Well, this exercise in procrastination (caring about city council) has now resulted in me procrastinating from my procrastination and actually getting the things done I was avoiding in the first place. Alas, the casualty is you, dear reader (there’s only one of you, I think). I’m sure you’ve resorted to the methadone of reading the letters yourself, but as you pull at your rapidly-thinning (or non-existent) hair, nothing funny comes to mind. Fear not! For I have read them. I’m not funny though. For that you’ll have to go elsewhere. (I’m not sure where). Much like the abject authors of these missives, I fire this off tentatively into cyberspace, hoping someone reads them. Failing that, I just hope that when I read this again in six months I’ll still think it’s funny.

So.

Speakers for tomorrow evening: Alan Thomarat, of the Saskatoon Home Builders Association. I have absolutely NO IDEA of what Mr Thomarat will raise. (Aside from “the bar” of course. Zing! Oh, zing.) Also, Adam Pollock, he of the VISUALS from last time. He’s had two weeks to generate more 3-D renderings of his possible bridge solutions. Adam Pollock: the one-man solution to Fixing The Cattle Bridge. Yes, we are calling it that now. Well, I am.

Highlights of the letter summaries:
“Commenting on deer in developing neighbourhoods”
“Commenting on snow accumulation and civic matters”
And, of course, a fair bit about councillor’s salaries.

First off, is one from Councillor Fred Baran, of the RM of Dundurn. He’s outlining the current state of affairs that Blackstrap Park finds itself in. Namely, they are being given the run-around by the province. Do not hold your breath waiting for it to re-open. Mr Baran recognizes the irony in this situation, which bodes well for his mental health.

Drew Preston would like the council to consider other alternatives than tax hikes for funding road repairs. Tossed under the bus in this letter: people who live outside Saskatoon, and people who rent. Mr Preston’s solution is a gas and/or city sales tax.  People benefiting from this solution: businesses located outside Saskatoon, and people who don’t drive. Also, people who rent, since according to Mr Preston, we don’t pay taxes. If the property taxes don’t go up, we’re not affected. (This makes sense; just give your brain a bit to process.)

Dan Norton, an ex-landscaper, has some thoughts on the construction (or lack thereof) of the Circle Drive south bridge. He is also a fan of parking and drinking coffee from Tim Horton’s while observing said construction (or lack thereof).

Next is an invoice from FCM. If you care, the city’s membership in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities costs $41,225. This is 4.123% of the proposed cost of the new website. (The new website, for my calculating purposes, will cost one meeeellion dollars. Whatever, I can’t be arsed to scroll back through the agenda here.)

Frank Regier has problems with buses, dump trucks, garbage trucks, emergency vehicles, semis, and cars racing in his area. This sounds suspiciously familiar to the mechanics of a particular racing game (available on the Playstation 2). Naturally, Mr Regier is not best pleased with living in the real-life version of Need For Speed and pleads with the administration to reconsider tax hikes, mandatory recycling, and car allowances (!) as well as urging Council to consider the plight of the economy (it’s fragile) and the homeless (without homes).

Raissa Graumans wants food trucks and pours salt on this wound by pointing out Regina has food trucks and we do not. How much longer will we suffer this indignity? (A while).

Connie Berko is not overjoyed about Pat Lorje’s news release. Specifically, she objects to the part where Lorje refers to $52,000 salary per year as a poverty wage. (Disclaimer, I haven’t read Lorje’s release.) She ends the letter with “DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT YOUR PAY IS A POVERTY LEVEL INCOME!” which I think technically requires a question mark but I’m not about to wade into that here.  Unfortunately this is a point where I (caution, thinking ahead) think they’re both right, and both wrong. 52K is fairly respectable if, like me, you are a child-free working person in a dual-income household. 52K, incidentally, is also the baseline for housing assistance if you have dependents. So, yes and no. Anyways, the thing to remember here is that there is always someone who makes less than you and that there is always someone else willing to remind you of it.

Byron Shaw agrees with M(r)s Berko above and further states that “this whole city is becoming overun [sic] with greed”. He ends it with a parting fusillade at the mayor, suggesting that His Worship take a pay cut since all he does is “running around to various ceremonys [sic], and golfing.” To make his point clear he says, “It sounds to me like its [sic] the councillors that get the work done anyway.”

In case you weren’t getting tired of the salary review comments, here is a letter from Susan Mak. She takes a different tack, raising the spectre of Greece, Spain, the USA, and our current federal government.

Terry Yaskowich thinks tolls are a good idea. (If you’re wondering what I think, I was initially in favour of tolls, because I like sticking it to people, but after further reading and consideration, I am not. Tolls are a roundabout and inefficient way of making people pay for their infrastructure maintenance required to fix the deleterious effects of rubber on asphalt, whereas removing subsidies for oil and gas/raising taxes on fuel attacks the problem at its source. Sorry, John Gormley, our alliance was but brief and tenuous.) Anyways Mr Yaskowich suggests the Coquihalla as a model – they tolled the ever-loving Odin out of it and then removed the toll once everything was paid for.

