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  • Kate 13:01 on 2014/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    People may be poaching the deer that roam around L’Anse à l’Orme park in the far western part of the island.

    I can sort of see it, though. So much free food just wandering around for the taking.

    • Blork 21:30 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      From what I hear, the poachers are selling the meat below “market price.” So its not like the starving west islanders are being fed. Just gun-toting opportunists at work.

      (BTW, deer galore over my way, but AFAIK nobody’s shooting them.)

    • Kate 07:57 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Well, you don’t want bullets flying close to where people live. Anse à l’Orme is still pretty far from residential streets but even so, the island of Montreal ought to be a no-shooting zone, I think. People drive and cycle along Anse à l’Orme – I even walked it, a few years ago, after misapprehending how far it is on foot from Cap St-Jacques to the 40.

  • Kate 12:34 on 2014/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro has fished up a list of strange Quebec given names from 2013. Some poor little girl was named Marois and some poor little boy called Petit Ange is going to have to get awfully tough awfully fast on the playground.

    • Louis 12:44 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I also like Queen-Pauline. Jean-Marc for a gal is interesting. I suspect Bejamin is a typo. Sochi is just silly (I don’t know of anybody named Innsbruck or Sarajevo). As for Estie, well…
      But many of these names are typical religiously inspired African names. I believe there is a similar tradition in the West Indies.

    • Alex L 13:01 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Worst ones are Bebe I, Bebe II, Bebe III. How can you name your kid like that?

    • Kate 13:08 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I thought the Quebec government was allowed to challenge bad names for kids. I remember a story about a refusal to let kids be named Goldorak or Spatule – the idea is not to allow kids to be called something that would tend to subject them to ridicule.

      Bebe I, II and III would seem to be in that category to me.

      Update: here’s a brief item on this. (Googling for Goldorak and Spatule is one of those easy ones.)

    • Louis 13:19 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Yes, but some of these cases were challenged in court, and the powers of the Directeur de l’État civil were scaled down, on the basis that the name changes are highly arbitrary. I think now he can suggest changes to the parents, but if they insist there is not much to be done. I believe it was Kristian Gravenor who made an entry on that on his blog (but maybe I read that somewhere else).

    • GC 13:45 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I’m guessing Bebe I-III were triplets? Otherwise, it’s a remarkable coincidence that one crazy family had their Bebe II the same year another had their Bebe III.

    • Alison Cummins 13:49 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Is it possible that Bébé I à III just hadn’t been named at the time the birth certificates were issued? How does that work? Lots of people take a while — in some cases up to two years — before settling on an official name.

    • GC 13:54 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      It’s possible. I would think the Régie would filter those out, but maybe their IT people don’t bother.

      Now I’m curious. Presumably there’s a certain cutoff at which you can’t just arbitrarily change a child’s name without going through the legal process of a name change. Does anyone know when that is?

    • Bill Binns 14:09 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Biggest theme here is aspirations to royalty with five Princesses, a Queen, a King, a Prince and a Royal. We also have an Infinity, Bentley and Chevy but strangely no Lexus or Mercedes.

      Would be interesting to see these mapped to the parents neighborhoods.

    • Marc 15:04 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      There was a highly publicized case in the late 90s about a baby girl named Ivory; the government didn’t like that one. Around that time the B.C. government denied the name God to a baby boy.

    • Ephraim 15:45 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Please, they should have stepped in with Queen-Pauline and Marois as names. Really? That child is going to have trouble finding a job.

    • No\Deli 17:30 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      That child is going to have trouble finding a job.

      And yet young Queen-Pauline might still have less trouble than someone with the name Mohammad or the name Li Na.

    • Alison Cummins 18:05 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Not everyone is that hung up with the name on their birth certificate. Lots of immigrants go by names that they chose for themselves after they got here. It’s common in many african [descended] cultures to have several names depending on context.

      When I was in Holland I asked people sitting around a table at a family gathering how many went by their “passport names” and only half did. In Holland until recently catholics all got latin saints’ names and protestants got inherited names using an elaborate system where the firstborn son was named after his maternal grandfather, and so on, so a little girl born in 1964 might be named something delightful like Saxburga Etheldreda which had been handed down from the thirteenth century. But people don’t actually call eachother Stephanus or Etheldreda. They call eachother by their *usual* names, modern dutch names that may or may not be clearly related to their *passport* names. (Things are changing — a dutch baby born today is likely to get a passport name that will also be a good usual name straight out of the box.)

