Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Amalgamation, Negativity, Municipal Elections and my Teeth

In today's Chronicle, someone is quoted as regretting that there's no anti-amalgamation group in town.

Well, me, I'm opposed to amalgamation. I think it's a spectacularly stupid idea for Waterloo, for lots of reasons:
  • Amalgamation has been shown to be expensive. Union contracts bump up to the highest level; there are virtually no cost savings; and so on.
  • Waterloo property taxes will go up if we merge.
  • I like our unique identity. Kitchener is a great place but is very different from Waterloo and vive la difference.
  • Waterloo has an internationally known name. We should be building our brand, not diluting it.
  • Merging with a city that's twice as big is tantamount to throwing away our self-determination.
  • We already merge almost all the services that can be merged. If there are more opportunities to merge services (the only one I can think of is the libraries), then we can do that without amalgamation.

Crazy as it sounds, the main reason why some prominent Waterlooians are for amalgamation is that they think the city is currently mismanaged, and will be better run if it's part of Kitchener. They point to our chronic underfunding of the arts and library as key issues. But Jeeze Louise guys, if you want better management then vote for candidates who are qualified to do the job. If you have issues you want to influence, speak up - especially now, during an election campaign.

Despite my emphatic opposition to amalgamation, I can't get active in my opposition. For one thing, amalgamation has become The Beast That Will Not Die. It's like, every couple of years I hear someone say, "It's baaaack..." I am suffering from amalgamation fatigue. But even more than that, I have been working to oppose the LRT for two years now, and I'm sick, sick, sick of being negative. Fighting FOR something is so much more fun.

So what am I not against? Well this may be bucking the trend of popular lunacy, but I'm for fluoride in my drinking water. I think the anti-fluoride contingent is fueled by junk science, while the benefits of fluoridation are verified. I'm horrified by what has happened to my dentist, Dr. Harry Hoediono, for standing up for sanity and saying the simple truth. (People in this town play dirty: besides trashing his character, someone on the anti-fluoride side has now brought Harry up on charges for conspiring to spend money or some such thing.)

So why am I not out dressed as a giant tooth, promoting the cause of fluoridated drinking water? If I had kids, maybe I'd stand with Harry and brave the attacks of the pro-cavities crowd. But I don't, so I'm sitting this one out.



Anonymous said...

Yappa you speak truth to truth. NO AMALGAMATION for all the reasons you cite, and yes to flouride and to Harry. Science speaks louder than words. Get with the program people! Also, vote for the right guys, including Jan.

jimm hillis said...

Great post, even though i am from Cambridge I enjoy reading about our Neighbors. Keep up the good work.