The Page – September 11, 2019

“Many a rich man came up from poverty. But I have never heard of a rich man who came up out of welfare.” – Richard Needham

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Your humble writer here read a report about the United States federal government used to pass many laws. About 225,000 new laws and regulations each year! Now, that was before President Donald Trump was elected.
According to his own bragging, he slammed the brakes on all that. The last we heard, he had managed to roll back about 500 laws he said never should have been passed to start with.
Well, good for him!
Uphill battle for sure. And don’t forget, there are 50 busy body state governments working hard to pass new laws too. That’s one reason state legislatures like Montana try to keep the days they “sit” in office to just a few months per year. Less time in office means less time to muck up the works. It’s something for governments everywhere to think about.
This is especially true when it comes to our own provincial government, and our local city, town and county and municipal district councils. It’s easy to pass a law. Get an idea. Then get the noodlers in the big offices to find a law someplace else that is pretty well the same. There’s usually something around someplace. Copy it and tweak it a bit. Take it to the councillor wanting the new law. Tweak some more. Take it to a council meeting. Talk about it. Maybe some more tweaks. Then vote on it a couple of times.
“Presto Ala Shazam!” Everybody is happy the lawmakers have done their jobs.
Of course, the really big problem is, now there is a new law, probably with some penalties and fines, who is going to enforce the shiny new writings? See the next item for example.

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A city councillor in Edmonton is ticked off the “shovel your sidewalk” snow system isn’t working.
A few years ago, we remember city folks were all in a tizzy because they had to quickly run out, usually before heading to work, to clean off last night’s pesky snowfall. If they didn’t, they risked a big fine, usually in the hundreds of dollars.
In fact, we know of one homeowner who bought a high-powered snow blower just to clean up his two-car driveway and the sidewalk in front of his home.
Lately, citizens haven’t been moving quite as fast as they used to. The problem, according to one city councillor, is the City itself doesn’t move fast enough processing complaints.
Originally, some keener out for a walk, or just huffing and puffing from cleaning their own sidewalk, would notice a slew of sidewalks not cleaned. So they would call the City. So much so, bylaw officers couldn’t keep up with complaints. So a policy was added they would wait 48 hours, and that was before giving a warning instead of a fine.
This didn’t work very well when it snowed for several days, or maybe missed a day or two, then snowed again. Every time it snowed, the 48-hour grace period kicked in again.
According to one city councillor, citizens gave up complaining. Plus, the six bylaw officers usually have better things to do than drive around checking sidewalks.
That same councillor says sidewalks are treacherous. One person died several years ago after falling. “In a winter city, this is completely unacceptable,” he says.
In March, this same councillor asked for a review of the complaint process. He learned there is a list of repeat offenders. And at the end of the winter year, people don’t “fall off” the list. The City keeps them on “The List” for next year. Got to keep those bad guys on their toes, you know!
So they have a list! Good to know!
Also, City officials say they could “blitz” certain areas known to be sloppy in their shovelling. It’s good to know the City has backup plans. But snow isn’t getting cleared.
The councillor says, “There is a risk of getting too many calls. But it feels like right now, people have just given up complaining.”
The answers are simple: Raise taxes. Hire more enforcement officers. Make up for any shortfall with bigger fines. And more taxes.
The City also says they have started looking at technology that would allow bylaw officers to register warnings and give fines directly through their mobile devices. Heck, why not cameras scanning the sidewalks? If only one life can be saved …
Thank goodness for small town living. We just walk on the road. And complain to the town when the road isn’t cleared to our satisfaction.

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The real difference between a chili bean and a lima bean is the chili bean has a coat on.

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As Sally Brown says, the largest dinosaur that ever lived was the bronchitis. It soon became extinct because it coughed a lot.

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Have a great week!

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