I know, I titled the first one as “First Half” which means this is the third half, but part of my gimmick is being delightfully irreverent so I’ve decided to split it three ways.

Here’s a breakdown of the exciting letters (letters conveying organizations’ information and/or announcing National Day of X are excluded.)

Commenting on spending priorities: 2
Commenting on property tax increase: 1
Commenting on civic issues: 7
Commenting on needle exchange zoning: 1
Commenting on sidewalk snow clearing: 6
Commenting on snow removal: 35 (this is not a typo)
Commenting on library contract: 1
Suggesting a memorial for the lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut: 1

A letter from Joanne Sproule, City Clerk,”[a]dvising City Council that over 100 emails, addressed to City Council, regarding transit message boards have been received in the Office of the City Clerk.” They are being put in “the file” which means I may have to read a bunch of hateful intolerant missives at some point this year if the matter comes before council. Where is that Naproxen bottle?

More specific letters, addressed to certain intersections, equipment operators, red light cameras, affordable housing, safety of pedestrians, safety of children etc etc. I don’t remember reading all these. Did the City add more to the agenda after I first downloaded it?

Commenting on transit service: 4

Letter from Ashu Solo: 1

p.  189 is the start of the letters. To paraphrase Ned Stark: Brace yourselves. The snow removal complaints are coming.

Since there is just a massive amount of missives, I’ll cherry-pick the best bits otherwise I would require pharmaceutical or psychotherapeutic intervention.

Whoops, the first guy has escaped my gimlet gaze with an anti-fluoride letter. He is also wanting to speak to Council, I think. The gist is either the fluoride goes or he does. He also states that it is his choice to eat silly putty as a free citizen of Canada. Not perhaps the words I would use but it is certainly effective at getting his point across.

p. 191 is a letter from upstanding citizen, J.L. Grover. He’s managed to decrease the size of his letterforms from last time, either that or the Clerk’s office has discovered the scaling option on the photocopier. I hesitate to say it, but I do agree with Jack Grover on one thing: that the speakers be allowed to speak first, instead of being shoehorned in at the end. I mean, we can at least pretend that we care about what people have to say one night a month.

Melita Penner is unimpressed with the efficiency of city workers. One highlight of her letter is that she alleges workers showed up to fix cracks in the sidewalk in front of her condo and ended up just filling in the aesthetic lines stamped in the concrete. (Either she’s exaggerating or the city workers are following the Miss Trunchbull method of action, that is be so outrageous that nobody will believe the stories told about you, even if they’re true.) Unfortunately tempting as it may be to yell at the City it’s not an effective way to motivate people, as I can attest. It is a great way, however, of fostering resentment upon both sides of the matter.

p. 194. Tourism Saskatoon’s budget is 2.9 million dollars.

p. 195. Ever notice that when someone says “Wake up and listen to the voters” what they really mean is “Wake up and listen to me”?

Caren Dupuis is disgusted with the amount of money going towards communications for city councillors ($220,000). I am actually okay with this.  All 11 of them share one part-time administrative assistant, if I remember correctly, and that’s bush-league. She thinks it could be better spent elsewhere, to which I point 220k doesn’t go very far in roadwork. It is, however, much more than the City has spent on bike infrastructure in any year before last, so I do grant her that.

Rick Brown sees through your cleverness at posting the tax rate with a “99” ending. Just like those sneaky gas stations. I agree. You can’t fool us. We can round up. At least I hope we can, the penny is going out of circulation.

Oh Thor, it is 10.45 and I still have 100 pages to go. If you’re wondering, it takes me about 2 hours to read the agenda initially and to make mental notes about points of interest. Then I have it turning over in the back of my head for a couple of days while I go about my menial tasks. For the actual writing bit, it’s another 6-10 hours, split up into approximately 2 hour chunks. I do actually enjoy it, and I feel peppy after finishing each bit, sort of bouncy and punchy. Float like a fruit fly, sting like a mosquito. Then I slag all of you off on Twitter and go to bed.

p. 200. Scandal! The Polish flag was not raised on the actual National Polish Flag Day (May 2nd). It was raised on the 28th of Wednesday [next day edit: obviously I am tired here, it is supposed to be November]. Also, the letter writer refers to his or herself in the third person. Stop doing this, people, it makes me itchy.

OK, a lot of people are hung up on this communications allotment. Communications seems to mean a great deal of things, all of them different (and wildly inaccurate).

I am sorry to say this, but many people have died this winter with the roads being a contributing factor. That point has already been passed. Using it as a threat will not be effective, page 203.

Attacks on the website budget so far: 2

A positive letter encouraging support for the needle exchange, from the Saskatchewan Public Health Association.

Aaron McKean is happy to see that people are getting serious about keeping their sidewalks clean. He walks to get around his neighbourhood (Broadway area) and is pleased with the City’s and homeowner’s efforts. Good job guys. No seriously, good job.

