Proper paperwork needed
Mayor Sam Katz, now supporting the police headquarters audit, still insists the cost overrun, which the contractor refuses to provide accounting for, is only $17.2 million and not $75 million (Council approves external audit of police HQ, Jan. 30).
Without documentation, how is the mayor so sure? And, after Mayor Katz told the media he was "certainly going to ask the question" regarding the lack of documentation detailing the $3-million overrun for design changes to the Route 90 fire-station, he now professes to be no longer concerned and is satisfied the design changes had occurred.
Whether justifying a total of $20.2 million or $77.2 million in assorted cost overruns, the mayor feels the pertinent paperwork is unnecessary.
If we want to do repairs to our homes, we jump through permit hoops to acquire permission, and better have all the i's dotted and t's crossed should a City inspector pop by.
If the project is then questioned, can we too explain it away stating "cost figures were only estimates and never should be used as the financial starting point for the project?"
I'm concerned by Coun. Ross Eadie's proposal and promotion of only one particular solution to a problem he perceives with Winnipeg crosswalks (Crosswalk cams eyed, Jan. 25).
Eadie offers up little in the way of concrete information in support of his effort; no statistics as to numbers of calls or complaints logged by his office or to 311 have been provided.
Eadie wrongly applies a narrow solution rather than developing an understanding of broader pedestrian safety priorities. I believe many of the existing problems can, and should, be resolved through better design, rather than punitive actions.
To the city's credit, pedestrian crossing traffic light half signals -- replacing flashing crossing signals -- have been installed at numerous intersections. Have they resulted in the anticipated reduction in pedestrian collisions? How are problem crosswalks currently identified and evaluated? How many are mid-block crosswalks, which Eadie has previously contended are not as safe? These are basic questions that to date have no answers.
Winnipeg police Chief Devon Clunis says, "We have to be open to look at anything that would improve safety for our citizens," and I agree. But that means the evaluation and consideration of all potential solutions, not just one.
With the to-the-door postal service soon to come to an end, the city is going to come under increased and intense pressure to deliver safer sidewalks. I'm not convinced the Winnipeg Police Service is the right group to study these issues.
Putin a master manipulator
Re: Canada is failing 'all' Ukrainians, Editorial, Jan. 29.
When will the West stop mollycoddling the "odious" Vladimir Putin? There is inaction toward Putin's blackmail, repression, intimidation, threats and aggression, yet there are still Winter Olympic games in Sochi, as well as support for battling the Chechen "terrorists" he created. He meddles in Ukraine's politics causing protests and violence.
Why does the West play into this man's old KGB-style approach by giving credence to his tactics?
Why is Russia a member of the democratic G8 group? Why does anyone tolerate this man and pretend to "reset" buttons with him?
Canada can take it a step further and not only tell President Viktor Yanukovich to call an election, but address the real issue -- a re-evaluation of Ukraine's relationship with Putin.
Veterans deserve better
The Jan. 18 Winnipeg Free Press books section contained a compelling review of Demon Camp, a book that deals with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in war veterans (Exorcising the demons).
The reviewer makes the point this issue is not isolated to American veterans, and states that "During one week last month, four Canadian soldiers killed themselves, acts of desperation that prompted Gov. Gen. David Johnston to mention this disturbing trend during his Christmas address to the nation."
Then Wednesday veterans marched on Parliament Hill to protest the closure of 84 regional offices that provided services to these men and women. The veterans' concerns were dismissed with a rapidity and disrespect that belies the Harper government's arrogance and heartlessness.
During the next federal election, remember to vote for a party that cares. Canadians can afford to look after their veterans.
TOM R. PEARSON
Indian Wells, CA