April 17th, 2021

Public input needed on City projects


By Letter to the Editor on April 8, 2021.

Editor: The City of Lethbridge undertakes hundreds of millions of dollars in expenditures within the Capital Improvement Plan. Considering the incredible size of these expeditures and the ongoing costs to maintain projects, we would expect the greatest citizen input, transparency, and scrutiny!
However, the City is only now asking for citizen input, and the ask is quietly hidden away. It seems self-serving to seek this input after projects are already recommended, and when so little information is provided to make an informed assessment.
Consider that infrastructure has a lifespan far beyond when it is built, and requires ongoing costs to maintain.
Isn’t it important to know how many citizens will benefit from the project? Will there be cost recovery from users? What are the yearly expenses for staff, utilities, and upkeep?
Also lacking from the CIP is any real groundswell request from the public. We only see what City management wants, not the prioritized desires of the public. Further, there appears to be an inherent assumption that citizens find the current level of taxation acceptable! Did the City ask us? 
We object to any process that seeks input after a project is basically a done deal!
The LTC will challenge any project that 1. Is not justified by a proper needs assessment, 2. Is not broadly supported by taxpayers, and 3. Does not have a business plan that clearly and accurately shows real need, who benefits, anticipated usage, and lifetime costs to maintain and operate.
Jeffrey DeJong
Lethbridge Transparency Council

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gs172

No surprise here as this has been their motus operandi for decades. City Hall, police station and art gallery are just a few of the large capital projects that have been rammed through approval. I’m not holding my breath that they will change their tactics.

Seth Anthony

Mr. Dejong said, “Isn’t it important to know how many citizens will benefit from the project?”

You would think that would be the first question, but from what I’ve see, it isn’t even a question that’s taken seriously. Who benefits? Well, a very tiny portion of people, the contractors, and of course the virtue signaling “pet project” politicians trying to boost their ego and justify their job.

 
Let’s have a looksy:

 
1) Hundreds of millions spent on the arts. Art is a want, not a need. It’s also subjective and only applies to a small minority. If the arts people want these grand buildings and all the costs associated with that, then they should pay for it themselves by donations, fundraisers, and admission fees. Of course they’ll cry, “But that’s not nearly enough money!”. You know why that’s not enough money? Because the vast majority of taxpayers don’t want to pay for something they don’t use (especially when it’s a want and not a need). If you want to pursue your art hobby, then pay for it your damn self. Don’t try and force others to pay for it. But alas, council forces us to pay for a few people’s hobby.
 
2) Bike lanes. Ever notice how council thinks we live in LA California and not the frozen wasteland of Lethbridge Alberta? Millions spent on these bike lines using the idiotic notion that if we have bike lanes, then people will magically buy bikes and use the bike lanes. If people want to ride a bike, then they are going to ride a bike regardless of whether or not there is a painted line on the side of the road. Where were they riding their bikes before the painted lines? Well low and behold, they were / are riding their bikes in exactly the same place before and after the lines were painted! Millions of our dollars spent on something that accomplished NOTHING!

Hundreds of millions spent on pet projects, useless projects, and projects that have little to know benefit to the populace. That money should have went to tax reductions and/or projects that actually do have a benefit to the whole community.
 
What else can we add to that list?

Last edited 8 days ago by Seth Anthony
biff

there are things that a city should have that are not on the wants list of everyone at every time; however, in the end, it should all balance out. while we should primarily be needs based, there are wants that make life better for us all, too.
we need very little to make biking safe – a lane for mayor magrath, for scenic drive, and for university dr. hardly a tens of millions of dollars worth of project.
as for arts – arts are a need, if a society wishes to be elevated and not simply caveman. they are worthy, but of course, to an extent. the casa should have been a one-all, not just a publicly funded set of offices for those living off the public purse. moreover, the price paid for that lot was a scam – the sale, the bs appraisal paid to a calgary based operator, the massive money given to the property owner…the city paid the “realtor fee” as buyer! had to pay for the demo and disposal of the decrepit building – conveniently not factored into the appraisal and selling price.
please, folks, vote only for candidates committed to regular audits…it is the only way to sort out the multitude of “irregularities” that are endemic in this city.

