Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Trump will go and the only question is how, by Gerry Warner

Trump will go and the only question is how
Perceptions,” by Gerry Warner
It may be too early to call President Donald Trump toast, but surely the bread has been placed in the toaster!
Trump is now a heartbeat away from being directly investigated by the FBI over collusion between his election team and the Russian SVR, the Foreign Intelligence Service (read spy agency) that was preceded by the infamous Soviet KGB.
It doesn’t get much more serious than that.
Talk about Watergate revisited. You think that’s an exaggeration? Well consider what New York Times columnist David Leonhardt said in the most influential newspaper in America Tuesday: “Our president is a liar, and we need to find out how serious his latest lies are.” That’s about as direct as it gets and carries a thousand times more force than any Facebook posting or Twitter tweet.
In fact, in normal circumstances, such an incendiary statement would be an outright libel and career ender for any journalist especially one writing for the most prestigious newspaper in the United States. But rest assured, Leonhardt isn’t going to be sued by Trump or any other fatuous blowhard. Not even when Leonhardt went on to say, “the current president of the United States lies. He lies in ways that no American politician ever has before” adding Trump was the one that started the malicious “birther” controversy by claiming former President Barck Obama was born outside the US as well as a host of other lies including originally denying his remarks over the groping of women.
And what was Trump’s response to the latest firebombs launched at him by the Times? He does as he always does. He went back to campaign mode, holding a rally before 18,000 adoring fans in Louisville, Kentucky where he talked about repealing Obama Care, tax cuts, the “wall” – anything but FBI Director James Comey’s shockwave announcement the same day that the federal force had launched a formal investigation into allegations that Trump’s election team had colluded with Russian spies to discredit Hillary Clinton in order to ease the way for his stunning upset electoral victory.
In the face of this momentous allegation by the most powerful police force in the land, Trump was conspicuously silent and did the only thing he knows how to do, reverting to campaign mode in front of thousands of sycophantic supporters.  And yes, the world has seen this kind of cheap rhetoric before in the 1930s. The location was Nuremberg, Germany. And we all know what that led to.
But people aren’t being conned that easily this time around. In the U.K, bookies are taking bets on Trump’s impeachment and the odds have pulled close to even. But most political pundits think impeachment is unlikely until at least the mid-term elections in 2018 which could be a disaster for the Republicans. In the early days of Watergate, few believed Nixon would be impeached either. But as the scandal deepened, even Nixon himself began to believe impeachment was a possibility and chose to resign rather than face the humiliation of being impeached by Congress. And when you consider that former National Security Director Michael Flynn has already been forced to resign for lying about meeting with Russian intelligence agents and calls are ringing for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign for doing essentially the same thing, Trump’s impeachment becomes more than a fantasy.
Even your humble correspondent believes the chances of a Trump impeachment are far greater than Toronto winning the Stanley Cup. My reasons are simple. If, as many predict, the Republicans fare badly in the mid-term elections, it will finally dawn on the Neanderthals in the Republican hierarchy that sticking with Trump will be like sticking with the captain of the Titanic and pull the entire party into the briny deep. And when that realization hits home dear readers, the Republican backroom will force Trump to resign in another dark chapter in American political history. Or Trump will pull a Nixon and resign himself.
Would I lie to you? Not a chance.

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist and former City Councillor, who was “resigned” from office by the voters, but not impeached.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Cranbrook’s latest elephant story is white, by Gerry Warner

Cranbrook’s latest elephant story is white
By Gerry Warner
What is it about Cranbrook and elephants?
First there was “Charlie Ed,” a circus elephant that escaped while performing with a carnival in town in 1926 and was captured in the bush six weeks later alive and well and renamed “Cranbrook Ed” by jubilant town folk who were joyous that the roaming pachyderm survived his ordeal. Unfortunately, Cranbrook Ed came to a tragic end eight years later when he was executed by a firing squad after goring his trainer.
Surely there’s a metaphor here for another Cranbrook elephant, one distinctly white in color otherwise known as Western Financial Place.
Let’s face it folks. That’s what we have at the corner of 17th Ave. and 2nd St. N, a colossal white elephant with a leaking roof that has to be replaced to the tune of more than $3 million in taxpayers’ money, equal to the City’s road budget in a normal budget year, and the prospect that 15 years hence the taxpayers will be digging into their pockets to do it again because of the roof’s questionable design.
No kidding! In fact, I’ve been talking to City officials and I’ve filed a Freedom of Information application to get to the bottom of this horrendously expensive mess, but in the meantime some things are glaringly obvious.
Like it or not, we’ve been had, but I hasten to say, not by the current council. They’re just the poor shmucks that are going to have to bail us out of this mess. No, we were had by a cabal of lawyers, businessmen and politicians almost 20 years ago that somehow in their lust to land a Canadian Hockey League team convinced a gullible public to believe in their cockamamie scheme to bring a CHL team to Cranbrook.  We’re a great hockey town in our own right, but maybe not quite big enough to support a CHL team. Then they housed the team in a building designed by a “three P” public/private partnership, which included an outfit out of Cincinnati that didn’t know or care a hell of a lot about hockey, nor it appears building design, if you consider the leaky roof and the loading bay that’s too small for the big rigs that service the few major concert acts that we’ve been able to bring to our fair burg.
The referendum vote was close, but we fell for it hook, line and sinker and now it appears we’re going to lose our no longer so loved hockey team attracting paltry crowds of 1,700 or less in a building that seats over 4,200. As for the building itself we’re going to have to decide whether it’s really worth spending another $3.5 million on at the expense of the taxpayers’ already tightened belts and the City services that may have to be cut for our over-sized and costly white elephant.
And you know what’s really sad about this already sad affair is where is that group of lawyers, businessman and politicians that brought us this debacle? Where is the “Save the Ice” committee raising money and selling T-shirts to save our once beloved team? Well, I’ll tell you where they are. They’re nowhere! Not a peep out of them while the fate of The Ice and the fate of our White Elephant, I mean Western Canada Place, twists in the wind. And in their place, what do we see? Former Ice players writing mature and articulate letters to the newspaper pleading for the team to remain in Cranbrook. That’s the saddest part of all.
I don’t envy the task facing the current council to somehow salvage something out of this stinking manure pile we’re now in. Will a White Knight come forward at the last minute and save Cranbrook’s most famous team? Would community ownership be the answer? Could the former Rec Plex be sold to a private owner if the price was right?
None of these are easy possibilities, but let’s face it Cranbrook, we’re all responsible one degree or another for this unholy mess and we’re all in it together.

Gerry Warner is a retired City councillor and a former reporter for the Townsman.