Folks I am no different than the rest of you – my eyes glaze over and my mind begins to shut down listening to the play by play of a land deal. I am good at listening to play by play of a football game. When Bob Irving speaks, I listen. But when I hear various city councillors and auditors and others go on and on about who purchased what land, where, and what kind of process was involved in tendering or not tendering, swapping or not swapping. If it’s under ten million can it be single sourced. And if it’s over ten million or close to twenty million can it be parcelled up and so therefore single sourced and which land is city land and which land is private land…Enoughhhhhhhhh!
I know what happens to your brain because the same thing happens to mine…And some would say it’s easy to snow the public on all this because it’s complicated. Well actually it’s not. The complicators make it sound complicated. You have a situation where a CAO who should never have been the CAO had no experience in public administration, no experience running an enterprise with thousands of employees and several layers of bureaucracy and should not have there in the first place was there because the CEO happened to the mayor. There is one simple litmus test question here. If Sam Katz wasn’t the mayor, if the mayor was Glen Murray or Susan Thompson on Bill Norrie, would Phil Sheegl have been the Chief Administrative officer. The answer is an obviously NO, and to pretend otherwise is to the become a bad joke-which is what the mayor has become over the years where question after question is met with double talk and triple talk. Every kind of real question requiring a real answer gets met with the words, the reality is this the reality is that and virtually every time those words are uttered the stuff that follows is just spin. The public reality is the man who was by far the most popular guy on the block when first elected in what now seems like a hundred years ago has worn out his welcome, simply because nobody believes his answers any more –Not even to the simplest of questions. Why did the CAO quit last week only days before the fire hall audit was to be made public? I don’t know he said. I don’t know why the individual resigned and then when asked if it had anything to do with the fire hall report. No it didn’t, he said.
680 CJOB investigative reporter and News Director Richard Cloutier yesterday delivered the smoking gun, a letter from the Sam Katz cabinet, the EPC demanding three weeks ago that he throw his old friend and CAO down the stairs. The letter specifically tells him to do it now and to keep the communication extremely confidential in light of the firehall report that is about to come down. So when Phil Sheegl negotiated an exit greased by 250 thousand dollars in tax payer money, instant cash, like a lottery, when his resignation was purchased with a quarter of a million dollars of public money, the purchaser was you, except you weren’t told about it. You weren’t told about it then and you aren’t being told the truth now. Because only the CEO could sign off on the 250,000 payment for the CAO’s exit and his silence. It doesn’t matter who technically at the administration did the negotiation with Sheegl, who technically drafted the cheque. There is no phantom at the opera. There is no mystery man here. There is no mystery. The reason the EPC told the mayor to cut his friend’s throat is because only the mayor had the authority to do it. Is any of this complicated? Of course not. The now former CAO who looks like an incompetent at best, a person not up to task of running a city administration according to the rules, has been paid more than 430 thousand dollars this year. A lot of money for incompetence. And the person most responsible for the payment and the incompetence is the person who installed him and eventually got rid of him. When the mayor is asked about the need to sever with money, he says it’s a private matter, except it is private only technically. Technically a negotiation between the CAO and his employer it is a private matter. But in the non technical world that you and I have to live in, in the world of public confidence and public trust, we need to trust that the mayor we elected is telling us the truth. But when he continues to mislead, like he doesn’t know why the CAO resigned last week, doesn’t know or it has nothing to do with fire halls, and then when her offers lawyerly responses on why the taxpayers paid severance to an incompetent employee, shown to be incompetent by a very expensive audit, when he does all of the above, he loses credibility as a CEO and the confidence of the public that voted for him.
I voted for Sam Katz three times. So did most of you listening to my voice. And if there is a next time, I don’t know who I will be voting for. But it won’t be for Sam Katz. Sorry Sam, I can only take so much horse crap even from a person who I have thought of as a friend for more than 25 years. I never thought I’d be doing the monologue I am doing today. But I can’t do to this audience what my old friend Sam did to our city. I can’t put friendship above responsibility. My responsibility is to my customer. My listener. You don’t pay me directly the way we pay the mayor, the way we pay his ex CAO. But there is not much difference in my world. You pay me every time you tune in. And I don’t know why the hell you would tune in, if I were to just bombard you with a bunch of bureaucratic and lawyered up gobbledygook and I don’t know why you would tune in if I stopped speaking straight from the heart. That’s the girl I brung to this dance. That’s what I do. And that’s you expect of me.
The mayor rode into office three elections ago saying he wasn’t a politician, saying he was a straight shooter who wanted to clean things up at city hall. But after this lost decade City Hall obviously isn’t cleaned up and Sam Katz is obviously very much a politician, the kind of politician he would have happily run against in the days when he wasn’t considered a politician. A decade ago when he had no experience as a politician he would have been thrilled to run against a person with the reputation Sam Katz now has. The old Sam Katz would have beaten the new Sam Katz Like a Rented Mule. The old Sam Katz would have defeated the New Sam Katz in a landslide. The Old Sam Katz was for straight talk for accountability for transparency for open and honest government. That’s the girl he he was bringing to the dance. Well the girl’s been dumped. Our trust has been dumped. We’ve been dumped. And come November of next year, we have a chance to do what all rational people do after they have been dumped. We move on and to find a new dance partner.
This City may not be large enough for a Major League Baseball Club. But it has a Major League Heart, and it deserves a Major Leaguer to lead us at City Hall. What we have been seeing throughout the latest fiasco is Bush League administration and Bush league leadership and even Bush League Bull crap. You pay me to cut the crap, not to cut the cards. I appreciate your trust, more today than ever before. I lost a friend today, as you can tell. But there are worse things than losing a friend. There’s losing your moral compass, your set of values handed down to you by your parents and grandparents. You lose those and you’ve lost your soul, and your good name.
As you know I grew up in a tailor shop, Adler’s Tailor Shop. The name of my father, my grandfather and his grandfather was on that sign. Our family name. Our good name. My father never wanted me to be in radio. He thought it came too naturally for me, too easy, wanted me to do heavier lifting. But at some point after enough of his customers told him they liked his kid on the radio, liked him for being honest and passionate just like his dad, well at some point he decided he was ok with me doing radio and he sort of kind of gave me his blessing but it was under one condition that I never do anything to shame the family name.
I want you to think about that the next time you have a tough decision to make. Instead of how does it impact on your relationship to your bank balance, or even your relationship with a friend. Ask yourself how it impacts your family’s good name. You don’t need to go to a lawyer to answer that question. You go to your conscience. Thank you for allowing me to share mine with yours.
I’m Charles Adler