Friday, June 29, 2012

Amalgamation/De-amalgamation, eh...?

Courtesy of a Tweet that Mark Cripps sent out (and I nabbed quite by accident), I was made aware of a Northern Life article from earlier this month, 'Sudbury in no-win situation'.

Sudbury was one of the 'forced amalgamations' of major Ontario cities by the Mike Harris government in 2001, along with Hamilton and Ottawa.

I found some of the comments to the article quite interesting, especially if you change some of the references and pretend they're talking about Hamilton. Take a look: 


  • It's strange..we all seem to be on the same page!.....2 thumbs up to all comment!!......
  • Parry Sound is roughly 2 hr from Sudbury.Why shop there? Grocery stores hear are open till 10.
  • I always enjoy when an academic reminds me, as one of the proletariat, I'm mistaken about what I see because I'm not smart enough to know better. Sarcasm observed, that is basically what this chap did in his missive.

    The problem in Sudbury is partly a massive scope of operations, but fundamentally it is mismanagement people are angry about. All arms of municipal government here are populated by people who simply cannot manage the duties required of them, and while the reasons may be many, the end result is what we have -- a mess.
  • "If you’re someone who lives in what used to be Capreol, but is now part of Greater Sudbury, why should you settle for less services than someone who lives in the old City of Sudbury?"
    Because it costs more to provide them.
    If you want to live somewhere with very low density, you better be ready to choose less service or higher taxes.
    Asking the residents in the core to subsidise urban services in the rural part of the city is what it unfair.
    The math is simple, it will always be cheaper to service a lot of people in a small area. There are benefits to living in a secluded area, and those benefits have a cost. Time for people to start seeing the real costs for the services this city provides.
  • Amalgamation was supposed to eliminate the "little Kingdoms" of small municipalities an unite them. Seems only gave them a bigger voice and another excuse to hide behind.
  • If the effort put into whining and holding on to the 1960s were put into moving forward the place might get somewhere.
    Instead we have socalled knowledgable people (he teaches the next generation) making excuses and trying to go further back in time.
  • Agreed re: too many 1960's thinkers here in 2012, eight dinosaurs on council, and build something new. You've all hit the nail on the head!!!

    It's time for changes (as mentioned by The Real Mucker) - the big picture calls for stopping the babysitting and building more houses, cutting all the red tape, and allowing businesses to set their own hours. I stopped in Parry Sound for groceries at 6 p.m. last evening on my way home from Toronto seeing as our PATHETIC and ARCHAIC store hours bylaw does not allow stores to be open later or longer! ONLY IN SUDBURY...
  • It's nothing to do with's peoples small first not the big picture. Too many 1960's thinkers in 2012.
    But that's what happens when a city has been babysat for 100 years by Vale and Faclonbridge....cut the something on your own....
    Tear down the rust (ie Flour Silos, Watertowers). Build something new, a multi purpose centre, more housing, more parks. GET OFF YOUR ASSESS PEOPLE AND COUNCIL.
  • Great. Try to give a lame duck council an excuse for their incompetence. Was it amalgamation that caused the Pioneer manner fiasco? The transit ticket fiasco? Any other of the fiasco's? JR got booted out because he said he would be so much better than Mr. C. He wasn't, in fact he was likely about 10 steps backward, and that is why he did not get re- elected. The populace gave council a break last election, blaming JR. Obviously, they were wrong so do not look for the population to be as forgiving next election. Whether or not the actual services are actually delivered efficiently is not really important the average guy in the street. The average guy reads about one stunt after another, and the council is tarred with the perception that if you cannot handle even basic accounting (bus ticket fiasco), how can you run the city?
  • “The evidence is absolutely clear with these amalgamations: costs go up. There aren’t any savings to be had ... We were the only municipality in northern Ontario that got hammered so badly by amalgamation.”
    This is a rather surprising comment especially from a Political science Professor.

    Would we have had the expansion of Laurentian University or the Hospital, or the medical school or College Boreal, or Cambrian College expansion or half the national chain retail stores without amalgamation. Would levack have its water treatment plant, or McCrae Hgts adequate water pressure, or any of the 4 laning on arterial roads in Sudbury.

    Segsworth just proved he doesn't know a thing outside of the classroom. This professor knows little about government funding or corporate decision making processes.

