Watson’s Well-Whipped Air

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Watson
Watson

On July 8 when The Bulldog was on a short vacation, this nose-stretcher of a press release spouted forth from Mayor Jim Watson’s office.

Your agent pities the poor sap who has to write this stuff because with the things that must be said in it, it’s a soul-destroying undertaking.

A lot of whipped air here. High in PR, low on results. But that’s the Watson way.

Watson’s release is in itallics. My comments are in bold. Read on:

Ottawa City Council approved its priorities for the 2014-2018 term, several of which fulfill election commitments made by Mayor Jim Watson.

The City of Ottawa will continue on the path of stability and progress for the next four years by investing in key areas such as light rail transit, affordable housing, road safety, and economic development.

Stability? What of the skyrocketing debt? Stability for your children to cover over time.

Over the next four years, City Council will move forward with important city-building priorities such as:

Opening the Confederation Line O-Train in 2018

Wait a second. the Confederation Line is opening in 2018 and Watson is taking credit in 2015? A lot of things can go wrong in three years. See the Arts Court comment below.

Advancing Stage 2 of LRT, which will extend rail farther east to Place d’Orléans, west to Bayshore and Algonquin College, and south to Riverside South

A line that goes down the Macdonald Parkway where no one lives. And is being tunnelled down a park. Down a park? This on top of an unnecessary tunnel. More hundreds of millions of dollars wasted. This is truly terrible.

Cleaning up the Ottawa River through the Ottawa River Action Plan

Good enough. Ottawa will be putting sewer overflow from rainstorms in a giant tub, then releasing it into the Pickard sanitation plant in the east end when the flow is low.

That’s great but what about upstream where Westboro Beach is the dirtiest of the bunch. That’s caused by runoff water carrying animal and other waste into the river.

Where is the program that would make big property owners (we’re talking malls and condos here) take care of their own storm water onsite to prevent so much runoff ending up polluting the Ottawa River? Don’t see that. Wonder why?

Pursuing a new central library

Why not actually study this question rather than haphazardly announce it during the campaign when the issue was getting traction. Do we need a big central library or could the millions be used to build the best online library in the world? Is this about grandeur rather than utility? The rest of the world is abandoning big buildings and going online for efficiency and utility. Watson chooses buildings. Hope they have a dinosaur exhibit in the new lobby.

Opening the Bayview Yards Innovation Centre

The last organization in the world that should be teaching and facilitating innovation is the City of Ottawa. The city could however teach much about sinkholes, late bridges and an outrageously poorly designed light-rail plan.

Revitalizing Arts Court and expanding the Ottawa Art Gallery

Arts Court is indefinitely on hold. Money was taken from the baseball project to help Arts Court. Now both Arts Court and baseball are disappointments. And, oh yeah, where is the baseball money going now? Two Watson half-jobs are in trouble.

Through the approval of Strategic Initiatives funding, City Council has supported several important initiatives that Mayor Watson committed to  during the election:

Increasing affordable housing and homelessness program funding by $8 million

A drop in the bucket. The needs far outweigh the amount of money the city has. This should not be a city responsibility because the municipality simply doesn’t have enough resources to significantly affect housing outcomes.

Supporting entrepreneurs and startup businesses through Invest Ottawa

See the above comment on the innovation centre. Entrepreneurs and startup businesses could show Ottawa how to improve the government. So could the average voter … if he or she voted.

Attracting major events and activities through Ottawa Tourism and Ottawa 2017

God bless ‘im, Watson knows how to throw a party with other people’s money. He’s trying to get major extravaganzas and best of luck to him.

Installing 20 new red light cameras

Revenue, revenue, revenue. Safety?

Implementing new neighbourhood road safety initiatives

Helping neighbourhoods. Ask Gloucester-Southgate Councillor Diane Deans how that’s working out for her.

Supporting community efforts to plant 1 million trees

Who is paying for those trees? The city? How much does that cost? The public? Then why is Watson taking credit for it? Were these originally planned to replace the “scrub land,” as the mayor called it, that would have been taken for a now-defunct surface rail line down parkland along the Ottawa River?

Creating a Canada 150 Groves maple tree planting program for 2017

That’s nice.

Creation of a Sports Commissioner position

What has happened to this initiative? Pretty quiet.

Elevation of the Audit Committee to a full standing committee of Council

The audit committee is the audit committee whether it’s a full-standing committee or not. The big question is how diligent will the in-house-picked auditor general be? The jury is out on that one.

Hosting of a Tourism Summit and a Summit on Education and the Economy later in the term.

A committee would design a thoroughbred but get a camel. Maybe this will produce a really big camel.

Some people have suggested that The Bulldog hates Watson. That’s not true (though I might have said a few bad words for him when he blacklisted the Dawg). Watson is one of the most charming people your agent has ever met.

Best public-relations politician in the city. But that masks a lot of problems. That said, he sure can charm voters, business people and media executives. They can’t see through him.

Just think he’s a lousy administrator. And he uses his charm to mask the poor governance. The above shows that. Nothing personal.


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