      So depending on culture, what’s on the birth certificate may not be expected to be that big a deal. Someone named “Petit Ange” might go by, I dunno, a diminutive like Tia in daily life.

      Your usual name can legally be whatever you want — even your surname — as long as it’s not for illegal purposes. The problem comes in with north american bureaucracy where they only ever ask for your legal name. (When was the last time you filled out an official form with separate entries for your legal name and usual name?) When a child is registered for school, chances are that only the legal name will be asked for and it will be up to the child to say “Call me Tia, not Petit Ange.” (That may be changing in schools as they adapt to different cultures?) That doesn’t help at the drugstore though, where you are listed under your Carte Soleil name and when your Paxil is ready they call out “Queen Pauline.”

      Note that in Quebec until not that long ago every girl’s first name on her birth certificate was Marie, just as every boy’s was Joseph. There was no expectation that all boys would be called Joseph though, and girls who actually went by Marie-France would have to say, “Call me Marie-France, not France.”

    • Kate 18:30 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Yup. As someone who discovered, after using the same bank branch for more than five years, that they would no longer accept cheques made out to “Kate” in the ATM, so that I had to go around all my clients and make them understand they had to write cheques to “Catherine” now, I can appreciate some of these problems. If only there was a “usual name” option on the bank form!

      (Nobody calls me Catherine except officially. Just hearing the name makes me tense up a little.)

    • Maureen 18:37 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      The dutch thing is crazy. I was married and the official name was: Jacobus Adrianus Fredericus. Usual name: Jack. Name he is actually called by: Sjaak. Go figure.

    • Jo Walton 07:21 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Kate — if you tell the bank you are “trading as” Kate, and that you want to open a commercial account in the name of Kate if they won’t let you put the checks in, and if you get them to make a note on your file that it is your “alias” then they may let you deposit checks made out in your usual name. I had to make a giant fuss with Desjardins and point out that I was depositing checks from all over the world, but it wasn’t until I said “trading as” that they gave in.

      I really really wish I’d legally changed my name — to my actual name! — before I moved to Quebec.

    • Kate 07:58 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Thanks Jo, I will keep that in mind.

    • david m 20:54 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      man, goldorak is like the gold standard awful name, a true masterpiece.

  • Kate 12:00 on 2014/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s new inspector general is to ponder accusations made about the convent at 1420 Mont-Royal that it was the subject of collusion among the city, the Université de Montréal and the developer Catania. With a timeline of how the building pingponged back and forth over ten years while the economy crashed and general corruption was uncovered.

  • Kate 10:13 on 2014/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Kristian G. has found some newly released old Pathé newsreels featuring Montreal. The metro launch is so cool, and reminds us how slickly modern the thing looked, back when of course you invited the cardinal to bless your new metro system.

    • Doobious 20:57 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I love how people used to dress up before going out back in the 60s.

    • Doobious 10:15 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      He missed this one on the spiffy new underground city.

    • Kate 10:54 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      That’s an excellent one, Doobious. I especially like the hats on the women shown eating in a food court in 1969.

  • Kate 22:40 on 2014/04/16 Permalink | Reply  

    Some chunks of concrete fell off an overpass over Autoroute 40 on Wednesday and were noticed by a transport ministry patrol, but didn’t cause any accidents.

  • Kate 22:34 on 2014/04/16 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has already cut down hundreds of trees in an attempt to stop the emerald ash borer. Some streets will see their summer canopies sadly reduced.

    • Alex L 10:10 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      There may be some technicalities I don’t know about, but why don’t they replant right after cutting a tree, instead of leaving a half-cut trunk?

    • Blork 10:54 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I suspect it’s because planting is way more complex and expensive than cutting. Cutting is a quick and cheap thing to do. Cutting and immediately replanting would make it balloon into a gigantic project that would require a lot of time, planning, resources, money, etc.

    • Ian 12:11 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      If the point is to remove the emerald ash-borer’s habitat, wouldn’t a bunch of tree stumps with exposed sap be just as appetizing as living trees? I don’t know how this bug works but a lot of tree parasites hone in on the smell of their preferred tree’s sap…

    • Kate 12:30 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I was guessing it’s an entirely different crew that cuts (simpler, as Blork says) vs. those that remove the old stump and plant a new tree. But I do hope they get on with it, as it will take the new trees years to grow to a size where they begin to replace the old ones visually and for shade.