Seth Anthony

EDIT:

Deleted this reply that was specifically geared at Biff, and made a new identical reply that wasn’t buried in this thread…which is waiting for approval.

Last edited 4 days ago by Seth Anthony
Citi Zen

To repeat my previous comments, hopefully the next election will see some new blood, an intelligent mayor and council who will take back control of the city from self-serving, overpaid administrators in City Hall.

Dale Leier

What we have here is a classic case of “Clusters” were there is a disconnect between the Governed and the Governors. Not to make light of the miasma emanating from City Hall, citizens themselves ought to take responsibility for giving Council clear direction. Sadly, the majority doesn’t give enough thought to how we are governed when things are going well. This sends a false message to those in charge who seem to think they can do whatever they like without adequate consultation.
The Lethbridge Transparency Council is making great progress but let’s not forget this initiative arose only after local government seemed to have lost direction. Obsessed with ribbon cutting ceremonies where the emphasis is on public profile over prudence, the need to demonstrate cost/benefit analysis on all this public largess.
So, both sides are responsible for this Cluster. We all have our favorite projects. Now more than ever it is up to citizens to reassert control and remind those who have been elected who they actually serve: we who pay the bills.

Seth Anthony

Biff said, “arts are a need, if a society wishes to be elevated and not simply caveman“.

Lol. What???

So if it wasn’t for that painting, or that sculptor, we would still be cavemen? Ridiculous.

Cavemen and the non-nomadic community based societies came about via various means. For example, the ability to create fire, the symbiotic relationship with domesticated wolves, the ability to grow food. Following that, inventions and technology were created out of necessity. Hence the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. In contrast, there are many tribes around the world that maintain many forms of art, but they remain stuck in the stone age. In both these examples, and is blatantly clear, art has nothing to do with whether or not a society is “evolved”.

What would happen if the hospital disappeared? What would happen if the service people disappeared? What would happen if the doctor’s offices disappeared? What would happen if the grocery stores disappeared? Those would cause society to break down. What would happen to society if Casa disappeared? Absolutely nothing. If something disappears and it has no effect on society, then it was a want and not a need. Oh wait. If Casa disappeared, it would put a few pretentious, self righteous, and arrogant people out of work. The ones that demand other people pay for their hobby.

Regarding bike lanes:

You replied directly to me, but none of your refutations to my points actually refute my points. Here is a letter to the editor that explains my points even further. The letter also shows the underhandedness and shystering of the politicians with the “consultation” when it comes to these self serving, virtue signaling, pet projects that improve little to nothing in society (as I explained in a previous post).

https://lethbridgeherald.com/commentary/letters-to-the-editor/2021/02/19/why-is-the-city-of-lethbridge-spending-43-8-million-on-cycle-paths/

Last edited 4 days ago by Seth Anthony
snowman

Here we go again another $22 million charge to 40,000 residentials for new organic program Are the residentials responsible for huge tonnage of waste and organics so the two enviro/mantra advocates one say residential are dirtiest the other we have the most garbage, organics, not true residentials generate 22052 tonnes of garbage approx 5000 tonnes of this organics (City 2019 annual report page 100) compared to Industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) 80,000 of garbage , 25000 tonnes organic material. The residentials will be charged $7.00 collection fee plus tipping fee(not Known) to the $9.8 million new Organic facility, debenture payments $1.5million probably property tax, some generous deal, do you approve.