    It is a load of hooey to blame amalgamation for the the municipal rating. If anything the public have a poor understanding of the benefits we got from amalgamation.

    That crappy infrastructure was there before amalgamation. The bad planning decisions were made PRIOR to amalgamation.
  • I see two problems with our council. First, there are some council members that simply don't have the necessary IQ to run this city. These people are not "professionals". They're "street" people.

    Secondly, there are eight dinosaurs still om council that are perfectly happy to live in the 1950's and drag down the rest of us with them.

    Until we get a progressive intelligent council, nothing will change.
  • Maybe if the city didnt try nanny stating us to death here in the boonies and IF THEY would just leave us to hell alone they wouldnt be going broke. They were very arrogant when they invaded us in 2001. City hall is brutal, stupid, and ignorant, when it comes to us in their little kingdom. EVERY ONE IN CITY HALL IS SCARED OF LOSING THEIR JOBS AND ARE NOT ABOVE LYING or dirty deeds to protect them. HONESTY IS NOT THEir POLICY. I've been there victim since they took over and am so weary of the bullshit, just go away , there is nothing great about the city of sudbury

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sometimes I get this angry about Hamilton

(And if the link gets taken down, it's from the first episode of Aaron Sorkin's show 'The Newsroom'.)

Though I hate to be a wet-blanket...

"In conclusion, I support Councillor Whitehead's motion. It sets in place...I believe, a commitment on the part of this Council. Obviously any decision can be changed by a future Council."

Ward 13 Councillor Russ Powers
GIC Meeting, June 25, 2012

Unlike the OMB-based petition process for ward boundary review, there's nothing binding in the motion that was passed yesterday.

Yes, there were some great sentiments expressed leading up to the vote. Yes, there were some noble offerings recorded for posterity. But in reality, unlike what would have unfolded had the petition effort been successful (with a pretty proscribed pathway, including the OMB acting as a guarantor of the outcome), there's absolutely nothing in place to lock in this 'commitment'.

This grieves me probably more than it should, mostly because as I stated in this Spec op-ed, the importance of this process didn't begin and end with the actual ward boundary issue. From my vantage point it was a simple-yet-profound mechanism for us to hone our skills with towards taking a greater role in our own governance. 

As it stands, residents will presumably be able to play a part in the review process as it's been proposed. I just wish we hadn't thrown away what to me was a golden opportunity for empowerment. 

Why? Well, 'God is in the details', and all that. Just as there is something undeniably symbolic about say, a residents' group hosting their own symposium on local education issues  in their own venue with their own moderator as opposed to an 'ARC' session as controlled by the HWDSB, the petition process had affixed to it some pretty sizeable elements of 'ownership', even if you just wanted to look at the fact that the process would have been successfully initiated by residents, and not been a concession on the part of a stolid that is, as I've said, non-binding. 

I hope that we, the people get a thorough, fair review of ward boundaries, that residents are actively consulted on the ins-and-outs, that we end up with something that shouldn't have taken so much non-effort to arrive at, a ward boundary setup that's more equitable, one befits our Canadian democratic society. 

I'm just not sure I'm that much of a practical optimist. 

And that grieves me, too. 

M Adrian Brassington

Have I flip-flopped?

re: Ward 15 Councillor Judi Partridge's comment in the CBC article 'Hamilton committee votes for ward boundary review', that her constituents want an amalgamation review rather than a ward boundary review:

"Duh! Of course they want this! They're probably the most outspoken opponents of amalgamation. But reversing amalgamation is another creature entirely from ward boundary review. Re-doing ward configuration is something that can be dealt with primarily within the municipality. But with the notion of term something that would have to be done at the provincial level, requiring legislation at Queen's Partk. Besides, it would require the kind of initiative that frankly, this city, with the apathy on the street and the dearth of authentic visionary leadership at 71 Main Street West, isn't capable of. 

So my advice to Councillor Partridge...because I generally respect her abilities, I think she adds a lot of quality to the proceedings at Council to show some true leadership and educate those malcontents within her ward who are seemingly so adamant to see de-amalgamation carted out as a discussion item. (And I'm saying this as someone from Stoney Creek) People are entitled to their own priorities. But leaders are supposed to be capable of preventing those they're leading from getting lost in the weeds."

I have longstanding opinions on 'amalgamation/de-amalgamation'. They can be found here and here and here and here and here and here and here...for starters.

