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All In Hand

Here you'll find the sum total of Miss Vicky's Remarks thus far.

Strike's over! Almost.

Miss Vicky Thu Jan 29, 2009

They just announced a tentative agreement to go to binding arbitration. All items. No conditions. City council has to approve it tomorrow; they are meeting at 11.

Fairmont Park recognition night

Miss Vicky Tue Jan 27, 2009

Janet posted this on the "Ice Time" thread, but I figured it was worth highlighting:

Hi Vicky,

As per your request I am reminding you of our Appreciation Night at Fairmont Park this Saturday night at 7pm to thank everyone for the great success in putting our community rink together!

Please bring family and friends, and snacks to share.
… we’ll skate … and visit … and drink (hot chocolate!)

Saturday, January 31st at Fairmont Park
7pm - 9:30pm … or whenever…

Hope to see you all there!


The beginning of the end?

Miss Vicky Sun Jan 25, 2009

I sure hope so. And I hope both parties head to Monday's talks ready to negotiate in good faith. The city needs this to end.

A couple of good links from folks with more energy than Miss Vicky right now: David Reevely has been keeping up on developments... and the comments are getting pretty interesting, too. And of course, the discussion is always buzzing at the OC Transpo livejournal community. Also, an anonymous tipster pointed Miss Vicky to this mirror of Mayor Larry's blog - one that allows comments without moderation. So all you folks whose comments have not showed up on Mayor Larry's site have somewhere to go now!

Dewar's Community Dialogue

Miss Vicky Thu Jan 22, 2009

Our MP wants to find out what your priorities are for the upcoming Federal Budget. So he's holding a Community Dialogue on Economic Priorities this Saturday at the Bronson Centre. The event takes place from 10am to 2pm and will include a presentation by top economist Michael McCracken, who founded Informetrica (and who makes a mean Cajun meal, Miss Vicky discovered at an Urban Element cooking class... but she digresses). Should be interesting

Miss Vicky's priorities? How about some stimulus spending on social infrastructure - like, oh, child care? - in addition to the much-ballyhooed "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects.


Girls Basketball, anyone?

Miss Vicky Tue Jan 20, 2009

This isn't a Dear Miss Vicky letter per se, but Andrea from the fishbowl is looking to bump up enrollment in the Fisher Park girls basketball "skills and drills" class at Fisher Park. Apparently only 2 girls are registered, so the class may be canceled. It's Monday nights, 7-8, and costs about $35. It's for girls between 9 and 14, I think. Sounds like a good program - it would be a shame to see it go!

Email the Mayor: Ask for a Ride Home.

The Webgeek Sun Jan 18, 2009

The Webgeek here. I just stumbled upon this interesting Facebook group, that's trying to get everyone to try and contact Mayor Larry personally, and ask him if he can give them a lift home during the strike. This is the kind of "grassroots action" I can get behind: funny, yet still drives home the point. Imagine the speed at which His Worship would get this transit strike settled if everyone directly affected by it called him for a ride daily.

Email your councillor: take the deal

Miss Vicky Fri Jan 16, 2009

Miss Vicky has been trying to get her blood pressure down so she can write rationally about the outcome of the 2-day Council session on the bus strike. She is still a little stunned that Council thinks it is an acceptable strategy to continue to leave the city without transit while they solicit input from an independent consultant about the scheduling issue..... maybe with the union's participation, maybe not (likely not, Miss Vicky thinks - it could take them two weeks to just agree on an acceptable third party, and given the progress of negotiations to date, that might be optimistic). Basically it seems like they sent their team back with a mandate to continue stalling the process and not really work toward a speedy end to the conflict by....say.... negotiating in good faith.

Anyway, she's putting the rant aside for now, since the union has come back with an offer to the city: bring the scheduling issue to a side table and take the time they need to negotiate a satisfactory outcome to the scheduling issue, and send the rest of the items to binding arbitration. If the city agrees, they'll go back to work. Seems fair to Miss Vicky. This has gone on far too long. Time to put it in the hands of a third party and call it a day. Since the scheduling issue is too complex and there is so much at stake for both sides, it makes sense to have a separate round of talks, perhaps with a mediator, to work through the issues. The other stuff is easily dealt with by an arbitrator, who will take submissions from both sides, look at industry standards, and rule accordingly. Sometimes it swings the union's way, sometimes management's - but surely it's better than the absurd farce these negotiations have become?

