Monday, May 10, 2010

George has seen the enemy and it is some of us!

"And I'd like to personally thank MoneySense Magazine for giving those dumb enough to hate their city more ammo to hate their city ever more." -- Daily News reporter and occasional columnist George T. Baker offers up his response to the recent Moneysense magazine findings on Prince Rupert. 

Hand George a torch he may be ready to burn some magazines!

The Daily News reporter and editorial page contributor has apparently taken up the torch for Prince Rupert, as it collectively ponders the findings of the Ontario based magazine which ranked our community as one of the least liveable places in Canada last week.

And apparently it would seem, having at least browsed the portal of hackingthemainframe where the debate over those findings has raged on for the week, he has determined it seems that if you ain't with us, yer agin us.

In a rather dismissive rebuke of those that might have found that some of the Moneysense findings hit close to home, Mr. Baker offered up a picture of them as seemingly self loathing Rupertites anxious to criticize every topic of concern on the local scene. 

At no time it seems did he give cause to consider that those who have commented on the survey have expressed very real concerns over the state of the city's current plight and feel that some of the Moneysense findings are perhaps warning signs for the city.

Instead he seems to want to play to the audience of those that don't feel much is wrong, that we're but a break or two from nirvana. He takes time to even fire off a quick shot at the magazine itself, with a condescending thought that he doubts that anyone on the North coast subscribes to it, which may or may not be true, though we suspect that a few folks here have seen the magazine on a semi regular basis.

In fact, we imagine that if offered the chance, Moneysense might wish to compare subscription lists just for fun, you know to see which publication has more readers in total and which one has more appeal to advertisers overall.

In the course of his rebuke he did hit on one chord that most could agree, he rightfully praises Charlotte Rowse as a community leader that walks the walk when it comes to seeking action, but then it seems he scolds those that seem to want more accountability from a council and Civic Administration (no one wants them to be Gods, perhaps just good listeners who act upon concerns would suffice)  that as the last week has shown seems a tad out of the loop when it comes to what is of concern to the community.

And while he offers the accolades to Mrs Rowse, his line about those dumb enough to hate their city" shows that he's apparently mistaken trepidation about the city's current malaise and drift, as akin to treason.

I'm not sure that those that have been quick to respond about with their thoughts on the topic hate their city, in fact their passion on the topic suggests that they don't believe the current direction is serving the common good and that perhaps there are better ways to approach the many issues of concern.

If he wants to do some extra research on the tone of Rupertites at the moment, self loathing stupids that he thinks some are, perhaps he may wish to take a review through the  last few weeks of items in the Daily News regarding council, not to mention some of the letters to the editor where more than a few contributors echoed much of what you may have read this week on hackingthemainframe, or what some of those findings from that survey indicate may be problem areas.

Clearly Moneysense hasn't hit all the right notes in their survey, there are things that are hard to quantify in a short burst of numbers and impressions of a community's make up are hard to define, things that can't be attributed to a cold, calculated list of number rankings.

But it is a national magazine of some reputation, that has a fairly broad spectrum of readers across the nation. Many of whom seek investment opportunities or may be looking for a change of direction, both personal and professional, an important thing to keep in mind if you think about it and percpetions are hard to reverse, especially if you choose to attack those that may have a different spin on things than the convenient chants of the past.

The challenge one would think, rather than to belittle the findings of the magazine, or dismiss them out of hand is to show how they were wrong in the first place, with concrete evidence and proof of the errors of their systemic ranking, not wishful thinking or pandering to the defensive nature of a struggling community.

Now that would be an interesting column to read, if some of those more worrisome trends identified by Moneysense were able to be knocked down one after the other.

Until that column, it appears best just to shout down those that took the time to read the survey and found enough worrying trends to raise an alarm or express a contrary sentiment to the normal community line.

The Friday editorial page item is provided below as more follow up to the original Moneysense item we posted on the blog last week (see that here), you can also check out the debate from hackingthemainframe here,  where comments regarding the survey were posted through the week.

Moneysense... and a pot of gold? 
George T. Baker 
Tsunami Hazard 
The Daily News 
Page Four
Friday, May 7, 2010 

Must we do, as we are told?

It's an intriguing question that is or should be circulating our fine streets on these days of mid-spring. Prince Rupert is awash with concern about public safety, public space and public leadership.

These really aren't new topics. And it is certain that in the good old days of Peter Lester, when the iconic Mayor of Prince Rupert was reading riot acts in the vibrancy of early weekend mornings, that people thought the world was crumbling under our feet.