In a nutshell, if de-amalgamation is an issue that sufficient people want to have dealt with, then first and foremost, The Unacceptable Answer is 'It'll cost too much.' Unacceptable because nobody I've ever heard utter this response actually knows how much it might cost. 


So right off the bat, I take offense at the 'dialogue': I don't like being patronized or dismissed or made to feel like the question is somehow frivolous, that I'm being told 'We've got more important things to deal with. Go play."

So I guess I have to reconcile this with my reaction (at the CBC site as well as in material I published yesterday) to Councillor Partridge's tactic of bringing up “What I hear from my residents is that they don’t want ward boundary review, they want an amalgamation review. They see that as their democratic right.” (For the record, her online poll shows that more than three-quarters feel the opposite way. Hmm...) 

It's quite simple: Just as the declaration by other councillors yesterday that "I never hear my constituents bringing up the issue of ward boundaries" and "The residents in my ward see a whole lot of other issues as being more important than ward boundary reform" were, at best facile, so was Councillor Partridge making her declaration about ward boundary review vs amalgamation review. Actually, not just facile, but all things considered, insulting. 

Keeping in mind my stance on the need for greater resident engagement and participation in our own governance, this may come off as heretical, but here goes: I would never depend on what residents are 'upset' about as being a means to order the issues of the day. Our councillors are in place to manage the day-to-day requirements of the city, but just as importantly, to lead

Leadership in its original sense means to take someone from Point A to Point B. Sometimes this requires pointing out the folly of urges or desires. Sometimes it requires being bold and plotting what seems to be a divergent course. (Assuming that there's been solid commiseration and it's not an arbitrary decision that's been made, or worse, the result of pandering to an outside force.) 

I don't think that Councillor Partridge (or any of the other councillors who used this tack-of-logic) showed much in the way of leadership when they rolled out their observations. And outside the scope of the GIC's pass or not pass a motion to get ward boundary review actually did a grave disservice to the issue of amalgamation/de-amalgamation. Especially in light of the motion having passed. 

It gives the impression that the ward boundary review process is more important than any discussion about amalgamation/de-amalgamation. Which it's not. 

The fact is that both discussions need to be had. Just as we need to be discussing all kinds of other  issues, including term limits, AEGD, our infrastructure crisis...and what kind of future Hamilton its street-level residents want to see. 

The unfortunate truth is that virtually nobody on Council wants to have any of these discussions. Nobody really wants to dig in and get their hands dirty...and potentially risk actually engaging these contentious issues. (I almost wish we had one councillor who made it clear once in office that they were only going to be serving for one terms, so they'd be holding nothing back, going all-out, putting what was important at the forefront and not being hindered by any hesitation due to re-election concerns. Almost.) 

Councillor Partridge needs to walk the walk after talking the talk: she heads a 'community council'. (Don't get me started on that paradigm.) Therefore, there's a mechanism in place for starting a dialogue about amalgamation/de-amalgamation. You know, an exploration within her ward, using the vast resources available to anyone these days. With two or three community meetings, with an online chat or two, a message board on her site, some seminars delving into the realities not just of Mike Harris's initiative but of 'Where We Are Now; The Pros and Cons of Amalgamation for Flamborough', I'm sure that the councillor could guide her people out of the weeds. 

Who knows; maybe she'll have set the stage for the rest of Hamilton to deal with the issue. Now that's what I'd call 'leadership'. 

M Adrian Brassington

Monday, June 25, 2012

What people 'not getting it' looks like

"Whitehead said there is no question a review must take place. He believes the review should be completed in time for changes to be made for the 2018 election.

But Pasuta doesn’t agree a boundary review is needed.

“I don’t and I never have. They (Duvall and Whitehead) just need another assistant to help out,” he said.

And Pasuta said the possibility of another Mountain representative upsetting the current council’s working relationship is a valid concern.

“Everything seems to be fine. We don’t see it as being broken,” he said."

Earth to Councillor Pasuta: This has absolutely nothing to do with how well Council does or doesn't currently get along. Nor does it have to do with 'getting the job done' (additional staffing), but rather a fundamental inequity that under the OMB guidelines, its addressing is long overdue. The sad thing is that I believe he's well aware of this truth...but is basically executing low-level grandstanding for his constituents. You know, 'Fight the big, bad city-folk.' Um... Aren't we supposed to be beyond all that...?