biff

thanks for your thoughts, no doubt shared on both issues by numerous others. to crystalise my thoughts a little further:
1) bikes have as much right to the road as other vehicles. moreover, they are healthier for us than motorised vehicles, in terms of exercise and environmentally. give how much we spend on roads for cars, some expense that accounts for bike safety and increasing their use is justified – necessary, even. as i noted, ensuring bikers can get around lethbridge with reasonable safety and convenience is an acceptable expense…40 million dollars, however, seems way out of what is necessary.
2) Art is a necessity. it elevates societies – makes us better. moreover, i retract my statement that we would be caveman without art – cavemen created art. why do you think that is, particularly given the harsh realities of their existence relative to ours. “John F. Kennedy said: “We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.”
“In sum, art can be considered powerful because of the following reasons, among others:

  • It has the power to educate people about almost anything. It can create awareness and present information in a way that could be absorbed by many easily. In a world where there are those who don’t even have access to good education; art makes education an even greater equalizer of society.
  • It promotes cultural appreciation among a generation that’s currently preoccupied with their technology. In fact, it can be said that if it weren’t for art, our history, culture, and traditions would be in more danger of being forgotten than they already are.
  • It breaks cultural, social, and economic barriers. While art can’t really solve poverty or promote social justice on its own, it can be used as a leveled playing field for discourse and expression. The reason why everyone can relate to art is that everyone has emotions and personal experiences. Therefore, anyone can learn to appreciate art regardless of their social background, economic standing, or political affiliation.
  • It accesses higher orders of thinking. Art doesn’t just make you absorb information. Rather, it makes you think about current ideas and inspire you to make your own. This is why creativity is a form of intelligence – it is a special ability that unlocks the potentials of the human mind. In fact, studies have shown that exposure to art can make you better in other fields of knowledge.” https://www.theartist.me/art/what-is-art/
  • https://drawingonearth.org/resources/10-reasons-why/

Research shows that children who are involved with the arts make greater achievements in their education; those engaged with drama have greater literary ability and children taking part in musical endeavours exhibit greater skills in maths and languages.  Children and students who take part in the arts are “twice as likely to volunteer” and “20 per cent more likely to vote as young adults.” Those engaged with the arts have a greater chance of finding and retaining employment, and are more likely to be “involved and influential in their local communities.” Participating in the arts is essential for child development; encouraging children to express themselves in constructive ways could help to form healthy emotional responses in later life. 
“The arts have been shown to increase empathy towards others, a side effect of which is reducing social tension and discrimination. Art has been used to convey important societal statements for centuries….” https://www.ccorinnef.com/blog/2018/8/21/why-is-art-important
all this shared, we agree that casa was/remains a boondoggle, an utter scam. audit.

biff

thanks for your thoughts, no doubt shared on both issues by numerous others. to crystalise my thoughts a little further:
1) bikes have as much right to the road as other vehicles. moreover, they are healthier for us than motorised vehicles, in terms of exercise and environmentally. give how much we spend on roads for cars, some expense that accounts for bike safety and increasing their use is justified – necessary, even. as i noted, ensuring bikers can get around lethbridge with reasonable safety and convenience is an acceptable expense…40 million dollars, however, seems way out of what is necessary.
2) Art is a necessity. it elevates societies – makes us better. moreover, i retract my statement that we would be caveman without art – cavemen created art. why do you think that is, particularly given the harsh realities of their existence relative to ours. “John F. Kennedy said: ‘we must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth”
“In sum, art can be considered powerful because of the following reasons, among others:
It has the power to educate people about almost anything. It can create awareness and present information in a way that could be absorbed by many easily. In a world where there are those who don’t even have access to good education; art makes education an even greater equalizer of society.It promotes cultural appreciation among a generation that’s currently preoccupied with their technology. In fact, it can be said that if it weren’t for art, our history, culture, and traditions would be in more danger of being forgotten than they already are.It breaks cultural, social, and economic barriers. While art can’t really solve poverty or promote social justice on its own, it can be used as a leveled playing field for discourse and expression. The reason why everyone can relate to art is that everyone has emotions and personal experiences. Therefore, anyone can learn to appreciate art regardless of their social background, economic standing, or political affiliation.It accesses higher orders of thinking. Art doesn’t just make you absorb information. Rather, it makes you think about current ideas and inspire you to make your own. This is why creativity is a form of intelligence – it is a special ability that unlocks the potentials of the human mind. In fact, studies have shown that exposure to art can make you better in other fields of knowledge.” https://www.theartist.me/art/what-is-art/https://drawingonearth.org/resources/10-reasons-why/“%5Bresearch%5D shows that children who are involved with the arts make greater achievements in their education; those engaged with drama have greater literary ability and children taking part in musical endeavours exhibit greater skills in maths and languages. Children and students who take part in the arts are [twice as likely] to volunteer” and “20 per cent more likely to vote as young adults.” Those engaged with the arts have a greater chance of finding and retaining employment, and are more likely to be “[involved and influential] in their local communities.” Participating in the arts is essential for child development; encouraging children to express themselves in constructive ways could help to form healthy emotional responses in later life. 
“The arts have been shown to increase empathy towards others, a side effect of which is reducing social tension and discrimination. Art has been used to convey important societal statements for centuries….” https://www.ccorinnef.com/blog/2018/8/21/why-is-art-important
all this shared, we agree that casa was/remains a boondoggle, an utter scam. audit.

