Monthly Archives: January 2017

Trump by Number

trump

Here are 25 numbers that define Donald Trump’s first week in Office.

0: The number of new federal empoyees to hired (due to a hiring freeze)

1: Supreme Court Justice to be nominated in ‘a couple of weeks’ by Trump

3: Number of countries affected by renegotiating NAFTA

7: Number of days in office

11: Other countries affected by Trump pulling out of the TPP

14: the number of Executive Orders signed so far

20: Percent of border tax for items brought into the US from Mexico

30: Days for the military to come up with a plan to defeat Isis

38: Tweets sent since Jannuary 22nd 2017

45: Donald Trump is the 45th President

48: Mike Pence is the 48th Vice-President

60: Number of days TransCanada has to resubmit its application for Keystone XL

72: People shot in Chicago in Trump’s first week in office

90: Number of days citizens from 7 countries are banned from entering the US for

100: Percent chance that Mexico will pay for the wall

120: Number of days suspension of allowing refugees into America

277: Number of Execurtive Orders Obama signed in 8 years (average of 35 per year)

3,721: Number of Executive Orders signed by Franklin Roosevelt

5000: Number of new Border Patrol Agents to be hired

10,000: Number of new Immigration Officers to be hired

20,000: The Dow Jones hit 20,000 in Trump’s first week in office

60,000: Reduction in refugees coming into the US in 2017 from 2016

440,000: People marched in the Washington DC Womens March

3,000,000: Number of illegal votes cast (for Hillary Clinton)

Massive: The size of the Inaugruation crowd (according to Trump)

 

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

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Who is the face of the new library?

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Eugene Melnyk is the face of the Ottawa Senators and the new LeBreton Flats development. Jeff Hunt and Bill Greenberg were the faces of the TD Place and Lansdonwe redevelopment. Mayor Jim Watson is the face or LRT in Ottawa.

Who is the face of the new Ottawa Central Library?   Who is championing what will be the new centre of learning and culture in Ottawa?

Who are the players in this new library saga?

On what I would call the “City Side” supporting the move out of the downtown are The City of Ottawa Library Board, chaired by Tim Tierney (Beacon Hill Councillor) and Danielle MacDonald, the CEO of the Ottawa Library. New library partner , Library and Archives Canada Chief Librarian and Arcivist is Guy Berthiaume. Councillor Tierney for the most part has been the main voice on the move, Library CEO MacDonald rarely speaks and I have not read that Mr. Berthiaume has spoken publically about moving to the edge of the downtown.

On the “Stay downtown” side I would place Somerset Councillor Catherine McKenney, The Centretown Citizens Community Association (CCCA) and Bookmark the Core. Besides MacKenney, there is no louder voice against the move out of the core. The CCCA has been active, but has acted more as a supporting actor to the Councillor. Emilie Taman from Bookmark the Core is there, but the lead on this team has been Councillor McKenney.

What’s missing is the one, a champion, someone to push this project further with an eye on what this new library will do for the city. In the days before Lansdowne broke ground, during the City Council meetings and the uproar from the Glebe, Hunt and Greenberg were there. Discussion leading up to the the National Capital Commission (NCC) picking him, Melnyk was pushing for his vison for LeBreton Flats, and you can’t think about Ottawa’s new LRT without hearing Jim Watsons’ voice in your head.

A project of this size needs a face and a voice to bring the community together and rally behind what will do for Ottawa what has been in other cities, a new cultural hub of the city. Who will that be? Will it be the architech? Will it be a current local leader? How about a local benefactor that will lend their name to bring an anticipation to the project?

Sadly right now there is no one. It will be the city’s loss if no one steps up and champions what we, as the nations capital, derserve in a new Main Branch for the Ottawa Public Library. If you are up to the task, you can start February 1st, the day after the Ottawa Library Board votes on the recommendations. If you, whoever you are, can’t start Febraury 1st, we can wait until February 8th, the day that City Council votes on the recommendation that is approved by the Library Board.

Hurry up and decide will you? The city is waiting for you, we need you.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

Can Ottawa save Elgin Street?

elgin-street

The second public open house for the Elgin Street and Hawthorne Avenue Functional Redesign Study was held at City Hall on January 11th. The design plans presented will likely have a few minor revisions, but what I saw looks to be a final design with City Council approval in 2018 with construction starting in 2019.

