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 legislated to … (more–>)

Zellers closing mall store is another blow to local economy

Collingwood’s main anchor store in the Blue Mountain Mall, Zellers, will close by March, 2013, according to a story in this week’s Globe and Mail. It is one of 29 scheduled to close in Ontario, and one of 64 across Canada. As the Globe and CBC pointed out in their stories, with an average of 100 people per store, that means a net lost of around … (more–>)

Patronage: Canada’s Shame

Patronage is the dirty secret behind most nations and governments. It’s a shameful, embarrassing, corrupt and very undemocratic practice in which friends, supporters and benefactors get plum contracts, jobs, appointments, cash, perks and bonuses. These are usually parcelled out not on the basis of achievement, ability, or talent, but rather simply because of political cronyism. Canada is no better, and probably somewhat worse than most Western … (more–>)

Dogs and dog owners need places to socialize

How many dogs live here in Collingwood? No one knows for sure, but we can make some good estimates, based on numerous surveys and national statistics. It’s a lot. Dog owners are a very large special interest group, perhaps larger than any other demographic group in town. I’ve done some research and read many studies on pet populations done since 1996 (like this one from 2001 … (more–>)

Digital Connections is in print

Municipal World has released my newest book: Digital Connections. It came out this week. This book is about the benefits and challenges of using social media for municipalities and municipal politicians. The target audience is politicians, staff, boards and committees, but a lot of what I wrote can apply to anyone in business or industry. The sell sheet says: Social media: everyone’s using it today. Facebook, … (more–>)

54,232 words… and it’s done

I passed 54,000 words yesterday in my book on Machiavelli for municipal politicians. A little tweaking today, and an additional selection from The Discourses pushed it to 54,232 words. It prints out at 163 letter-sized pages. Even though that count includes chapter titles and subheads, as well as the opening notes and quotes, dedication, bibliography, and back page copy, it’s still about 20,000 more than my … (more–>)

Gone to the Dark Side

Yes, I have been recruited to the Dark Side: I have an Apple iPad now. Well, it’s a loaner, but they’ll have to pry it out of my cold dead fingers if they want it back. Unless they offer me a 64GB model in exchange… And, yes, I have been reduced to the fatuous abuse of capitalization in its name: iPad, rather than a more proper … (more–>)

Fifty thousand words…

This morning I crossed the 50,000 word mark in my book on Machiavelli’s The Prince for municipal politicians. It’s longer than I had originally intended, but I think it’s a reasonable length for the content. I’m pleased with the current draft and should have my reading and self-editing done by next Monday. Then it’s on to my next book, about e-government. I have an overhead of … (more–>)

Horwath needs to read her Machiavelli

Andrea Horwath needs to do some more reading before she decides to negotiate further with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. Specifically, she needs to read more Machiavelli. The Prince, in particular. This week the Globe & Mail reported that Horwath announced that, “…NDP Leader Andrea Horwath (is) now abandoning another major proposal in return for her party’s support of the governing Liberals’ budget, it will be easier … (more–>)

Machiavelli in popular art: Don MacDonald’s graphic novel

A graphic novel about Niccolo Machiavelli… who woulda thought? It’s not like the Florentine was exactly the X Men or Mr. Natural as a comic book hero. Artist Don MacDonald has put together a graphic biography of Machiavelli on his blog, stretching more than 150 pages (so far) ranging through the entire span of Niccolo’s life. He even includes footnotes for some of the historical material … (more–>)

Scribble, scribble, eh what?

Just passed the 13,000 word mark on my current book about Machiavelli and municipal politics, this weekend. So far, I have gone through explanations of Chapters 1-10 of The Prince. The Prince has 26 chapters, so I’m about 40% of the way through my analysis, more or less on track for a 35,000-40,000 word book. It’s a little tough in places trying to fit Machiavelli’s words … (more–>)

Is Machiavelli relevant to today’s municipal politicians?

Are the political theories of a 16th-century Italian diplomat relevant to today’s municipal politics? Yes, assuming you know and have read his works, not just the bumper-sticker over-simplification that says, “The end justifies the means.” Actually, Machiavelli never wrote those words. That’s a modern condensation. It’s also an erroneous paraphrase of what he wrote in The Prince, because it overlooks a lot of his comments on … (more–>)

That squiggle cost taxpayers HOW much?

I read in the latest edition of the Collingwood Connection that: “Regional Tourist Organization 7 (is) now Bruce Grey Simcoe.” Were you even aware of Regional Tourist Organization 7 before that story? According to the Connection, The organization announced its new brand and logo on Thursday at the Bear Estate in Collingwood. Bruce Grey Simcoe is one of 13 regional tourism organizations across the province. Executive … (more–>)

Grim outlook for Canadian manufacturing

The outlook for Canadian manufacturing, warns the CIBC, will remain grim as long as a strong dollar keeps labour costs high, “deepening the hollowing out of the industrial heartland and boosting regional income inequality in the years ahead,” says the Huffington Post. The Canadian loonie looks good for shoppers who buy consumer and retail goods made outside Canada. Our import prices are actually 10% lower than … (more–>)

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