Gourlay Piles Up The Plaques

Gourlay-OPL

David Gourlay tweeted out this honour late Monday evening.

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It has been another great day for president David Gourlay of the Ottawa Champions Baseball Club.

If you check the picture above, you will notice that Gourlay’s name is gracing the extremely rare awarding of the Certificate of Life Membership of the Ottawa Public Library. He tweeted the above photo out through his Twitter account that features him with Mayor Jim Watson.

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The Order of Ottawa Spin

So on Monday at the bylaw factory on Laurier Avenue, the David Gourlay Order of Ottawa post on this city’s foremost news site named after a dog was the talk of the gathered politicos and public servants.

From the highest echelons of Ottawa City Hall, the post was being spun as an attack (yes an ATTACK … AN ATTACK) on city staff.

Not even a small amount of truth to that from the person who penned the post.

It was not directed at city staff nor was it an attack. The post was a news item on an issue of public interest. That issue was: Should the Order of Ottawa, created by Jim Watson and now in its third year, be dispensed to some of the really worthy people in the community or should it be given to friends? Is it the high honour the mayor originally intended it for (a la Order of Canada or Order of Ontario) or is it a political vehicle to honour friends?

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Dave Smith Or Gourlay: You Be The Judge

Napoleon

Napoleon

Your agent did a little run-through on the recipients for Mayor Jim Watson’s Order of Ottawa (friends edition) and noticed a glaring omission.

Dave Smith.

The proprietor of the landmark Nate’s Deli, who has raised more than $100 million for charities, has had a street named after him, but the Order of Ottawa has eluded him in its three annual incarnations. Wow. That’s an oversight of major proportions.

It’s like ignoring Napoleon in Paris. That would be wrong.

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Watson’s Post-Vote Quips: Top 10 List

Watson

Watson

Now the story can be told.

The Bulldog hid a microphone in a secret enclave deep in the bowels of Re-elect Jim Watson for Mayor 2014 headquarters.

This is where all the great strategy was formulated to defeat would-be mayor Mike Maguire. And it worked … Watson got 77 per cent of the popular vote.

So here is what the microphone picked up on Oct. 27 election night:

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Ottawa Watches Toronto UBER Case

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

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Do You Like It LOUD?

Ottawa Magazine’s Anne DesBrisay goes to the restaurant Ace Mercado where all the noise doesn’t come from the kitchen:

“There Goes the Neighbourhood” was the opening slogan of Ace Mercado, punctuated with cartoon dynamite booms.

There went my ear drums that first visit. And the next. The volume of the music played at Ace has waxed and waned a bit over my three meals here, but is generally at ear ringing level by eight o’clock.

We move to the back room and find we can just hear each other if we holler.

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Strong Mayor? Weak Mayor? Who Cares?

Here’s some interesting research on the structure of city government and how the shape of it really doesn’t matter.

According to new research, no urban governance structure — whether a strong mayor system or a weak mayor system — is necessarily better at implementing the policies their constituents actually support. Policies enacted by municipal governments of all stripes tend to be a pretty good reflection of their electorate’s ideological preferences, as it turns out.

Political scientists Chris Tausanovitch of UCLA and Christopher Warshaw of MIT aggregated a collection of nationwide survey results to determine the political leanings of 1,600 U.S. cities and towns.

They then paired those results with the types of government structures used by those same municipal governments, and compared each one to a 2010 survey that outlined the social, political, and environmental policies enacted by each individual local government body.

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Watson ‘Friend’ Gets Order Of Ottawa Nod

gourlay

This from Twitter: Watson office staffer Danielle McGee (fourth from right in back row) and David Gourlay, Order of Ottawa recipient (third from right in back row).

Whither David Gourlay.

In most everything, not only do you have to be objective, you must appear to be objective.

And who knows? Maybe Mayor Jim Watson believes he is being objective. But the committee to choose the Order of Ottawa inductees includes him and all its members draw a salary or have a close connection with the city. So they are likely to listen closely to the words of the mayor because he runs the municipality, particular on the Order of Ottawa because it is a award Watson created.

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Ont. Predicts Balanced Budget In 2017-18

This is a release from the Ontario Premier’s Office:

Ontario is moving forward with its economic plan to grow the economy and create jobs.  The government is committed to balancing the budget by 2017-18, and will do so in a way that is both fiscally responsible and fair.