Clayton Leach watches the news. He saw the bit on the possibility of tolls. As a commercial driver, he drives to make money, and there is “no way” he’d use the bridge that you have to pay for. He puts on up to 200 km in the city in a day, if you were wondering, and crosses the river several times. If you see a flaw in his reasoning, please send your answer and a self-addressed stamped envelope to 102-104th St., Saskatoon.

Blair Wooff would like the Caswell Hill area to be considered for a parking-permit program. People are parking there and walking to downtown, which absolutely shocks me as I didn’t realize there are people who walk this far in Saskatoon. Also, the new cop shop is going in, and that will put constraints on parking. He’s unhappy at being told first one thing and then another. If the City goes forward with his proposal, I suggest that it be called the “Blair Wooff Project” or I shall be sorely disappointed. (Normally I don’t make fun of people for their names but how do you resist that.) (Quite easily, my husband informs me.)

Notices of hearings for refusal to issue development permits type things. These are all standard issue, aside from one bold auto body shop owner whose proposal has a setback deficiency of, er, 94.45%. Encroach big or croach home, as the saying goes.

A solitary anti-fluoride letter.

Shannan McKay is disgusted with the pathetic level of service in the north end (Lawson, not industrial). Her beef is with the 70/80, unsurprisingly; I take this bus often but on the Sutherland leg. Let’s just say I am shocked when it shows up at the appointed time, and I’m getting on it just outside the PAC on campus. At any rate, Shannan used to encourage people to take transit but is now seriously reconsidering this plan of action.

Tammy Hrycan has lived in Montgomery for 24 years. She is concerned about a herd of deer that live on a piece of land that is now being developed. She would like more signs for the deer, or attempts made to relocate the deer. If you think I’m about to castigate M(r)s Hrycan for her soft-hearted concerns, you would be wrong. Despite being personally responsible for the deaths of 2 deer via 1998 Suburban, I agree with her that the deer were here first and deserve consideration. Unless they are eating my dad’s hay bales, in which case, bust out the .303 and the cats are eating meat tonight. (In case you were wondering, the cats did not eat venison very often despite my father’s threats. They mostly subsisted on porridge and expired Boost shakes.)

Juan Serrano would like the City to advise him of the proper steps to take in order to remove the mandatory recycling program. There is a large number of people he has spoken to that do not like this program.

No, I did not make that last letter up.

In a remarkable fit of coincidence, Jean Hein also has beef with the 70/80. She adheres to her schedule and wants to know why this route is particularly unable to do so.

Renita Lefebvre is concerned about nobody removing the snow at the bus stop at 1000 Central Ave. The gist of it is, she uses a walker and gets stuck frequently. There’s also a bit in there about train tracks, so I am not sure if she is referring also to my own personal Issue about the railway crossing at Central between 112th and Gray. (It is about 2 feet wide, icy, with traffic whipping past at 50+ km/hr. Seriously, if a truck came along at the right time with those extendable mirrors, I would not be typing this.)

Grace Kuhn (why does this name sound familiar) also has issues with bus stops and the removal of snow thereabouts. Also: taxes, councillors’ salaries, the skating rinks formerly known as roads, and children’s welfare on said roadways.

Trevor Daviduke would like the city to update its website more often. Well, Trevor, you are in luck. The bad news is, your taxes are most probably going to go up as a result.

Paul C. Hamilton (Hey, one of my old profs!) is also concerned about the timeliness of news (or lack thereof) on the city website. Since the city couldn’t be arsed to update the website stating there was a water main break in their area, he, and dozens of his neighbours, tied up the phone lines calling the City to find out. He points out, rightly, that if the City just bloody updated the bloody website with actual useful bloody information it would free up the phone lines for people who don’t use the internet and everyone wins. (Um, I may have added some strong language for emphasis here.)

Anda Ciurezu wants to know if it’s legal to keep foxes as pets. Domestic foxes, not wild ones. If she can’t get the native varieties of foxes as pets, she’s hedged her bets here by asking if non-native (i.e. fennecs) can be kept. Anda Ciurezu really likes foxes.

Danielle White is asking the City to consider a senior’s leisure pass. Sure, why the hell not. Wait, we don’t have a senior’s leisure pass? I suppose they do get a lot of exercise just trying to get on the bus, if previous letters are any indication, but that’s a bit extreme.

Casey Cherry has a comment about the shortage of indoor ice surfaces available for rent in the city. I’d make a joke about the roads here but I’ve had a long day. His son’s team practices at 7 am on Tuesdays. Ooof.

The next letter is flipped 90 degrees. At the risk of incurring a headache, I will read it. OK. It’s about the train in the Kinsmen Park. Something about moving it to Wakaw. John Diefenbaker is mentioned. Wakaw is the obvious choice since it’s in the middle of the area circumscribed by Saskatoon, Melfort, Prince Albert, and Humboldt. That was a lot harder to read than I’d anticipated.

Some letters from CUPE notifying that the Union wishes to continue negotiations for revisions to the Collective Bargaining Agreements. There’s also a letter from the ATU Local 615 about negotiations as their collective agreement expires in December of this year.

And that’s it, huzzah. Now I am going to bed. If you’re wondering, I will most likely be watching the council meeting at home, since my chairs are significantly more comfortable and I don’t have to look the Mayor in the eye.

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