    • cheese 16:28 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      It strikes me as odd that the treatment for a pest (peste?) that kills a certain type of tree is to kill that type of tree by cutting it down. Uh, this is good why? Agree with Ian that this might not be effective but I am not an arborist and I jsut hope the city is listening to arborists when it makes such plans.

      I asked a city worker that was taking down a tree across from my place a couple weeks ago about the ash borer and he confirmed that many trees would be cut.

      Note the tree cut on my street was an old silver maple that was rotting out. Sad to lose such a large old tree. No movement on the rather sizable stump as of yet…

    • Kate 19:16 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Thought I’d post the link to the tree map again so people will see how many ash trees are around.

      About half the trees on my block are ash trees, the rest being Norway maples and one or two silver maples, not too old, but I may be lucky. Some of the blocks in Villeray were planted almost exclusively with one or two ash cultivars. This neighbourhood, like the older parts of Rosemont and the Plateau, owed a lot of its summer charm to the shadiness of the side streets, and may be on the brink of losing that for a generation or more.

    • Faiz Imam 02:02 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      I wonder, is there any negative long term consequences to losing ash trees?

      Assuming they get replaced by maples or other species over time, is there a aesthetic, ecological or practical difference?

      What do we lose, other than the 5-15 year loss of tree cover?

    • Kate 08:06 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Faiz Imam, a study has shown that removing trees is bad for people. We have a profound need to have greenery around – all of us, even those of us who can’t stir more than half a kilometer from an espresso bar without feeling faint.

      Ash trees did well here till recently, and I think the city liked them because they grow reasonably fast but stay a manageable size. They do shed some catkins in spring but you can’t have everything. One concern would be if the city replaced them all with trees from a single genus which then becomes prey to another pest as the climate changes, but there’s no way to be sure what to choose.

      Some of the nicest trees that thrive in our climate don’t do well as city street trees. Willows get too big, and their roots are too inclined to dig into the foundations of buildings. Oaks grow too slowly to be useful. Silver maples and poplar variants also get too big over time. The city has put in a few ginkgos, but they’re marginal in our climate and aren’t optimal as shade trees. Some trees don’t hold up well to road salt and the casual insults people inflict, like locking bikes to them. So you see, the choice is not as wide as you might imagine.

    • Kevin 08:53 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      They are cutting down dead or infected trees in hopes of saving the ones that remain. Think of it as starving the pest

  • Kate 22:32 on 2014/04/16 Permalink | Reply  

    The city is investing in a new historical feature in Place Youville. I think it’s clear from this item that we’re talking about a subterranean museum built in the old sewer in the area, not that the entire square will be built over with a new museum.

    • Alex L 10:15 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      The sewer will be used as a link between the buildings; what you see in those renderings is the ruins of the market/parliament that was built over and around the sewer. People will have access to the parliament ruins, the UdeM archaeological school/fort de Ville-Marie site and the basement of the customs building on Mcgill.

  • Kate 22:29 on 2014/04/16 Permalink | Reply  

    Onetime PLQ star and deputy premier Nathalie Normandeau is under UPAC investigation for some of her alleged fundraising activities around 2008. Normandeau denies the dodgy donations. Brian Myles lists the eleven people under UPAC’s eye in this affair. CBC says in addition that a recently re-elected MNA is under the UPAC loupe.

    Normandeau stepped down in September 2011. I find myself mildly amused by the photo here of Jean Charest leering at Normandeau in a skin-tight black outfit.

    • Michel 08:54 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Looking at someone’s face is leering? Damn, I’ve been doing it wrong all along. I guess I should start staring at women’s breasts rather than look them in the eye, lest they get the wrong message.

    • Kate 10:23 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      If you follow his eye-line, he’s actually gawking at her neck. Who knows.

    • Alison Cummins 10:24 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I thought he was looking behind her at someone else. Still it’s fun to read it as a leer, isn’t it?

    • walkerp 19:34 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Oh I hope they get her. She’s the worst.

  • Kate 22:17 on 2014/04/16 Permalink | Reply  

    Possibly useful lists of what’s open and closed around Easter weekend.

  • Kate 22:15 on 2014/04/16 Permalink | Reply  

    After a court order Wednesday the local operations of Bixi were transferred to the city.

  • Kate 09:48 on 2014/04/16 Permalink | Reply  

    Security cameras should be obligatory in taxis because of how they dissuade possible crimes against the driver, says the taxi bureau. But the city has said that the industry itself must pay for them.

