Monday, December 6, 2010

Speak for yourself

I will be very happy if Council finally makes a decision tonight about the damn Traffic bridge. Then we can move on to phase two - how much over budget will it go.

What annoys me most is comments from some of the proposed speakers. Mr. Bobyn, President of the Nutana Community Association, will imply that Nutana is in support of rehab rather than replica. I am a resident of Nutana. Yet outside of the City sponsored meeting at Victoria School last fall, I do not recall receiving a notice of a meeting by the Community Association or a survey on this issue. Thus Mr. Bobyn does not speak for me or for many of my neighbours that I have spoken with on the matter.

In today's SP (Dec. 6/10) Bobyn states that widening the bridge would "destabilize" the area and would funnel more traffic into a residential area already burdened by congestion. This is the same area that many want to increase the density in. If you are not an area resident, many of the eight thousand users of this bridge simply travel up Victoria and out of the neighbourhood. Those of us actually residing in the area need the bridge for reasonable access to our homes.

I can't bring myself to even respond to his idea of alternating one-way traffic.

I have no problem with people voicing their opinions, but please don't speak for me.

38 comments:

  1. As always we will have the same group of "usual suspects" up there spouting off about how saving the bridge is the right thing to and how great the support is for saving the bridge. I hope council listens politely to them and then promptly brings down the death sentence on that rustly old piece of crap. The best case scenario would see only 30-40% of the original bridge saved. Stand up if you miss the Gathercole the last great project of the Heritage Society.

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  2. The most laughable of the comments that will be made is the tourism aspect. Does anyone reasonable person sit there and believe for one second that that people making travel plans will see a refurbished bridge and decided that SASKATOON and their heritage bridge is just the place to spend holiday in.

    Similarly, will someone planning a trip and leaning towards Saskatoon look and see that there is no heritage bridge and decide that Saskatoon is just no longer the place for them to travel.

    The bridge looks nice on postcards, but I can't begin to fathom that a refurbished bridge or a rebuilt bridge will have any impact on the tourism industry.

    The only people it may impact are members of other heritage society's across Canada, and if they are anything like our local deranged citizens then we are better off if they avoid us in any event.

    Tourism..........lol

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  3. If you feel that your community association isn't speaking on your behalf about a highly charged topic that involves your neighbourhood and has been ongoing for MONTHS and MONTHS (when there would have been several meetings of the association executive) this is not really his problem. You had the option to go to several Comm. assn. meetings since this has come up, contacting them directly to make your concern known or been involved better.

    If the best you can do at this point is some variant of 'They didn't hand deliver a meeting invitation to me with gold leaf edging and sprinkled with unicorn farts, so they can't speak for me, boo hoo' then it's your problem.

    So, you have the option of either shutting up because you didn't step up and be heard or just to go to the meeting and say you weren't consulted and that he can't speak on behalf of the residents. I suggest the latter.

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  4. From the Nutana CA website, looks like an open invitation to me:

    The Nutana Community Association Board of Executives meets at Nutana Collegiate Library, the first Wednesday of every month (July/August exempted), at 7:00 pm to discuss neighborhood issues, plan neighborhood events and consider ways to make the neighborhood a great place to live. The meetings are open to all residents of Nutana. Come and join us, share your ideas or concerns and learn how you can take an active part in the life of your community.

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  5. The issue is that when speaking on one direct issue there should be an attempt to actually survey all of the residents as most residents likely do not know they have community association let alone when meetings take place. If the community association is failing to communicate with residents it is not the residents fault.

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  6. Saskplanner,

    When someone is coming forward claiming to speak on behalf of a certain segment of society it is ridiculous to advance the position that all those who disagree with his position should have talked with him before.

    In reality, if you are going to speak on behalf of people it is best to have consulted them first.

    BTW I agree with Anon above, I too live in Nutana. When were elecetions held for the CA? Was there any information regarding the leadership election distributed prior to the election? Who has empowered Bobyn to speak on behalf of the residents?

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  7. Its the same as Council or any other level of representation. Once elected those people represent the collective, regardless if one, two, or twenty disagree with those views.

    And yes, CA members are elected. Just because dissenters to the Nutana CA position didn't take the time to get involved doesn't make that position illegitimate.

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  8. The Community Association that consulted no one on the issue failed to even mention that it was seeking opinions in their last newsletter (September 2010). They did however, seek submissions on who had the nicest garden in the area.

    Yup, these are the people are that are claiming to have the support of the neighborhood and a platform to speak.

