Friday, May 30, 2008

Raising the Alarm

We were leaving the funeral for Dr. Carl Pinsky today, around noon, when I said aloud "I suppose today we'll do a Lesson In Journalism about those 2 stories about the legislature - and the one story about that MLA they missed - and recap the news of the month a bit."

Not 2 minutes later, the monthly recap of what The Great Canadian Talk Show was all about in May, was in essence, heard on CJOB.

* Car thieves try to kill 2 cops in the Maples.
* Gunshots sprayed at a house in the 400 block Mountain, 5 people narrowly escaping injury.

The mainstream media ignored the decay of law and order in Winnipeg until only when it could be no longer denied, and now when cops dive for cover and a housefull of people almost get whacked, the MSM headlines this afternoon reduce the crisis to:

"Police officer fires at stolen vehicle"
"Chaos on Fife; Police matter ties up area"
"Shots fired into home; no injuries reported"

The MSM uses dismissive labels like "alarmist", and have now started attaching "so-called" in front of "revolving door justice system", to undermine the validity of the observations of reasonable citizens. They bleat about how we need to deal with the "root causes", without ever admitting that the biggest root cause of crime in Winnipeg today, is that the car thieves and gangs and crack dealers think they can get away with it because so many of them do, and their rights supercede the rights of the innocent living their lives in peace.

After what went on in the past 24 hours, I for one gladly accept the label "alarmist". Yes we have been sounding the alarm and been the voice of the people. Only to the social engineers in the media, is holding the judges and ministers and councillors and MP's to account for their failure to protect the public, considered a bad thing. Those who ring the alarm to force the community to deal with a serious public issue need not make apologies to anyone.

The only apologies we want to hear is from elected officials who prefer to issue press releases and attend meetings, instead of addressing the public security issues which are only going to escalate until again one night, we have more bodies than ambulances available to carry them.

More today at 4PM. (with Spirited Kenny on the food crisis, a Luc Bourdon tribute and much more.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The news stories MSM won't report, we do every day- a sampler.

This weekend we read about the mainstream media crying the blues about how there is no news to cover at the Legislature. Instead they meekly send their reporters to cover press release-driven political announcements they don't have guts enough to challenge.

We at the Great Canadian Talk Show break genuine news stories that matter to you the listener -- and provide the kind of challenging analysis that listeners have come to count on.

Whether it's
* the inoperative national CanAlert system,
* the worldwide food shortages caused by Bio-fuel subsidies,
* the laughingstock that is the Derelict Buildings bylaw, or
* the unreported links between the millionaires of the exclusive Manitoba Club and the Friends of Upper Fort Garry,
we consistantly break stories the mainstream gatekeepers try to ignore.

Here are the kinds of stories you hadn't heard or read about anywhere else, (and in most cases still haven't), that we did in April:

April 1st - Conservative justice critic Gerald Hawranik announced he would bring forward a private members Bill to curtail the rights of car thieves to get compensation and injury coverage from Manitoba Public Insurance. Weeks later this was discovered by the big-time, well-funded newsrooms of Winnipeg.

April 3rd- The CRTC announced a Show Cause hearing for June 4th, at which the licence of the non-functioning CJWV-FM (a campus station that has never had a student graduate from their course in 4 years and which cannot produce the required annual financial returns) faces revocation.

April 8th- Ron Evans of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs got all the space he wanted in the Free Press to complain that federal audits into how Indian Band Councils are oppressive and unwarranted.

Only TGCTS took the time to compare his whining with the finding in the Court transcript from a few years ago, when Evans used what was described as 'blackmail' in a blatant attempt to prevent his rival, Marcel Balfour from utilizing his authority as a band councillor to get to the bottom of the funding irregularities on the Norway House reserve.

April 10th- Police chief Keith McCaskill appeared in front of 200 frustrated residents at William Whyte School to announce foot patrols in the beleagured area, a move TGCTS had pressured city hall to do for almost 16 months. Missing from that gathering was Councillor Harry Lazarenko and MLA George Hickes, who continue to be MIA at important community events where they might be challenged by crime-battered voters.

April 11th- Manitoba Liberal leader Dr. Jon Gerrard exclusively revealed details of the rift between "the town and the gown", as anaesthetists at community hospitals face a forced fee of $7000 per year minimum, to support the research work of teaching hospital collegues.

The so-called "Tithing Agreement", which implies a voluntary charitable giving) is seen by the non-research contingent of doctors as anything but, as if they refuse to sign the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority may refuse the dissidents admitting priviledges to city hospitals.

