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    From Nov 3 Edmonton Journal comes this list of new phrases.

    City budget delivers Head Stun
    A civic glossary, from annexation to Zanzibar

    Scott McKeen
    The Edmonton Journal

    Friday, November 03, 2006

    A glossary of terms to accompany city hall's 2007 budget, unveiled Thursday. Reprints are available to the mayor and councillors at a 13-per-cent increase over last year's prices.

    Affordable Housing: A description of the real-estate market in Zanzibar, an island off East Africa.

    Annexation: This is a good one. Honest. Try it. Get in your car, drive out to Sherwood Park. Go into big-box store. (Don't worry, you'll find one.) Yell out ANNEXATION and watch them duck and cover. Cracks me up, dude.

    Balance: The amazing poise city councillors demonstrate in remaining upright whilst sleeping through budget presentations.

    Budget Document: A thick, heavy and imponderable binder bulging with hundreds of pages of numerical gobbledegook. Good for bicep curls, self-defence or kindling.

    Budget Summary: The civil service's abridged, four-page finance leaflet. Pie shapes. Pretty pictures. Great for columnists.

    Capital City Vision: In city council's case, legally blind. Even with the bifocals.

    Cleanup Program: A description of the financial windfall awaiting councillors after the next election, when they get a 13-per-cent pay hike. They're really going to clean up. Unless electors beat them to it.

    Council Outcomes: Why councillors have their own private bathrooms in back of chambers.

    Council Priorities: Why civic politicians should eat fibrous fruits and vegetables. To ensure good, regular outcomes.

    Direction: Look up. Look way up. There's your tax bill.

    Dynamic Downtown: City hall-sponsored game. You walk around downtown, dodging bullets and aggressive panhandlers while trying to spot one lousy cop.

    Civic Election: Democratic exercise in which incumbent politicians get re-elected on name recognition and zany eccentrics crawl out of hidey-holes to run for mayor.

    Head Stun: 1) Move used by police to disable rowdies; 2) Look on journalists' faces when handed budget documents.

    In Camera: 1) When council meets in private; 2) What civic politicians do during election campaigns when there's a news photographer around.

    Infrastructure: All the city parks, facilities, roads and bridges used for free by our well-heeled friends in Sherwood Park and St. Albert.

    Labour Shortage: Laudable city hall initiative. Some women go through hellish long deliveries. Anything city hall can do to shorten labour is good. We need the workers.

    Low-Income Edmontonians: Me and you. Not mayor and councillors.

    Master Plan: First Strathcona County, then the world, MWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

    Multi-Purpose Recreation Facility: A $90-million fun palace for Terwillegar. One of the only city initiatives supported by Coun. Mike Nickel. Funny, but it's also in his ward. What a coincidence.

    Police Budget: Do you have any idea how much it costs to recharge all those Tasers? Replace those handcuffs? Arrest citizens without charging them? It's enough to stun your head.

    Public Hearing: Sessions where the public is allowed to give council its views on the budget. Councillors, meanwhile, turn down hearing aids.

    Regional Plan: We don't need no stinking plan. We're going to annex Strathcona County. Then we'll be rich, rich, rich.

    Responsive Government: The actions of council next fall, in the four weeks leading up to the election.

    Smart Growth: A purely theoretical concept. Never seen it. Never will.

    Stakeholders: If one of you civil servants say this nonsensical weasel word in front of me again, I'll be the one holding the stake. You'll be running.

    Sun: Will come out tomorrow, unless tabloid readers finally clue into the fact that phoney tax revolts are just a lazy, hackneyed ploy to create news and fill columns.

    User Fees: The amount you pay for city facilities whether you live in Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park or Sturgeon County. Hey, is that fair?

    Waste Management: What the city hall press gallery must do to clean up all the run-on sentences and garbled grammar -- not to mention, the odd potty word -- in quotes from civic politicians.

    Zanzibar: 1) An island off the coast of East Africa, where councillors will have to flee if they approve this unholy budget and its 7.8-per-cent tax increase; 2) Edmonton has about as much chance of annexing Zanzibar as Sherwood Park. So relax, folks.

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    © The Edmonton Journal 2006

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