Rick's Rants Tuesday March 13th/2012
As both sides vote today on a tentative deal to end the five week old transit strike, there's talk now of a fare hike. While nothing's official, and Metro Transit is quick to point out there are no such plans on the books right now, Mayor Kelly's suggesting an increase is necessary to help offset the taxpayer's cost of subsidizing public transit. The mayor points out fares cover only 37% of the annual cost of running the buses and ferries. Property taxes pick up the rest. Metro Transit's proposed budget for this fiscal year is $82 million, $52 million of that from our property taxes. A fare increase may be unpopular with transit users, but you're not paying your fair share of the cost. And even at a quarter or fifty cents more a ride, it's still a pretty good deal. Now if we can only get better service.
As mentioned, the city and the union vote today on ratifying the tentative deal worked out late Sunday night. We should have the union results sometime in the two to three o'clock hour and city council holds a special meeting this evening at 6. They'll start off in public I believe, then quickly go in camera. I hope not. This is an opportunity for the mayor and council to show us they truly believe in the open window of democracy. Have the debate in public session. The taxpayers would like to know what's at stake with this deal. In other words, how much is this going to cost?
After any transit strike, the ridership numbers are down when the buses roll again. It will be that way if indeed Metro Transit's back in business by week's end should the deal be approved by both sides. I've heard from several people who now car pool or have found other ways of getting to and from. And Metro Halifax today with a story about folks who started walking to work when the strike began and claim they like it so much they'll continue to do so. One man says he's lost 8 pounds since the strike started and has cut his walking time nearly in half. There are similar stories from a variety of people who took up walking during the strike and find they're losing weight and feeling a lot healthier. Some say they'll bicycle to work now that the good weather's not too far away. A healthier city because of a bus strike. Who'd have thunk?
Wouldn't you like to get your hands on the idiots who vandalized the statue in the public gardens!! An antique statue, 125 years old. The statue of the goddess Diana was knocked over and broken overnight Thursday. It was one of three goddess statues donated in 1887. Police think it was either a very strong individual or a group of people involved. I wonder if he or they got a big chuckle out of his or their senseless act. Idiot. Or idiots.
I had an interesting chat on my News 95.7 radio show yesterday afternoon with local author John Tattrie. He's doing research for a book he's writing about Lord Edward Cornwallis, the founder of Halifax and notorious bad guy to not only the First Nations community. Native historian Dan Paul has written and spoke of Cornwallis's edict offering rewards of the scalps of Mi'kmaq men, women and children. Seems Ed was also deeply involved in the Pacification of the Scots after the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and led a raid on a rebel leader's home where men, women and children were shot dead or burned alive. Their crime? Some were killed for wearing a kilt. Cornwallis has long since faded from the annals of British history, perhaps it is time we do the same. We can't forget our historic past, but we don't have to honour those who aren't deserving.
Can't wait for John's book.
Have a great day. Get involved. And if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.