COLUMN: An embarrassment we must all wear

You would think that someone might have mentioned the impending road rebuild, and saved the cost of line-painting.

COLUMN: An embarrassment we must all wear

A few Fridays ago line painters went up the road past my house, laying down bright yellow double solid lines. The next day, a paving crew arrived and ground up the road surface for more than a kilometer, replacing the old asphalt and eliminating the bright new paint before it had hardly dried. All undertaken by the provincial government, I might add, until July 8 when the city assumes full control of all works on the mountain following expiration of a five-year amalgamation obligation.

Regardless, you would think that someone might have mentioned the impending road rebuild, and saved the cost of line-painting until after the new pavement was laid.

It is, however, not an uncommon occurrence that the right hand doesn’t appear to know what the left is doing in this community.

For example, last year residents throughout the rural areas raised a stink when they received in the mail, letters indicating they would be responsible for cleaning the ditches that fronted their properties. The upshot of that was a public meeting in which the city claimed not to have the two hundred thousand or so needed to do the job. Yet at the same meeting, and confirmed three hours later, the city contemplated donating $17.5 million to the YMCA.

The ensuing brouhaha eventually kiboshed, at least for the time being, that expenditure, and the city managed to find the funding to clean its own ditches, though at this point my ditches are obviously not yet on the public works’ radar.

Similarly, it seems, the left hand is operating independently of the right when it comes to littering, if the recent poultry poop performance by the city on a homeless gathering place. Because, immediately after a red-faced mayor apologizes profusely for the hugely embarrassing ‘faux pas’, what goes out from the city but a letter telling residents not to dump yard refuse in city parks.

If it’s wrong for citizens to dump grass clippings in people-gathering places, how could anyone at city hall think dumping chicken manure in any public place would be right, if not downright scandalous.

Yes, we mainstreamers might find homelessness a blight on our fair city, but the fact is, regardless of their economic or mental states they are people and should not be treated with such cavalier distain.

What irks me is who is doing the thinking at city hall? Did it not occur to the bright lights making decisions that spreading manure essentially across the street from the main homeless shelter would not become a public relations disaster?

That politically, to say nothing from a humanitarian standpoint, it was absolutely the wrong, and most stupid, thing to do?

Is it blissful ignorance on the part of those we elect to direct our city, or ignorance clouded by arrogance on the part of those hired to do the bidding of our representatives?

The mayor, in his mea culpa, said the buck stops at his office, and that of the city manager. I expect, as should all of us, that some pretty heated conversations have occurred in those offices, the result of which must be an understanding that both the left and right hands must work in concert, and that this sort of disgraceful stupidity must never happen again.

After all, this wasn’t just a complete lack of judgment for those at city hall, it was an unacceptable embarrassment for every citizen of our community.