Friday, 31 January 2014

REX MURPHY: The State of Politics

Good morning Regina!!

Mr. Rex Murphy did a great piece on the State of Politics, and as much as he hits the nail on the head, I felt he missed a tremendous opportunity to expose some of the dirtiest politics happening in all of North America, right here at home. I don't fault him, though, since much of the Regina Media outlets refuse to touch the subject, for fear of biting the hand(s) that feed them.

Here is a letter that was submitted to his team this morning:

Good morning,

I want to thank you for bringing up the subject of how the State of Politics in Canada, and the world, has reached an all new low. I think you missed a very important subject, though, and I am gladly sharing it with you today.

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada - as amazing a City it is - has some serious, serious issues. The root of the problem is a City Hall and City Council that refuse to admit that we do have those serious issues, and continue to play along as if the glass is half full. Our Former Mayor Fiacco is a prime example of this, when he refused to acknowledge how North Central Regina is truly one of Canada's Worst Neighbourhoods, in a 2007 MacLeans article. Rather than acknowledging this very true fact, and working to resolve it, he preferred to lambaste MacLeans, in his typical media-treatment fashion, and cheerlead like an 18 year old high school football cheerleader about how wonderful his City was.

Today, seven years later, the City of Regina - as great as its' citizens are - faces a national crisis. Our housing has never been more unaffordable, our homelessness situation is at all-time highs (if the City would even acknowledge just how serious as issue this is, we might actually know how many truly homeless there are in Regina), and our crime rates haven't really gone anywhere but up since the horrific realizations brought out in the 2007 Macleans article. What's sad, though, is how the Regina media - most bought and paid for by the City of Regina and their "officials" - refuse to address this very real and very serious problem. While in Toronto, you have media stammering at the chance to report even the most miniscule of issues that arise with their celebrity mayor, true crime and corruption very much exists and continues here in Regina without so much of the bat of an eyelash. It's up to national media outlets, such as yourself, to bring these issues to light.

I would like to personally invite you to read up on the issues on my website under "Dirty Little Secrets", and read the Affidavit provided to the Premier of Saskatchewan, essentially denouncing the 2012 Municipal Elections null and void, due to some very serious and obvious problems that the City of Regina had full control over, as did our new mayor, the former President of the Saskatchewan Construction Association - one of his duties which was to lobby the WCB, among other municipal and provincial government organizations.

Here are some more links for your reading enjoyment:

Thank you in advance for your time, and I sincerely hope you are willing to report further on this situation. SOMEONE has to.

Best Regards,
Chad A. Novak, CMA
Saskatchewan Taxpayers Advocacy Group

Sunday, 26 January 2014

SOMERSET - Let's Learn from Our Mistakes

Recently, I had a great conversation with my dear friend Mr. Lucke. We were discussing a variety of subjects, when the topic of the new Somerset development came up. He made a brilliant comparison that I think should be seriously considered by the people that think the development is a good idea. He wanted me to share it with my readers, and that is why I share it with you today.

For those that aren't familiar with the controversial new neighbourhood development that our wonderful City Council recently approved (two of whom stand to profit from any residential development as they are realtors), where have you been? THANKFULLY this was most certainly not a unanimous decision, but unfortunately it still passed. It should be noted, that if those with vested interests were to declare a Conflict of Interest, as they rightfully are required to do by law, the vote would have failed miserably.

We have heard the arguments from Mayor Fougere, Terry Hincks, Wade Murray, and Jerry Flegel (all of whom have a vested interest in this development in one form or another) that "Hey, look, Uplands has been in existence for a few decades now, and if we said no to Somerset, what does it tell those who live in Uplands?". Well, here's what it tells them. As a human race, we have evolved tremndously since the 1950's and 60's. When we once thought it was not only socially acceptable to smoke cigarattes, we actually encouraged our youth to start smoking. When we once thought it was completely acceptable to smoke cigarettes in dining establishments, offices and hospitls. When we thought it was perfectly acceptable to develop buildings (including HOSPITALS) with dangerous asbestos.

