Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 4, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
6-THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Friday, Ostobtr 4, 1974 City council There's 'lack of leadership' DICK JOHNSTON City council City council has shown a lack of leadership in setting policies with goals and objec- tives in mind, says a chartered accountant seeking his first term on council. "I've never really seen any firm policy statements come out of says Dick Johnston, 30, a native of Lethbridge who runs his own firm. "I'd like to see something in the order of a throne speech in which the mayor speaks on his and council's policies, rather than making short-term policy based on immediate problems. "There's definitely a lack of leadership. The administra- tion should take policy direc- tion from council as opposed to initiating policy. "But unless council is sure in its own mind what direction it's going, it's difficult to give direction." Mr. Johnston, who's on the board of the Lethbridge Com- Land prices of concern With 10 candidates scrambl- ing for eight city council seats, incumbent aldermen are taking a lot of flack on their performance in the past three years. But one challenger who isn't throwing brickbats in their direction is John Gogo, 42, local manager of Investors Syndicate Ltd. "I seem to be one of the few new fellows on the civic scene saying Lethbridge is a nice city, an active city, and it didn't just happen, it was Mr. Gogo says. "We've been fortunate over the years in having city coun- cils that have been pretty well qualified. "Instead of throwing stones at the present council, we should be commending them. The only guy who doesn't make mistakes is the guy who's not doing anything." Having said that, Mr. Gogo, who feels that a person who has the ability also has the responsibility to serve his community, goes on to speak of several "concerns." "I'm concerned about the role the city plays in land assembly and housing, because where the price of a lot in the total house package has traditionally been five to 15 per cent, it now represents in some cases in Lethbridge 50 per ;ent of the he said. "Some say the city is play- ing a role in West Lethbridge. JOHN GOGO I'm not arguing that, but in many ways it's made land prices in the rest of the city exhorbitant. "We've got to do something municipal government is the closest to the people and has the primary responsibility of looking after the needs of the people. "Surely through proper planning, we can provide lots at a reasonable price." Mr. Gogo, however, qualifies that statement and other remarks by saying they're simply his obser- vations as an average ratepayer. "I'm not privy to all the in- formation council has in many cases council may have weighed all the factors and come up with the best decisions. "So I'm not pointing fingers all I can do is pick out areas of concern." One such concern, he says, is that council should develop better rapport better public relations with the community. "On the power plant issue, for example, I'm not question- ing the economic decision, but the way it was put over to the public." Mr. Gogo says he's a strong believer in planning both long and short range. "One of the fundamental facts in running a corporation is long-range planning, and as the city is a large corporation, planning is he said. "I also have a gut reaction that maybe we have a lot of fat on city hall, he said. "I've been in enough organizations to know that you tend to build empires." Rather than expand city hall, perhaps council should look at moving the engineer- ing department out to where its equipment and men are, or moving the building inspec- tion department, which main- ly serves contractors and developers, he said. munity College and served four years as treasurer for the Victorian Order of Nurses here, says if policy is made clear, spending priorities and quality of life issues fall naturally into place. In addition, he says, it makes participatory democracy more possible in that council can set general policies and get feedback from the people before setting final policies. This would make the town hall meetings, now usually held four times a year by council, more realistic, he says. "If we're going to have town hall meetings let's make them work and really listen serious- ly to people. "We have to encourage the mayor and council to take leadership positions." Mr. Johnston says he favors a relatively low city growth rate. "If we can control expen- ditures, we won't have to ex- pand the tax base as he says. "We're at a good level of in- dustry now and don't have to pursue expansion of heavy in- dustry any further.; "But maybe service or agricultural industries are required, those that are not heavy in terms of their environmental impact on the average person." While Mr. Johnston feels the power plant sale is a dead issue, he says it showed that council doesn't really believe in participatory democracy. "The two hearings were mere he says. "The decision was made long before that." "It's difficult for me to see how council could come out unanimously in favor of the sale it suggests to me they didn't listen to the inputs of the people. "There were some very ex- pert people there that put the CH2M Hill report in serious jeopardy. "Council did not sufficiently explain why they ignored the information those people gave them." "I'm not saying the decision was right or wrong, but they didn't listen to the people." MORE THAN TOTAL PRIZES IT'S THE BIGGEST DRAW IN THE WEST! There will be 1908 lucky ticket holders! FIRST PRIZE SECOND PRIZE THIRD PRIZE 5 FOURTH PRIZES each CONSOLATION PRIZES SELLER'S PRIZES TOTAL PRIZES 1900 at each CASH TAX-FREE Entries Close October 9. 