biff

this site is soooo annoying! i created a reply to you, and it is now awaiting approval…as if, especially given all the riff raff it alows ie i made a bazillion dollars….anyway, thanks for your thoughts, no doubt shared on both issues by numerous others. to crystalise my thoughts a little further:
1) bikes have as much right to the road as other vehicles. moreover, they are healthier for us than motorised vehicles, in terms of exercise and environmentally. give how much we spend on roads for cars, some expense that accounts for bike safety and increasing their use is justified – necessary, even. as i noted, ensuring bikers can get around lethbridge with reasonable safety and convenience is an acceptable expense…40 million dollars, however, seems way out of what is necessary.
2) Art is a necessity. it elevates societies – makes us better. moreover, i retract my statement that we would be caveman without art – cavemen created art. why do you think that is, particularly given the harsh realities of their existence relative to ours. John F. Kennedy said: ‘we must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth’ i retract my caveman reference, because cavemen even found time for art – why do you think that is, especially given how needs based were they?
“In sum, art can be considered powerful because of the following reasons, among others:
It has the power to educate people about almost anything. It can create awareness and present information in a way that could be absorbed by many easily. In a world where there are those who don’t even have access to good education; art makes education an even greater equalizer of society.
It promotes cultural appreciation among a generation that’s currently preoccupied with their technology. In fact, it can be said that if it weren’t for art, our history, culture, and traditions would be in more danger of being forgotten than they already are.
It breaks cultural, social, and economic barriers. While art can’t really solve poverty or promote social justice on its own, it can be used as a leveled playing field for discourse and expression. The reason why everyone can relate to art is that everyone has emotions and personal experiences. Therefore, anyone can learn to appreciate art regardless of their social background, economic standing, or political affiliation.
It accesses higher orders of thinking. Art doesn’t just make you absorb information. Rather, it makes you think about current ideas and inspire you to make your own. This is why creativity is a form of intelligence – it is a special ability that unlocks the potentials of the human mind. In fact, studies have shown that exposure to art can make you better in other fields of knowledge.” copy and paste this piece for its origination, as it seems including the link contributes to the herald holding back the entry. same with the following…
“research shows that children who are involved with the arts make greater achievements in their education; those engaged with drama have greater literary ability and children taking part in musical endeavours exhibit greater skills in maths and languages. Children and students who take part in the arts are “twice as likely to volunteer” and “20 per cent more likely to vote as young adults.” Those engaged with the arts have a greater chance of finding and retaining employment, and are more likely to be “involved and influential in their local communities.” Participating in the arts is essential for child development; encouraging children to express themselves in constructive ways could help to form healthy emotional responses in later life. 
“The arts have been shown to increase empathy towards others, a side effect of which is reducing social tension and discrimination. Art has been used to convey important societal statements for centuries….”
all this shared, we agree that casa was/remains a boondoggle, an utter scam. audit.