Thankfully, years of public pressure and research has changed this attitude and we have gone so far to now prohibit even the visibility of cigarettes to minors. We completely shut down buildings that were filled with asbestos (and then turn them into schools). We find it utterly ludicrous to think it was once acceptable to smoke and drink while pregnant. Yet, all of these things were not only acceptable, but encouraged in many instances.

Thus, we need to learn from our past. Admit we screwed up with Uplands, don't repeat the same mistake again, and most certainly do not put the most vulnerable of our society into a development that is hazardous to their health simply because it's the only place they can afford. A "caveat" on the property isn't going to prevent the potential health risks and environmental catastrophes that are just waiting to happen, given the close proximity to Evraz and CCRL.


Saturday, 25 January 2014

Call for Public Inquiry

Good afternoon Regina!!!

Your time is here. Your chance to take back the power of your Cities! How? EASY! 
Please read the following, and then sign the petition.

We have all been witness to an abomination to democracy worldwide, and while there are amazing global campaigns happening to raise awareness, there lacks meaningful action by taxpayers locally regarding municipal affairs. The focus by elected officials has been on Corporations and Corporate Dollars - they seem to lose sight of those that they are elected to represent, the individual taxpayer. This is one such opportunity where you, the individual taxpayer, will get a chance to hold your municipally elected (and non-elected) officials accountable for how they choose to spend your tax dollars.

In recent years, in Moose Jaw, there was a blatant disregard for the public good, when it was decided to locate the new Multiplex in a downtown flood plain with a severe lack of parking for attendees.

Today, in Regina, the current and former City Council have shown an utter disdain for taxpayers on a number of occasions, choosing to spend our hard earned tax dollars on pet projects that they seem to think is what "the silent majority" want. When, in reality, they have been acting only in the best interests of themselves, their lobby groups and employment sectors. Namely Real Estate Development and Construction. While ignoring significant social factors like that of truly affordable housing, homelessness, core infrastructure and responsible use of tax dollars. We have seen the deliberate abuse of tax dollars for their own personal gains, and an attack on democracy by loosely interpreting legislation to suit their own needs.

It has been clearly demonstrated that our current elected officials will only act with enough public pressure. While former petition drives have worked within existing Provincial Legislation, they are both outdated and extremely difficult to gain in momentum and power, given the narrow vision of existing legislation. Let alone the fact that the ultimate authority is provided to the Municipality - and we've all seen how that can be abused. Submissions have been made to the Provincial Government to make changes to Legislation, but in the meanwhile, our municipal government officials are continuing to treat our hard earned tax dollars like their own personal bank account. THIS HAS TO STOP, and the only way to do it is by forcing a Public Inquiry, Audit and/or inspection of the books and records of Major Cities throughout Saskatchewan. Thankfully, there is existing Provincial Legislation that allows for just that, in Sections 352 to 354 of the Cities Act.

While the initial motivation behind this petition was focused solely on the City of Regina, it should be noted that this does affect ALL SASKATCHEWAN TAXPAYERS as there is currently a major capital project, called the Regina Revitalization Initiative (RRI), which is tapping into Provincial Tax Dollars, along with Municipal Tax Dollars of the City of Regina residents. The RRI's main initial focus is that of building a virtually identical Stadium for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. While City Council may argue this is "for the community", "it's more than just an identical stadium", and "it's about more than JUST the stadium" - do not buy these excuses. The reality is the current $100 MILLION debt they are issuing is 100% directly affecting the Stadium project. The City of Regina is expected to jump it's municipal debt level from approximately $80M in 2012 to $450M by 2017, essentially maxing out the credit card. This is of utmost concern because it does little, if anything, to actually address any of the issues identified during the Municipal Election of 2012.

