life is always interesting

Strombo – We Feed Back

When George became an ambassador to the UN World Food Programme, we told you about WeFeedBack – a site that lets you input your favourite food, and then donate the value of that food to hungry children around the world.

Just a few weeks into the launch, WeFeedBack has already raised enough money to feed 100,000 children. Not only that – our show is responsible for the most individual donors in North America!

Of course, that doesn’t mean the work is done. The UN says it needs more than $250 million to continue providing food and assistance to 7 million people in Afghanistan this year, mainly women and children.

Strombo | We Feed Back | CBC Television.

« MyHalifax.Ca

This brief filler piece from the Sunday Chronicle Herald, doesn’t do justice to the friendly giant of a man who many knew as DH.There was always a smile, a rather devilish twinkle in his eye and a story, sometimes a rather convoluted and confusing story but a story for all who had the pleasure to spend a little time with David.

Victor & David made rather unique partners &  everyone instantly understood there was a deep friendship and mutual respect at it’s core.

 

Dave Henry, the King of Argyle has died… « MyHalifax.Ca.

I,__________________, being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be 
kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. 

Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of pinhead 
politicians who couldn’t pass ninth grade biology if their lives 
depended on it, or lawyers/doctors interested in simply running up the 
bills. 

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to ask for at least one 
of the following: 
Glass of wine 
Chocolate 
Margarita 
Sex 
Martini 
Cold Beer Chocolate 
Chicken fried steak 
Cream gravy 
Sex 
Mexican food 
Chocolate 
French fries 
Chocolate 
Pizza 
Sex 
Ice cream 
Cup of tea 
Chocolate 
Chocolate 
Sex 
Chocolate

It should be presumed that I won’t ever get better. When such a 
determination is reached, I hereby instruct my appointed person and 
attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes, let the ‘fat 
lady sing,’ and call it a day!

Have a Drink IT’S 5 O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE 

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Today’s Sunday Herald ran a Front page lead story that started clip_image002

Premier Rodney MacDonald is promising an immediate, independent review of HRM amalgamation if his Tories return to power.

The premier said some people are concerned their communities’ interests are being lost in the shuffle, while others are unhappy ING050909rodney2.jpgwith the services they get for the taxes they pay. He said part of the review will be community consultation.

“Whether you are from Ecum Secum or you are from Hubbards or you are from the peninsula of Halifax, I believe that people deserve the opportunity to have input into that process,” he said Saturday morning at the headquarters of George Jordan, the Tory candidate for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley. ….. Read the full story!!!

In my opinion this is nothing but cheep politics by a government desperate to hold on to power … clutching at straws, costly, emotional, but totally useless straws.

When Dr. John (Savage) forced the amalgamation on the two large municipalities of Halifax-Dartmouth and what is now the Cape Breton Regional Municipality his rationalization was that the merged units would be able to deliver services to their constituents more efficiently and at less cost. Cut back on duplication of administration services and things would work better.

Dr. John (Savage) enjoyed a majority government and chose to ‘force’ the merger by rewriting the Municipalities Act of Nova Scotia without consulting the municipalities. His actions were quick, decisive and permanent. If he had gone the consultation rout we’d still be studying the issue.

From where I sit this grand experiment has worked, for the most part, in Halifax, any dissention that exists comes from those few but vocal critics who are still upset over loosing their separate identities.

About every three months someone writes a letter to the editor bemoaning the situation and the media asks the question of those elected officials and round and round it goes… there has been plenty of opportunity for navel gazing by municipal and provincial governments and none have felt the need to address the situation. The trampoline jumping, fiddle playing premier himself has had the opportunity to facilitate such a review over the past three years but he waited till an election to give the situation any credence.

Mr. MacDonald said the study, which would take about a year, would be put out to tender. He would not estimate how much it would cost, except to say it would probably be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“It won’t be an overly expensive initiative,” the premier said.….. Read the full story!!!

