Tuesday, December 31, 2013

156 Lines About 26 Letters: Your Local 2013 in Review

This is a thing that I do, sometimes. Once a year, say, give or take. This is a thing that happens.

You and yours have a safe and happy New Year's tonight, and I hope that you will enjoy:

156 Lines About 26 Letters: Your Local 2013 in Review.


A is for Audit, the fire hall brief
that ended both a CAO and a Chief;
though its Arrival took a lengthy vacation,
it blew quite a hole in our Administration.
For how long they'd delayed in hopes we'd forgot it,
one really could not have asked more of the Audit.

B is for Blueprints, doctored when Bought;
in a vast web the home Buyers were caught
when the inspector claiming their plans certified
also went through his own company on the side.
When a conflict of interest inquiry was led,
the inspector in question retired instead.

C is for Centreport, swiftly improving--
just two more years 'til it maybe starts moving!
It straddles two RMs; the Province has banned
the City from simply annexing the land.
In striking a waste plan success was implied,
but they still can't run water on the Rosser side.

D for Delete, as a web owner might;
y'know that "Responsible Winnipeg" site?
A 'grassroots' lobby, council'd later decry it
when its ownership traced back to Katz and Russ Wyatt.
The site's now Deleted -- which is too bad, because
we'll never know what "Another Initiative" was.

E for Employees; the City has many,
but when asked for numbers we can't produce any.
Pressed for an official staffing amount,
Mike Ruta said it'd take two months to count.
Could be in the millions! Could be in the tens!
Awkward for the budgets on which this depen's.

F for Fringe Fest, where this year the plays
most Famously Featured some ass mayonnaise;
each year seems to bring more bizarre escalation
in the struggle for key word-of-mouth motivation.
When scoping out shows, 'tis usually best
to just smile and nod politely at the Fringe Fest.

G is for Gaming Centre; not a casino!
Oh, it may offer blackjack and roulette and Keno
but when First Nations wanted casinos, we'd stated
no more because Winnipeg's too saturated.
True North's 'Gaming Centre', though -- just the right fix!
It's not favouritism, it's just... linguistics.

H is for Harvey, the Smith everpresent,
delighting in making his peers' lives unpleasant
by impishly doling ward allowance treats,
by cheering Joe Chan and by renaming streets.
On t-shirts they print him, in pumpkins they carve he--
most lucky for folks trying to rhyme things with "Harvey".

I for Ignorance of do-gooder whites,
and Infidel Atheist awkward soundbytes;
an IG Field launch that clogged every road,
Inner-city centres left to implode
and that one burst of Swandel wisdom to live by:
"blah blah I me-me I, me-me I I."

J is for Jurors, twelve people in all
who were grabbed around lunchtime at Cityplace mall;
rare statutes allow for sheriffs to so trouble you,
should you be in line at that one A&W.
Only one was needed, so don't be unnerved;
this wasn't how Justice is usually served.

K is for Keyser, who chided the mayor
for bad politics and ethical beha'iour;
despite this, to depose him she found no basis,
largely 'cause Chan filed in all the wrong ways-es.
And with that decision she put down her foot,
rend'ring Joe Chan's case and budget Kaput.

L for the Liberal Leadership race,
marked by internal outrage and disgrace
that a fake Bob Axworthy Twitter should exist;
no one seemed to care, but it hurt, they insist.
When a parody Twitter is the most that folks know,
there's nowhere but up for your party to go.

M for Mayoral, a living Museum
of candidates crowding to make sure you see 'em.
Bowman, Fielding, Havixbeck, Orlikow,
Steeves, Wasylycia-Leis -- and still you know
even more names may yet emerge, in the event
the Mayor's polling stays around twenty percent.

N is for Ninety, our main airport Route,
a most fascinatingly ugly commute
but Nothing, the Commerce Chamber did resolve,
that seven million bucks of fence wouldn't solve!
Their Chamber Way, alas, was proposed in vain,
so we'll still have to see those two blocks of back lane.

O is for Overrun; it's bad advice
to promise a "Guaranteed Maximum Price"
when the claim's accuracy is sorely diminished
by learning the blueprints weren't yet one-third finished.
Our new police HQ still nowhere near done,
thus far it's an $80-million Overrun.

P for the Provincial tax, PST,
a wound self-inflicted by the NDP --
support for the hike perhaps partly impeded
when they couldn't commit to a reason it's needed.
The Public thus far has declared this as folly,
the worst Polling seen by the Party since Pawley.

Q for how Quietly city heads left;
a vanishing Taz left the townsfolk bereft.
We've still no straight answers why Douglas was fired,
or Sheegl paid $240K once "retired";
Winnipeg's elevated to an art
its conspicuous Quiet when top brass depart.

R for Ray Rybachuk, quite the newsmaker;
a Royal-Albert-restaurant-tantrum-taker,
Teasers-chainsawer and associate of hoods,
one day found mysteriously dead in the woods.
His legacy surely will gain second look
should we ever write an Elmore-Leonard-esque book.

S is for Specialty Plates; that's our jam!
With five this year alone, we've been going ham;
one for Goldeyes, one for Fish Futures too,
one that only added "Bienvenue",
one for Curlers, and one for old car buffs.
And look for more next year! These still ain't enuffs.

T is for Target; it's finally here!
That drive to the States always seemed so severe—-
but what's this? Our interest immediately depleted;
CANADIAN prices! Ugh, we feel cheated!
No, sir, this new Target just ain't our scene.
(But it's nice that you folks made this Zellers so clean.)

U is for UFC, Ultimate Fighting;
a pay-per-view coming seemed very exciting
in a place with such loose violence and fashion credos
that sweatpants with TapouT shirts count as tuxedos.
Fans packed the rafters, a full sellout draw,
for what might be the worst card the sport ever saw.

V is the Roman numeral for five
years since Brian Sinclair was last seen alive;
found dead waiting at HSC in '08,
a '13 inquest is an oddly long wait.
And only now they note -- well, isn't that weird! --
their security footage of his death's disappeared.

W, Water, the talk of the town
when the taps began pouring a rainbow of brown --
all hues, tints and shades, a full range of corrosion
from 'lightest of beiges' to 'fecal explosion'.
But if we want people to move here, perhaps
we should be able to offer clear water from taps.

X is the crossing-off of things departed,
a full list won't fit but here's one that I'd started:
Kelekis, Gio's, the Tallest Poppy too,
the Parkade, Arkadash, Boo at the Zoo,
Dalnavert, Paddlewheel, Paddlewheel Queen--
this goes on for twelve lines, but you get what I mean.

Y is for Years, as 140 we turned;
for commemoration the cityfolk Yearned
but our brave leadership instead welcomed the day
by stonewalling quietly 'til it went away.
By 150, perhaps, we might honour our name
with a swelling of pride and not a vague sense of shame.

And Z is for Zombie Walk, this year now laid
to rest if our governments weren't getting paid
for the trouble of people downtown, such a mess --
there's no greater curse in this town than success --
so the route held nary a Zombie in sight,
downtown quite ironically dead on that night.


Happy New Year, everyone!


Anonymous said...

You're the best, James!

John Dobbin said...

I am doing the zombie walk this morning. :p

Anonymous said...

Always greatness, James!