Call or email your councillor today, folks. They're having an emergency meeting to consider the proposal. Here's the page with all the contact info

Civic Hospital future

Miss Vicky Fri Jan 16, 2009

Before I get into some serious vitriol about council's strategy for the bus strike, I'd like to pass on some info on a meeting next week. I know many of you are following the discussion (such as it is) about the future of the Civic Hospital in this community and the possibility of relocation. Thanks to Janet for flagging this:

Jan. 15, 2009 -The Future of the Civic Hospital- By Amanda Farris, Vice President CHNA
Serving Ottawa for almost 85 years, the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital has defined our community. Generations of babies have been born there. Grandparents born at the Civic have lived to see their children and their children's children born in the same hospital. Some remember the day they took a young son or daughter to the emergency room for a broken arm, perhaps after falling on the canal during Winterlude. Or maybe they themselves have needed to be seen because of cancer or other serious illness. Whatever the story, anyone who has lived in the neighbourhood for any length of time has walked through those doors at least once.

Despite the issues of traffic, parking and the occasional ambulance with a siren on, it's comforting to know that the Civic is there. We can all thank former Mayor Robert Fisher for our neighbourhood icon. Shortly after the Spanish flu and Typhus epidemics in 1918 and 1919, he saw the need for more hospital facilities. In 1924, the 550 bed Civic Hospital was built at Carling Avenue and Ruskin Street on a piece of land known as "Reid Farm".

The financial resources and social mandates of hospitals have varied widely over the past 400 years. The earliest hospitals included military and marine hospitals, as well as Roman Catholic and then Protestant benevolent institutions. By the turn of the 20th century, the administration of scientific medicine was the major purpose of the Canadian hospital. Since about 1970, hospitals have become increasingly specialized; structurally they have become flexible and expandable.

"Flexible and expandable" are not adjectives usually used to describe the Civic. A quote from the Ottawa Hospital on its Strategic Direction "the Civic cannot be upgraded without overcoming significant engineering and cost challenges." A Business Excellence article published in June of 2008 reiterated the 2020 Master Plan decision to either tear down or rebuild the Civic Campus on site or develop a new site.

Members of the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association (CHNA) as well as other adjacent neighbourhood associations are very interested in what the future holds for this bustling community hospital. Most people understand the balance that needs to be struck between preserving our access to healthcare and the quality of healthcare they receive. Long wait times, limited beds, and environmental hazards inherent with old buildings are all factors that need to be addressed.

The CHNA has asked The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) and the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to present their plans for the future on January 21, 2009 at the Civic Hospital lecture theatre on the 2nd floor of the main building. Cameron Love from TOH and Chantelle LeClerc from the LHIN will be presenting and available afterwards for Q&A. The Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association seeks to foster a positive working relationship with TOH and the LHIN, so that people receive the care they need and deserve in a timely way.

UPDATE: Miss Vicky is informed that the meeting is at 7pm - so that's 7pm, Wednesday January 21.

Bus Strike Help

Miss Vicky Wed Jan 14, 2009

Somerset West Community Health Centre is offering transportation help to people who are having trouble getting around during the bus strike - getting groceries, making medical appointments, etc. If you need a hand, call their Transportation Help Line at 613-297-6376.
All calls will be returned before the end of the business day.

Please pass this info on, especially if you know people who are really being left behind in this conflict - seniors, low income folk, or people living with disabilities, for example.

Go, Clive!

Miss Vicky Wed Jan 14, 2009

David Reevely's blog has a good take on Doucet's frank comments about Council's failed strategy on the bus strike. Since I've been wondering how on earth the city could be so incompetent in its approach to the strike, it was good to hear someone on council acknowledge that they didn't have a full understanding of the drivers' resolve. Now I just want someone to explain why the city feels it can wait so long after the vote results to even START discussing next steps. For someone like me who works in labour relations, who has witnessed many rounds of collective bargaining, including strikes, mediated settlements and varying degrees of impasse between negotiating parties, I have been perplexed at the delays. Why the heck did the mediator not call both parties to the table after the No vote and start working with them around the clock? Why did council not talk about contingency plans BEFORE the vote took place? Why did they take Larry at his word when he expressed confidence the workers would vote yes - as Clive said, this is a guy with absolutely no experience working or managing in a unionized environment (indeed, his whole business is built on providing employers with a way getting around unionization by outsourcing work). What does he know about collective bargaining? And if he's just going on the advice of the OC Transpo negotiators, then perhaps it's time to consider whether you have the best people at the table. If, indeed, Mayor Larry is letting them do their job - I suspect his interference in the bargaining process is what got us into this position in the first place. Perhaps Plan B should involve the politicians backing the heck off and letting the negotiators do their job, and focus on getting a settlement.

I hope the egos on Council can overlook Clive's breaking ranks and give serious consideration to his proposal for a month of free transit after the strike is over. They'll have to do something restore confidence and ridership, and this would certainly help.

Update: Zero Means Zero's latest seems to imply that councillors are considering putting one or some of their own on the team. Bad idea. Back away, politicians - you're not negotiators, no more than Mayor Larry is. Egos have been driving this process too much already... driving it into the ground, that is.

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