M Adrian Brassington

The GIC Ward Boundary Review 'Debate'

Impressions and thoughts on the proceedings post-presentations: 

-One of Councillor Johnson's primary concerns seemed to be the accuracy of any boundary re-drawing as it might be affected by projected growth, and fears about 'getting it wrong', referencing the OMB as 'the decider'. (My term, not hers.) The fact is that the OMB doesn't 'decide' on the reforms in the sense that it makes the determination. It confirms that the end result of the review is sound. It's up to the consultant and their proceedings to get it right. In a will be plenty of opportunities to take a look at all variables. (Understanding of course that because this isn't an OMB-mandated petition initiative, less is proscribed. Another indication that we would have been better off with a petition-based that had been executed better as befitted the issue.)

As-it-unfolds Commentary on the Ward Boundary Reform Presentations

-Ray Fullerton: I applaud the effort...but Geez, Louise; if you're going to get up to present such a contentious proposal, please be properly prepared. Not being aware of cities that were amalgamated, not being as conversant as he may have been regarding comparisons with other cities, and being –seemingly– arbitrarily fixated on a 10-member Council. Oh, and he got powned by Councillor Johnson...and faded a little more at the hands of Councillor Jackson because of the above. 

-Peter Hitton: Very sincere, very authentic, very personal...but maybe a little too vague and earnest. Lost it with the exchange with Whitehead, focusing on access to the political process re: running for office; this tack dilutes the whole discussion; suddenly we're talking about the electoral process. The 'councillors at large' argument also made reduced the power of his presentation. Further, making suggestions as to 'what might be best' is a death-blow when it comes to engagement on this level, when there's so much at stake. (More than just this issue.) From Duvall, we had a hypothetical situation that Mr. Hitton fielded...and this continued the process-of-erosion. 

-Christopher Cutler: Strong speaker. Well prepared. Maybe a little obsequious at the beginning, but he sure held his own later on. A good presentation. 

-Laura Cattari: Solid. Great communicator. Eloquent. Thorough. Spirited...and chock full of humanity. I resented Councillor Partridge's question about 'How do you feel rural people would react to the petition?' I also resented her final comment to Laura Cattari, going back to the fears of dealing with this issue. (Scary! Conflict!) Councillor Whitehead's question about how this issue doesn't seem to be important, why was it that the majority of people weren't engaged on this issue? Councillor Partridge's question about amalgamation being tied into a ward boundary review process was ridiculous, no matter how many people in her ward are expressing to her their preference to deal with amalgamation rather than ward boundary review. It was quite disappointing. Not relevant...and she knew the answer before she asked it...and I felt she was scare-mongering and trying to play one issue against another. (For the record, de-amalgamation is not a 'referendum' issue, not a process that can be initiated the ward boundary/OMB way. It's a provincial issue, and must be dealt with at Queen's Park. So should probably be pushed forward by local MPPs.) 


-If you're going to Council, it's paramount to have focus, to not be wishywashy. 

-It's very  dangerous to speculate on hypotheticals during post-presentation questioning. Better to beg off the answer and not diminish your presentation's effectiveness. (Some were better at doing this than others.)

-It was quite easy to see the defensiveness of councillors rise up and get expressed; this is why I wanted this entire review process be well-anchored and pushed forward cohesively.  

-The conflation of discussion was worrying: issues vs staffing vs representation. I surely hope the level of gamesmanship drops as the discussion progresses. Not only that, but issues aren't automatically mutually exclusive. It's not population vs diversity vs whatever else seems de rigeur. There's no reason why Council can't competently juggle more plates. Otherwise, maybe its makeup is in question. 

-I was a little pissed-off at how many councillors went back to the 'It's not just about population' argument. It's a facile strategy, and frankly, one that is akin to grandstanding for the sake of their constituents...and their possible re-election. 

-Residents of Hamilton are not currently qualified to vote on a referendum on this issue. You cannot vote on something  without a full and proper grasp of the issue. And getting residents to that 'qualified' state is a long process, one that goes well beyond City notices and Spec articles. 

M Adrian Brassington

Next up: The Council Discussion

Yes, it's a fear of mine.

Today, just ahead of the Special GIC meeting this morning, The Spec features the article 'Mountain councillors push for ward boundary review'. 