The Saskatchewan Taxpayers Advocacy Group is here to help you, the individual taxpayer – regardless of where you are employed, your financial status or demographic. As such, we have access to some of the highest qualified legal experts and labour lobby groups that will enable you to be protected by legal recourse in the event your employer chooses to discipline you for signing this petition. We understand that many City of Regina employees have been threatened with discipline in the past, all the way up to termination of employment, for partaking in any democratic action that is contrary to the wishes of Senior Management at the City of Regina. This is completely unacceptable, and contrary to whistleblower legislation enacted in many other parts of the globe. We will work to represent your Charter human rights to freedom of expression. Please, do not let the fear of recourse influence your decision on whether or not to support this petition.



Thursday, 23 January 2014

BREAKING: City Manager No More?

UPDATE January 25, 2014 - It is true. Mr. Brent Sjoberg is no longer in the position of Chief Financial Officer/Deputy City Manager - Corporate Services. It has also been confirmed via an "anonymous" source on Twitter that Pat (Barth) is currently in the position in an acting role. The position has been posted on the City of Regina website, along with the Director of Finance. It would certainly appear, on the surface, that the City Executive are cleaning house.

UPDATE: Another interesting turn of events, it would appear that Mr. Brent Sjoberg is no longer signing cheques issued by the City of Regina. Whether this is a temporary or permanent situation, it remains unclear. When asked, Mr. Sjoberg's assistant pleaded ignorance to knowing anything that her boss was doing. Stay tuned for more on these developing stories! EXCLUSIVELY here first!

We have it on good authority that City Manager, Glen Davies, is no longer with the City of Regina. Details are few at this point, but sources confirm that "new" multi-tasker City Clerk Jim Nicol has temporarily taken over this role. This latest development is the largest in a series of continual vacancies since the Federal Lawsuits were served on the City in September. And, if this is true, this is by far the biggest accomplishment to date of the Saskatchewan Taxpayers Advocacy Group.

Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

City Set to Double Our Debt - Illegally?

Good afternoon Regina!!!
With the City of Regina's Council and Senior Administration so focused on ramming the Stadium Project through, it seems that they may have missed a couple of procedural steps along the way. Specifically respecting the Cities Act SS 101(1)(f), where City Council is not allowed to delegate their power to borrow money. This is something that could force a Ministerial or Judicial Review into the process, in that it is certain to be questioned as to what is deemed to be "power" in respect to this legislation. As you will read in the following email that was sent to our Mayor and Senior Administrators, along with the Minister of Municipal Relations, they could very well have missed a very important step. This, in turn, could force an inquiry into the entire proceedings at City Hall.

Good afternoon Mayor Fougere,

I am writing today on behalf of the Saskatchewan Taxpayers Advocacy Group, to express our concerns regarding the upcoming consideration by Council to pass a Bylaw permitting the City to borrow $100 Million in relation to the first phase of the RRI. More specifically, we have serious concerns regarding the Provincial Legislation surrounding the procedures, and would appreciate some clarification from your office.

We would first like to note that there has been an ongoing Public Notice advertised since the summer of 2013, where each Public Notice stated that the Bylaw would be considered at one of the following two Council meetings, depending on which had the more favourable interest rate. I note that this most recent Public Notice only identifies the one meeting, however it still notes "assuming the interest rate is favourable". We would respectfully ask your office to clarify how this is to be determined? Is there a set rate that the City of Regina is using as a threshold, and what factors is the City considering in terms of predicting future interest rates? Assumably, your CFO would have detailed documentation on this, and we would expect that this would not be considered sensitive information that might compromise any negotiations regarding the RRI, as there is only one funding source. With that considered, we look forward to receiving this information in due course.