    • Steph 11:27 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      This is a situation where insurance companies can step forward to offer rebates to drivers who do have cameras (or increase costs to those that don’t).

    • Hamza 12:26 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      I foresee this development, along with all the talk of the SPVM adding wearable cameras to their beat cops, as a kind of backdoor route to a surveillance society.

      Sure these are both ‘good ideas’ for the purposes of keeping taxi drivers and cops/citizens safe but where, if anywhere, in public are we free from being watched by Big Brother? Add in all the voodoo ‘information-sharing’ apps installed on our phones and we already have a populace willing and eager to sacrifice privacy for security (or flappy bird games).

    • Bill Binns 12:40 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      I’m not bothered at all by CCTV cameras but I think their effectiveness as a deterrent is wildly exaggerated. They are easily defeated by something as simple as a hoodie. The stores I work with have expensive security systems with 20+ cameras covering every inch of the store inside and out and they are still robbed more often than I like to think about.

      For cameras to serve as a deterrent, the desperate / stupid person commiting the crime has to be thinking somewhat clearly and somewhat logically. This just isn’t the case with the majority of people who rob taxis, gas stations etc.

    • Ephraim 13:10 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Pretty simple, just change the laws around it. For example, a call to the police for an emergency for a taxi without a camera is free if there is a crime reported, if not, $2500 for a taxi with no video if none reported. And free if you have the camera and can provide the evidence needed for court.

      I’m surprised that the insurance companies don’t already require it in a taxi.

      Besides most drivers no longer own their taxis, it’s the bureau that does. In that case, legislate it as part of the SAAQ licence.

    • Kevin 06:20 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      CCTV is overrated. It does little to prevent crime, and little to solve crime.
      When the average video looks like this it’s easy to see why

  • Kate 09:01 on 2014/04/16 Permalink | Reply  

    The work on the Mount Royal gazebo meant to be a memorial to Mordecai Richler has been held up almost indefinitely. I think it’s time Marvin Rotrand recognizes Richler’s unpopularity and backs off. The gazebo should be restored as a gazebo, and maybe Rotrand can get support for a Richler memorial somewhere in the west end.

    Yes, Richler lived in the Mile End and wrote about it, but that was another era.

    • Taylor 09:16 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      1. Does the gazebo have anything at all to do with Richler? That is, did he write from there, did he mention it in his books? I’ve never read anything about the gazebo in what Richler books I’ve read.

      2. Speaking of other eras – who are the people most upset by Richler? Those who read and perhaps misunderstood the New Yorker piece? Those around to protest Oh Canada! Oh Quebec! That was 20+ years ago. His political opinions are basically meaningless in today’s context, but his books live on and are a testament to this city and its people.

      Ergo, the gazebo, in my opinion, is wholly inappropriate.

      Renaming a street is less costly too.

      The only sensible way to adequately honour this man is to name a street after him, ideally in the neighbourhood he once lived in. St-Cuthbert, Bagg, Napoleon – hell, even St-Urbain. All are good choices.

    • Kevin 09:20 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      The councillors in the Plateau seem to be much like councillors in Westmount in objecting to renaming streets.

      But like I said earlier, someone should take that cash the borough is offering for murals and paint Mordecai six-storeys tall on the side of a building.

    • Kate 09:22 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      1. I don’t think Richler ever did mention the gazebo, but if you read the article you’ll see the Plateau wasn’t having any part of any other memorial. Ian and I have both kvetched here that the obvious thing to name would’ve been the Mile End library on Park Avenue, but that was kiboshed by the borough.
      2. It’s now ingrained in some nationalists that Richler is to be hated, point final. Viz. And viz.
      3. All the streets in the Plateau have history. I don’t want to see the renaming of a street, but it’s not even remotely being considered. And it IS costly to redo all the maps and any businesses on such a street would have to redo all their stationery and PR and so on and on.

    • Taylor 09:43 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      @Kate –

      There’s no way renaming Bagg or St-Cuthbert would ever cost over $300K

      And what kind of msg is the city/borough setting: “we’ll gladly acknowledge landowners from the 17th & 18th centuries, but name a street after one of the country’s greatest authors, no no – fuck that”

      Frankly, fuck the bigots and their ignorance.

      Richler haters all have something in common. A) they’re butthurt Quebec has evolved since the 1960s and B) they’ve never read any of his books

      Seriously, we really shouldn’t be paying any attention to the types who would bend over backwards trying to justify Louise Mailloux.