It's a little dismaying...and a cautious preface to 'what might unfold'. 

Which can be summed up thusly:

Nothing is going to happen. 

M Adrian Brassington

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Can all over.

“Newsroom” star Emily Mortimer: Canadians are dangerously uninformed.

No, that's not the article's headline. The British actress's comments don't have to do with us, but with 'them'. Our neighbours to the south. 

But regardless of what she has to's very interesting reading...what's all the more interesting is the reaction from readers. 

My... Americans really, really don't like anyone making observations about them, do they?

Especially those liberal asswipes, actors. The Hollywood elite. Yadda, yadda, is-it-time-to-go-home-yet? yadda. 

Here's the thing: I grew up in the shadow of the elephant. I've visited the US over the past near-50 years, I've even lived there. And as someone who moved off the continent nearing the conclusion of the previous millennium, I can tell you that even if we're just looking at the headline, Ms Mortimer is correct. (She also phrased them as 'improperly informed'.) 

To me, it's a paradox. A culture absurdly self-involved and fixated on navel-gazing as a sport...and yet wilfully oblivious to the obvious. (Proof of its self-indulgent nature can be found in the fact that it takes more than two years to get to an election. Sweet Jaysus; Can you imagine a courtship for a marriage that lasts say, twenty years, taking a decade? Or taking two hours to get ready for a four-hour date?)

Many Americans can't see what's obvious to 'outsiders'. (And for the record, I learned as much about being Canada and being a Canadian from living in the UK as I did about Life in The UK. Which is why I will forever believe 'Americans need to get out more.') Once in a while, when I allow myself to see and hear things with fresh eyes and ears, I am exposed to the excesses and the indulgences that are the hallmark of a society lost up its own primary orifice. (Unreasonably harsh? Maybe. But I've earned the right to make the observations I make, having been exposed to so much, having witnessed so much up close. I am, if nothing else, fair, because I have a profound sense of respect and admiration for the country that is, to a great extent, my home-away-from-home.) 

I'm posting this on this blog simply as an illustration of how important authentic engagement resulting from informed, qualified opinions is. Otherwise, you get a mess that few participants are capable of wanting to sort out. 

There are lessons in there for Hamiltonians...we, the people. 

M Adrian Brassington

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Because there's more ways than two-ways...

A Contrarian Observation

Sure. I'm being a rapscallion, playing the part of 'ne'er-do-well', assuming the role of rabble-rouser . (Hah! Just wait for- Oh, never mind...) But seriously, unless you want to fight the fight of The Tea Party, where there's no compromise whatsoever...and we all know how that's going to end...then it's always a good idea...if only as an exercise in allow for 'exceptions'.

The above is one of these.

Friday, June 22, 2012

"Let them eat cake.," or 'Disconnect Unbounding'.

Editor/Publisher Ryan McGreal has been kind enough to publish a piece, 'Not only Dismissive but Derisive of the Downtown Core'. Additionally, I present it here:

I 'watched' the GIC meeting from this week, Wednesday June 20. The one where Glen Norton gave a pretty nice presentation for an Urban Renewal staff-generated a request for 'an amendment to the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Plan, as per the Planning Act, for the purpose of implementing a Hamilton Downtown Supermarket Development Incentive'. The incentive being a $650,000 forgivable loan/grant. I've dealt with my immediate reaction here, but I feel compelled to express stuff that's clearly rooted much more deeply, something that goes beyond this initiative, to the heart of the matter: the state of our downtown core. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gobsmacked = Me.

And I may as well throw in 'disheartened' and 'underwhelmed' and 'dismayed'...

I 'listened' to the GIC meeting from yesterday. (Unlike in the city where I currently am...Norfolk, VA...the visual presentation is pointless taking in.) I'd forgotten it had taken place, and I was prompted by the Spec article ''Council goes slow on downtown grocery store grant'.

Here's a comment left there: 

"If one was needed downtown it would already exist."

Unfortunately, this was the tenor of what I heard coming from councillors.

Greg Lemko's cleanup efforts continue...

Such a fantastic initiative. Can't wait to see what location is next on Greg's list. (Hopefully I'll have returned to the area so I can finally participate.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Since I've been asked... Part Three

Mea culpa; in the first two portions of this series I ended up getting lost in my own convictions; I should have been more specific as to my answer to the question 'What should we do next?'

