Thursday, October 31, 2013

Manitoba Links Weekly: Thunderbolt-ly Kives, Nothing Went Well for the Police Service This Week, Maybe Don't Break Election Spending Rules One Day Into Your Mayoral Campaign, and Here's a Harvey Smith Pumpkin (ManLinkWeek S02E02)

You thought I was bluffing with that title, didn't you? You know me better than that, c'mon man. [ via; y'all should follow him, too ]

Good evening, everyone, and Happy Hallowe'en; welcome back to Manitoba Links Weekly! November might yet be just as dramatic as October was, so there's no time to waste; I'm bookending this week's installment with arts and culture, so let's jump right in.

[ McNally Robinson Booksellers: Bryan Scott & Bartley Kives -- Book Launch ]
The wait is (almost) over! Mark your calendars for this Sunday, November 3rd; Stuck In The Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, the long-awaited collaboration between local photography megastar Bryan Scott and multiformat journalism renaissance man Bartley Kives, will have a 2:00 PM official launch event at McNally Robinson Grant Park that day.

(Nick Ternette's posthumous memoir launches the day after, too, so really that's quite the week coming up at McNally.)

Normally I save upcoming events for the end of a ManLinkWeek, but this provides me an easier segue into just how thoroughly Kives has been killing it on the local file lately:

[ Winnipeg Free Press: Electorate deserves better than these guys ]
[ Winnipeg Free Press: Price hinged on early HQ design ]
There are times when I recognize that my attempts at description would do abject injustice to the quality of a piece, leaving me to do little better than wave my arms in its direction and blurt out something like HOLY SHIT HAVE YOU SEEN THIS YET READ THIS IT IS IMPORTANT.

This October that we've all just been through was finally the month of news -- and what better month of news, really -- that finally flipped the Bartley Kives switch from hard-done-by civic conscience (and filksong writer) straight to ZEUS MODE, raining thunderbolts down in all directions to deal out some altogether necessary smiting.

So, the first of those two links, up there. Holy shit, have you seen this; read this, it is important. Possibly the column of the year, if that were a thing we as a city kept track of. The second of those two links is less unilaterally scathing but no less essential reading, as it covers one of the two major (and I do mean major) issues dogging the Winnipeg Police Service this past week -- so let's go ahead and move to that file, while it's fresh on our minds.

[ CBC Manitoba: Police HQ cost overruns final straw forcing Sheegl out ]
[ Winnipeg Sun: New police HQ $17 million over latest budget: report ]
[ Winnipeg Free Press: Ire over cop-shop costs ]
[ Operational Review of the Police Service, CITY OF WINNIPEG, MANITOBA ]
[ Winnipeg Free Press: WPS needs work ]
[ Winnipeg Sun: CrimeStat being ignored, misused ]
We did a fair bit of discussion on this last night on Winnipeg Internet Pundits -- (checks "BRAND SYNERGY" line on clipboard, nods, resumes typing) -- but this past week in police news was every bit as bad for City leadership as the week prior had been for fire and paramedic news.

Consider: the four fire halls (spanning five contracts, and don't get me started on that again) clocked in at an initial budget estimate of $15 million and would later rise to an $18 million total, though of course they haven't quite finalized all the details just yet. The newest overrun on the police headquarters is somewhere between $10 and $17 million -- or very nearly four fire halls' worth -- for a total budget overrun of somewhere between $38 and $45 million dollars. To date. And the details on the decisions authorized -- who signed off on what, and when -- are no less murky in this story than they were in the fire-hall saga, which is exactly as comforting as it sounds.

$38 million in overruns, and another (another!) seemingly purposeful cloud of secrecy that will require exhaustive investigation, is the best-case scenario right now. So that's one thing they had to worry about.

The other thing -- man, this was a rough week -- the other thing was the release of the Matrix Consulting Group's Winnipeg Police Service operational review, which you can find linked above in PDF format on the City of Winnipeg website.

You should already be following James Turner on Twitter, and if you weren't, you missed him having a field day with this report on Tuesday. Like, he settled in at a picnic table, tied a cloth napkin around his neck, and made an all-day meal of that sucker. Rightfully so; there's a lot to digest in it.

gettin' a little too cute there James, walk it back

Detractors seized on the review's cost and lack of polish, not helped by the discovery that Matrix Consulting cannot be arsed to change their templates from city to city, but the larger issues raised by the report -- 911 being 30% understaffed, constables being incapable of identifying their patrol areas, sergeants neither reading nor approving their constables' reports, CrimeStat being somehow even more meaningless than already assumed -- are humdingers too egregious to sweep away so easily. The police union had feared a wave of financial cuts, but... well, the review decided that the money isn't the problem, let's just diplomatically put it that way.

Rough week, man. Rough week all around. And speaking of rough weeks:

[ Winnipeg Cat: October 29th, 2013 ]
[ CBC Manitoba: Gord Steeves investigated for possible election no-no ]
[ Winnipeg Sun: Steeves' spending comes into question ]
Oh, my word. Oh goodness. Oh, dear.

