Saturday, February 4, 2017

Continuous Failure

Prelude

I have lived in Hamilton, Ontario most of my life. It never ceases to amaze me how our city councilors and senior staff, at City Hall control this metropolis once called "The Ambitious City." Quite often they will devise, introduce and/or recommend foolish and crackpot ideas which turn out to be nothing more than absolutely wasteful spending of tax payers money.

Let's start off with the L.R.T. (Light Rail Transit) manifesto. The L.R.T. is a disaster waiting to happen. Supporters of this farce should come up for air once in a while. Ward 7 Councillor Donna Skelly stated in the Mountain News on Dec. 14/16 the L.R.T. operation could cost the city millions.

The information was very upsetting and disturbing if this asinine, needless and irrational undertaking occurs. A report to Toronto, Ontario council Nov./16 said the L.R.T.'s (Toronto has more than one line) will cost the city over $180 million in operational costs, an expense politicians said was unexpected.

So the Provincial government gives Hamilton $1 billion but guess what, SURPRISE, we're responsible for the operational costs like "hog town".

To summarize, (this soon to be catastrophe), WE DON'T NEED IT!!! A city the size of Hamilton can function quite simply without it. I can only imagine the nightmare that will develop if our councillors approve this nonsense.

Once the construction starts it will be an outright mess. The traffic congestion. delays and idling (mind you the city enjoys that irritation to drivers) are only some of the negative factors that have been predicted. Businesses will severely suffer, sadly some will claim bankruptcy, so a handful of people can commute the 13 km route, again...WE DON'T NEED IT!!!

I had to chuckle when I read an article in the Mountain News on Sept. 1/16 titled "City orders super-sized signs to remind drivers of speed limit". The forty-five new signs (measuring five feet tall and four feet wide) were erected along the Red Hill Valley Parkway and the Lincoln M. Alexander Expressway...the maximum speed is 90 km/h at both locations.

A report stated many drivers were coming from the 100 km/h Highway 403 and Q.E.W. (Queen Elizabeth Way) and that was the reason why a lot of motorists drove over the speed limit. My, oh, my, as if these new magic signs are going to "curb" drivers from speeding.

Why don't our "leaders" realize there are an abundance of high speed drivers and they will completely disregard these magic signs. There will always be idiots who drive dangerously fast...I see it, you see it, we all see it every day. There will always be reckless vehicle owners driving on both Parkways, no matter how humongous the signs may be.

However, I have a suggestion that may reduce the high speeds on both Parkways, install 12 foot by 12 foot signs every three hundred feet of nude male and female models. Photo radar may be a deterrent...the city is seriously considering that possibility.

I also had to laugh as I read two separate articles in the Mountain News on Aug. 26 and Sept. 22/16 pertaining to our city council wanting to make Upper James Street pedestrian friendly.

The street is a 5.5 km stretch of commercial and business enterprises located in Ward 7 on the "mountain". The mountain has an estimated population in 2011 of 103,615 but continues to grow in population and expand with businesses. Upper James has four traffic lanes (2 northbound and 2 southbound). The middle of the street has a twittle, a center turning lane. It is also a primary route to downtown and John C. Munroe Hamilton International Airport.

An estimated 30,000 vehicles travel the thoroughfare every day. I have driven on Upper James plenty of times and very seldom do I see pedestrians. Even Ward 2 Councilor Jason Farr said (in regards about pedestrians and cyclists on Upper James) "very rarely do I see one".

Ward 7 Councilor Donna Skelly wants to see added tress, boulevards and other amenities to make Upper James more safer and welcoming. She said "it's almost frightening to walk along the street because there is so much traffic, it's full of concrete." I don't know why she is so worried about pedestrians safety...they are few and far between and every store and business has ample parking for their potential customers vehicles...I can't recall any pedestrian fatalities.

She will be asking city staff on how Upper James can be urbanized without impacting traffic flow, including the possibility of bike lanes. OK, wait a minute, TIME OUT!! Is she talking Upper James in Hamilton, Ontario or Upper James in Timbuktu?

First of all there isn't any space for bike lanes and secondly if the officials have the foolishness and insanity of including bike lanes (they've done it before throughout the city) it will certainly and unquestionably have negative ramifications for drivers...the traffic flow will be sluggish, time consuming and bumper to bumper. However, the city gives me the impression they thrive on gridlock. Thirdly, correct me if I'm wrong, I thought Upper James was already urbanized.

The City's Master Transportation Plan promotes walking and builds active communities while reducing peoples dependence upon cars. The plan states that a successful Pedestrian Network Strategy allows for a safe travel area for vehicles and pedestrians by expanding pedestrian facilities that advocate transportation such as cycling.

So there is the hard core evidence on how these bureaucrats have a thirst and craving to smother the entire city with bike lanes...more of a priority than public safety and infrastructure which don't even appear to be in their "ball park."

The laughter always emerges...I will refer to an article I read in the Hamilton Spectator on Dec. 7/16. Ward 1 Councilor Aidan Johnson asked his colleagues to support a study of the implications of preventing bottled water sales in arenas, parks and other city facilities...WOW, a real serious and critical issue...this same subject was debated in 2010, why do they dwell on past matters? He said it will preserve fresh water reserves viewed by some environmentalists as increasingly under threat. What Johnson was really trying to say is, PROHIBIT bottled water altogether at all city owned premises.

Maybe someone should have reminded him about the boil water advisory on Brigadoon Drive in the west mountain in Sept./16...240 homes were affected. The warning was lifted on Sept. 26/16 a week later after the original complaint. A home owner complained about the smell of their tap water. According to the Hamilton Spectator Sept. 26/16 our so called water wizards couldn't pinpoint the exact reason for high levels of bacteria taken from a fire hydrant...now that is disturbing and very scary.