I’m sorry but I need another break …. If and I repeat IF this type of study was to be commissioned with all the focus groups, public consultation, and input from special interest groups a year long commitment by any consultancy worth its weight would not be cheap. It’s my humble opinion that a report of this nature would cost in the Hundreds of thousands and be a waste of money.

Yes there are things that could be improved in how HRM functions but those changes can be done through adjusting the organizational structure of the administration and service delivery systems. The Municipality of Halifax recently received its own charter and therefore can make whatever changes it needs with out input or permission from the Provincial Government.

Mayor Peter (is he a conservative?)Kelly in a statement in the same article gave half hearted support to the idea of a study but did point at the reality of what it has cost to get where we are and that together is better. Now remember this is a Mayor who has a reputation for using ‘studies’ and ‘public consultations’ to hide behind and has been able to sit on the fence on just about every key issue that has faced the HRM during his tenure as our leaderless mayor.

Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly said he welcomes the review, saying he hopes it will encourage all party leaders to share their ideas on how to make the municipality stronger and more competitive.

The mayor said the debate should be about more than just the notion of de-amalgamation.

"We need to look at the big picture, the big reason for being, and not just the time or the flavour of the day," he said Friday evening.

The mayor believes in a united HRM.

"I believe in our future and to piecemeal it apart, to potentially piecemeal it apart, would be harmful to many. And the cost implications, it cost us tens of millions to get here and we’re still paying some of those price elements," Mr. Kelly said. ….. Read the full story!!!

It’s my opinion that you don’t go backwards… de-amalgamation is NOT an option, all that’s needed is to identify the components of the current model that require adjustment, devise a plan that cures those issues, have the balls [leadership] to make the changes and get on with life. There is that reoccurring theme… Political Will & Leadership … does it exist in Nova Scotia!!!!

So this piece of Political Election News is nothing but rhetoric… an easy promise to make by a premier who’s unlikely to regain power and if what I’m hearing from my cousins in his home riding is accurate a Premier who might actually loose his own seat.

Les Muise Consultingclip_image002

Monday, October 27, 2008

Posted to MyHalifaxCa Panhandlers

The following is the Introduction to an opinion piece developed by request for MacKay Fashions of Halifax to be used to begin a discussion within the business and civic concerns with the objective of finding a better way to deal with the panhandlers of Downtown Halifax.

It’s time to deal with the issue….

Panhandling is a challenging issue faced by cities of all sizes, and one that affects Halifax as well. The experience of numerous professionals and service agencies finds that money given to panhandlers often only enables self-destructive behaviors like alcoholism and drug addiction.

One former panhandler and addict has even stated, “Giving money to a panhandler is like giving a gun to someone who is suicidal.

I think it was mid November of 1997 and I was sitting in the Great Taste Coffee Shop on Spring Garden Road enjoying a brew and writing in my journal. I was not aware of where he came from or when he arrived but suddenly, there was a little man sitting at my table. He was in rough shape having fallen and broke an arm, he had not shaved in a couple of days, he had no teeth, his fingers were deeply stained by nicotine, and he was cold, hungry and the smell… God the smell, it just about turned my stomach.

The conversation began with his statement that it had been a hard day and he was considering walking out to the middle of the Angus L Mc Donald Bridge and jumping.

My instant response was ‘I don’t know you from a hole in the ground but I figure if you’ve made it this far in life…. You’re too stubborn to do that.”

That was the day that I met ‘Terry M’ a paranoid schizophrenic who had lived with his parents on Cunard St till they died and had a room of his own [these days at Turning Point] in a know flop house. Terry had never traveled past the Halifax Commons, had memorized every word in three dictionaries and would give you the correct spelling, pronunciation, and use it in conversation…. several times in one sitting. He had a memory for detail as good as anyone I know but could never keep a job.

clip_image003

Tommy Boutilier, left, an on-street support worker, chats with a panhandler named Liam, while walking along Spring Garden Road in Halifax. – Halifax Herald

At the time Terry was one of a handful of regular panhandlers that you would see around town. Over the years I’ve watched, tried to help and got frustrated seeing my little friend loose ground in his life. He survives on $385.00 per month from Community Services and every check day his property owner drives him to Sobey’s on Queen and waits while Tarry cashes his check, takes $350.00 for rent and leaves Terry with $35.00 for a months worth of food.