    • Ian 09:54 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      I still harass the Projet Montreal guys about the library idea now and then. They ignore me. :) Luc Ferrandez is pretty fiercely anti-Richler and is a bit of a “French first” kind of politician.

    • Kate 10:27 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Taylor: Richler, who had lived in England for years, had developed a more British sense of satire and ridiculousness that simply did not play here. Quebec nationalism was at least partly about being taken seriously, so Richler’s occasionally flippant observations in the international media, especially the New Yorker, are regarded as unforgivable or as “lies”, and he’s not here to defend himself. So instead of regarding him as one of Montreal’s admirable international Jewish celebrities like Leonard Cohen or Willam Shatner, the city relegates his name to a small gazebo that there isn’t even political will to fix up properly. it can’t be helped.

    • Taylor 11:14 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      @Kate –

      I think he’s much more than a Jewish celebrity who happens to be from here. He’s one of few truly exceptional Canadian writers of all time.

      Political will can change with the right kind of pressure and strategic intervention.

      As an example, when the people find out just what 300K is actually paying for.

      The argument could change back in favour of renaming a street if people don’t like swallowing a pill that big.

    • Steph 11:17 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      That gazebo as it is an eyesore. It’d be really nice to have them fix it up regardless of the attaching a plaque to it.

      Just last week I was brainstorming with friends about buying lumber to go fix it up ourselves. That idea ended at the suggestion of the police coming to club us for public vandalism.

    • yossarian 15:59 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      >Quebec nationalism was at least partly about being taken seriously

      And also about a modest (but still revolting) version of ethnic cleansing. So celebrating any Anglo, and most certainly Mordecai Richler, goes against that policy imperative in a big way.

    • Jack 18:09 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Help me out here, in the city of Montreal what has been named for 20th century local blokes. I got ave. Holt in Rosemont, and what a fine fellow he was. Dr.Penfield, he’s good. Love the statue of Bethune, paid for by the Chinese I believe, rue Gary Carter doesn’t count.

    • Ian 20:20 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      They named a park after Lhasa de Sala in Mile-End and another parkette in Outremont after Kate McGarrigle. That they named the park in Mile-End after Lhasa puts the lie to the Projet Montreal claim that they don’t support naming things after people, but I digress.

    • Jack 21:03 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Love those two folks, they deserve a space for memory, so does Mordecai.

    • walkerp 21:25 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      $60,000 for the preliminary work?! 250k for the whole thing? Are they going to add a planetarium, I mean WTF?

      And what is going to happen to all the scruffies that hang out there on Sunday and do their morning raves?

    • Kate 10:10 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I thought people hung out a little further north, around the Cartier monument.

      One of the original descriptions for the Richler gazebo was to pave a sort of square around it, which I hope is not going to be done. We don’t need more green space chipped away. Just fix up the gazebo, make it nice, call it or don’t call it a memorial pavilion, and we’ll be fine.

    • Kevin 13:42 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      For $250,000 it should have plumbing, central heating and air conditioning.

    • Bill Binns 13:51 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I would love to see the bid that drove this project up above 300 grand. It must be a work of art. I wonder if there is an environmental impact study in there someplace.

      Hopefuly, someone will burn the damn thing to the ground before all this money is pissed away on something nobody wants.

  • Kate 08:50 on 2014/04/16 Permalink | Reply  

    The suicides of two police investigators, including the discovery of the body of Marteau squad honcho Éric Martin in the river off Sorel, is making authorities worry that trainee police don’t get enough background in psychology – in this case, of themselves and their colleagues.

  • Kate 20:57 on 2014/04/15 Permalink | Reply  

    Denis Coderre talked to his New York counterparts Tuesday, telling them he’s looking to them for inspiration in fighting corruption.

    • Bill Binns 07:40 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      His 2nd international trip since being elected. Don’t we already pay some government stooge to live in New York and supposedly promote Montreal?

    • Uncle Charlie 07:41 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Finally! A Montreal mayor who is willing to learn from other great cities, instead of reinventing the wheel with a “chez nous” solution.
      While he’s there I really hope he also takes notes on how NYC has managed to rid its city of graffiti, bums, and car horns honking constantly. What a difference it has made in Manhattan, which hasn’t looked better or been more livable in over 50 years!

