The Top of the Ninth Inning

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    With only three months to go in this Council’s four year term I would say they are more or less  in the top of ninth inning.

    The question is who are they playing against and are they winning?

    The other team is City Hall represented as always by all the City Departments and from where I sit in the stands Common Council has been loosing the ball game.  Over the past ten plus years of writing an opinion column I have referred to the “tail wagging the dog” or if you will, City Hall calling the shots and controlling the agenda  while Councils past have  lacked the vision and courage to challenge the status quo.

    They  have accepted staff recommendations that have brought the city to it’s current, dare I say unacceptable and precarious downward spiral?

    So why have I chosen to use the “old ball game” analogy for my rant? While listening to CBC news this morning I learned that at the Monday night Common Council meeting Council will vote on  to approve or reject a rate increase for Saint John ball fields fees. According to CBC News the increase would make Saint John ball fields fees the highest in Atlantic Canada, four time higher than Fredericton and Moncton and higher than Toronto. As my old friend Sonny says when I talk to him about City Hall decisions: “Ya can’t fix stupid”.

    Here is a quote from Sports Based Strategies – “The research evidence strongly suggests that sports can – and do – provide positive experiences for youth. Sports and recreation (along with arts and crafts) have the potential to supply elements that are otherwise missing in the lives of disadvantaged youth, and can therefore have a positive effect, if not on crime prevention directly, then certainly on other factors that contribute to youth violence — factors such as enhancing self-esteem, learning the value of teamwork and developing greater self-discipline”.

    So does that quote strike a cord when it comes to the reflecting on Saint John’s demographic?

    What is Council being asked to do in Saint John? Raise the cost of to kids, teens and adults to play ball.  Let me repeat “Ya can’t fix stupid”. Where is John Oliver when you need him?

    It would seem that City Staff feel they have to rob the kid’s piggy banks to make up for a revenue shortfall. Is this a case of adding nickles and dimes to an already generous City staff payroll?  Just asking.

    Monday night may be very well be the top of the ninth inning for this Saint John Common Council. Rather than approve and increase in ball field fees there should be a motion to remove all ball field fees. Then take out a full page ad in the Telegraph Journal that proclaims: ” Saint John cares for our kids, we invest in their future”.

    It’s time for Common Council to show a little vision and courage, it’s time to send a message to the rest of Canada that Saint John values and encourages physical active in  both kids and adults, other wise ……be prepared to lose the ball game with three balls and two strikes.

    What do you think?   Your tax dollars, your city and your future.

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