There is little doubt that this once mighty blog has fallen into a state of neglect. The truth is that I'm alright with that -- I've no longer to time or energy to type stuff here for the sake of typing. So, what is the alternative? Quite simply it is simply to blog when the mood strikes me and/or I am motivated in some way to write something. My friends, tonight is such a time. "Oh gawd ... he's drunk again," you are thinking to yourself. I'm not saying you're wrong of course - only that in this case that is absolutely besides the point. Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, I would like to submit that my beloved city of London (Ontario) is in trouble and I'm reaching out to all of you to help. Alright, maybe some of you may not be required to help, but to empathize and ensure this not happen to you is enough. I'll warn you in advance that the following post may be amongst the most lengthy you have read here (I'm guessing at this point) so may want to grab a cold drink and return .... in fact, I'll do the same ....
In regards to the title, people often use the term 'mixed emotions' as a prelude to a discussion about how they are happy about one factor of something of one thing, yet sad or angry about a different part of that same thing. That is not the case here -- the absolute truth is that I currently have about every emotion imaginable swirling around inside of me (which in deeper contemplation may not be that odd) and the roller coaster of moods seem to change faster than the weather around here as late.
For starters, well I'm excited - as many of you already know I start hosting a brand new television show (#LdnOnt) next Thursday which will shoot live Thursday nights at 9:30PM. I do think it is important to note that I receive no financial benefit from this - I am doing in part because I think it will be interesting and promote the local community I love so much - but also because I think it will be a LOT of fun. Additionally, I'm actually shooting a couple of student films over the next couple of months -- for exactly the same reasons.
Happy? Of course, my wife and kids are absolutely the best and everything one could ever hope for. I love my neighbourhood (oh, vote for us HERE), my job is great and even my home business (twittens) is enjoying its greatest year ever (out of two). All in all, life is good!
Now for the other emotions: sadness, anger, frustration and a whole bunch of others that will become clear as I unravel this mind-boggling rant. They all relate to something I hold dear to my heart, London - the place where I was born and the place I live today. To be clear, and for those who are unaware, London has had a bit of a rough year ... I'm too proud (read: embarrassed) to go over the details here ... but we've carried on as many often do -- with a combination of denial and shoulder shrugging. All this changed for me a week ago -- within a day or two -- when come to think of it I was doing pretty much the exact same thing I am currently doing: sitting at the computer, drinking, and watching hockey. I was not typing however, I was reading. my twitter feed to be specific, I what I read that night I truly believe will change the remainder of my life. Sound dramatic? Perhaps, my my promise to not let go of that initial anger has remained unbroken so far.
We need to back up a little, simply because this blog has not previously been know as one to speak of local affairs, although I think it is safe to say that it may going forward. In short? We had a (successful) mayoral candidate who ran on a 0% tax increase platform. (Worth noting: The 0% was to be achieved through growing the tax base with those thousands of new jobs. Still waiting. In fact, even maintaining might have been nice.) One that I actually voted for considering he would keep me and my TurboTax software from going nuts. Not that I actually believed at the time - quite the contrary, I simply thought he was a good person, who had experience, who I assumed would eventually default on said promise. Boy was I wrong. To be clear, I actually was still a supporter of a week ago - once again, to be clear - not because he was actually doing anything positive - but because I was working from the assumption that local politicians actually didn't do anything - and his track record of simply showing up to events was enough to satisfy my minimal expectations.
As you've probably already guessed, that was about to change. Without going into the details, the cuts that our local city council made that night were enough to get me upright, dressed and headed to city council that night. My plan here was actually to link a bunch of articles that discussed the cuts and the absolute disgraceful behaviour that followed - but the truth is that if you care you are already well aware. (Later edit: THIS, THIS & THIS will provide an adequate summary - if you truly don't know and do care.)
So what can we do? Well, for starters you can help with this initiative that will help educate the public keep track of how your councillor voted in each council meeting. Of course, this means London at first but the hope is that other cities will follow. In a perfect world such an app would not be required -- but I hardly need to remind you that this is not a perfect world. I may be proven wrong once again but I truly believe that the cuts council recently approved in order to meet the coveted 0% will actually be reversed. I remember reading on twitter the night of the meeting in question that "a lot of political campaigns are being born tonight" and boy - do I ever hope that is true. Make no mistake, community engagement can be a blessing or a curse to any government and I do truly think that this community is now fully engaged.
In fact, some might say that it is (some parts) of city council that has been silenced. It is, in my humble opinion, a step in the right direction. When our elected officials stop speaking for the people -- well, they should stop speaking to the people. I'm certainly not declaring victory, or even war for that matter, but I am inspired by the engagement I am now witnessing. Even if (and it's a BIG if) that all of the proposed cuts are reversed London is still faced with an almost unsurmountable problem: out current council. Or is it? Let me preface what I'm about to suggest that I know nothing about politics. "But wait Lincoln? Didn't you run for Mayor in 2000?" you ask? First of all, shut up - but more importantly that was different, I was kidding! Still, I now have a plan ... (and before you ask -- no, it does NOT involve me running for Mayor)
First of all, time of essence - let's not wait until right before the election to plan - now is the time. Time to plan, time to create, time to engage. (Damn! I need a drink - this blogging in hard work! - be right back.) As I was saying (Oh wait - is that a squirrel? Does it have city council notes? Oh geez - you probably going to have to read THIS to be convinced I'm not on LSD), the plan of attack seems simple to me. In fact, I'll lay it out it only a few points:
1) Nope. I can;t do it. I almost hate this way but the allure of the couch is too much to resist at this point? In short? Decide what current members of the current council need to be replaced and replace them. Be organized. Work as a group. Start now. Resist the temptation to all run and pick the best person to run for each position and unify behind them - do not split the vote. I already know we can do this. In fact, it is already done,
I am out. Let me close by assuring you only that I know times are tough, believe me - they are tough for me as well. But let us not trade an impossible future for a barely tolerable present. This is important. Let's get organized -- and for the record, I'm in.