I was too young when Gulliver's Travels was an English lesson. I never understood why satire was useful The lesson had barely touched the edge.
I googled Gulliver this morning. Discovered he was an eighteenth century writer in a high wig.
A quote under his portrait read;
"I write to inform , not amuse you"
There was more. I took from it, that people in those times were not free to offer critical observations.
I knew Shakespeare was a political commentator of his day but I didn't learn that in school either.
I'm sure the nuns would not have thought much of David Letterman,Stephen Colbert or John Stewart.
The stories above came to mind while I was stirring porridge. The morning after a Council meeting is always contemplative. If I couldn't write and had no readers, I'm not sure I would stay the course.
Sometimes I wonder, how much is too much. At what point does the figuratively unbelievable become literally unbelievable.
The major item on last night's agenda, was the duplicate Master Parks and Leisure Services Plan. $53,222. were expended for a professional study. It was squirrelled away and worked upon out of sight to re-emerge in a different form.
For example, a recommendation to acquire land for established needs became a study to develop a" strategy for land acquisition"
The need for a gymnasium/youth facility became another study to determine what youth needs are.
Later in the meeting I had an opportunity to dig a little deeper.
The Director of Finance was asked to elaborate on the status of various development charge reserve accounts.
Apparently the Storm Volley ball group had stated a particular figure in a written presentation and ,I think, queried its whereabouts.
The Chief Financial Officer was perturbed about the source of misinformation. Councillor Gaertner had the same apprehension. The Leisure Services Director was directed to investigate.
Presumably to uncover a culprit.
The Cash in Lieu of Parkland in the table of figures was clear. It had grown by one million to twelve million in a year.
I sought enlightenment
In 2007, we needed to buy land . A baseball diamond had risen to a priority. We owned nothing large enough to accommodate such a facility.Staff knew of suitable land on the market. $2million was included in the budget to acquire it.
It was removed by council. Councillor MacEachern expressed the opinion the money was better in the bank earning interest.
In 2008, the same circumstance repeated. Again the recommendation was rejected. As of 2010 no land has yet been acquired. Instead, we are in the process of selling land originally purchased for recreation.
"In your capacity as financial advisor to the council"I asked "what are the merits of keeping $12 million, collected for the purchase of land, in the bank, while land becomes scarcer and more expensive?"
"We need a Land Acquisition Strategy rather than random, sporadic purchase" said the Chief Financial Officer.