Our Mayor talks to us
Wasn’t it illuminating – and so easy – to read Mayor Pedneaud-Jobin’s pre-budget economic forecast in the November 2nd Bulletin? His report was clearly written and nicely laid out. Isn’t it interesting to see where the city administration is putting its priorities and our taxes?
Imagine if we had not read this report. We would join the complainers who find nothing but problems and mistakes in our city’s governance? Instead of thanking the mayor, we’d be complaining about missing police services, potholes, speeding, bus services, a cramped library, loose dogs, and inattentive civil servants . . .
What would we use to form our judgements if we did not have reports like this forecast and the city’s coming budget? What would we know about next year’s budget? We are instructed to, um, pour a coffee, sit down, turn on our computers, call up the city’s website, scroll down, down some more, refresh your coffee, look for – what is it we’re actually looking for?— OK, we must make notes, scrolling up and down the site, not even aware of what specifically we’re looking for, what it is labelled as . . . yes, we might find the mayor’s report online, or just as easily we might not find it.
How much more effective to have the mayor’s message included with all the other city news, in our local paper! What could be easier and more informative?
That’s genuine communication, not ordering your audience to comb through labels and categories within a giant website. It gives us faith that our own city is on our side, really trying to let us know what is happening. The curt message – “Go find it on our website!” – is not effective, nor efficient, communication, period.
Restricting information and notices to only a website is like telling citizens they have to use Access to Information tools to find out anything at all from our city – that’s in effect how a website functions. The citizen does the work.
Reading the mayor in the Bulletin means we don’t think, “what’s the city hiding?”; we think “wow, look at this, now I understand!”
We’ve read these and similar city reports before, of course, and have appreciated them (judging from our Letters to the Editor) but this year’s report is a little different. It contains the mayor’s remark, in essence, that he wishes he didn’t have to do this at all! He mentions twice that the City is publishing this information only because Quebec, quite rightly, requires it.
Holy smoke! What an attitude! We clearly remember the Charbonneau hearings. Québec has had trouble with secrecy and shady dealings; Québec insists on this all-hands-above-the-table transparency. Who can disagree, even if the cost is higher? Who thinks a democracy is cheap to run, or that democratic processes are a place to save money? Banks save money. The mayor’s remarks to this effect seem strangely ill-placed here, within such an otherwise helpful report. Tell the mayor: email@example.com or 819-595-7100.