Secondly, we note that the one of the previous Public Notices stated that the Bylaw would be considered at the November 6, 2013 or November 25, 2013 City Council meeting. However, this was not the case, and instead, this changed to an recommendation from City Administration, authorizing Mr. Brent Sjoberg sole negotiating power over the financing contract to bring back to Council. This decision was most certainly surprising, and concerning, in that it appears to violate Provincial Legislation regarding Delegation of Council Powers. It specifically states in the Cities Act 101(1)(f) "No Council shall delegate its power to borrow money...".

Granted, this is subject to interpretation, as is most legislation. The question that arises here would be what is determined to be "power". Using the City of Regina's procedures from the WWTP Petition Process, when the question surrounding what would be considered the "date" an individual signed, we feel it is only fair to use the same type of interpretation - that being the dictionary definition.

As per the Oxford Dictionary,, it stands to reason that the most appropriate use of the word "Power" in this instance would be: "the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events". While City Council technically still holds the right to vote on the decision put forth by Mr. Sjoberg, it is our concern that the ultimate power is held by Mr. Sjoberg, in that he most certainly has the capacity and ability to influence the behaviour of Council. We refer you to the following excerpt from the "Regular" November 6, 2013 City Council Meeting Agenda, specifically where it mentions "irrepairable harm to the City's ability to borrow." 

We would also respectfully request copies of any documentation that was submitted to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board in relation to applications to increase the City's debt limit in the past few years. Most notably, the increase in 2008 for the WWTP upgrades anticipated at that time, and any subsequent increases requested. While we appreciate this information may be available through a Freedom Of Information request, since this anticipated Bylaw is expected to be considered in only a matter of days, time is of the essence in this request. In addition, it would stand to reason that this information should be readily available due to the importance of the subject matter at hand, and relation to the proposed Bylaw.

Thank you in advance for your time and anticipated cooperation on this matter, and we look forward to your response to our requests above.

Best Regards,
Chad A. Novak, CMA
Saskatchewan Taxpayers Advocacy Group

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

City & RM Annexation - Who Benefits?

Good evening Regina!!

Today, I came across a post written by none other than Mr. City Hall himself, Paul Dechene of the wonderful Prairie Dog Magazine. In it, Paul talks about some issues that should have been paid more attention to, one of which is something I've been monitoring quite closely for many months now. If you haven't had a chance to read his article, go check it out.

Below is my feedback on his article. On a related note, Mayor Nenshi is continuing the battle against a developer in Calgary. This is something that we must watch extra closely in Regina, as it is sure to rear it's ugly head right here at home - in due time.

Great work Paul, and I fully agree, there needs to be far more discussion surrounding the Annexation Plans, and just who is in whose pocket. It is far too suspect to have years of animosity allegedly "resolved" in only a matter of weeks - all the while one councillor RESIGNS, and another councillor refused to show up at probably THE most important RM Council meeting in years.

Speaking to some of the things you point out:

"Sherwood deputy reeve, Tim Probe, is pretty brazen about how Sherwood’s OCP will be what governs development within the Collaborative Planning Area and not the Regina’s"
- Exactly. I spoke with Mr. Probe and other RM reps that evening, and that was the feeling I got from them too. They are either deliberately ignoring reality for another purpose, or they are truly naive to think that the City is the one that will be doing the bending for the RM.

"The developer spent significant money trying to get his agenda through"
- Yep. This happens a lot in the Regina area - and many other municipalities going through the developer-infused "boom" times. And it helps when the developers put that money into the back pockets of those officials that are put into positions of trust and sole authority over millions of our tax dollars. Oh - and it doesn't hurt to prop a few up to run in elections and take advantage of voter apathy, to get put into ultimate authority with little to no accountability deemed necessary by legislation.

