Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Red Deer Wimps Out Again

Twice now I have seen projects for Red Deer city nixed because angry residents don't want their perfect, serene neighbourhoods to be marred by possible change - shudder.

Six months ago it was a French School being set up in the Anders area. Residents kicked up a huge fuss and filled the City Hall with exasperated residents.

So why were residents upset?

Because many of their kids couldn't go to a French School.
Because a few high school students might actually be driving to the school.
Because they don't like French people.

Other reasons, whether real or perceived, were brought up by irate residents who stirred the pot and got councillors and the mayor to back down...

The hard workers at city hall, the school board, and many others who worked countless hours to set up the French school to both attract Francophone families to Red Deer, and provide a strong education for Francophone background students already living here - got pushed aside because a few neighbours thought their neighbourhood might be marred by  - God forbid - Education.

The Taliban would be proud.

Because they don't want crime to increase in their neighbourhood.
Because they paid a lot of money to live in a middle class neighbourhood.
Because they don't like native people.
Because they don't like poor people.

City councillors listened to their arguments and, of course, backed down again.

So someone else will have to take on the low income housing initiative and a French School. Another part of Red Deer will have to be rezoned at great planning and expense because Clearview and Anders wouldn't let progressive movements into their serene neighbourhoods.

If I was a councillor - The next dozen high-risk youth shelters would be pegged for Clearview.

The next high-risk half way house for pedophiles would be put somewhere that there wasn't a school nearby for them to reoffend. Hrmm, how about Anders!

I'd sooner take a French School than a single high-risk youth shelter any day.
I'd sooner take my chances on struggling families in low income housing than have a pedophile half-way house next door.

Disgruntled residents of Anders and Clearview - you may have won a battle, but like a spoiled kid who gets whatever it wants - you're on the naughty list now.  Santa's procurements from future mayors and councillors could be something much worse than education and a charitable housing initiative. Next time, you might not have a say in the matter.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rethinking Pro Ice Hockey

The NHL is a broken model. As many as half of the teams are losing money. If a team sucks, and it's not in one of half a dozen hockey hot beds, it will likely lose money. Some teams, even if they are top contenders, will still lose money.

In comparison, look at European Soccer.

Each country has its own league, and a second tier, and a third tier, all the way down to a sixth tier.

The worst couple or three teams drop down a tier.

The best teams move up a tier.

The best of the best teams make it to the champions league and play against other European cities.

There's tournaments every year that pit second and even third-tier teams against top-tier teams.

Sometimes there's a huge upset in these tournaments.

The second tier gives medium-sized cities the chance to play against the big-leage metropolises every so often.

The best of the medium cities might even spend a few years playing at the top level, until finances and talent-attraction reality push them back down a level. But they made it to the show. They competed with the best, if only for a while. They give the locals something exciting to cheer about. They give the locals something to hope for, a tangible opportunity to "earn" their way to better things.

Could that ever happen to the NHL?

Could teams "earn" their way into and out of the league?

Could the league shrink to twenty teams, with another twenty teams in a second tier trying to work their way up to the big show?

Could we have a champions league playoff including teams from Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech republic, Germany, etc.

Could fiscal reality determine the place of a team, the tier of a team - with a town of 10,000 having a fifth tier team trying to get up to fourth tier, then vye for third?

Could I make a sixth tier team and try to make it up to the fifth tier?

Could my talented friend play for a third tier team and be offered a spot on a second tier team and be one step away from the NHL?

Just some thoughts...