1974 Preliminary Draw October 23, 1974 GOOD FOR YOU AND ALBERTA, TOO! Proceeds from the sale oJ all tickets m Alberta will be used in Alberta to support sports and cultural events such as Sport Alberta The Liberia Art Foundation Alberta Herbage Foundation and 1978 Commonwealth Games. TheLotJery is sponsored by Jhe Calgary Exhibition and Stampede the Commonwealth Games Foundation and the Edmonton Exhibition Association under the ausoices ol the Alberta Government GIVES YOU A CHANCE ON BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! Available ITOTTI your favorite service church, sports or charitable organiEation OR Send m the coupon and gel your tickets by rnail WESTERN CANADA LOTTERY Meet your candidates City council Air service tops list City council have to listen' Bill Cousins freely admits that as a politician he's a flop. "It may be old-fashioned and politically unfeasible, but the reason I'm running is I sincerely believe it's a matter of civic pride and says the 44-year-old physics instructor at the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute. "I guess I'm just a person saving here I am, I'm willing to offer my services and do an honest conscientious job." Mr. Cousins, has taught in the city for 20 years, coaches minor hockey, and has served on most levels of the local Alberta Teachers' Association executive. "I have no he says. "I know what it's like to sit on committees and give up your spare time and take telephone calls at all hours. "You've got to be approachable, and not callous to people they're your boss and you've got to listen to them." As for a platform, Mr. Cousins says he believes coun- cil should keep the city a good place to raise a family. "A city like this has got to keep up its services, like fire and police he says. "If you don't, it goes up in a geometric progression and runs away from you. "I'd sooner pay a few dollars more to make sure we have these things. "Industrial growth has to be controlled, but I'm not naive enough to think we don't need business and he says. "But it has to be controlled I would prefer that none of the polluting type of industry be allowed in, and there should be a definite require- ment that industry pre-treat BILL COUSINS its sewage." Mr. Cousins said he'd also like to see a few more small parks scattered around the city. He suggests for example that coulee areas could be developed as toboggan runs open to all the public at a reasonable fee. Mr. Cousins says he'd make no bones about favoring building ice-arena shells for minor hockey over building a new city hall. "But in a case like that I believe you should try and get provincial government and community support, so that you're not getting something for nothing." The minor hockey associa- tion made a pitch to council last year for a double-shell, two-ice-surface arena served by one ice plant, but were told at the time that the necessary funds were not available. Separate school board 'Blueprint needed' The separate school board must curtail its "band-aid" approach to education and begin preparing a blueprint for the future of Lethbridge separate schools if it intends to maintain the autonomy it now has, suggests a separate school candidate for the Oct. 16 school board elections. Ian Whishaw. a psychology professor at the University of Lethbridge, claims the lackadaisical attitude of the trustees has created a situa- tion that "is just ripe for government to begin directing what is going on in education in the separate schools." There "are so many things that can be investigated and planned for in education" and if the school systems don't do it, the government will, he maintains. There is no business or educational institute that can operate effectively without a blueprint for the future, he argues, speaking in favor of planning. Dr. Whishaw said he was surprised to learn recently that the local separate school board has not researched the problems facing the separate schools. Worse still, he says, the trustees have not even iden- tified the problems. If elected. Dr. Whisahw says he wouldn't have "any easy solutions" to the problems facing separate schools. "I don't think there are any easy answers." Solutions to school problems, he believes, must be reached jointly by parents, teachers and trustees after careful consideration has been given to professional research studies of the problems. Dr. Whishaw accused the separate school board of reing a poor communicator. "No one tells parents very much and teachers are very sensitive to the fact trustees don't talk to them." Many parents, he says, don't have the background to ask the probing type of questions to obtain an under- standing of the education be- ing taught to their youngsters. It is up to the trustees to make sure the parents are receiving as much informa- tion about what is happening in the classroom as possible. But there are several issues he believes should be discuss- ed and researched. IAN WHISHAW He says there are just too many young people graduating from high school who don't have positive opinions of the education they received in elementary and secondary schools. The school system should survey its graduates to not only find out what they're do- ing two or three years after they graduate but to obtain their opinions about the education they received. Dr. Whishaw also expressed concern about the direction religious instruction is taking. "I am surprised it even got in that shape." he stated, while recommending that high school students be taught comparative religion and the philosophy of religion rather than the fundamentals. The separate schools should also prepare students for the "real