Keep in mind that you have the Reeve of the RM who holds most-if not all-of the land that is being proposed for Wascana Village, and a former Mayor that owns a whack of land in the soon-to-be-announced Harbour Landing West (along with friends, family and associates). Add to that, realtors and construction lobbyists on Regina City Council, and you have a perfect recipe for disaster. Okay, maybe not that doom and gloom, but it certainly is a recipe for cooking up an all-too-appetizing situation of market collusion that has been proposed to the municipal and provincial governments for over a decade now. Note that the "boom" (which has been primarily a result of - ironically - housing and immigration), began around the same time as the major land developments were happening, condo conversions were being allowed in droves, and demolition of affordable housing complexes were allowed "because there's nothing we can do", and I'm certain you can see why there NEEDS to be an audit and/or inquiry into the goings on of Regina City Council, RM of Sherwood Council and both Administrations.

I find that there are far too many "assume" "should be" "we think" comments in these interviews for a process that is supposed to be so set in stone, and everything was to be worked out in these private meetings that the public wasn't allowed to know a single thing on.

It is also very interesting to note, that the evening that the RM of Sherwood presented their OCP to the general public, Jason Carlston and Diana Hawryluk were there as well. What was funny, speaking candidly to Jason after the meeting, he claimed this was the first ever meeting he had attended, and the first time he'd seen their OCP. Funny - you'd think a planner would be more aware of what their neighbouring municipality is doing, especially if, in other interviews, he claimed the exact opposite. Just a piece of interesting info for your files.

It is quite comical how - after allegedly meeting in private and going through a mediator - the two parties seem to be so on opposite sides of the equation when you ask them each the exact same question. It certainly leads me to believe that the RM, once again, got the wool pulled over it from the Wolf that is the City of Regina. (I'm not excusing the RM by any means, just they ought to have thought more about WHY the City was so "interested" - now - in getting the annexation issues resolved) It's not in the best interests of taxpayers, but only for a select few who will profit - quite heavily I might add - from the manipulation of innocent, and often naive, taxpayers who see no wrong in anything these individuals do.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

"Affordable" Housing - For Whom?

Good morning Regina!!

What exactly is considered "Affordable" Housing? According to CMHC, it is defined quite clearly as "Affordable housing costs less than 30% of before-tax household income". It is important to note, that shelter costs include utilities and property taxes, as applicable. For the layperson, this seems like a pretty clear cut definition, and something that would be very easy to measure and apply to any given situation. Why is it then, that our Regina Senior Administrators and City Council prefer to use a special "Made In Regina" definition, leaning towards "at or below market rate"?

CMHC Definition:
City of Regina Definition:
In order to understand the City's position on Affordable Housing, one needs to look no further than the policy papers submitted by the Saskatchewan Realtors Association over the past decade to the Provincial Government. These papers are a virtual roadmap to what the organizations (with a vested interest in developing the Real Estate Market) had proposed - and have been successful in receiving ever since the Saskatchewan Party of Premier Brad Wall have been in power. Add to that, how our current and former City Council and certain Senior Administrators at the City of Regina (as well as the RM of Sherwood) hold a tremendous vested interest in increasing the values of Real Estate transactions (land inclusive), and you quickly realize an independent review is absolutely essential in order to determine who may have violated Conflict of Interest legislation, and what consequences are appropriate for such obvious market manipulation.

Association of Saskatchewan Realtors Definition:
After reviewing the position papers in depth, it appears that the definition adopted by the City of Regina - and the Saskatchewan Party - is more focused on statistics, than actual fact. The focus is on creating a "free market" where overall housing costs are around 30% of the median income of the community. What has been proposed by these organizations is to find a way to increase that median income, which in turn would mean the average house price/rent would be more in line with the 30% mark as set by CMHC. They plan to achieve this by providing housing subsidies to those that they deem as the most at risk. This is a very unique perspective, and certainly ignores the harsh reality of what the lack of truly Affordable Housing means to our community. What's more, is it ignores a good majority of the population that don't qualify for housing subsidies - the "Blue Collar Workers".

