the situation can't help but become political. Who decides which or what category of a chemical dependency? Who equates having a smoke to shooting up? With situations of social engineering, such thinking can be used to justify ANYTHING! Why on earth would anybody trust the state to be qualified in such matters, given its sorry track record?  
You mentioned "abusive gambling alcoholics". Have you been following how in Hamilton one manager of the civic entertainment committee became a compulsive gambler and ripped off the city for nearly half a million dollars? After being fired he launched a lawsuit claiming his firing was unfair - that the city had an obligation to forgive him due to his addiction problem.  
Mark, they're paying him! The inmates are running the asylum...with OUR money!  
You equate stop signs with anti-smoking laws. Again, I disagree. Once you invoke "moral responsibility" to justify social engineering you have to define whose moral definition. Yours? Mine? That of that city manager I mentioned? Or that of our duly elected representatives?  
The best definition I ever heard about "the good of society" went something like "Society is everybody in general and no one in particular but it is never YOU!"  
It's the debating equivalent of a kid using "dynamite" in the game of "scissors, rock and paper". It makes the game pointless.  
You talk about citizens dissatisfied with social medicine being free to seek alternatives. I made the point before that in Canada such alternatives are illegal! This is the crux of the debate about privitization of medical service! If I don't want to wait 6 months for an MRI my only alternative is to leave the country and pay for it myself. A private option domestically is illegal. So how can citizens behave like consumers in such a situation? Most of us can't afford to jump over the border and more important, why should we have to?  
I still remember how the Ontario premier of a few terms back sent a member of his family to Buffalo for quick treatment...  
Glad to hear your bypass operation was successful. Did you have to wait long? I lost my younger brother last year...not to any delay, I admit. He had regular checkups - aced his blood pressure and sugar tests and seemed the picture of health. His heart failed and he was gone before he hit the floor. Since then I have spoken to a number of people who have lost friends and family and have been struck by the number who tell me how they died while waiting for treatment. Yet I've never seen stats on this problem in the media. Perhaps you can direct me to some.  
As for Walkerton, was not Mr. Cable a civic employee? My understanding was that he headed the Public Works Dept. I agree that perhaps the province could have overseen the muncipality better but are we talking a check on a check on a check and so on? It seems ridiculous to me to blame the province for everything when Cable drew public money for his job to manage their water system. Did Mike Harris hold a gun to his head and MAKE the man leave that well open to tainted runoff? Absurd! It was Walkerton's well and Walkerton public employees involved in the first place.  
Perhaps Cable had an addiction problem and we should forgive him. Maybe kick a little public money his way too to help him out...  
You say "the 'business' of government is looking out for folks, NOT saving money". That's a red herring. The real question should be "Is government an efficient vehicle to deliver a service?"  
This is the real problem with such debates. When you challenge a public figure about money spent he refuses to acknowledge any inefficiency in the system and counter-attacks with points about the nobility of the goal. What's ignored is that often the "conservative anti-'big government'type SHARES the noble goal! He's just upset in how wasteful the government program is in trying to achieve said goal. I can understand how a politician might want to dodge such questions but I'm beginning to suspect that many of my fellow citizens are actually incapable of understanding the difference...  
Simply put, if a private company runs a civic plant for $10 million/yr and profits a million or two for themselves how are we better served by a publicly administered plant that costs $20 million/yr (or more!) without that "evil profit"?  
Or are you going to tell me that the public service is on the whole reasonably efficient? If you try, be warned that we can choke the megabyte limit on this forum with contrary examples! :)  
I grant your point of bureaucrats often doing a "piss poor" job of communication. However, I could forgive them easily if only the examples presented didn't have to do with their wasting money! Hamilton just had a scandal about buying new street sweepers. They needed only one but decided to buy two - untendered and at a sky high price! While the furor was going on the citizens of the rurul suburb of Glanbrook looked out from their farm porches to see one of these city sweepers going down their country main road!  
What next, they thought? Will the city send snow plows into their fields in the winter? Perhaps some of them thought the city was just trying to show that under amalgamation they too would receive the benefit of these sweepers...  
You mentioned teachers. I agree that with perfect students and parents a so-called "bad" teacher could be revealed as a "good" one. However, are you implying that there are NO bad teachers? Have you ever heard of a teacher being fired? It does happen but the numbers are so low as to be statistically unbelievable. The Teachers Union (I refuse to call them an "Association". When you stand up in SkyDome to sing "Solidarity Forever" with Buzz Hargrove you're a union! You can't suck and blow at the same time.) talks about how they are self-policing. Far more plumbers and electricians are tossed out of their guilds than any teacher.  
I'll have to pass on the walnut crunch (I'm too fat!) but I'll think of you anyway, Mark. It's always nice to hear from someone who successfully "got over the wall"! I'll keep an eye peeled for your musician friends and if I can will pass on your regards. I've just started up a home-based amp business and it's growing quickly. The word's been getting around and I'm meeting more and more of the local player crowd so I wouldn't be surprised to end up with friends in common.  
These posts have been getting long and getting too local to be interesting to the Ampage readership. Perhaps if you want to continue this or other discussion we should just e-mail.  
I'll be at a local blues jam tonight and I'll hoist a Canadian beer in your honour!  
---Wild Bill

Mark Hammer Check yer mail....soon (it's easier... -- 9/8/2004 9:42 AM