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Leaders have a responsibility to resist their own cynicism and scratch beneath the surface to hear what people -- even those who are opposed -- are saying. What is the core concern driving the speaker? Is it affordability? Safety? Mayors should ask genuine questions of people, and actually listen to their responses
At a time when many B.C. taxpayers are struggling under the weight of their heavy tax burden, growing personal debt, and an incredibly high cost of living, our locally elected officials are there to remind us all of how hopelessly out of touch they are.
When he was still in office, all of these criticisms were fair game. The man was an addict, and most progressives I know understand that addiction is a mental health issue and needs to be treated as such. Nonetheless, the man was in charge of our nation's largest metropolitan, and being an addict did not absolve him from the rightful criticism he received. But then he sought treatment. And then he was diagnosed with cancer. And then he died.
London Mayor Matt Brown temporarily suspended his duties following his disclosure of an affair with deputy mayor, Maureen Cassidy.What are the real issues here? Did the indiscretion impair either of them in their council functions?
Toronto's medical officer last week argued that replacing Gardiner East with an 8-lane boulevard (the Remove Option) is preferred over realigning Gardiner East (the Hybrid Option) to connect with the DVP.This is one case where I argue the doctor does not know best.
In 2012, referring to council, Doug Ford said: "I can't get anywhere with these monkeys." Was that a term of endearment? How can Mayor Ford expect to get anything done at City Hall when you use such language? Oh, that's right. Since then, he mostly hasn't. No need to answer. When you told the father of an autistic child who rightly and democratically challenged your views to "go to hell," what were you thinking?
The daily, international circus that Rob Ford is circumventing so disastrously right now demonstrates why it's so important to have a Crisis Communications Plan and stick to it. In every crisis there is an opportunity to learn and to grow and to become stronger. Here's hoping that this week is a little quieter for Ford.
So for those salivating for a Toronto reset, I suggest a more modest brand refresh -- one where an asterisk is added to our otherwise great city. Here we can note our city's mind-numbing congestion, condo lined waterfront, failed Olympic bids, overpriced housing and political mismanagement. All this without clouding the overwhelmingly positive attributes this city has to offer.
More and more, we're doing work, finishing errands, having fun and connecting with friends and family via our smartphones, tablets and personal computers. Engaging with your local government online is an extension of that. You no longer have to postpone dinner or sacrifice checking your kids' homework to attend an evening town hall meeting. You can tell city hall what you think from your phone on your commute to work, or from your couch at the end of the day. Local governments are trying to make it easier for you to have your say about transportation, or the cost of living, or city budget priorities, or your library or community centre's opening hours.
Taxpayers and watchdogs often focus their attention on the top of the government salary spectrum. Government executives are increasingly overpaid, especially at the municipal and regional district level. But it's not just the top end that is out of control. Taxpayers are overpaying for labour throughout the system.