By now, I'm sure you're asking yourself, "Well, if the situation is truly this bad, why aren't residents out on the streets with pitchforks and demanding accountability from their elected officials?" The answer, quite simply, is apathy - due to how people have been treated in the past from these officials. Never mind the fact that many are struggling every single day to determine how they are going to find their next meal. And, when you add the fact that the Provincial Government pretty much wipes its' hands clean of any potential wrongdoing by municipalites (because municipalities are their own level of government with ultimate accountability to the taxpayer), and it becomes quite clear that the only way to hold our elected officials accountable is to place tremendous public pressure on them.


There are a number of solutions available to taxpayers, many of which are certainly not attractive to Realtors, in that they stand to gain nothing by promoting these alternatives. This, of course, lends itself even more to the question of Conflict of Interest, and which hat the Realtor is wearing when voting on a decision that could very well affect their livelihood.

The first solution is to put extreme public pressure on the City of Regina to open its' books to the public and allow an inquiry and/or forensic audit to ensure that our tax dollars are indeed being spent in the most fiscally responsible manner. These are both available to the public in the Cities Act, in sections 354 and 352. The province has confirmed with me that they will only step in, in extenuating circumstances. So, it is up to you and I, the individual taxpayer, to demonstrate the overwhelming desire of the public to review the goings on at City Hall. Stay tuned for more on this developing story in the coming weeks.

Secondly, pressure the Realtors/Lobbyists on Council, and anyone else in a position of authority at City Hall, to withdraw themselves from any given vote that may even be perceived as a Conflict of Interest. A better solution to this would be to have Realtors remuneration changed from a percentage of sales price, to a flat rate or an hourly rate. This simple change would remove any incentive for those individuals to vote for decisions like the new Somerset development solely for the purpose of padding their own pocket books. As well, I am quite confident you would see a dramatic change in the overall real estate market in and around Regina.

Thirdly, and probably most important, would be to change the mindset of City Hall to one of cooperation and community. While this stands very little chance of ever being considered, let alone adopted, by our current City Council and Administrators, it lends itself quite well to a truly community-minded and focused City Hall. With this in mind, I present to you the proposal for the City of Vancouver  called "The Cooperative City". This is a tremendous resource, and it builds upon the Co-operative nature that the great residents of Saskatchewan know and love, and one of the major principles of how our province was established.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Regina 2014 Budget - Is It Really That Bad?

Good afternoon Regina!!

Mayor Michael Fougere has gone to the media in the past couple weeks making some pretty bold statements about the anticipated 2014 City of Regina budget. He refuses to get into specifics, but promises "at least" a similar tax increase to last year (4.45%). Interesting to note is how he has brought in Saskatoon's approved 7.43% hike in their 2014 Budget. for comparison sakes. Also, as we exclusively broke here, the chair of the Finance & Administration Commitee, Wade Murray, leaked that the increase could be between at least 3-4%. No matter how you look at it, it seems that City Hall is expecting more money in their pockets.

Add to the fact that they are hinting at yet another increase in your water rates, similar to the previous years of 9%, and the individual taxpayers are getting royally screwed once again. I say individual taxpayers, because if you are a business that is "friendly" to the City, it seems that you don't have to worry about property taxes. Either you'll get a complete exemption, or you'll get - at least - a few year break. But, well, if you're a non-profit or doing something worthwhile in the community, don't expect such a favour. (Unless, of course, you bow to the "corrupt elite")

Just a few of the questions that immediately come to mind are: 
- What, exactly, is the reason for such a delay in the budget process? Considering Saskatoon has not only already reviewed theirs, but also approved it.

- What, exactly, is the reason for the anticipated property tax (and water rate) hike? Is the City of Regina truly doing everything in it's power to maximize the efficiency of how our City is managed, in order to reduce the burden on taxpayers?

- How does the Provincial Government's "reduction" in it's Municipal Operating Grant truly affect the annual budget? Why is this such a "surprise" to the City when it ought to have known about this possibility when the funding formula was changed early in 2013?

