We have a Trust Deficit, Make a Sober Decision Sam – A monologue by Charles Adler

Winnipeg Sun photo

If you are watching the Rob Ford story with Winnipeg eye balls, you’re asking yourself the question – “if this was hockey and we could trade our mayor for their mayor straight up, who would be getting the better deal?” Would Winnipeg be trading up or down? Yes I know the mayor of Winnipeg doesn’t have a drinking problem, doesn’t have a crack cocaine problem. So what’s the problem. Problem is this. How come the dude in Toronto who sweats and slurs and looks like he’s gone sideways on most days, how come he’s running a ship that’s tighter than a mosquito’s butt? How come he’s NOT raising taxes or fees or hiring people unfit to preside over the building of Fire Halls, Police Stations, Football Stadiums with cost overruns in the mega-millions, creating the need to turn hundreds of cops into Tax Collectors and buying as many automated cameras to ding as many people as possible for 300 dollar plus tickets, all in the name of public safety of course, when really all of the above is about public profligacy, public incompetence and possibly public corruption.

Last night the story became a new developers tax – no not on the developers, but on the poor rubes who want to buy new homes in new developments. It may be five thousand extra, It may be 10. It may be 12 thousand extra to buy a new home in a new development and if this goes through, who knows what the fee will be five years from now or 10 years from now. We just know it will be larger not smaller. Just like property tax bills are now larger not smaller then when Sober Katz was elected. He promised fiscal responsibility, said he’d run the city like a business. I am huge on business. I am a son of small business. But not all businesses are the same. Some grow and some die. Subway grows. Blackberry Dies. Is Sober a Subway kind of mayor or a Blackberry mayor. Blackberry just a few weeks ago wrote off a billion dollars of inventory. Millions of phones they couldn’t sell. What happens when you create stuff nobody’s buying? The people investing in your company lose money. Five years ago Blackberry shares were worth 138 dollars. Today they are worth less than 8. Less than 7. And if you’re listening to this on a podcast in November of 2014, they may be worth nothing. None of this business decline has to do with Blackberry’s bosses being addicted to Booze, Smack or Crack. They drove the car into the ditch while sober. It’s not against the law to drive while sober. But it doesn’t mean you’re fit to drive, especially if the brakes don’t work or the steering is off or the wheels are coming. Just because you’re sober doesn’t mean you’re fit to govern. Blackberry made some very poor judgement calls and destroying the wealth of the share holders. Sound familiar?

Folks, who do you think will be pay for white elephant police station? Who do you think is paying for the white elephant stadium? Who do you think is paying for the millions of dollars of so called research at City Hall to help EPC make good decisions? Translation: Decisions in line with the poor judgements of Mayor Sober. Who do you think is paying for the millions of dollars in audits to figure out why the mayor has made some made some very bad decisions. Governing while sober is one very expensive luxury for the taxpayers. Want me put in terms that even a Winnipeg Beach mosquito can understand? You and I are paying for a Bentley and we’re driving a beater. We’re paying for a Porsche and we’re driving a a Pinto. We’re paying for a Lexus and we’re driving a Lada. It costs a Lada money to afford a Sober Mayor and to be fair, some of this out of control sobriety, especially when it comes to the white elephant stadium is on Sober Selinger. We’ll have lots of days between now and the provincial election to deal with that fiscal tumour. But in the meantime, you need to know that as a Winnipegger there is no need to be smug about what’s going on down the road in Toronto.

The citizens would have driven Ford into Lake Ontario by now if they didn’t respect his RESPECT for taxpayers. His personal habits have attacked the pride but not the pocket. Nobody is accusing Ford of being on the take, with being corrupt, with hiring incompetent managers and paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars to go away and then calling it a resignation and saying you have no idea why your friend resigned, no idea who pushed him out the back door just before the audit was delivered at the front door. Yah we have a sober mayor. But you’d have to be on crack to ever re-elect him.

