This past week's lesson for Arjun Singh, member of City Council, was not to keep my mouth shut and my head low.
I made a comment about the possibility of outsourcing some city hall work overseas in the near future. I am pretty sure if we ever went down this path, it would not be at the detriment of local city staff and the local tax base. It was not pleasant, however, to have Jim Sinclair, president of the BC Federation of Labour (in Kamloops on union business) call the idea "stupid" and suggest that I resign so my work could be contracted out.
I basically was throwing out an idea, in the context of a budget meeting. I think its important that elected people don't censor themselves, especially at the early stages of decisionmaking, so we leave no stone unturned. And, as unpleasant as Jim Sinclair's reaction was, I think I owe it to the community to keep putting new ideas on the table (I am a little sore this week, though).
Another interesting happening in the same vein: I have been quite public about my feelings that we have to start really sharpening our pencils and be more modest in spending at city hall. I have called this "a budget crunch". Today, Kamloops This Week editor Chris Fould took me to task for supporting $25 000 of city money to plan for a new public "spirit square" in the city. He does not believe we need more squares in the city. Again, this criticism came about because I have said things, written things in the public domain. And I am glad I have - Chris may have a point that I have not thought through.
I am not willing to concede the point just yet. Chris might just have made me focus better on why I support spirit square. A city has to continue to enhance public space and the provincial spirit square program matched our money. So, perhaps it is wise to spend 50 cents to get a dollar, for something we were going to do in any case in the near future.