    I am interested to know who had the prettiest garden and won the $100 prize, I guess they have just been too busy with consulting residents (who you know, would immediately think to contact the Community Association over, say their Councillor) then to put together a newsletter in the last 3 months.

    Maybe that is no one knew about all their meetings about what to do with the bridge.

    Who spoke to the motion of going to Council tonight? Was it Bobyn? Or maybe his wife who also sits on the CA? Weird that both members of the family were 'elected' to the board, weird indeed.

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  9. "Its the same as Council or any other level of representation. Once elected those people represent the collective, regardless if one, two, or twenty disagree with those views.

    And yes, CA members are elected. Just because dissenters to the Nutana CA position didn't take the time to get involved doesn't make that position illegitimate."

    I live in Nutana, arguably I just moved there 2 years ago. Not that I have actively seeked to get involved but when were the elections? And how were they relayed to citizens?

    I only ask as I am new to area and thought something like that would be a good way to get to know some of the community. I have never heard about there being CA elections, or told where and when I can vote.

    Could someone advise how this information is sent to residents of the area?

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  10. "And yes, CA members are elected. Just because dissenters to the Nutana CA position didn't take the time to get involved doesn't make that position illegitimate"

    It makes it illegitimate if the elections are held in secrecy or if the election of certain positions are done without properly advising the residents.

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  11. This is the same group of bun heads who opposed the developement on 9th and Broadway for heritage reasons because it meant tearing down an old grocery store that hadn't been a grocery for 40 years and barely looked anything like the store it used to be! Then they insisted on the City contributing 80% of the cost to do a second LAP for the area because they didn't like the outcomes of the first one. All of this with the full support of the sitting councillor Comrade Clark. This is a classic case of the lunitics trying to run the asylum. City Council stop listening to these fringe groups and get on with governing the city like you were elected to do. Quit greasing the squeeky wheels squacking about bicycle lanes and pedestrian bridges and get on with building a bridge that the majority of people (from CoS polling) want!

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  12. Haha this is almost too amusing, I have never heard of the Community Association but the banter is quite entertaining.

    From all appearances a select few people have proclaimed themselves, or through elections probably held at CA meetings only and not made aware to all residents, as representatives of the area.

    These people then post nothing on their website about the issue, give no indication to residents they are seeking input, fail to mention the issue in the last newsletter as even being on the radar (instead talking about a garden growing contest??? lol) yet claim that they speak for the area. To boot one of the CA members seems to think that posting the meeting locations is sufficient evidence that any resident who has an opinion would have then sought out the meeting and therefore on that basis they have the platform to speak for all is hilarious. This is worse than anything the Conservatives have cooked up.

    Sounds like this so called Community Association should stick to doing what they do best, judging who has the prettiest garden on the block. This Bobyn sounds like quite the schmuck, trying to give himself some sort of credibility when he apparently lacks any.

    CA members, you still on the message board? Please respond I need some humour for this cold Monday afternoon.

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  13. The hypocrisy of these posts is laughable.

    Posters are deriding the community association for not representing/soliciting their viewpoint - Mistress included - yet these same posters completely failed to exercise individual responsibility and get involved.

    Presumably, many of these posters are the same people who expounded individual responsibility as a cornerstone of democratic involvement in The Mistress's previous post "With Rights Come Responsibilities" (http://civicmistress.blogspot.com/2010/10/rights-come-with-responsibilities.html)

    Let's recap some of these gems of wisdom:


    - "Citizens have the right to vote, but they also have an obligation to inform themselves of the issues"

    - "Everyone thinks everything is their divine right these days. The reality is that sometimes you need to put a little work into putting yourself in a position to be able to exercise your rights"

    - "they have a duty to hold up their end of the bargain to cast a vote"

    - And from The Mistress herself: "if you truly want to exercise your franchise then maybe a little onus should fall to the voter..."

    How is it, then, that (presumably) the same sampling of people now deride the local community association because of their own failure to exercise individual responsibility and get involved?

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  14. Anon 11:07;

    Look up hypocrisy, then look in a mirror, your contribution above is the only hypocrisy seen on this blog today and you are not only a hypocrite but also a pompous ass!

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  15. Anon 11:07,

    They are not deriding the Community Association because of their failure to get involved. They are deriding them because the Association purports to speak on their behalf when in fact they have made no effort to obtain the view of the residents.

    I doubt that many residents would voice their concerns to the CA over a Councillor.

