Friday, April 27, 2007

So what would be the banner headline on your paper

Oshawa Scores High Fees on ATM’s OR Oshawa Councillors can’t understand Plebiscite-like question and vote the wrong way---so they’re giving themselves another chance to see if “they can get it right.”

Two issues were discussed at the same City Finance and Administration Committee meeting on Monday April 23, 2007

The committee discussed fees charged by ATM machines installed at city-owned facilities like the Legends Centre.

The “big” issue was whether they should charge $1.75 giving the ATM provider $1 and the city 75 cents per transaction for an extra projected ciry revenue of $12,000 over 3 years, $1.50 per transaction giving the city 50 cents per transaction or $7,500 over 3 years, or $1.25 per transaction giving the city only 25 cents per transaction

Mayor John Gray summed up the sentiment of the committee, “If people want the extra convenience, they’re going to have to pay for it. I think the $1.75 fee is appropriate.”

And thus the banner headline on the April 25, 2007 edition of Oshawa This Week screams, “Oshawa scores high fees on ATN’s.”

Great Choice of top news story of the week.

In the same meeting the committee was reconsidering a Partnership Grant to VOTES so that an information brochure could be prepared and distributed to all Oshawa households---But that’s not the story!

It's not even the story that the reporter left the meeting when VOTES Chair Bill Longworth was called forward...because the paper had decided it was not a story that they wanted to cover no matter what was said!

The story was that councillors who state the public could not be confused by the plebiscite question got confused themselves with the same kind of question the public confronted on the plebiscite.

Because they couldn't understand the question, they voted the wrong way!

This reconsideration of the issue was made necessary because three members of this committee, John Henry, Louise Parkes, and Maryanne Sholdra, got their votes wrong at the previous council meeting.

They couldn’t understand the motion on which they had to vote “NO” to provide the funds to VOTES and “YES” to deny it.

These same three councillors have been voting “In the name of democracy”, they say, to uphold the plebiscite result because “the people have spoken.”

Over 36% of the councillors got confused on the vote. Isn’t it possible that the same percentage of voters got confused on the same kind of question asked of voters on the plebiscite?

And isn’t it fair that the people are given a second chance to “get it right” since council themselves are giving themselves a second opportunity to get it right.

You’d think that the councillors who voted wrong on this question would finally “get it”…they’re not supporting public opinion at all. They’re supporting a flawed plebiscite process marred by a “trick” question of the type council members themselves couldn’t understand combined with a denial of information from city hall.

So what would be the lead story in your paper? ATM fees at city owned facilites or 36% of Councillors don’t understand “plebiscite-like” question and vote the wrong way.

All of this leads of course to the question of the degree to which Oshawa City Hall’s huge $10,000 per month advertising bill with Oshawa This Week controls the stories they choose to print.

I know what I think about this! How about you?

To their credit, Oshawa This Week used to carry this story in a serious way...but not anymore.

Did someone get to them?

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