No wonder he panhandles.

Anyone who spends time on Spring Garden Road, Argyle Street, Barrington Street or on the Waterfront [as I do] and is slightly aware of his/her surroundings should see the whole picture. You cannot help but have a certain amount of compassion for the street people like Terry M who for one reason or another have fallen through our so-called social safety net. As a community, we are failing to provide a safe, healthy and caring life for these individuals and that has to change.

Every situation has two sides and though I have a soft spot for the position in which people like Terry M find themselves I have also had to deal with the constant harassment, insults, threats and potential violence of navigating the downtown core of Halifax. As you read this document, you will read several personal accounts of both the good & bad side of our streets. In addition, remember … Big changes come as a result of many small steps.

Read More…….

Originally posted on Sept. 28/08 by Les Muise to MyHalifaxCa.

cooltext74706458 We are quickly coming to the decision point, you know Voting Day for the Halifax Regional Municipality. I thought I would give you some insight into my decision process on who I will vote for in the race to be the next Mayor of Halifax.

Firstly, for those of you who have lost track of who is running in which election the contenders for the job of Mayor are; the incumbent Peter Kelly and his challengers Sheila Fougere & Dave Boyd.

Right off the bat I can reduce the selection by one – Dave Boyd doesn’t have a chance. I knew Dave years ago in Clayton Park, long before his mail order bride “flue the coop” [I wonder why] & I have to admit that my prior knowledge pretty well eliminates Dave from serious consideration. There is a guy in a white lab coat with a large butterfly net running around Halifax trying to catch Dave… wait a minute if my memory serves me I seem to recall that he was caught twice and locked up but he escaped. I’ll give him credit for having the guts to run and propose some rather interesting but unrealistic ideas. I hope he gets more support than in his first attempt at being elected [three votes] but I really cannot see anyone taking his bid seriously.

That leaves Peter and Sheila. Each has solid support in their own turf; Peter in Bedford and Sheila in peninsular Halifax.

Peter has history on his side, as incumbent it is his race to loose, and this time that might be easier than he or his supporters might think. History is history … there is not much you can do to rewrite things that happened in the recent memory. In Peter’s case history is not his best friend and has some telling stories.

There is a reason that organizations like Citizens for Halifax and Build it Right have grown out of the frustration of dealing with the Mayor’s Office. Need I mention the way HRM handled the widening of Chebucto Road or the Mainland Common Recreation Center or the Cat bylaw or the dissension in the council?

They are the tip of the ice burg, for Peter to campaign on a platform of strong leadership, vision and a history of success in furthering Halifax’s image is almost laughable. Find me one proven case where a leopard has actually changed his spots & I might accept that Peter will change his attitude and practice. Realistically history will repeat it’s self if he’s reelected; the lack of decisive decision making, lack luster leadership and internal clashes in council will continue for another four years.

Then there is Sheila. I will tell you up front that I have known and respected her husband for more than 25 years, watched Sheila grow as a councilor, supported her in her run in the last federal election and have been impressed with her growth and consistently solid approach to this campaign. She has solid support from her constituents and is well respected within council.

From what I have seen, Sheila’s history would suggest that a council headed by Mayor Sheila Fougere would be significantly different from that headed by Peter for the past eight years. Much more productive, more proactive and more of what this city needs at this time.

So are you getting the hint? When I mark the X on my ballot for the position for Mayor my choice is going to be Sheila Fougere. Halifax needs a change in direction, attitude, and in political will.

Sometimes change isn’t easy but as in any situation where teamwork is required for success and if the team is not working the quickest way to fix the team is to change the leader.

On a related side point, I will be one of those brave soles casting my vote this weekend electronically… because it is neat!