    It is just dishonest to say you represent the views of the area when you clearly haven't obtained them. Attempting to draw parallels between exercising one's democratic right and one's willingness to contact an community group (why someone would think to call the community association over a major civic decision, as opposed to their Councillor only the CA can answer).

    It is pretty clear the CA didn't make any effort to seek opinion, they have no official standing...they are simply an interest group. Their elections aren't governed by anyone, and really there is some question if the residents even vote for the positions or not. They in no way should be the appropriate group to contact by Nutana residents.

    To say that Nutana residents should, or ought, to have contacted their unaffiliated interest group Community Association with concerns or else be deemed to not exercise their democratic right is absurd.

    If these people want have their DEMOCRATIC VOICE HEARD ON CIVIC ISSUES they vote at council not phone their Community Association.

    This group does not speak for the residents in the area.

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  16. Did Anon 11:07 honestly just insinuate that people who don't phone and voice their opinions to special interest groups with no affiliation are at the whim of those groups.

    So any special interest group that purports to represent some area can say they have support of the people as long as the people don't contact them to say otherwise?

    Would the "Nutana Military Association" (if one existed) be able to advance a war supporting agenda and proclaim the support of the area simply on the basis that no residents contacted their group to say otherwise?

    How stupidly absurd that some fringe interest group is claiming that residents are required to contact them or else be out of luck when they speak up.

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  17. How stupid is it to say that community association groups are fringe interest groups?

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  18. show up and get involved in your CA's everyone...it's just that simple.

    Or, you can sit at your computers making baseless accusations and comments...whichever you feel is more productive!

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  19. Fringe groups? "Military Associations"? HAH! When you've lost the argument, change the terms...

    Fact is that Community Organizations are non-profit groups recognized by the City of Saskatoon to "work to enhance the quality of life of the people within the neighbourhood."

    http://www.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/Community%20Services/Communitydevelopment/Community%20Associations/Pages/Community%20Associations.aspx

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  20. When are the Community Association general elections? What is the process for electing the positions?

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  21. Clearly the City of Saskatoon needs to take a long hard look at Community Associations in general. They have become some kind of sick perversion of what was intended, they are elected by a few to represent the views of a few while letting on they represent the many. True democracy doesn't cater to the loudest.

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  22. "they are elected by a few to represent the views of a few while letting on they represent the many. True democracy doesn't cater to the loudest."

    Kind of sounds like our 15% Mayor, doesn't it?

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  23. Community Associations are elected by those residents who show up just like every other election in Canada.

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  24. "Community Associations are elected by those residents who show up just like every other election in Canada."

    What governs the election? Is notice given to the residents of upcoming elections? Is there a way to monitor who is able to vote?

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  25. Community Associations are the place where little people can feel power and exercise it under the guise of representing something.

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  26. Community Associations are largely governed under the same rules as all non-profit organizations in Saskatchewan, which makes them completely accountable under provincial regulations and their own articles and bylaws. They are not some "Bilderberg Group" for the poor and disenfranchised, nor are they a secret society. Get over it.

    If you're really that concerned that the Nutana Community Association is some communist plot fueled by "Comrade Charlie", then perhaps get involved to keep all those sick-minded pinkos in check.

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  27. "Community Associations are the place where little people can feel power and exercise it under the guise of representing something."

    Posting factually-void claims on online blogs could also be argued as the same.

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  28. Why do I not go to community association meetings? My family is grown and I am not interested in being the outdoor rink coordinator, or the indoor coordinator, a bake sale, potluck dinner, skating party, pumpkin patches, etc. Been there, done that.

    Besides there is a good chance that if you show up someone will try and ope you into filling one of the vacant positions that no wants to do. How many people attend the association meetings? A handful.

    When it came to a meeting on the lift station, the gym filled up. The community was not happy. We still got the lift station.

    When it comes to a $30 million Bridge and the community association wants to respond on behalf of the community, advertise the meeting and you might be surprised at the response.

    Oh wait - the city already did that - and the gym filled up.

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  29. "They are not some "Bilderberg Group" for the poor and disenfranchised, nor are they a secret society. Get over it"

    Actually in the view of most rationale people that is exactly what community associations are (as are Condo boards for that matter).

    There is a reason no one contacts their Community Association President to talk about civic matters, they usually go to someone who is important or has some sort of credentials. Not the loonies with nothing to do on a Wednesday night and needing a sense of belonging and lacking friends.

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  30. Looks like you are right again.

    The Community Association has several vacant positions that clearly the numerous qualified candidates couldn't decide who should fill. They include, almost too hilariously for this comment section, the Community Garden liason (couldn't they just pay $10 to a local kid to water the garden?).