Lawyer and former councillor Gord Steeves' dramatic entrance as the first officially declared candidate for Mayor of Winnipeg was marred by obvious falsehoods, unflattering typos and some markedly bizarre design choices:

That incongruously-low-slung lowercase T makes my hands flex unconsciously. I want to strangle it. It is a thing that should not be, that must not exist on this earth.

Now, this, by itself, may well have all blown over between now and the all-important final stretch next year. Like, fine, he didn't really proofread or fact-check his platform, and fine, his logo is a lemon slice for some reason, whatever, it's not like he broke any--

"One day after announcing his intention to run for mayor of Winnipeg, Gord Steeves is under investigation for possibly violating election rules.

"Candidates for mayor and council are prohibited from raising or spending money until the official campaign period begins in May of the election year."

Oh. That's... that's a little more of a problem. But I'm sure so long as he owns up to it, it shouldn't--

"I don't think I broke any rules. But if I did, the rules are antiquated and they should be changed."


I'm sorry, excuse me, no. If you're running as a lawyer and a former councillor -- running as somebody who respects the rule of law, and can be trusted to navigate the intricacies of our civic system -- you don't get to pick and choose which rules apply. "I didn't break it, unless I did, in which case it's wrong and I'm right." NO. STOP THAT.

It's entirely possible that the rules are antiquated, sure; they very well may be! They very well may be bad rules. But until such time as someone in a position of the proper authority changes the rules, THEY'RE RULES. YOU'RE A LAWYER, YOU'VE SEEN RULES BEFORE.

Hhhhhhhh. Look, I'm not--I'm not mad at you, all right? Hey, c'mere. I'm not mad at you. You just, you're killin' me here, man. If you're running on the promise of a "Mayor for a New Day", you can't be the centre-right mayor who ignores rules and regulations when it suits him because he feels like they shouldn't apply to him. Y'know? C'mon, man. Don't be that guy.

Okay? Okay. All right. Moving on.

[ CBC Manitoba: Coun. Scott Fielding steps down from EPC over mismanagement ]
[ Winnipeg Free Press: Fielding quits mayor's inner circle ]
[ Wisecracks (Metro Winnipeg): My 10-point platform for running for councillor in St. James ]
Scott Fielding's departure from EPC (later followed by Vandal resigning as well) may potentially signal his entry into the already crowded field of mayoral candidates, but most certainly emphasizes that he will not be running for re-election as councillor in St. James next year.

Fielding had, after all, committed to the concept of a two-term limit when elected in 2006, and he does, after all, no longer live in the riding. So the Mayor then publicly maligned him for sticking to his word on term limits, and for opting not to run for office somewhere he no longer resides. I don't even know where to begin unpacking that bundle of character notes.

More germanely to next year, I'd talked a bit last week about how infinitely more chaotic and more prospectively entertaining council races become with the apex-predator incumbent removed from the picture; last week it was St. Boniface opening the gates, and this week St. James-Brooklands got its turn to advertise its upcoming position. Still a ways to go before we see how it all shakes down, but I tell you what, I don't think it'll be dull in the meantime.

To business news!

[ H&M to Open at Polo Park Next Fall ]
[ Observations, Reservations, Conversations: H&M Coming to Winnipeg ]
OH MY GOD OH MY GOD EEEEEEEEEEeeeeeee, eeeeehhhhhhhh--hmm.

Yeah, no, I don't know, I'm not really feeling it. I mean, I'm glad if you like 'em, you do you, don't get me wrong--it's just, what's left to chase at this point, y'know? We got an IKEA, got some Targets, a Five Guys, got a Forever 21 or whatever, and now we're getting an H&M; does this mean we can finally stop pining for chains now, or are there still a whole wack of mission-critical multinationals we suck for not having?

"We don't have a Sonic Drive-In! WE'RE NOT A REAL CITY, WE NEED A SONIC DRIVE-IN."
"All right, fine, geez. We'll get a Sonic."
"Well--now I want Popeyes! WHY DON'T WE HAVE POPEYES"

Winnipeg, I love you, but you're never happy.

And, finally:

[ Winnipeg is Nerdy: C4 2013: what to expect from this year's Central Canada Comic Con ]
This weekend is the annual C4, Central Canada Comic Con, Friday through Sunday at the Convention Centre. Always a hoot! I'll be one of the volunteers at the video-game booth on Saturday, helping with and participating in the tournaments for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Injustice: Gods Among Us. (I am not particularly good at either game, but as your five-time Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown champion of Winnipeg, I can live with losing at other games here and there.) Come say hi, if you're passing by!

Oh -- there will also be this on the Friday night. I think I am both physically and mentally incapable of not at least checking that out. It's, uh... it's a weakness.

That'll wrap things up for this installment of ManLinkWeek; I'll do my best to shake off this week's Perimeteritis (note that second E, non-Winnipeggers: I'm referring to this, not this) for next week, but the way things've acted up around here lately I can't rule anything out. I feel a little bad about ignoring the Liberals, for example -- but, ahhh, y'know, they're probably used to it.

Catch you later, true believers!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Comic Con has a band from New York playing called The Plaid Jackets. All their songs are about video games, comics, & star trek! After Comic Con they are playing at The Toad In The Hole on Saturday (Nov.2) night! Come check 'em out!