I have a very good friend who lives in the depths of the Annapolis Valley who over the past twelve years has traveled into Halifax with her husband on average twice per month. Every time she is in town, we meet for a coffee, a meal or a run around town shopping. Our conversations are lively, often political and always full of the reality of our lives. She has commented to me on more than one occasion, in a rather blunt tone, “You’ve missed another bullet there ….” Admittedly, the bullet she was referring to was usually a young female with whom I been considering starting a relationship. In every case, she was right.

The bullet I am referring to in this posting is not a young female … it is an election.

Up until 12.00 noon on Tuesday September 9, 2008, I was fully intending to offer myself as a candidate for the position of Counselor of District 10 in this October’s Halifax Municipal Election.

Nevertheless, with the flip of a coin I reversed my decision.

The question is why?

The financial commitment is no longer modest, I budgeted sufficient funds in order to aggressively pursue the opportunity. The combination of personal funds, support from friends, family and supporters would cover the $15,000.00+/- needed to win. However, my decision was not due to the risk of loosing the investment…. I intended on winning.

The time commitment over the next month is huge. District 10 is a geographically large housing 9,700 potential voters, in seven distinct neighborhoods covering all demographic diversities and economic statures. But I’ve covered all this district before while campaigning with the candidates in previous municipal, provincial and federal elections and I actually enjoy the conversation on the door step. Therefore, that was not the reason….

Some would be put off by the idea of speaking in public … not me. I found my public voice years ago & enjoy engaging others in a public form; I would look forward to a lively debate. Therefore, that was not the reason….

I have a profile in this community; I have lived here for 24+ years, and know many of my fellow residents. I am a member of the Clayton Park Liberal Association, Build it Right, Citizens for Halifax, and would have the support from the key members of those groups. My profile would need to become more public than it has been but the idea of being under the magnifying glass is not a deterrent.

I felt I was ready and could honestly see being successful in a well run, open and effective campaign. I was looking forward to the 5-week conversation with the constituents of this riding and had planned to make my cadency official by filing my papers on Friday August 29, 2008.

However, timing is everything… a delay in a client’s payment of fees due to me meant that I delayed my plans until the first of the following week. Over that weekend long talked about rumors of a Federal Election call for this season went from rumor to pending announcement to expected dissolution of Parliament within the week. What a mess….

I took a breath and waited.

By the first of this week, we are faced with both elections taking place within 4 days. Over the next five weeks the 7,000 residences of this district will be attacked by;

  • 3 candidates for HRM Council & if I’d have run it would be 4,
  • 3 candidates for Mayor of HRM,
  • 3 candidates for the Halifax Regional School Board,
  • at least 4 may be 5 candidates for the Federal Riding of Halifax Atlantic,
  • In addition, do not forget nonstop polling.

Potentially 15 teams of invaders of our privacy… At some point, the electorate gets confused, fed up, annoyed … You get the idea. There will be many annoyed individuals answering doors and or phones.

With all that confusion and static, how do I get my message out to the constituents?

The fight for sign placement will be ridiculous. The candidates for Counsel will be lost in the crowd and not enough time between the Federal Election Day and Municipal Election Day to get the message out.

The reality is that no candidate wins an election by himself… the volunteer base & $$$$ available to HRM campaigns will be diminished by a hectic 30-day federal run… How many times does john q citizen answer the door to yet another person looking for his support before they start the conversation with ……………

Did I duck a bullet?                      Defiantly!

Do I regret not running?               Defiantly!

Did I make the right decision?       Time will tell, but for me yes it is the right decision.

Will I consider running again?        Defiantly!

Politics is a learning curve. Five years ago, I would never have predicted my current interest in being involved in public life. Then I met Daniel Roukema, his passion for community development, political activism, and of course, his version of Orange Liberalism was infectious. Thank you Daniel!

To all of my friends and supporters, I value your commitment and ongoing support and I will continue building my base with the aim of running four years from now… then again the future could hold a by-election.

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