Today Finance Minister Charles Sousa presented the 2014 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, which confirms that the Province is working to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18. The government continues to project deficits of $12.5 billion in 2014-15, $8.9 billion in 2015-16 and $5.3 billion in 2016-17, with a return to balance in 2017-18, consistent with the plan outlined in the 2014 Budget. This will improve the fiscal sustainability of the Province and help protect the critical public services that support the well-being of Ontarians.

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Ottawa’s Traffic Creep And Crawl

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

Residents are advised of the following lane reductions and ramp closures on Highway 417 and Highway 174:

Anticipated Lane Reductions

  • During the week of November 17:
  • There will be off-peak lane reductions on Highway 417 in both directions between Nicholas Street and the Highway 417/174 split and in the eastbound direction between Lyon Street and Elgin Street.

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Don’t Overreact, Greenwald Tells Canada

Noted journalist Glenn Greenwald tells Canada what it should do in the face of terrorism as seen in the recent shooting of a soldier in Ottawa:

Overreaction, and allowing the government to manipulate understandable emotions of anger, fear and horror in order to justify more secrecy, detention and surveillance in the name of an extremely remote threat.

If you’re a Canadian citizen you have a greater chance of slipping in your bathtub and hitting your head or being struck by lightning than you do dying in a terrorist attack.

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Where’s Katherine Hobbs?

hobbs

Who is representing Kitchissippi for the last two weeks of council’s term?

So if Matthew Pearson of the Citizen is correct in his assumption on Twitter that Kitchissippi Councillor Katherine Hobbs has left her office with her staff, who is representing her ward for the next two weeks?

You know, the humdrum phone calls about city services such as the garbage not being picked up. That is part of the job of a councillor. And will she be paid for these two weeks if she really is absent?

The new city council’s term begins on Dec. 1. According to Pearson, Hobbs flew the coop on Nov. 14.

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Keep The LCBO In Public Hands

Hooray for the panel that’s looking at selling Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One and the Liquor Control Board.

The panel headed by the TD Bank Group’s Ed Clark recommended leaving all in Ontario government hands.

Instead it recommended improving the operation of them.

At the LCBO the panel suggested being able to buy alcohol from around the world online and pick it up at the local stores. It also suggested selling beer in 12 packs instead of just sixes and setting up stores for local beers and ciders.

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Stop The Level-Crossing Danger

oc transpoThis is an excellent comment from avid Bulldog reader Ron Benn that was certainly worth playing up on the weekend:

While grade-separate crossings along the Via tracks might be the solution (and I am not convinced that it is viable, given reported soil and drainage issues), it is years away from being completed. In the meantime, what changes will be invoked to ensure that the safety of OC Transpo’s riders is improved?

In the interim between now (as in today, not tomorrow) and when any infrastructure solutions are in place and in use, I suggest that OC Transpo instruct its drivers to come to a full stop at the Transitway rail crossing when there is a train approaching, irrespective of whether the lights are flashing or the barrier is lowered, and then the bus can proceed once the driver has determined that it is safe to do so (i.e. same procedures as a school bus).

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Dead People Don’t Vote

Watson

Watson

One of Mayor Jim Watson’s favourite refrains when he doesn’t want to do something is: “There’s no money for that.”

However in this case, Watson really might not have the money.

People are talking $100 million for underpasses or overpasses on level crossings north of Barrhaven.

Fourteen months ago six people were killed when an OC Transpo bus and a Via Rail train came into collision at the Woodroffe Avenue level crossing. Then an OC Transpo bus recently stopped under a gate at the Fallowfield Road crossing.

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Paul Wells Wins Book Award

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

Three local writers were honoured with the prestigious Ottawa Book Award and Prix du livre d’Ottawa this week at the Shenkman Arts Centre. David O’Meara, Paul Wells and Philippe Bernier Arcand were each awarded a prize of $7,500. Arc Poetry Magazine also recognized Mr. O’Meara’s book as the year’s best work of poetry and presented him with the 2014 Archibald Lampman Award.

“Our talented local writers are literary ambassadors, critical to helping maintain and build Ottawa’s reputation as a city with a unique cultural identity,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “I’m proud and grateful that the City can continue to encourage and support their work through initiatives like this evening’s awards.”

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Lights, Camera, NCC

This is a release from the National Capital Commission:

The National Capital Commission (NCC) invites you to attend a panel discussion on the elements of creating a meaningful and successful lighting master plan. This Capital Urbanism Lab event aims to set the stage for the exploration of an integrated and collaborative illumination plan for the Capital.