Should we also jog Johnson's memory or a small town called Walkerton, Ontario and their horrific nightmare they experienced in May 2000. All that happened there was their water supply was contaminated and seven people died and thousands were sickened...FUCKING SHAMEFUL!

Johnson's concern is also environmental (it's a band wagon every politician jumps on) but his interest is geared to citizens drinking city tap water so his gang can raise our water rates...wait a minute, L.O.L., they increase our rates either way, every year...another carved in stone tax.

During hot and dry summers bureaucrats "ask" home owners to conserve and reduce our water consumption. Most of us oblige their request but the end result is always the same...the Ivory Tower group always increase our water rates...we just can't win.

An article in the Mountain News Dec./16 titled "Council mulls bottled water ban" had my blood boiling. Ward 3 Councilor Matthew Green said earlier in the year he wants more drinking fountains in city parks to discourage youths from drinking sugary drinks.

Who the hell do you think you are. Green should mind his own business. It sickens me when I hear politicians that come across caring and concerned about children...they exploit and use them as pawns for their own political advantage. The administrators tend to conveniently forget that parents are responsible for their kids actions...not manipulating politicians.

City council agreed to raise water rates by $30 stated the Mountain News on Nov. 24/16. The average home owner's bill will be $660.95 a year. Most members felt comfortable supporting the increase...why would they have any other feelings, their desire to take our money.

Politicians believe providing safe clean water is an essential service to residents...a very health conscience way of saying we want more money...tell that to the folks on Brigadoon Drive. Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla said "water is sacred". Is Merulla suggesting we attend church and praise this holy H2O?

The debate on tap and bottled water has been going on for a long time and I think it's far from over. Most of us have gulped down tap water for numerous years and never had any bad repercussions. However the incident on Brigadoon Drive may have a lot of tax payers angry and anxious and questioning our 20th century technology when it specifically arrives at diddly squat for the cause of this frightening and possible deadly problem.

Our bureaucrats have decided to start suffocating the city with new pedestrian crossovers. According to the Mountain News on Sept. 22/16 a basic crossover costs about $3,000 and a crossover with lights and overhead signs, meant for higher traffic areas, costs between $12,000 and $15,000. The city is looking at about 200 locations to install the crossovers.

I read an article in CBC News on Sept. 19/16 and almost puked...Hamilton officials had a ribbon cutting ceremony for the first pedestrian crossover...I'm surprised there wasn't a $300 a plate dinner after the formality for what they consider a gala affair. A picture accompanied the article which I found laughable. The photograph showed Hamilton Ward 6 Councilor, Tom Jackson, and three extremely high priced city senior managers walking behind each other crossing the street at the new crossover.

I suspect the image is trying to resemble the Beatles 1969 album cover Abbey Road. Funny, HA, HA. F.Y.I. the group in the photo, (who found time for this momentous event) are worth well over $500,000.

What ever happened to sound and good judgment when crossing the street. My long time and very good friend Uncle Block mentioned in one of his rants to Ward 6 Councilor Tom Jackson, maybe pedestrians should take a course with Elmer the Safety Elephant.

Crossing the street is a very simple task...look both ways then proceed when it's safe...elementary my dear council. However, in their minds they have to spend a lot more than a few million dollars of tax payers money for what I think is nothing more than make work programs.

Furthermore, I believe it's another underhanded scheme to promote their mandate...their crusade against the automobile. Not a very good one, nevertheless enough to annoy and irritate drivers and especially tax payers.

Then we have the yearly budget. An article in the Mountain News on Nov. 24/16 stated councilors are facing what some are calling the toughest budget fight they've had in nearly a decade.

This is nothing new...it's an ongoing occurrence every year...a real dramatic movie. They whine, cry and even panic about the exorbitant preliminary figures (for 2017 was 5.65% for the average home owner) but all of a sudden an astonishing chain of events happens and the budget is "knocked down" below 2%.

These bureaucrats make themselves look like financial geniuses, miraculously the budget has been reduced to 1.8% or 1.9%. In fact they actually applauded themselves one year because the budget was finalized at under 2%.

Supposedly over the last five years Hamilton has had some of the lowest tax increases among similar municipalities...average is 1.7%. However their taxation on home owners could be a lot less if they would eliminate their ridiculous spending.

Finally the Claremont Access is in urgent need of repairs. The access is a vital artery that connects the downtown area to the mountain. The down bound lanes were closed for a prolonged period of time because of a loose retaining wall. The access was also closed for four days in 2012 because of a landslide.

Gary Moore, Hamilton's Director of Engineering told the Mountain News on Dec. 14/16 "the cost to fix this problem will be tens of millions of dollars". I think we all agree without a doubt this problem has to be properly rectified with no makeshift repair whatsoever. It's going to cost a wealth of money. Hopefully the officials can forgo their witless bike lanes and pedestrian crossovers and spend our money on much needed requirements such as infrastructure.

Specifically bike lanes and pedestrian crossovers are sweeping the province...sadly it's not a fad, they're here to stay. It reminds me of the British Music Invasion in the 1960's and how it engulfed North America. The city (whether they admit to it or not) will proceed with their aggressive campaign...the war against the internal combustion engine.

Epilogue

You would think common sense would prevail among politicians (at all government levels) when the deficits and debts are at an alarming and astronomical amounts. They don't have the money but they spend, spend and spend on idiotic projects...it appears to be customary behavior, an endless infectious disorder that won't disappear. I was going to suggest if you live some where other than Hamilton don't let this fatal virus happen in your neighborhood, but chances are, it already has. I would love to own a Mercedes Benz but putting it bluntly, I can't afford it and do I really need an expensive vehicle...NO!!! Why can't politicians, particularly the Hamilton crowd abide by logic.

The End
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