The new Elgin Street is going from 4 to 2 lanes. Will this save Elgin Street?  As I heard it, the design is aimed to ‘naturally’ slow traffic on that segment to as low as 30 km/hr. How does the City intend to do it? It will attempt to do that with raised intersections (imagine a very big speed bump), much less parking, widened sidewalks in some parts and finally by using a bus! Yep, the City will use OC Transpo buses on Routes 5 and 14 that travel Elgin to slow down traffic while dropping of and picking up passengers.

Sidewalks may or may not be widened; it just depends where you might be standing on Elgin. Widening that does happen will occur in a ‘flex space’. These spots will not only be a wider sidewalk, but will also double as a space used for parking, deliveries, patios and other uses the City may wish to experiment with. How do you identify these spaces? Flex spaces will be raised from street level and will look like the sidewalks with the use of interlocking stones.

Perhaps the largest impediments to a wider sidewalk are the overhead wires. Replacing large hydro poles from the sidewalks with smaller street lamp poles removes some of the barriers. Elgin Street, under a 2011 policy can bury the wires, whether the city has the will and the cash to do it is another story. This is one item that should be done to improve the street as it will have the largest impact. The estimated cost of $6M – $8M can be found by cutting the raised intersections, interlocking brick and other cosmetic touches. Cutting these design aspects also eliminates the need for a local levy paid by Somerset Ward residents to have the wires places underground. Placing the idea of burying the overhead wires at the top of Elgin’s priorities allows the city to include trees (which made the public’s top five ‘good to have’ items) into the design without any fears of how the tree canopy would be affected with the wires still overhead.

The new look of Elgin is loosely based on ‘complete streets’, where all vehicles can travel safely. When redesigning Elgin was first talked about, I am sure that the cycling facilities as they were shown were not what were expected. In fact, the new design has no new cycling facilities. The facilities being by proposed by the city amount to cyclists continuing to share the road with cars, trucks and buses. No segregated lanes, no painted lanes. Based on comments from cyclists at the meeting, cyclists expected more. In their eyes, Elgin is not any safer for cyclists as they continue to compete with all vehicles. Cyclists indicated they would detour off Elgin to Cartier Ave.

Everyone knew that parking would be reduced; in the end parking on Elgin will be cut by 50% to 61 spots. There is concern that less parking will hurt business, but with the reduction at only 10% on the areas one block away from Elgin, the availability of cheap indoor parking at City Hall (after 6pm M-F and all day Sat/Sun) can make that up and during the winter months make parking easier. Peak period parking restrictions are also being removed on the street.

So after all that, here are my suggestions for a better Elgin Street, for the future and not the present. The City needs to make burying the overhead wires a top priority. Second, install free WiFi along Elgin Street, others cities have free hotspots, why not Ottawa and why not on Elgin? Next, to encourage use of Electric Vehicles utilize two of the new flex spaces as “green plated car” spaces for an EV charging station – one facing each direction of the street. Fourth, remove all buses Elgin Street. The Campus LRT station can accommodate some transit users and Metcalfe, O’Conner and Bank Streets can accommodate the north and south bound travel of bus routes. Finally, compromise on the width of sidewalks and create a bike lane in each direction.

In the end maybe the changes from the City will give it slower and less vehicular traffic, but will it save Elgin Street?

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

I read and hear a trend here

 

I just finished reading Philip Norman`s biography of Paul McCartney “A Life”, and as I always do during and after reading a musical biography I am drawn to listen to more of that artists’ music. In the case of McCartney my interest is towards his later music more importantly “Flaming Pie”, “Driving Rain” and “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard”. The earlier music is very much part of my growing up and early adult years. I hadn’t paid enough attention to those three CD’s and now I have the opportunity to do so. Luckily I have had the almost complete McCartney discography – so no new purchases required.

The most difficult part of the read was working through the Heather Mills era and how different Paul seemed when compared to the years with not only Linda but earlier with Jane Asher. Do some relationships just bring out a totally different person in people? By the time I reached the last page, I got what I expected and enjoyed every page.

35 years ago I read Phillip Norman’s account about The Beatles entitled “Shout! The Beatles in their Generation”. I have few recollections about that book, and thankfully the author in his notes says he did not rely on his research in that book to write McCartney’s life book. The obvious next read is the same author’s Lennon account “John Lennon: The Life” if only to ensure the facts are same between the two books. But that will not take place for a few books as I have Robbie Robertson’s and Bruce Springsteen’s books up next on the read list.

