Should we sell naming rights to public property?

I was recently forwarded a link to a blog post about selling naming rights for public buildings to corporations. The author writes, Last week, I wrote about “the halo effect” on events, buildings, and properties that have had multiple names, all of which have been commercial. The other area we often advise on is the sponsorship naming rights of iconic buildings “owned” by the community … (more)

Are internet polls valid?

How valid are internet polls? Are they credible for making serious or significant decisions, or merely as general – even vague – indicators of intent? Are they equivalent to paper (and phone) surveys? No. At least that’s what many experts say. Yes, they can be cost-effective, and good tools to engage the community. But like online petitions, they seldom have sufficient controls that restrict … (more)

Taking words out of context

Council, along with the media, the auditor general, the CBC, our MP and MPP,and a few others, were recently sent a letter complaining about council’s decision to build new, year-round recreational facilities without raising taxes. Fair enough. Everyone has the right to write letters. We’re open to public criticism, even after the issue has been decided, contracts signed, and council (and most of the town) has moved on. … (more)

The Erosion of Civil Debate

I’ve been dismayed by the tone of the recent debate over the town’s proposed and new recreational facilities. Not by the debate itself – I love the engagement and interaction, even arguing because it’s intellectually stimulating – but rather by what has become an increasingly strident, angry, confrontational and personal tone in many of the comments council has received, or which have been directed … (more)

The sinking of the St. Croix, September, 1943

On this day, September 20, in 1943, the Royal Canadian Navy destroyer, St. Croix, was escorting a convoy and protecting its ships from U-boats, during WWII. The ship was between Greenland and Iceland at 57.30N, 31.10W. It carried almost 150 crew, including a young man named William (Billie) Sydney David Pudney, aged 22, listed as a signalman (V 27871 (RCNVR)). The St. Croix was … (more)

Should you run for municipal council?

There’s a poll online asking if a resident should run for council next election. I believe I understand the intent, but decision-making by poll is not effective leadership. Internet polls, in particular, are weak, inaccurate, easily manipulated, and ignore necessary demographic constraints – they are unacceptable as the foundation for any serious decision. Sure, you want public input for major issues, and you are … (more)

Do “psychics” make you laugh or cry?

A small handout for a local “psychic studio” that arrived in my mailbox offers “Superior PSYCHIC and Spiritual Cleanser.” I never know whether to laugh at the silliness of these people or cry over how they continue to bilk gullible, superstitious fools. We are still so Medieval in our thinking, in so many ways. Here’s an entire “studio” – apparently a one-stop shopping centre … (more)

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