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Marathon participants leave the start line at the University of Manitoba on June 16.

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Marathon participants leave the start line at the University of Manitoba on June 16.

Bold thinking required

Bartley Kives' column Fiasco fixers (SundayXtra, June 16) is both interesting and depressing. The fixes that he offers require big, bold thinking from governments with vision and conviction.

Sadly, we don't have that here in Winnipeg. Major cities around the world have had mass transit systems in place for some time (and they also have universities, stadiums, museums, suburbs, etc. Some even have an IKEA.

I love our city and I think we are a major one. Can we elect leaders and hire administrators who are not small-town thinkers?

RICHARD CHIN

West St. Paul

 

Will someone explain to the people of Winnipeg why rapid transit has been stalled (like the traffic jams en route to Investors Group Field) for a decade now, when a French city like Bordeaux, which has exactly the same population as Winnipeg and was debating the issue at about the same time as we were, could complete three tramway lines reaching every corner of the city by 2003?

Is it because Sam Katz has never been anywhere except Phoenix where the car reigns as king? Is it because the shrillness of naysayers in Winnipeg blocks out all attempts to modernize the city? Or is it because we secretly admire the guy who, rather than be slave to the civic good, refuses to mow his strip of city boulevard?

An ancient city like Bordeaux doesn't even have wide strips of grass running down the middle and sides of its avenues. And yet they found room to build dedicated corridors of tramway tracks amid the vehicular traffic -- and even to lay out bicycle paths separated from other forms of transport.

Is it our city engineers who don't know what to do with all the space they have to work with in a Prairie city? Or have they also been spending their spare time with the mayor down in Phoenix?

DARLENE WILLIAMS

Winnipeg

 

Be wary of conspiracies

Re: Conspiracies are everywhere (Letters, June 13). It sounds like they got to Jim Clark, too.

I believe in conspiracies, because soon after any major occurrence, there's often questionable video. Then, suddenly, hours later, the videos are nowhere to be found.

I don't want to scratch too deep and list some theories, but for every 100 or so conspiracies, at least one is probably true.

WAYNE CRAIG

Winnipeg

 

An outrageous attack

In regard to Bill 33, the Municipal Modernization Act (Municipal Amalgamations) and its effect on the RM of Victoria Beach, the actions being proposed by the government of Manitoba represent an outrageous attack on the rights of taxpayers in this province.

The act proposes that municipalities with fewer than 1,000 permanent residents (based on the last census) must prepare an amalgamation plan. This may be appropriate for regular rural municipalities, but Victoria Beach and Winnipeg Beach are not regular rural municipalities. They are basically summer holiday resorts with seasonal residents who pay the same taxes as permanent residents.

In the case of Victoria Beach there are 374 permanent residents and approximately 2,700 seasonal ones. The government chooses to consider only the permanent residents in their criterion, ignoring roughly 85 per cent of the taxpayers at Victoria Beach. Surely the size of the total tax base is the important criterion for determining whether there are sufficient funds to "provide essential infrastructure and services," the stated purpose of this bill, and not just the size of the permanent population.

The current RM of Victoria Beach has an adequate tax base and an infrastructure that provides far more basic services than the RM of Alexander, which proposes we amalgamate with them. Are we seasonal residents to be ignored and only considered as cash cows for this process, since our inclusion would negate amalgamating in the first place? If this is legal, it is certainly very undemocratic and fundamentally wrong.

The bill contains many "musts" with no provision for exemptions, the latter highlighted by Minister Ron Lemieux in your June 4 story Municipalities must merge, Lemieux says. Their approach to this, and several other recent issues, is a surprising one in view of Bill 18, the government's anti-bullying legislation. Perhaps they should take a long hard look in a mirror to see Manitoba's biggest bully.

ALLAN BROWN

Victoria Beach

 

Tiger needs new attitude

Re: Flower power mounts a comeback (June 17). After watching Tiger Woods lose another major tournament, I can't help thinking he is getting bad advice from those around him.

He should forget about developing a new swing and start developing a new attitude. He is not enjoying himself out there and he wants to win too badly.

As long as he is subjecting himself to tremendous inner pressure to win, he will lose. He should relax, have fun on the course, give some attention to his fans, and he will start winning.

Another American, Richard Nixon, wanted something too much (the presidency) and his career ended poorly, as will Tiger's, unless he lightens up.

DAVID CAREY

Winnipeg

 

High on punning

Your headline Bombers' DB Hefney weeded out (SundayXtra, June 16), referring to Jonathan Hefney being cut, makes me realize how easy it is to take pot shots at someone who has missed an opportunity to grow because his ego got in the way.

The seed of his problem stems from putting himself ahead of the team, and now that the smoke has cleared, we can only hope he will realize his error. We're all feeling "blue" because he preferred Acapulco "gold."

RON ROBINSON

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 18, 2013 A8

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