Some two-bit outfit wants to totally lock down downtown in August to park their cars on the street so others can goggle at them. Won’t somebody think of the businesses who are going to lose money because of the lack of parking downtown all day? (I don’t really care about cruise weekend one way or the other but I thought I’d levy some of the rhetoric used against non-car street use, just for fairness’ sake.)

Lovely, some more threats about children “loosing their life” because of the unsafe streets.

2 people so far have volunteered to pay more taxes to get better services, if you’re keeping track.

Guys I am just skimming through them at this point, the sentiments are all the same and the vitriol, while not directed at myself, is taking its toll on my fingernails.

We are up to at least 5 attacks on the website now. It’s become the new art gallery and/or whitewater rafting park.

Another person willing to pay more for full snow removal.

And another. He points out that if we can’t afford to run the city now, what’s going to happen when other suburbs come on line?

OK, five people who want to pay more taxes for better snow-clearing.


Some development appeals.

Ugh, they want to put in a digital billboard outside SaskPlace.

Some suggestions for modifying crosswalks on 20th and College Drive. I sort of agree with the Bottomley suggestion, there is unnecessary people-bus conflict there.

p. 267 has a distressing account of a car vs plow encounter. Apparently she was trying to get to City Hospital and encountered three plows running tandem down Queen. They didn’t stop. She was able to back up and out of the way, but the plows nearly hit her and she is very shaken. Knowing this stretch of Queen St – wait, she lives on Queen St and is driving to City Hospital, excuse me while I judge her for a bit, unless she is unable to walk – it would be very difficult to get out of the way of a determined grader operator, and I find it distressing that the operators didn’t stop or acknowledge her in any way. I suppose if something doesn’t make sense we don’t know the entire story, but I hope the City is looking into this.

Lauren Anderson, of Kingsmere Place, would like the city plows to clear snow from her crescent at a more suitable time than three am in the morning. She wonders if they could be done “at a different time” or “with less noise”. We now pause while everyone who doesn’t get snow removed on their street looks up her phone number and leaves her a polite message.

p. 273. Comic Sans alert. These guys have been parking on an angle (looking at Google Street view, it’s a 90 degree angle) for 12 years without issue.  Here’s the location.

The problem is, as she outlines in their letter, they are parking half on the street and half on the property. If they were parking entirely on their property, it would be ok. Having your rear axle on the street and not parallel [edit, that should be “perpendicular”] to the curb is a ticketable offense. Doesn’t matter if less of your vehicle is on the street. It’s still on the street. She says they will have to start parking around the corner on the next block which, horrors. Sorry, the use of Comic Sans has destroyed any sympathy I may have for your plight.

More letters. The buses are late. It’s a disgrace. We have people doing 90 minute, 2 hour commutes. In no case should the bus be slower than walking over a distance of several kilometres. It’s also unacceptable to have people waiting outside for over half an hour longer than anticipated. I am a huge proponent of dressing for the weather but in some temperatures it doesn’t matter what you have, standing still in one spot is a recipe for amputation. The buses don’t even have to have a faster route. We just need more frequency, so people aren’t waiting as long and can make their connections. I know, this costs more money. Everything costs more money. However, transit saves you money, in the big picture. My brain, it is breaking down.

An Arlington Ave resident is wondering why the grader is not clearing spaces for their personal vehicles, as is customary. This guy and the Kingsmere denizen should get together.

OK, he has written two letters. To be fair, he is a senior, and can’t handle the snow-clearing himself. He also wants a personal visit from the manager of the “plough crew”.

Anita Hrytsak is wondering if the city can come back and finish plowing the remaining quarter of her driveway. If she sounds familiar, she writes in quite often.

Suggestion of a fuel tax to help pay for snow clearing.

A good letter from Ted Slawinski, tradesperson, on the lack of portable washroom facilities for tradespeople. Something I had not really thought about. In the new developments, especially with smaller outfits, portapotties are not provided for workers. It’s a real problem, especially for women as it’s a little harder for us to whizz discreetly in a corner. (I know, you can get funnels, but that’s beside the point.) It’s too late for me to be funny about this, but perhaps I’ll think of something later.

Marla Ramsay wants the city to be more serious about school zones; she’s seen a lot of scofflaws dropping off their precious cargo and endangering everyone else’s precious cargo by doing so.

p. 303 has an answer for those of you wondering why the snow zone areas are not enforced. They are, but there’s not enough tow truck drivers to clean them out.

p. 306 brings up the “20 mph revolution” in Europe. I agree, especially when you see the drastic reduction in mortality rates by lowering the speed limits in residential and downtown areas. You’ve got to really gun it to get it up to 50 anyways downtown. Yeah, go ahead and attack me for wanting to confiscate all your cars and force you to walk everywhere. I’m used to it by now.

Whoo, someone was waiting over an hour for a taxi at the airport, and in frustration, took the bus instead. However she discovered what is 15 minutes by taxi is 50 minutes via bus. Surprise!

p. 312 is a long letter from the famed Ashu Solo. I am too tired to go into this here.

Some announcements about Crime Stoppers Day, etc. etc. And that’s it! Huzzah, I can go to bed.