    • Ephraim 07:56 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      We are currently sortof paying two. Dominique Poirier who was appointed in December and the previous delegate, Boisclair who was appointed in November 2012 and is now being paid $170K+ to do SFA at COMEX in a non-existant office (if I remember correctly) while fighting charges that he sniffed stuff he shouldn’t have and corruption at UPAC. Still no charges on cronyism, though. (Though, my memory could be faulty. I remember something about Recycl-Quebec, too.)

    • Kevin 08:58 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      @Uncle Charlie
      When did NYC manage to stop car horns honking?

    • Joe 09:09 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Kevin, off the top of my head I think it’s been a good 10 years regarding no honking in NYC. That non stop honking was just stupid.

    • Bill Binns 09:35 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      I wonder if Bill de Blasio will be making a trip up here to learn how to rid his city of daily homicides and car jackings?

    • Kevin 10:12 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      I lived in Manhattan from 2003 until 2006. The day I left cabbies were still leaning on horns the microsecond the light turned green.

    • Joe 11:08 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Kevin, I think I overestimated by saying “a good 10 years”, although I can’t seem to find info on the net on when the crackdown started. I definitely remember hearing about it a few years ago and noticed the decrease in honking since at least 2009 compared to the late 90s and beyond.

    • Uncle Charlie 13:09 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      @Kevin: According to the NYTimes: “Mr. Koch, whose administration introduced the “Don’t Honk” signs in the 1980s, said he believed “there’s far less honking today than there was” then, and he credited the signs for playing “a role in making that happen.”
      I spent a few days there in 2009 and didn’t hear a peep. What a difference!
      I just read they are removing the signs to “de-clutter the streets”, but the $350 fine remains in place. 206 tickets (not many) were issued in 2012.

      As for the graffiti:

      I believe it was mayor Koch who made it the responsibility for property owners to remove graffiti or be fined. Basically what was proposed and I think overturned in NDG a few years ago.
      They also have a law on the books against taggers: “Penal Law 145.60, when one makes a mark (etches, draws on, covers, etc.) on another’s property (whether it be public or private) with the intent to cause damage. Making Graffiti is an “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.”

    • Ephraim 13:16 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Punishing the victim of tagging doesn’t sound to me as being fair. Neither does jail time for a tagger sound fair to me…. then again, I quickly remove tagging on my property and keep material to remove tagging on the premises.

      I’ve had the front of my house tagged… it is a century old historically protected façade. To make you understand the irreverence in regard to property. Tagging is not art. The punishment should involve removing the tags at the very least. (I removed the tag within 2 hours of it’s appearance.)

    • Uncle Charlie 14:05 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Ephraim: Agreed, one year of jail time seems a bit much to our Canadian sensibilities; but is it not vandalism? Do we not proscribe jail time for people who destroy property? In the case of the Graffiti in Manhattan, apparently the threat of jail time (not sure if more than a handful of repeat offenders would have actually done any time) was part of the solution. As for putting the onus on the property-owner, I believe it is the only way. Unfortunately many people are not as fastidious or efficient as you and need an incentive!

      I used to live in an apartment building where people would leave their garbage bags in the hallway. I would go through the trash to find a pizza receipt or piece of mail, so that I knew in front of whose door I should place it. Problem solved within weeks.

    • Ephraim 15:21 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      @Charlie – The jail time doesn’t seem efficient to me at all, it just creates a cost for the public. While an enormous fine and community service limits the costs to society. All those hours apologizing to people and cleaning should sort of bring more realization, at least as first punishment. And if the fine is large enough, the bankruptcy to avoid it is 7 years of a very different punishment. (Assuming that they aren’t psychotic, of course.)

      We have to find a better incentive to get people to remove the tagging that isn’t strictly a punishment on the victim. I don’t have a clear solution, but I do realize that punishing the victim won’t work in the long run. It’s all broken window syndrome, so it needs to be removed quickly.

    • owl 15:47 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      @Uncle Charlie “I believe it was mayor Koch who made it the responsibility for property owners to remove graffiti. Basically what was proposed and I think overturned in NDG a few years ago.”

      The CDN-NDG bylaw, while scaled back, is still in effect. It requires owners of large residential or commercial properties keep their buildings graffiti-free to avoid facing fines.

      Graffiti is a an especially hot topic in NDG where ugly tags are everywhere and three teenaged graffitists were killed by train.

    • walkerp 21:26 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      The most effective method to cleaning up New York City was making it so only rich people could live there.