April 16th- Elaborating on a Winnipeg Harvest study that inner-city grocery stores have jacked the prices on staples, Dr. Eric Bibeau of the University of Manitoba explained in plain terms how using corn and food crops to make ethanol as a petrolium substitute is backwards for two reasons- it costs more to make than what the savings in gas is, and the removal of arable land from food production creates and higher food costs and shortages.

April 17- We broke the news about the passing of Winnipeg lawyer, philanthropist and op-ed columnist Harold Buchwald, even before the Free Press knew about his sudden demise.

As we conducted an exclusive interview with his longtime friend Yoram East of Canada Sheli, we were honoured to receive an email about Buchwald from the Provincial Auditor, Mrs. Carol Bellringer, with her own kind words about the legacy to the arts Harold left.

April 24 - Coach Brian Smiley came into the studio to confirm he was not only going to receive the Nick Hill Memorial Trophy as MMJHL Coach of the Year, but that he had parted ways with the St. Boniface Riels after lifting the team from 5 to 20 wins and a playoff berth. Hopefully "Number 1 of the brothers 3" was going to leave the upholstery machine on overnight by accident again, and give the out-of-work coach a new couch to laze about on.

April 28- Smiley was back again, wearing his MPI hat to explain their rationale for donating $1 million to the Museum for Human Rights, after CJOB broke the story about how the NDP appointed boards of 4 Crown Corporations acceeded to Premier Doer's "encouragement" to support his pal Gail Asper's failing fundraising campaign.

We invited Manitoba Liquor Commission bosslady Carmen Neufeld to address our audience on the subject, and are still waiting.

April 30- Even more reason for elected judges, as Judge Ron Meyers gave bail to an accomplice in the car-theft crash that murdered Duffy's Taxi driver Tony Lanzalotti -- despite her laughing about his death to investigators. Of course the 16 year old girl promptly disappeared.

And we gave a going-over to the Kremlin-inspired Lobbyist Act, replete with the NDP defining what a "lobbyist" is and wanting them to report in advance the methods to be used to lobby on legislation and who will be approached, was dubbed the blueprint for the Doerstaate by one of our listeners.

And that was just in April.

So far in May, we had exclusive interviews with

- Tory MLA Ron Schuler, who revealed the NDP's proposed Election Act would force opposition MLA's to get approval from a government-dominated committee before their right to send information mailings to voters is allowed;

_ Councillor Lillian Thomas who wants a 6 lane replacement for the Disraeli Bridge, but didn't know it would add $100 million to the taxpayers' burden;

- Selina Driskell, whose 14 year old daughter's birthday party at their Flora Avenue home was invaded by rifle-totting teens who, when disarmed by the family, begged for their gun back;

- NDP MLA Flor Marcelino, who promised to appear at City Hall to defend the residents of West Alexander neighbourhood from the block-busting tactic of the expansion-hungry Health Sciences Centre *see below;

- and Julie Hart, former wife of legendary WWF champion of the 90's Bret "Hitman" Hart, who payed her own way to appear at a fundraising event at Costco for the Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.

So if you are a news consumer who finds the MSM approach to news coverage inadequate -- or even a reporter looking for something interesting to bring to a morning story meeting -- you'll find news and analysis "alternative-media style", that is weeks ahead of the pack, every weekday at 4 PM, on 92.9 Kick-FM.

* Forgot to mention that during the interview with Mrs. Marcelino, we also broke the story of the land swap between the Doer government and Weston Bakeries that was announced to employees a few weeks ago.

According to sources, Weston is getting the never-used mega-courthouse in the Waverley/McGillvray area plus moving costs, in exchange for abandoning the inner-city location on Elgin Avenue. That area will become the site of the promised new Women's Hospital, as part of the HSC expansion. No word on the fate of the Child Guidance Clinic next door.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Uncle Bob dissects the impending Disraeli Bridge fiasco

A lot of people around town pick up Corydon (or St. James or insert other Winnipeg neighbourhood)LIVING. It's a coffee and donuts kind of easy read available in Smitty's , other restaurants, and a lot of businesses all over the city.

As an important part of the alternative media, the ideas and points of view in the stories by Uncle Bob and columns by Marshall Armstrong are thought provoking and entertaining - and often exactly what we hear from you listeners.

This week's installmnet by the publisher had me laughing out loud. Here is Uncle Bob's frank assessment of the attempt by an NDP MLA to influence the city's selection for the to-be-renewed Disraeli Bridge.


Bridge - the Card Game

“Bridge” (the card game) includes a Dummy.

“Bridge (the Disraeli) attracts a whole bunch of them.

Bridge-building is supposed to be about uniting people – and the nutbars who want a new, improved Disraeli bridge may just be able to do that – uniting the people who pay taxes – in a fist shaking frenzy to save themselves from the poor house.

