Calgary Minute: Pension Whitewash, Wasteful Spending, and a Green Line Nightmare
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
On Tuesday there will be a Priorities and Finance Committee meeting. The Committee will receive briefings on the City's Financial Taskforce (that's the group that is trying to figure out Calgary's finances but is only allowed to look at new taxes, not spending cuts), on Electronic Voting, which is now due in September 2020, and on a couple of City initiatives designed to save money, like SAVE, and the Golf Sustainability Framework, though no concrete actions are actually planned.
- How do you know when the City wants a report buried? They recommend Council receives it "for information", and recommend no actions, and that's exactly what City Staff are proposing Council do with this week's report about the City's pension plans. Requested by Council in November, the report was supposed to address Citizens' concerns about golden pensions for City Staff. Instead, the 47-page report avoids addressing those concerns entirely and concludes that, basically, everything is fine.
- Meanwhile, on Wednesday, there will be a meeting of the Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services which, amongst other things, will hear a proposal to bring back the City's Public Art Program, this time through an "independent arms-length organization". That might mean we get better art, but it sure doesn't sound like it's going to save Calgarians any money.
Last Week In Calgary:
- RocketSpace, a "tech-accelerator" that was the darling of many on Council three years ago has shut down before even opening a Calgary office. Calgary Economic Development's CEO Mary Moran and Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who spent taxpayer money trying to attract RocketSpace, had said RocketSpace coming to Calgary "means our strategy to put Calgary on the map is working. It means our instincts are right."
- Speaking of spending taxpayer money on mythical "economic development", Councillor Sutherland now has doubts about Calgary having two convention centres. Maybe the time to figure out whether Calgary needed two convention centres was *before* spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a second convention centre?
- Council and City Staff focused on four pretty pictures showing how the Green Line might cross the Bow River to get to Centre Street. No-one seems to have focused on how the plan would take half of the lanes of traffic on Centre Street (actually two thirds during busy peak times, given lane reversals). This entire project is going to be a disaster.
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