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Undermining success

I recently had the good fortune of returning to Winnipeg, my hometown, to attend a national conference and was greatly impressed by what appears to be a focused and determined effort to revitalize the city's core -- a necessary task that all great cities of the world have at one time or another had to tackle.

Along with 600 delegates from around the world, I saw interesting and diverse developments, innovative architecture, beautiful green spaces and a host of activities designed to ensure that the city's heart remains a great place to live, work and play. (Certainly the new human rights museum -- a truly spectacular building -- will firmly anchor this effort.)

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Perhaps the only disappointment I felt came in reaction to what appears to be the rather careless attitude of local businesses to basic property maintenance. I witnessed endless examples of broken and dated signage, dirty windows and doors, burnt-out lights, damaged parking-lot fences, ripped awnings and even large, overflowing trash cans adjacent to store entrances.

I think it is time for the businesses of your downtown to take the same pride in their city that is being demonstrated by its citizens and local government. Indeed, it's time for them to raise the bar on what is considered acceptable property maintenance in a city working so hard to protect and enhance its beautiful core area.




Contrarian and negative

Your short July 12 editorial, Path to nowhere, makes me smile. How difficult it must be to fill the page.

If the city had gone ahead with the $400,000 study, then the headline would have been "Almost half a million on another study!" followed by a tearing apart of the proposal.

Your editorial board is contrarian and negative. People deserve an editorial page with constructive comment.




Other auto problems

Letter-writer Ernie Peters is correct with his sharp observation of Winnipeg's cars not having turn signals.

But may I add that auto dealerships are also selling new vehicles with loose brakes (tailgaters), defective gas pedals (speeders), steering systems with poor alignment (texters), and, last but not least, improperly aimed headlights with bulbs so hurtful and intense that when I arrive home, my garage door looks like a canvas painted with purple and green spots.




Ignoring main issue

It seems that Joshua Keating (Sometimes coups are democratic, July 5) is offering an apology for the military action in Egypt. He tries to build an argument for this action on cases where there were ostensibly democratic outcomes following military overthrow of a sitting government.

He ignores the main issue in the case of Egypt, however, which is deposing a duly elected government of hardly a year in office and one that had replaced a military government.

For whatever his faults, Mohammed Morsi was democratically elected and the military had no basis for removing him by a coup. Any country where the military appoints itself as the arbiter of the democratic process will never achieve a true democracy.

Yes, there were protests against Morsi's regime, but these should not outweigh his electoral triumph. After all, a salient feature of the democratic process is the right to dissent. Should we have the military removing a prime minister because there is dissent?

Moreover, on any new election, Morsi may very well be re-elected. Would he then be barred from holding office? It is an open question whether the military will even allow him to be a candidate in any new election. In this case, how will the interest of democracy be advanced? Contrary to Keating's argument, I do not see any semblance of democracy emerging from the present situation in Egypt.

Sectarian dissatisfaction may very well lead to protracted de facto military rule. In this case, all the aspirations of those who marched in Tahrir Square may yield nothing.




Too broad a brush

I am disappointed by L. Dale Guy's July 8 letter, A bone-jarring shock. Everyone has the right to voice his opinion on matters, but I believe we need to be careful when we encompass them with the words "for losers." The letter infers that high-speed transport, water parks and football fields are not only useless projects but are for losers.

On the matter of our roads compared to those of other countries, we have to remember that the population per square mile in Canada is a lot smaller than the population per square mile in the U.K. and U.S. Therefore, our tax dollars have to go further. Where is the money to come from if we do not raise the PST and other taxes?




Haiti aid went astray

Re: Searching for good wishes (Letters, July 10). If Arthur Ellis had read the July 5 article by Ezili Danto, Aid-vultures feasting on shattered Haiti, he would understand why there are no good wishes forthcoming from Haiti.

There was a total of $22 billion pledged for Haiti reconstruction but the Haiti government received less than one per cent of that money. Ninety-four per cent, according to Dano, "went to the donors' own civilian and military agencies."

Corruption in the so-called aid agencies has destroyed all the good so many people intended for Haiti. As a result, the Haitian people are still too busy struggling for survival to wish anyone well.




Standing in majority

Re: Trusting a witness (Letters, July 6). I think that Jodi Mousseau stands in the majority as far as questioning Justice Doug Abra's ruling in the Mitchell Blostein case.

The point being made in the July 3 story, Red flag raised on roadwork, was not about being safe around work sites; it was about not repeating a fatal mistake.

Perhaps Dave Tyson needs to stand in a construction zone with a "slow" sign and see for himself that this issue is not going away so easily.

Flag people must attend a certification class to learn how to be safe on the job. All the classes in the world are for nothing if people continue to speed, drive distractedly and disobey the signage.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 15, 2013 0

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