The existing bridge needs a lot of work. Very expensive work. Just to patch up the existing structure, we are supposedly on the hook for $125 Million.

Sadly, this inspires some people to say things like “What’s a Million?” and begin plotting to tack on an “extra few million.”

So far, the few million extra ranges up to about $160 – but the sky’s the limit. And what would we get for the extra few million?

Would you believe: bicycle paths?

The Disraeli dates from 1960. All the years I’ve driven over it, I have never seen a) a pedestrian, or b) a cyclist. It’s a long hard climb on foot – and challenging on a bike. Isn’t it funny how ugly bridges like the Louise or the Redwood are not only cheaper and last longer but also are simpler to walk or bike across?

Bike paths may be really, really “green” – but dropping another $35 Million in long green to make bike lanes will not, I predict, help us meet our Kyoto goals. Indeed, extra greenhouse gasses from ambulances retrieving stricken cyclists from the twin peaks will only add to our carbon footprint, as will hearses taking the cyclists to their last green spaces.

Last week the tall foreheads in the city planner’s department decided to ask the public whether they would like a low cost $130 million dollar Disraeli Bridge or a fancy $160 million dollar model, or if you are Elmwood NDP MLA Jim Maloway, possibly even a $250 million six lane extravaganza.

It seems the confusing question is whether or not we want to die from poison, strangulation or shooting rather than whether or not we want to die at all.

Nobody but nobody, it seems, ever bothered to ask,
“Where is the money
coming from?”

$30,000,000 can buy a lot of very good and very useful things for our city, a lot more than we can list here but just for instance $30,000,000 would almost be the city’s share of the Bomber’s stadium.

What would taxpayers rather have…. a new stadium or a bike path?

In this era of “fee for service “ wouldn’t it at least be prudent to see if potential users are prepared to spend $30 million for bike paths? Nobody should have any objection to spending funds on bridge bike lanes if taxpayer’s pockets weren’t fleeced, and instead, the prospective cyclist users were prepared to subsidize the construction from increased bicycle license fees.

Let’s do the math. City of Winnipeg bike licenses cost $5.35. At the onset I started off, figuring probably a third of ‘Peggers own bikes and a yearly fee increase of $10.00 might be enough over ten years to do the job. Wrong!

Instead of the 33% projection of ‘Peggers only 1% of city residents are civic minded enough to cough up a measly $5.35 to plate their wheels.

Actually city officials have sold no more than 6000 licenses. Probably most of them are granola crunching Wolseley-wegians and those folks would never in their wildest dreams shell out extra for the privilege of peddling up Henderson Highway in any event.

But I digress. Wouldn’t the $30 million cost recalculated now by sharing with only 6000 people be about $500 per year over ten years? Wrong again.

The license is not paid annually, it is a one-time charge. That lifetime license calculation raises the potential new fee increase to $5000 per cyclist…a tough sell even on the best of days. Maybe Jenny (greener than thou) Gerbasi would pay but 99.99% would not.

By the way the current fee of $5.35 does not even cover the cost of the full time city employee scooping up junk peddle toys from the streets.

Mr. Multi-million Maloway might want to stick the similar $100 million tab for bus lanes in his pipe and smoke it for a while too. Would Dancing Gabe or any of the typical 1000 passengers a day cough up a fee increase on this route alone of ….say $10 grand each a year for a few seconds faster on the overpass?

Of course they wouldn’t any more than the cyclists would, but it is perfectly OK to spend money as long as it comes out of someone else’s pocket. Thats the fundamental flaw in allowing planners, who do not pay the bills, to steer the agenda.

To save the Maloway big bucks maybe newly hired Planning Property and Development guru and Katz buddy Phil Sheegl would be better used every morning as flag man to keep the buses moving rather than spend $100 mil on new lanes.

And a PS: Don’t get started on the “benefits” to all the local businesses that will be driven to the brink, by the brilliant plan to close the Disraeli for 16 months.

Maybe we should just open an industrial strength, car carrying, Splash and Dash for those who really, really need to cross underneath the construction. Heck a few mil should do that!

And don’t ask the 40,000 drivers who cross the Disraeli daily, how they
feel about single-filing it over the ancient Redwood and Louise Bridges.

Bridges, for some reason, must be particularly attractive to planning

Remember the brand new but broken South Perimeter bridge?
How about the over budget Main Norwood fiasco?
How about the million dollar toilet on the Provencher Bridge
and who could ever forget the bridge to nowhere north of Selkirk.

What a pity …. All these planning dummies who want to play, and only one bridge at a time.

Uncle Bob