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Value for tax dollars

To the outsider looking in, government on every level, be it federal, provincial or municipal, is plagued with inefficiencies.

Promises of "cutting red tape" sound great on the surface. If that actually translates to cutting corners, it's rather alarming. In his Oct. 22 column, What cutting red tape looks like, Dan Lett refers to the original $15-million contract being split into four smaller ones to avoid council approval.

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It's alarming that $3-million-plus projects are considered pocket change that don't require a sober second look. Add to that a hastily approved and generous severance package for Phil Sheegl, whose stint at with the city is plagued with controversy.

Mayor Sam Katz and council may be treating our tax dollars like Canadian Tire bucks, but Joe Public will have the final say on election day. Here's hoping the damage done isn't too great.




The city should have rejected Phil Sheegl's resignation until the fire-hall audit was made public. It appears, by his actions, that he saw this coming and wanted to cash in before it was too late.

It's time for business-minded people to take over and actually deliver value to the citizens of Winnipeg. Tax dollars need to be treated with more respect.




Christmas capital of Canada.

Arson capital of Canada.

Slurpee capital of Canada.

Car theft capital of Canada.

No. Forget all our former labels.

We are now the sleaze capital of Canada.




Cost of buying out Phil Sheegl -- $240,000. Cost overruns on the new fire stations -- $3 million. Cost of dumping Sam Katz as mayor -- priceless.




To me, your Oct. 22 editorial, Auditors expose the dirt, is a revelation. To use a Star Wars analogy, I've felt a disturbance in the Force.

According to this editorial, city government is not a business, but a public service. And it doesn't stop there: bureaucracy and regulation helps prevent abuse of process.

Oh, the humanity! What next? Unions actually serve a purpose? Taxation isn't really a dirty word? The suspense is killing me.




Wrongful insinuation

As the owner of the Thriftlodge on Notre Dame Avenue, I am very upset by your Oct. 4 story Brothel busted, men charged. It implies wrongly that I am running a brothel. The accused men stayed here only a few days and we didn't notice anything going on.

They were asked for ID, and we checked them in and we had no reason to ask them any questions. This is terrible for my reputation. It's hard to run a business in the West End without being victimized.

Your story, and especially the picture accompanying it, has embarrassed me and my staff. In fact, two young employees quit because their parents wont let them work here. This has caused me a lot of hardship for no reason.




Harper has hockey point

I've not always agreed with Stephen Harper the politician, but I can't disagree with Stephen Harper the hockey author.

As Harper has said, hockey, during its early days, was as rough or even more so than today. This is much like the early history of U.S. college football. President Theodore Roosevelt, in response to multiple and serious injuries and football deaths, threatened to ban the game, unless the rules were modified to make it safer.

It's not likely that Prime Minister Harper will have the same effect on the hockey of today, but by voicing his concerns, with those of others, perhaps hockey authorities will move closer to taking more responsibility to reduce risks of head and spinal trauma and other injuries, that result from fighting and extreme, physically aggressive play.




Attacking with mulcher

Re: Waste bags pile up (Oct. 18). For several years I have dealt with leaves by using a mulching mower. This implement will reduce a blanket of leaves to dust in a matter of minutes.

This year, growing tired of pulling 1.3-metre-high zinnias out by their roots and composting them, I attacked them with the mower. In a matter of minutes the entire flower bed was reduced to bare ground with a thin mulched scatter of what had been a dense flower bed.

Needless to say, we have little sympathy for anyone fighting with bags and curbside pickup.




Vive la diversité

Re: Solitude of one (Letters, Oct. 19). Donald K. Brown's definition of "foreign" must be different than mine, since my family has been in Canada -- and speaking French -- since 1641.

Furthermore, provided the numerous assets this province possesses because of its rich cultural diversity, I am hopeful that it is Brown's way of thinking that is soon to be extinct.




Allow me to offer Donald K. Brown his first French lesson, because he is probably not bilingual. "Ignorant" has the same spelling in English and French. I thought he would like to know.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 23, 2013 A10

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