Council's misstep

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A woman is dead, rumoured from suicide, in the wake of an Australian radio station’s prank - http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/12/07/kate-middleton-hospital-receptionist-who-put-through-prank-call-from-aussie-djs-found-dead-in-apparent-suicide/

I know I’ll seem heartless, and maybe I am. But I don’t think these radio DJs are the slightest bit criminally liable for the death of the nurse. I don’t know why this woman is dead. I’ll admit, few of us have a clue what it’s like to have the full glare of the global media spotlight focused on our flaws. My guess is it’s a very unpleasant experience. I’m reminded, though, of an age old saying, beginning with “Sticks and stones…”

You weather the storm and wait for the fickle public to move on. This woman didn’t do that. She killed herself instead. The DJs were the catalyst for the death but not the cause. The cause was internal to the woman.

What a cheerless, dull world we’ll live in when no one can pull a stupid prank on a radio station. Terrible for the woman and her family, but no one’s to blame for this bizarre turn of events.

A story from our own paper: http://www.cumberlandnewsnow.com/News/Local/2012-12-10/article-3137494/Town-council-to-get-pay-raise/1

I know it’s popular to dump on politicians…that’s because they pull stunts like this one.

I don’t care what politicians are paid in other jurisdictions and I’m baffled that town hall would think Amherstonians would care either. Pay raises on this scale are beyond the pale. The mayor will be almost doubling his “honorarium”

Is it a salary or isn’t it? Should an “honorarium” be higher than the average wages of the town’s residents (I’m guessing it’s close)? And is an “honorarium” bound by parity with other municipalities? The deputy mayor will have a massive increase, too. Even councilors will get a roughly 30% raise.

They work hard for the money, it’s a lot of responsibility, they manage big budgets, yadda yadda yadda. But instead of focusing on honorariums, they should focus on honour, as in it’s an honour to be able to lead your fellow citizens. A politician who loses sight of that should retire.

I’ve had lots of positive interactions with Rob Small, but when he claims increasing pay is connected to attracting quality candidates, I call cowpies. Quality politicians shouldn’t be motivated by cash. Our current council aren’t the only people who could have done a good job in Amherst, and I’m willing to bet there are lots of good candidates out there who would have been happy to do the job for the old paycheque, or even less.

And when the Deputy Mayor says the change will bring Amherst up to the average payscale for politicians, I say an opportunity to lead has been lost. A commitment to frugality would have seen council opt for a small pay cut, not a raise. That would have made provincial headlines and set a strong example for other municipalities.

Council blew it on this one.

On a lighter note, a monkey in a coat is famous (http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1300426--ikea-monkey-darwin-took-shine-to-me-owner-says) and dogs can drive (http://metro.co.uk/2012/12/11/new-zealand-rescue-dogs-pass-their-driving-tests-3311873/)

…and back in a darker direction, just to mix it up, I hope you didn’t have bacon for breakfast: http://www.ctvnews.ca/w5/undercover-investigation-reveals-disturbing-and-inhumane-treatment-of-factory-farm-animals-1.1070919 (don’t bother if you’d rather not know where your food comes from).

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