This event is part of the Capital Urbanism Lab program, an initiative of the NCC.

Date:            Tuesday, November 18, 2014

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We’re No. 2 Behind Nunavut

light rail

An artist rendering of Ottawa’s award-winning light-rail project.

Yes, another award for the City of Ottawa. What’s novel about this is that it is the city receiving one instead of handing one out.

The Nobel? The Giller? The Pulitzer? The NFL Punt, Pass and Kick Award?

No none of the above. It’s the Silver Award for Best Rail/Transit Project in the Americas (the release is below). Be still our collective hearts.

Has anyone heard of this award? Maybe a pointy-headed guy and another one with a propeller on his beany?

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Fire Chief Calls It Quits

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

After countless honours spanning an illustrious 35-year career, Ottawa Fire Services Chief, John deHooge, has announced he will retire on January 31, 2015. He has led the department since his appointment as Ottawa’s Fire Chief in 2009.

“Drawing on his considerable experience as Fire Chief in the City of Waterloo and as Deputy Fire Chief for the Town of Oakville, Chief deHooge has been a strong and progressive leader during his time in Ottawa,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “His focus has been on ensuring the safety of residents and visitors to the city. On behalf of my colleagues on Council, I wish John all the best as he retires to spend more time with family and friends.”

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Order Of Ottawa Inductees Named

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

Mayor Jim Watson today announced the 15 residents who will be inducted into the Order of Ottawa this year, as well as the 2014 recipient of the Brian Kilrea Award for Excellence in Coaching.

This year’s Order of Ottawa ceremony will take place at City Hall on November 20.

“Inductees into the Order of Ottawa are remarkable residents who are being honoured for their service to our city through a variety of professional and civic-oriented endeavours,” said Mayor Watson. “I am pleased to celebrate the contributions of these wonderful people who have made a real difference in the lives of others in our community.”

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It’s The Honesty, Stupid

The apparently safe and correct interface between  an OC Transpo bus and a railway crossing gate.

The apparently safe and correct interface between an OC Transpo bus and a railway crossing gate.

According to city officials, nothing went wrong when an OC Transpo bus ended up with a railway crossing gate atop it on Fallowfield Road.

Why there was a manager on the bus who said everything was fine. The city planned no further investigation.

Except a railway inspector under the auspices of Transport Canada says: “a threat to safe railway operations exists.”

A picture circulating on the Internet clearly shows a railway crossing gate on top of an OC Transpo bus. And yet, the city planned no further investigation.

Is it regular procedure at OC Transpo to have railway crossing gates land on OC Transpo buses? We know there might be some procedure problems at OC Transpo but this is ridiculous.

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Jim? Jim? Where Are You, Jim?

So you get an OC Transpo bus underneath a railway-crossing gate in the same area that six people were killed 14 months ago north of Barrhaven when an OC Transpo bus and a Via Rail train came into collision.

So what do you expect from our take-charge leader Jim Watson?

Something like:

I’m taking the lead in this situation to ensure that Ottawans can be certain they are completely safe when they take our award-winning transit system. We cannot afford ever to give the impression to the public that their safety might be in jeopardy. I will discover exactly why the OC Transpo bus on Fallowfield Road went under a rail-crossing gate.

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Jim Watson Should Resign

Watson

Watson

How many more people must die north of Barrhaven before OC Transpo discovers how to successfully navigate across a rail crossing? Six people were killed there 14 months ago in a horrific bus-train collision that made headlines around the world.

People noticed this problem. Were six OC Transpo passengers not enough?

Individual motorists, without all the expert training and safety memos lavished on OC Transpo drivers, cross rail lines thousands of times without incident. OC Transpo cannot.

City management says that Transpo followed all procedures correctly on approaching the Via level crossing last week. Perhaps that’s true but all across the Internet are forwarded pictures of an OC Transpo bus with a railway gate on top of it as a train passes … are Transpo’s procedures at fault? Now Transport Canada, in a sternly worded note, wants to know what procedures will be in place so that will this error will never occur again. Meanwhile the Transportation Safety Board in the case of deadly Fallowfield crash has eliminated in its on-going investigation every variable as to the cause of the crash except … OC Transpo’s bus.

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End The Gender Wage Gap: Video

Comedian John Oliver finds a way to deal with the gender wage gap:

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Lest We Forget

poppies

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