- Considering we have had record growth in construction over the past few years, would it not stand to reason that the City should expect a significant Property Tax Revenue increase? This past year alone, only counting the single family housing units, at an average Property Tax of $2,500 (Municipal portion), one would reasonably expect the City to have an extra $2.75 Million - just from the increased units in 2013. Multiply that by the number of new properties developed over the past number of years, as well as the multi-family units and commercial buildings, and you quickly realize that the City ought to have a significantly higher tax base than it did just five years ago. Without a detailed calculation and reviewing all of the stats in detail, a reasonable estimate would be an extra $30 Million per year, just based on the construction activity over the past few years.

Perhaps the Property Tax system isn't as "antiquated" as the Mayor suggests, in that the revenue doesn't increase with the economy, per se, but it certainly increases with every additional property, particularly in boom periods. I should mention that I anticipate the Mayor and/or Council/Admin to try to justify this by somehow stating that these extra revenues offset the development and maintenance costs of new subdivisions. Which is complete bullshit. Developers pay Service Connection Fees to the City for this very purpose, and you - the taxpayer - pay these in the purchase price of your new home. Extra services? What services? I highly doubt it costs an extra couple million to send buses, graders and garbage trucks to the new areas. I openly issue this challenge to the Mayor or any City Councillor to provide documented evidence to support their argument on this.

So, after considering the above, one has to ask themselves, just how dire is the City of Regina's financial situation? I mean, it can't be all that bad if we are considering spending half a billion dollars on just two projects alone over the next couple of years. (Which, by the way, is expected to increase our debt by 500%)

Why are we, the individual taxpayers, having to pay more for effectively the same level of services as last year?

Why are we, the individual taxpayers, having to subsidize giant corporations' tax breaks?

Why were we tricked into believing that the WWTP P3 arrangement would not cost us anymore in taxes, when in fact, they are going up - as well as water rates? Oh, and why won't the City ever acknowledge the $80 to $240M in expected revenues from this deal where they promised to sell off our wastewater? And why won't they answer the most basic of questions as to what happened since 2008? (Hint: Could it have anything to do with Monetization?)

Why can't our City Administrators simply realign their priorities, and reconsider the multi-million dollar projects currently on the table? These projects should - at minimum - have an independent authority reviewing the proposals, in order to ensure that they are indeed in the individual taxpayers' best interests, and we are, indeed, getting the best bang for our buck. Not to mention the question of whether or not the City of Regina has learned their lesson from the clusterfuck that was the Plaza.

Stay tuned Regina - there will be many excuses offered to you from the City of Regina and the Mayor over the next few weeks as to why they feel the need to gouge you and I, their employers, but there will only be one truth

In closing, I would like to share with you probably one of the most honest statements of any City Councillor - current or past - in terms of a possible solution to our problems facing City Hall. (I should note that he immediately removed this from Twitter after either realizing it's not the best idea to bash your former employer, or perhaps he meant to post this under a Parody Account.)

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2014: Focusing on the Positive

Happy New Year Regina!!

I will try to keep this post short and sweet for today, but I just wanted to let everyone know that one of the major New Years Resolutions I have made for 2014 - and I plan to stick to it for the entire year - is to be far more positive in my outlook on life. Now, this does not mean I will completely remove criticisms about situations which I find unjust; but it does mean that I will work to not only identify those situations, but to also find a positive in each situation, and provide meaningful solutions that you and I can do to hopefully bring on the change that is needed.

I share with you some very positive images here, which have been great inspirations to get me into this mindset, and I hope it inspires each one of you as well. I would like to issue this one challenge to each one of you reading this today: In 2014, please make an effort to do one Random Act of Kindness, each and every day, even if it's as simple as smiling at that person on the street that looks like they are having a down day. You just never know what that one act may do to change their outlook in life, or even - in some rare situations - save a life! If you do this one simple act each and every day, you can have touched 365 lives in 2014.