Sorry Sam, once again, the people who pay me with their time are the ones I choose to answer to. We called you yesterday for a simple harmless non confrontational question and answer about your new EPC appointments. You chose not to come on this show. This is a free country. You’re free not to do interviews with me. Just as Greg Sellinger is free to stay away from me, which he does. I don’t take it personally. Selinger said he had trepidation about yours truly coming back to 9 to noon at CJOB. For the Winnipeg Beach mosquito, trepidation means fear. He’s still upset with me because I took to the steps of the Legislature and called b.s. on him when he jacked the PST by 14 percent. Yah, I know politicians say it’s only one percent. But you don’t have to be a graduate of the Asper School of Business to know that when you hike the tax on a product from 7 percent to 8 percent, that’s a fourteen percent increase. And when you slap that same tax on a bunch of services that weren’t taxed, that’s a 100 percent tax gouge. When you reassess a person’s property by 10 or 20 percent, and they’re tax bill goes higher, you can call it a tax freeze until hell freezes over. It doesn’t matter. The tax victim pays more. Should we talk about the frontage tax increases that you didn’t want to call tax increases. Then when you actually raise property taxes and say you’ll raise ‘em again next year, we know what that’s about. You say it’s part of the infrastructure deficit, just like Sober Selinger said the PST hike was about the big flood that didn’t happen. And now you’re telling us there will be new development fee for anyone buying a new home in a new development. Don’t call it a tax you say. It’s just helping to pay for infrastructure. We have an infrastructure deficit. What we have a truth deficit.

I don’t care if you ever come on the show Sam. Many years ago you arrogantly told a colleague of mine that he needed you on his show to get ratings. And so I will tell you right now with Winnipeg as my witness. I certainly don’t need you to get ratings. My ratings depend on whether or not my listeners are getting the service they’re looking for. They want me to tell people who lord their power over them, to cut the crap. They want my show to be radio where the lie comes to die. I don’t need you for ratings. I need you to get lost. You’ve become an embarrassment to me. I am one of the guys who pushed you into making a decision to run. I am the guy who said people in this town like you and ‘I like Sam’ became your campaign pitch. It was a great pitch because it was true at the time. What’s your pitch the next time? I used to like Sam but then I got Sober? You’re an embarrassment to me. I have to sit here and tell the people of Winnipeg that a guy in Toronto who’s hanging with crack dealers, a guy who gets several sheets to wind in City Hall and walks around with a half empty jug of booze and abuses his staff, demands at the top of smoked out and possibly coked out lungs to know where his car is, when his car is parked in his garage at his home on the other side of town, and I am sitting here telling people in Winnipeg that this loogan is a better mayor than you are. That’s embarrassing to me, and hundreds of thousands of other people in this community who used to like you who were proud to vote for you.

Make a sober decision, Sam. Tell people that you’re hanging up your City of Winnipeg BlackBerry and you’re going back to private life for the good of your family, your community and you. Some of your so called friends, your fair-weather friends, won’t tell you the truth that it’s time to go. Real friends tell their friends the truth even when it’s painful. Sam I am going to do you a favor. As an act of kindness, I won’t invite you on the show again, ever. If you do choose to run again and there are CJOB debates to attend, I will recuse myself from hosting them. I’ll ask our News Director Richard Cloutier to do the honours. I won’t take a dive. But I’ll take the hit. I’ll tell our audience that I had a conflict of interest. Too much pity for the candidate named Katz.

My name is Charles Adler

A Dog’s Story – How Could You?

How Could You?
By: Jim Willis (Copyright 2001, all rights reserved)
When I was a puppy I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” – but then you’d relent and roll me over for a bellyrub.

My housetraining took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed, listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs,” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” – still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a “prisoner of love.”

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch – because your touch was now so infrequent – and I would have defended them with my life if need be.

I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams. Together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject. I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You’ve made the right decision for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.” They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog or cat, even one with “papers.” You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed “No, Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked “How could you?”

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you – that you had changed your mind – that this was all a bad dream…or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table, rubbed my ears and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood.

She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured “How could you?”

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself – a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. With my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not meant for her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.

May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.