And I'd like to personally thank MoneySense Magazine for giving those dumb enough to hate their city more ammo to hate their city ever more.

Yes, Prince Rupert was ranked as one of the worst seven places in the country to live. This has caused the typical discussion that the City of Rainbows is the town that is still looking for its pot of gold.

But the reality is that Cities are what you make them. They are constructs and a responsibility of the community. 

When one lives in a smaller town, that means more has to be done by fewer. There is no critical mass here for specific things to be done by specific people at specific times. So, the responsibility of a community falls squarely on the shoulders of the entire populace. Yeah, I get it. It sucks to think we must do more.

But then again, who are we to say that we have done enough? What exactly is it that we have done to take charge here? Is this city so lost, that a ranking for MoneySense magazine (which is based in Ontario, by the way), to which I doubt anyone on the North Coast subscribes, can burden the responsible spirit?

Charlotte Rowse has never thought so. She has given her time, effort and heart to make Prince Rupert a better place to live. Her Civic Pride initiative is easily one of the best efforts made to shape Prince Rupert in the image she'd love to see - clean, safe and respectable.

It's not because Rowse and her fluctuating team of volunteers clean every inch of the city in one fell swoop. That's impossible. It's because she, an unelected member of this community, decided she wasn't going to simply sit on her laurels and allow the city to degrade itself.

When she confronted City Council about the condition of the city on April 26, she had not only the right, but also the moral authority to do so. We can all talk to the Mayor and tell him to get off his butt and clean the city.

Rowse has walked this path before and her shoes are well worn. It's called credibility, of which she had lots to spend.

Pride comes down to personal leadership. this is especially true in an' age of increasing convenience. We demand more for less, but are willing to do less for more. So, only the truly proud can be motivated to work for a better life.

It was a message my mother thought was worth sharing.

Truth be told, I was a high school dropout. I took two years off and it was not certain if I'd ever return to school and receive my education. I spent the first month of my liberated life on the couch watching the Price is Right. Soon, my mom - a single mother of eight - figured I wasn't going to return to school simply because I was breaking some truancy law. She offered me an ultimatum: "Go to school or get a job, because either way I'm throwing out this couch."

Most mothers would rightfully drive their kids to school and tell the principal to ensure their child received an . education .

My mother said the responsibility of an education was my own. If I didn't want one, then I could getajob.

I worked two years in.a pool hall surrounded by greasy old men and leathery chain-smoking women. The money was okay for a IS-year old, but I believe it was the sixth time my butt was pinched with a, "oh isn't that cute" thrown in for good measure that I deCided that an education would be more profitable.

When I told my mom I was going back to school, she didn't say congratulations or act relieved. She simply said that, "Humans needn't be told what to do. We need to take responsibility for what we do."

Prince Rupert needn't fall apart. We needn't ask councillors to act like gods and decree what to do; just as an arbitrary list shouldn't determine if this is a great place to live or not.

If Prince Rupert is to be cleaned, if Prince Rupert is to become safer, if Prince Rupert is to become the siren seducing more to her shores, then ultimately the responsibility falls upon us to walk the Rowse path.

 It won't even be hard to walk this path. Someone already cleared it for us.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, because he's never written about such subjects before, genius.

Oh he did? So, you contradicted yourself. But okay, go ahead. Do that. You are the best at it.

Face it, you hate PR and you don't even live here. You are just some knuckle-head from Terrace. Admit it!

. said...

By George you may be on to something, or not..

Thanks for your observations on the topic at hand, always nice when the readers take time to offer some feedback.

The topic of the piece that has raised your ire, was of course the impression that those that don't walk in lock step with the herd, are somehow self loathing haters of the town, not quite accurate but hey never let that stop a good rant.

Speaking of genius as you were, it to me takes a certain amount of genius to use such powers of deduction to determine that someone who lives in Terrace, (a community that probably only thinks of Rupert and Rupertites on Saturdays when they all arrive in town to shop) would invest over six years of time to a blog about a city 90 minutes down the road and rarely mentions the city from which you suggest the blog originates.

That's thinking outside of the box as they say for sure, the kind of research and deductive reasoning that surely could find you a place among the giants of the journalistic class, perhaps in the company of a Woodward, Bernstein or a Mansbridge.

I also noticed that your observations appear what some four days after the story in question was posted and more than a week after the introduction of the topic to the blog with the original item on it.

Now that's the kind of timeline of delivery that surely could find you a home in a publication somewhere in town, I can't think of one off hand at the moment, but I'm sure if you ask around someone could send you in the right direction.