  • Kate 20:55 on 2014/04/15 Permalink | Reply  

    A large coalition of municipal employees is sending out a warning that they want negotiations, not legislation, over pension reforms.

    • Ephraim 07:59 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Why do I think that they won’t have much sympathy from the general public who doesn’t get that kind of pension and is forking out about $300 a year in additional property tax to cover their pensions? Especially when our streets are full of pot holes and we have all seen the blue collars standing four deep to fix a single pot hole?

    • Joe 08:47 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Ephraim +1.

    • Kate 08:54 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      No, I can’t agree. You take a job with a certain guarantee of pension, it can’t be taken from you without your agreement. Because those workers got a fair shake for themselves it doesn’t mean those of us without pensions should undermine them – it means we should fight for the same thing for ourselves.

    • Daisy 09:03 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      As Kate says, your pension is part of your total compensation package. You are essentially agreeing to take part of your compensation now and part of it later. It is not fair to take it away after the fact. If you had known the pension would not be as agreed upon you might not have taken that job or you would have negotiated for a larger salary in order to save more for your retirement on your own. (“You” being collective in the case of unionized employees.) If other workers do not have the same kind of pension and would like to have it they need to band together and negotiate for it, i.e. unionize.

    • Bill Binns 09:42 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Reluctantly agree with Daisy. A deal is a deal. People plan their retirement based on their expected pension. Unfortunately, it remians to be seen wether a good many municpalities will be able to honor their part of the deal without cutting essential services. This is the road to bankruptcy that many cities in the USA followed. A drop in home values leads to a drop in property tax revenue and suddenly the city has to borrow money to cover it’s pension payments. That only works for so long.

      I think this story is going to explode here sometime this year with some small to medium municipalities requesting bailouts from the province.

    • Ant6n 10:04 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Tying municipal revenue to the real estate boom and bust is stupid.

    • mdblog 10:26 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Retired municipal employees should be obliged to live in the City of Montreal if they want to collect their pensions as agreed to.

    • Alison Cummins 10:52 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      mdblog, nobody else has that kind of restriction on where they can live. Most people get to move to be near their grandchildren when they retire, or near their friends or relatives, or somewhere they can tolerate the weather. City employees will be the sole exception?

      And why does the city need unhappy retiree-residents so much that it needs to implement unreasonable restrictions in order to trap them?

    • Ephraim 11:39 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Kate – This isn’t all about the present employees… it’s more about the city needs a new lower pension for the future employees. The government needs to step in because the city shouldn’t have been funding the pensions the way it was in any case. The monies should be funded as the teachers pensions are, though a fun held by the Caisse.

    • jeather 11:57 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Current employees should need to live in the city — common all over, in lots of civil service jobs (including teachers, cops, etc) — once you’re retired, you’re retired.

    • Joe 14:14 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Ephraim 12:39 on 2014/04/16

      “Kate – This isn’t all about the present employees… it’s more about the city needs a new lower pension for the future employees.”


    • Kate 15:12 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      So we accept that our society is in decline? We expect new workers to agree to lower compensation and lowered expectations?

      I think that’s what you’re both saying.

      Also, even as lifespans lengthen, pensions are to be docked?

    • Ephraim 15:25 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      @Kate – I am saying that the pensions should be a fund, paid as part of the salary, immediately and not an obligation for the future. That’s why it needs to be at the Caisse, so the city expenses it.

      These jobs aren’t subject to normal market forces. Want to open them up to normal market forces? Might lower costs by a 1/3rd, easily.

      So, the city avoids hiring and filling positions because they are too costly to fill. Service is often inadequate. So, not hiring enough people isn’t a solution either, when people want jobs too.

    • yossarian 15:48 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      Perhaps keep working until 65 to receive full pension. This is a very reasonable requirement when one considers the many benefits the municipal employees receive that private sector employees can only dream of. And that retirement age should move to age 70 over the next few years. Early retirement for civil servants is a scam on the population and speaking for myself I don’t like being treated like a sucker to be scammed.

    • jeather 16:05 on 2014/04/16 Permalink

      The thing is that lots of employees with pensions lost their pensions. Which is not good, at all, but there aren’t the same kinds of protests as when public employees lose them.

    • Ian 07:36 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      @yossarian doesn’t a 70 year old garbage collector seem a bit weird to you? Some of these jobs do involve heavy labour, a worker’s shelf life is shorter in those occupations than those of us lucky & capable enough to secure desk jobs.

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