My adventure in a musician’s life ends with the same result, more music to be bought and listened to as an enhanced experience to the words my brain has taken in. In the case of some biographies it can be more expensive than others. I have taken to the pages of Neil Young and Led Zeppelin books, but a case to demonstrate this is Joni Mitchell. After reading “The Creative Odyssey of…” purchasing the early catalogue was a necessity. I had only been listening to the later work of hers, 1988’s “Chalk mark in a Rainstorm” to 1995’s Grammy Award winning “Turbulent Indigo”, I had no personal listening experience to her early work (other than when I worked in Radio from 1982-1990). Listening to “Ladies of the Canyon”, “Blue” and “Court and Spark” helped to appreciate what I already knew of her music.

The two books that brought the largest surprise to me were Keith Richards “Life” and Elvis Costello’s “Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink”. In both these books I was astounded to hear about the musicianship that each had. I had previous been a staunch Beatles over the Rolling Stones person but with his book, Keith Richards won me over (but not totally) to the Rolling Stones side. In fact his 2015 Lp “Crosseyed Heart” remains a favourite of mine.

Unlike my Keith Richards/Rolling Stones experience, I have been listening to Costello for a very long time, likely due to my prime music year being late 70’s onward. I knew that Elvis Costello was a good musician, but how good I had no idea. The book explores a musical background that he shares with his father and mother and provides an insight to the British Punk and New Wave music in the 70’s and 80’s. His song writing prowess is incredible and the range in which he can produce blows me away. Even the manner in which he interviews other musicians is extremely impressive. His run as host of “Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…” showed an intellect and interest in hearing about other musicians. The show was produced by Costello with Elton John and David Furnish and sadly only ran for 2 seasons. The show remains available to purchase and features some wonderful musical performances with his guests.

Beyond Robertson and Springsteen the next pick up might have to be Norman’s “Sir Elton: The Definitive Biography” of Elton John. As a lifelong fan and owner of most of his discography, I might not learn more about his music but I’m willing to see if I will and search out a disc I just have to have. After all I should not rely of the Lp “Captain Fantastic and Brown Dirt Cowboy” as my only biographical reference to Elton John.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

Hopes, Aspirations & Dreams of 2017

2017

Photo: northernstar.info

2017, it is finally here, though many would have been happy to see 2017 arrive in October of last year. To begin the year here is a list of my hopes, aspirations and dreams for the coming 12 months.

I have been waiting a few years now for new music from Michelle Branch, though rumoured for sometime, she recently tweeted out that we could expect something new in 2017. She is listed in Entertainment Weekly’s list of anticipated music for 2017. Also, I can’t wait for the follow up disc by Ryan Adams after his version of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ last year (which I loved as much as TS’s). His new Lp ‘Prisoner’ comes out early 2017.

I am also keenly interested in sophomore releases from Lorde, Haim and The Chainsmokers in this, a year where Taylor Swift isn’t scheduled to drop any new music. I am holding out hope that the new John Mayer disc will sparkle. Here is what EW complied for music we just can’t wait to listen to, http://ew.com/music/2016/12/22/most-anticipated-albums-2017/?xid=entertainment-weekly_socialflow_twitter

The Grey Cup comes to Ottawa in November, wouldn’t it be sweet to see the Ottawa Redblacks make three straight Cup appearances and repeat as champs?

Still on sports, here’s dreaming that the Ottawa Senators can go deep in the playoffs in 2017 just as the Redblacks did the past two years, the Ottawa Champions did (and won) last summer and the Ottawa Fury FC accomplished in 2015.

After going 4-1 in By-election wins since Patrick Brown became leader of Ontario PC Party, he will the opportunity to increase that to five wins now that former Liberal Minister David Orazietti resigned as MPP for Sault Ste Marie on December 31st. Whether there will be other provincial by-elections is yet to be seen as others in the Liberal government weigh their options leading up to the 2018 Ontario General Elections.

There will finally be one Conservative standing the in party’s leadership race come May, hopefully the party will stand behind whoever he or she may be after the convention. I still have no clue of who will replace Rona Ambrose in the House of Commons as the Leader of the Opposition. The NDP race becomes more interesting now that calendars have flipped from 2016 to 2017, we might shortly have the first declared candidate for Mulcair’s chair.

Finally, I aspire that we can all get along while having our differences. I hope days of populist chants and unresearched claims and inaccurate accusations will be left behind. We all should be better informed and read past the click bait headlines on social media. This is the only way we can have healthy debates about the issues our leaders face in coming 12 months.

Maybe just maybe I will finally get around to posting a vlog.

What are you looking forward to in 2017?

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.