Three City Politicians Change A Light Bulb


In journalism, one of the worst writing errors is burying the lede.

In other words, taking the best information in a story and moving it to the middle or end of the story. Now of course the City of Ottawa would never do such a thing because it is an information powerhouse of experts.

So your agent can only surmise that in the release below, the best information was “Mayor Jim Watson, Transportation Committee Chair Keith Egli, Environment and Climate Protection Committee Chair David Chernushenko.”

It could not possibly be that the City of Ottawa is halfway through converting to LED lighting. Coincidentally your agent is halfway through converting his house to LED lighting. I can’t believe I missed this great Ken Gray moment without posting something on The Bulldog about the monumental event.

So because these three politicians are at the top of this release, your agent can only surmise that the three were the most important information in this missive because city hall experts could not be wrong.

Just to take this a step further, the purpose of this bit of whimsy was to publicize the three politicians above. Combine this with Watson and Councillor Jan Harder spending $600,000 on an environmental assessment that will be out-of-date in five years for a train line to Harder’s Barrhaven which will not have a line past 2031, and we witness politicians plugging themselves with taxpayer money and development charges as an election approaches on Oct. 22.

Stop it. This is unethical because it gives incumbents a step up on potential opponents in the upcoming vote, it’s a gross waste of money and it is using city facilities to publicize themselves. That’s our tax money, not politicians’.

This release actually goes to show that it takes three politicians to change a light bulb.

Now if you will excuse me, your agent must go to celebrate his own conversion to LED. No city announcement  needed.

The release is below:


Mayor Jim Watson, Transportation Committee Chair Keith Egli, Environment and Climate Protection Committee Chair David Chernushenko, Hydro Ottawa President and Chief Executive Officer Bryce Conrad, and Chief Energy and Infrastructure Services Officer for Envari, Adnan Khokhar, shed some light on the City’s efforts to convert its 58,000 street lights from high-pressure sodium and metal halide to light emitting diode (LED) technology.

The City is working on the conversion in partnership with Envari (formerly known as Energy Ottawa) who will continue to help to convert the remaining street lights to LED technology. As new roads are built in the future, they will also be equipped with LED lighting. Envari is an affiliate of Hydro Ottawa, the City’s power supplier. Envari has the detailed technical knowledge, experience and project management expertise required to assist with the LED conversion project.

LED street lights have lower maintenance costs, offer greater light control, reduce light pollution, and allow staff to more easily monitor problems and even receive automatic notifications in case of failure. Extensive improvements in efficiency, output, and costs of LED over the last few years have made the technology an attractive replacement to existing equipment.

Switching to LED technology is allowing the City to reduce its energy consumption used for streetlighting by more than 60 percent, generating annual savings of approximately $4 million. In addition, the City expects to reduce maintenance costs for street lights by 50 percent, an extra $2 million in savings each year. Conversion of the remaining street lights is expected to be completed in 2020.


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5 thoughts on “Three City Politicians Change A Light Bulb

  1. Oh Ken – I can’t believe that you missed this bit:

    “Envari has the detailed technical knowledge, experience and project management expertise required to assist with the LED conversion project.”

    The three of them combined don’t know how to change light bulbs – they need assistance. And what’s that costing us? What kind of “detailed technical knowledge” do you need to unscrew bulb A and screw in bulb B?

    This is supposed to save a truckload of money so you would think it would be advantageous to do it as quickly as possible and get that money flowing in – or, more correctly, stop it from flowing out. If it saves $6 million a year when all are done, why are they taking until 2020 to finish the job? Why not hire a team of summer students to change the remaining 29,000 lights now and put at least $1 million back in this year’s budget? (Half the lights @ $3 million times just under half the year minus the cost of hiring the students.) Plus you would gain $3 million for next year as well and some amount of savings for the portion of 2020 before the original implementation date.

    Lastly, why should we get excited about a job half-done? Are we to look forward to breathless announcements when roads are half-paved; when bridges are half-built; when services are half-provided or when the mayor has half-opened the proverbial envelope?


    1. The Voter:

      We’ve celebrated pothole-filling and half the LED lights done.

      These celebrations are moronic.

      This qualifies as good PR at city hall. In fact it qualifies as just plain stupid.

      Why don’t we celebrate over-spending on LRT by $3.2 billion or wasting $600,000 on an EA that will never be used for Barrhaven LRT?

      Here’s something to celebrate … outside audits of LRT and Lansdowne. And maybe an audit of the use of public money by local pols to advertise their sorry ideas and themselves. Then maybe an audit of the auditor general.




  2. Never bury the lede , I will lead the choir on Sunday and I once led a horse to water but he wouldn’t drink ’cause there was lead in it. lol

    At Ottawa City Hall it takes all city councillors to change a light bulb. They needed light so they all got on the ladder, each one holding onto the other. Someone held the bulb and his lairdship turned the ladder (after all, they are unanimous).

    Story reads:

    I got hurt, I was turning a ladder, I am lucky I wasn’t killed when the others landed on top of me.



  3. Voter. The primary reason a big deal is made of simplistic accomplishments is because that’s all our current city council is capable of. If difficult issues are brought to the table, the city fails because the intelligent councillors who encourage debate and discussion are curtailed by Jim “I know what’s best (for me)” Watson.

    Ken. Reduce light pollution?


    1. Thanks for bringing me back to earth, Sisco. Every now and again, I get carried away with thoughts of how it could be down there on Laurier Avenue. I even start to apply logical thought to municipal processes.
      I really need to deal in reality when considering the actions of our Council. I’ll try and be more careful.


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