    It looks like the so called "Prettiest Garden in the Neighborhood" must have been so stressful that the Community Garden liason had to step down. Was there perhaps controversy in the decision?

    This is too good, what a bunch of losers.

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  31. "Any comments posted that are personal to an individual or their family and unrelated to to their political position or action will be removed by the blog administrator. As much as I despise censorship, I despise mean spirited slander more"

    So calling someone a "hypocrite and a pompous ass" is not "mean spirited slander"? Or only as long as the poster agress with you or is defending your points?

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  32. Ahhh good old community association realizing how useless they are and now resorting to asking the moderator to step in.

    What happened to all the tough talk? Sad your little friends group got exposed?

    I wonder if the next Nutana Community Association meeting will discuss the Mistress?

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  33. "Actually in the view of most rationale people that is exactly what community associations are."

    If that's what all the rational people think, then why are you so concerned that the community association is to speak at council? Shouldn't their hidden communist agenda be oozing through and so blatantly obvious that their input is invalid?

    I am confident that these "loonies" who "need a sense of belonging" will be seen as such by the elected representatives ushered into council by a wave of mass support.

    Like our new councilor for Ward 5, deemed by 5% of the ward's population to be fit for the job.

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  34. I like other posters here are having fun reading today's blog Mistress. I was down a bit given the recent devastating loses by the Riders and my S.F. 49ners but today's reading have given me another reason to live. Well o.k. maybe I'm overstating things but really people. From the point of view of someone who has been a CA president for 5yrs and sat on our board for 15. I find many of the negative comments regarding the CA organizations right on. If there is a true community concern we would always publish a special newsletter or leaflet to advertise special meetings. Not rely on those that attend or usual meetings. Those that say if you don't go to the regular meeting too bad. Well I have to agree with the Mistress it isn't something anyone cares about. This doesn't mean people don't care about there community. The regular meetings are generally the 5-8 executive people and deal mostly with sports/cultural/where the money comes from for programing for the city and whining about needing people to sit on the board.
    The funny thing is when something like today's meeting happens the CA is now the "Voice of the People" If you polled the community I doubt 5% have ever attended a CA meeting. And unless they had/have kids don't even know one exists. That doesn't make it their fault. It isn't a group that is given any standing with the City when it comes to these types of matters. Oh sure they will get their time to speak but I hope as in the past it will be in one ear and out the other. If you want to be taken seriously then provide credible and tangible numbers of those that support your position then the city may take you seriously.

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  35. "So calling someone a "hypocrite and a pompous ass" is not "mean spirited slander"? Or only as long as the poster agress with you or is defending your points? "

    The problem is that "pompous ass" exposed the Mistress's and many of her posters' complete lack of consistency beyond consistent self-serving opining. Therefore the comment stands.

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  36. "If that's what all the rational people think, then why are you so concerned that the community association is to speak at council? Shouldn't their hidden communist agenda be oozing through and so blatantly obvious that their input is invalid?"

    I never insinuated they were communist, and whatever their political stripes are, they are irrelevant.

    My main beef concerns, these people claim to speak on my behalf when they have never solicited or heard the opinion from myself or anyone on my block. Nor has their Association, alerted residents they plan to speak on this issue and solicited help.

    Think of how you would feel if City Council said they are acting on behalf of the residents when they decide to tear down the bridge and build a new one. Then they say they talked to many residents and that if residents didn't contact them then that is their fault.

    That is my problem, he city has been raked over the coals for their lack of public consultation and now a CA has done even less than the City and is claiming to represent a majority's view, which it infact has no idea if it does.

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  37. The CA President should just represent himself and speak. CA's are a volunteer organization which fundraises for the community. The City of Saskatoon should have stepped up to the plate on this one. The area consultant hired by the city should have advised and assisted the association. Obviously this has not happened. Remember folks, they are just community volunteers.

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  38. There have been calls for public consultations from everywhere, and most people seem to agree this is a rather major decision that deserves the attention of the residents. For any organization to falsely imply that they support a voting bloc of people when they don't is negligent.

    While it would be easier to defend a Councillor acting like this (basically saying that unless the residents contacted them and voiced their opinions that they resign any opinion they have), they too would be criticized.

    If the Community Association powers that be actually believe that unless residents went out of their way to contact the CA, then they are forfeiting their democratic rights they need a lesson in democracy. I cannot believe the absurdity of their defence on this message board today

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