Seth Anthony

Biff said, “bikes are healthier for us than motorised vehicles, in terms of exercise and environmentally”.

I totally agree, but that has nothing to do with the arguments I presented that explain my disdain for council decisions when it comes to bikes.

Biff said, “ensuring bikers can get around lethbridge with reasonable safety and convenience is an acceptable expense

When you have very slow, very light weight bikes with totally exposed riders sharing the road with very fast and very heavy cars, then there is no such thing as “biker safety”. A painted line does absolutely nothing for biker safety. The only effective method of biker safety, would be roads that are exclusively for bikers only.

I’ll get back to you a little later in regards to our art discussion, but I’m glad you see that (as you put it), “casa was/remains a boondoggle, an utter scam. audit.”.

Last edited 4 days ago by Seth Anthony
Seth Anthony

In regards to your art comments:

Honestly, your last comments on the arts reads similar to old timey potions which claimed to cure “everything that ails you” 🙂

Why did cave people draw on the walls? The short is, “Why not?”, or “Because they could”. The longer answer according to anthropologists and archaeologists, is the drawings may have been used for documenting hunting experiences as well as ritualistic and religious purposes.

There is no doubt that for some people, practicing art has beneficial affects. However, practicing the hobby of art does not require a formal education. It doesn’t even require money, or very little of it. Art is a personal hobby that is abstract and subjective. Due to all of these characteristics, I find it arrogant and self righteous that some think it’s ok to force others to pay for their personal hobby.

Last edited 3 days ago by Seth Anthony
snowman

A $700,000. payment for arts council $400,000-to run casa in obnoxious next $75 million for performing Arts center is more than obnoxious it is stupidity at its worst two councilor’s and mayor there parting give for taxpayers

Seth Anthony

To think that this kind of thing happens with most municipal governments, as well as the provincial and federal government.

biff

thanks for taking the time, again, seth.
i find it curious that some are entirely dismissive of the arts. nonetheless, what art and artistic endeavour does for us is indeed significant. it is a part of our essence as thinking, feeling, creative beings. to deny this, to not foster this reality, undermines a significant aspect of us as spiritual beings. i see art as ever the more important given all that is and has come to dehumanise us: machines replacing artisans; human achievement is more machinated output; computers and digital technology increasingly being used to foment our redundancy. notwithstanding the likes of the casa, i remain among those that see support of the arts as essential to uplifting our humanity, and as such, our quality of life.
i appreciate your broader concern as to what constitutes acceptable expenditure of public money. we will agree needs come first. we differ in that i am open to using the public purse to help raise the level of human consciousness, and that which improves upon the greater experience of our existence here. however, we will also agree that waste, graft, corruption and sleaze have no place in any of this.
in another thread you reference ego/greed as our among our most significant issues – quite right. it is unnerving that our system of consumerism/materialism not only effectively conditions us toward accepting these flaws as normal, ego/greed are in fact stoked repeatedly via marketing and media such that they are the very epitomes of what our society at large deems to be success: manifest through wealth and fame, which are acquired via service to self foremost, rather than service to others and the whole.
been great sharing thoughts and perspectives – thanks to all that have taken time to share as much.

Seth Anthony

You’re welcome. Thanks to you as well.

One last time:

There is no doubt that for some people, practicing art has beneficial affects. However, practicing the hobby of art does not require a formal education. It doesn’t even require money, or very little of it. Art is a personal hobby that is abstract and subjective. Due to all of these characteristics, I find it arrogant and self righteous that some think it’s ok to force others to pay for their personal hobby.

Note that no one is complaining about the art classes that are offered in the education system. The main complaint is the massive amounts of our tax dollars going to the likes of Casa, etc.

The bottom line is, if places like Casa can’t survive from donations, fundraising, and admission fees, then it’s obvious that the general community doesn’t care for it, let alone want to pay for it.

Last edited 3 days ago by Seth Anthony


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