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C2E Mention from Kerry Diotte

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  • C2E Mention from Kerry Diotte

    Edmonton Sun
    Kerry Diotte
    Nov. 22, 2006

    'Tis the season to be jolly, they say. So how come I'm not feeling very much like that lately?

    Maybe it's the fact winter came way too early.
    Perhaps I'm not getting enough beauty sleep.
    Or it could be I'm just plain crabby.

    But a lot of things are bugging me these days.

    The city budget always bugs me - and the one proposed for 2007 especially gets my goat. Most annoying to me is the spin-doctoring that's going on.
    When you go to the website, you can get the budget details that include this statement: "If approved, the City's 2007 funding requests will result in a 7.8% tax increase."

    But that's just not true. It fails to mention that there are written funding requests from the police service and other civic agencies and boards that would push the tax hike above the 7.8% mark.

    These requests are detailed in the actual budget document and would result in a 9.3% hike in property taxes, if the budget is approved as it's now written.
    Just as taxing to my patience these days is the over-commercialization of Christmas. It gets worse every year as people forget that this is a religious holiday.

    Spoiled brats

    Instead, stores start flogging Christmas wares long before Halloween and try to guilt parents into spending hundreds of dollars on gifts for their spoiled brats.
    Gee, if you don't max out your credit card and buy your kids the latest game system for $699 I guess you're a bad parent.

    Parents should take the bull by the horns and break it to their kids that they're only getting a few inexpensive token gifts and, instead, larger amounts of cash will be donated to charity. That's the true meaning of Christmas.

    This isn't nearly as significant as ruining Christmas, but it bugs me nonetheless: When are people outside of Alberta going to realize there's another city in this province besides Calgary?

    Recently two major magazines in the East - Ottawa Business Journal and a Rogers Publishing Ltd. shopping magazine called Chocolat - wrote stories that included a description of Calgary as Alberta's capital.

    The gaffes were discovered by readers of an online site, - a very cool grassroots-style website that links Edmontonians worldwide.

    Faceless bureaucracy is always high on the list of things that bug me.

    I've encountered a fair bit of it lately including a mind-numbing attempt to reach a real, live federal government employee in Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

    I knew the address of the local office but the federal government operator wouldn't give me a phone number to it "unless you know the name of a person there."

    Instead, he gave me a useless automated information line. Ah, government is so helpful to the people it serves, eh?

    Phone numbers

    On that front, some banks are no better. I laugh when banking organizations list a whole pile of local phone numbers for branches, which channel into a phone centre far, far away.

    If you ever do get a real local number for a bank employee, guard it with your life. It's a rare commodity.

    I'm also bugged by bad grammar these days (and please God, don't let me make a mistake in this column).

    It's especially galling to hear national broadcasters say things such as "anyways" when they should say "anyway" or "He's doing good" when they mean "He's doing well." No wonder many kids can't speak or write properly.

    I could go on about other things bugging me these days, but I've run out of space for this column - and that bugs me, too.

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