I think that what's needed most regarding the schools closures situation is producing a genuine, logic-based effort to gain understanding about what the current realities of our education system are, how funding is applied, all of it

Not a 'debate'; that could certainly follow once there's a better level of comprehension on the parts of our 'aware-and-energized' residents. Before you can debate, you need to have the basics down pat. 

'You're entitled to your own opinion. You're not entitled to your own facts.' 

So we need an examination of our realities before we can begin debating the best course to take. (Presuming that the HWDSB's decisions are not acceptable. And given the outcry –no matter its size– I think it's safe to say that they're not. Or at least, given our level of understanding we're maintaining that they're not.)

I'm a believer in getting people together in a room to discuss things. It's a fundamental dynamic going back tens of thousands of years: the clan around the fire. 

Yes, I believe in social media. 

Yes, I believe in 'all things-Internetish'. 

I believe in newspapers, I believe in magazines, I believe television, radio...and mental telepathy. (Just seeing if you were paying attention.)

But call me 'old school' if it makes you feel better, I believe that there is something elemental about proximity, about physical process, about immediacy, about breathing the same air that renders just about everything else  as 'complementary contributory factors. Great adjuncts to 'being there'. 

'It ain't real until you kiss 'em.'

So I believe we need to have these discussions, these explorations in-person, in the same room with other persons, finding comprehension together. (As augmented by all of the above; it's not 'one or the other', it's all of them. But first-and-foremost, I believe in the process of being there. Think of it as having the same status and implication of going to church.)

We should be having a roving town hall. 

From ward to ward. 

An 'Education Examination Tour'.

Part seminar, part panel, part 'Speakers' Corner Squared' (open-mic), where an investigation of our educational realities unfolds. 

Yes, I believe there should be a website. Where basic, solid information is presented. And there should be message boards. For 'aware-and-energized' Hamiltonians can get their hands dirty and discuss factors to their hearts' content. 

And I believe that the neighbourhood associations throughout our city should be driving this kind of effort hand-in-hand with entities such as the Hamilton Civic League and the Council of Canadians, amongst others. 

So the practical answer to the question 'What should we do next?' to me is not predicated on sending emails or letters of protest to trustees and councillors and MPPs and the Premier, but on people starting to think hard about how this discussion can best be fostered. 

I have to frame things this way, because this is what I believe in. 

Since I've been asked... Part Two

If you want to have a say in how things unfold in your city, specifically regarding your schools, then you cannot take a 'stand back' approach. (The proof is right in front of us.)

You cannot vote in your trustees, invest in them the power to make the management decisions that need to be made, then stand back and don't play an active part in how those decisions are made and ultimately, implemented, and expect to be satisfied. (You can...but it's clearly more about naïveté than anything else.)

Moreover, you cannot hope to counter this paradigm within a feedback/consultation mechanism such as the ARC process, something 'owned' by the very people who 'aware-and-energized' in Hamilton are now furious with, whose heads they want on pikes, whose decisions and actions are now the stuff of (small-ish) mass protest.

Since I've been asked... Part One

This week has seen a) a heat-wave, b) the S.O.S. rally at the HWDSB headquarters at 100 Main Street West, c) a fair amount of commenting about the whole education situation, and d) protracted correspondence on my part with concerned residents. One in particular.

The emails back-and-forth with this tried-and-true Hamiltonian were initiated after Margaret Shkimba's article 'We can do better for our children' was published. Although my tack wasn't the same as my correspondent's. Theirs was more about 'ideas' and 'getting creative' in response to this 'crisis'. Mine was more about taking several steps back and taking a look at the bigger picture. Concentrating on what would be required to do something with the ideas and the creativity we might be able to come up with. 

My email-buddy eventually asked 'What do we need to do?' But before I relate my answer(s) to them, allow me to post here an online comment following on the heels of the protest yesterday at the –current– BOE headquarters:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

He's everywhere, he's everywhere! LOL

From Charles Flaherty's letter 'LRT decision demands plebiscite'.

From Margaret Shkimba's column, 'We can do better for our Children'. 

A Great Effort

As I'm still out of the area, I doubt I'll be able to attend. But good luck to all those involved, and I'll look forward to hearing all about how it unfolded. 

A wonderful initiative that will hopefully add to the growing discourse in this city. 

M Adrian Brassington