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DebraW
06-09-2007, 09:36 AM
Councillors out to lunch

Kerry Diotte
Thu, September 6, 2007

Our Silly Hall councillors are at it again - showing they love nothing better than being meddlesome Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

I'm not talking about the fine charity organizations, either, when I speak of Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

What I'm evoking is the image of the all-controlling Big Brother of George Orwell's terrifying book, 1984.

It seems our city councillors revel in being meddlesome and controlling. If this crew had its way they'd change our city's slogan to City of Big-Brotherly Love.

They waste their time with trivial matters, even though there are exceedingly more important things to deal with, including our frighteningly high murder rate, our critical housing shortage and our shoddy road system.

Council's latest folly is the discussion of a bylaw to ban Edmonton cab drivers from eating or drinking while they drive their vehicles.

Another considered change would also bar taxi drivers from smoking in their cars even if no passengers are in them.

Plus, there's a city hall push to ban cabbies from talking on cellphones while driving.

Coun. David Thiele is the biggest advocate of that.

Thiele told council that allowing drivers to use cell phones was "way worse" than letting them eat and drink in their moving vehicles.

A cellphone ban has long been a pet project of the councillor who has never met a hard-core, left-wing cause he doesn't enthusiastically support.

Maybe it's time Dangerous Dave moved on to provincial politics so he could advocate for a cellphone ban at the correct level of government. Earlier in the week, a couple of other councillors displayed their meddlesome stripes when asked about the food-and-drink ban.

Coun. Kim Krushell figured it was downright dangerous for cabbies to be eating or drinking coffee and such while driving. "I could see where the passenger could be put at risk," she told the Sun.

Coun. Michael Phair was of the opinion drivers could have a cup of joe while cruising, but God forbid some hungry hack munch on a Timbit. "I don't have an objection with coffee, but I don't think they should be eating while driving," said Phair.

Talk about being out to lunch on an issue! What's next? Maybe a strict bylaw to ban cabbies from listening to their car stereos?

As for a smoking ban - taxis are people's private vehicles. If a cab company doesn't want a sniff of stale smoke in a taxi, that company should make a rule. Why must our civic government get involved?

The simple truth is, taxi drivers work long, gruelling hours. They don't get a chance for a leisurely, hour-long lunch or dinner - the kind city councillors enjoy.

We don't need any more of these meddlesome bylaws. We've seen too many - a heinous hit parade including the smoking bylaw, the cat bylaw, the bullying bylaw ...

If councillors wanted to do something useful for the cab industry, they'd figure out how to immediately get more taxis on the streets at peak times. There's a report floating around about increasing the number of cab licences, but action has yet to be taken, even though the problem has plagued the city for years.

Despite that, our population has grown by tens of thousands of people in the last 10 years, the number of cabs on our streets has remained at 1,185, roughly the same number as a decade ago.

That means scads of people are often stranded. It's almost impossible to get a taxi when the bars close. Given that, there's no question scores of tipsy patrons have given up and driven their vehicles while impaired.

To me, that's a far bigger problem than cab drivers who sip on a coffee and chew on a cake doughnut while driving.

-30-

Medwards
06-09-2007, 09:58 AM
Kerry - you begin to sound like a broken record...

If a cabbie was to eat, drink, or talk on his cell phone while I'm a paying passenger, I consider that an endangerment to myself, and will ask to pull over at the first chance, and usually will not receive the fare that I was going to pay.

If you want to eat or drink during your shift, or call someone, do like the rest of us do - DO IT ON YOUR BREAK

this is common sense... There is nothing saying a cab can't carry a cell phone. Just dont use it while carrying passengers.

RichardS
06-09-2007, 11:25 AM
Sorry, common sense cannot apply when there is an opportunity to complain about City Hall.... ;)

Medwards
06-09-2007, 11:56 AM
potholes and art galleries and interchanges oh my x3

(sung to lions and tigers and bears oh my)

DanC
06-09-2007, 04:39 PM
While I think that City Hall does waster too much time on small inconsequential issues, that they can neither police or enforce. Kerry Diotte once again comes across as a hyperbole filled loon, chomping at the bit to take whatever shot he can at the City.

Are we sure he's not going to take a stab at the Mayor's job?