problems" of the next 20 years and since most of the problems are likely to be socially orientated, social science courses should be emphasized in the high school grades, he continues. The schools could free teachers for planning sessions jf they would begin to use community resources for the specialized education of their students. He suggests the schools farm their students out to qualified community organizations for instruction in soch specialized areas as music, drama and technical trades The new city council will face following through with a number of priority items after the Oct. 16 election, says in- cumbent Alderman Steve Kotch. High on Mr. Kotch's list of priorities is the work of the air transportation committee he chairs. Air transportation is a pet project of Mr. Kotch's, one he's worked on first as a Chamber of Commerce member, then as an alder- man. He was first elected to council in 1969. It took him out of the city during the height of this year's election campaign a fact that doesn't seem to worry him. "By now the voters either love me or they hate me and there's nothing I can do about. he says. He'll be visiting four cities between Oct. 3 and 8 pushing the city's case for a bigger airport by 1978 to handle Air Canada DC-9's on an East West transcontinental ser- vice. Also on Mr. Kotch's list of important projects are the continued revitalization of the downtown area, low income housing, a new senior citizens' centre and solutions to traffic problems. "We're faced with the problem of ensuring there will not be a housing shortage par- ticularly for low income he says. "We're going to have to con- tinue negotiations with provin- cial and federal governments in an effort to make them aware there is and always will be a need to provide money for the purpose of land bank- ing for low cost housing." Mr. Kotch, who owns Northern Bus Lines, says there are areas of the west oide, wheie extensive land banking has already been done. This land could be used for that purpose as the city controls the land and hence its price. He says he also hopes to spearhead through council a STEVE KOTCH request by senior citizen groups for a new senior citizens' centre that will replace the Golden Mile Centre. A solution to traffic problems, particularly mak- ing school crossings safer in all parts of the city where hazards exist, is a number one priority, says Mr. Kotch. He remains opposed to pedestrian overpasses. He says, council has already investigated them, and there's no point in looking at them anymore. "They have failed in other cities and will continue to fail because there's no way you can force children or other pedestrians to use them." New concepts are needed, Mr. Kotch says, and the city shouldn't be afraid to in- convenience motorists to en- sure pedestrian safety. "One idea I've been toying with is some kind of physical barrier, such as the old style railway crossing barriers that physically stop he said. Mr Kotch is also a strong supporter of the proposed million addition to city hall. It's necessary, he believes, to increase the efficiency of city staff. In order for Lethbridge voters to become better with those running lor office in the Oct. 16 civic election, Lethbridge Herald city hall reporter Andy Ogle and education reporter Jim Grant are interviewing all alder- manic and school board candidates. These Interviews will be carried in The Herald daily until the 19 people seeking a seat on council and the 23 seeking trusteeships on the public and separate school boards have appeared. Separate school board 'Communication key' Some Lethbridge separate schools need to establish better communications with parents, says a candidate who hopes to take positive action to create a better relationship between schools and the com- munity if elected in the Oct. 16 separate school board elec- tion. Dave Bowden, an animal nutritionist at the Lethbridge Research Station, says he and his wife have always found it easier to solve problems "their youngsters encountered at school through good com- munications with their teachers and principal and can't see why all schools couldn't establish a similar relationship with most of their parents. Communication is necessary because teaching methods often differ from teacher to teacher or school to school and the parents and their youngsters at times are "confused about what the teacher is trying to do." Poor communications erodes confidence in the teacher and "it is a must that parents have confidence in the teacher" if the child is to learn effectively. Dr. Bowden maintains. He suggests the school board could hold workshops to inform parents about "what is going on in the schools." It should provide parents with an understanding of some of the new teaching methods and changes in curriculum because "what our children are studying today doesn't resemble what we he continues. Dr. Bowden is concerned that more attention has not been paid to assessing whether "we are doing a good job" of creating a Christian atmosphere in the separate schools. "We have to find an ade- DAVE BOWDEN quate procedure for checking this out. Too often we let it go for years without checking it out" He congratulated the school board for establishing a com- mittee to study the effec- tiveness of the religious programming being offered by the schools. "I will put my continued support behind it and make it an important part of tiie school Bus transportation is a ma- jor concern to Dr. Bowden. "There are just too many cases where the buses are very crowded. We must strive to get more buses, especially on the longer runs." If elected, he also intends to strive for adequate funds to reduce the number of students each teacher has to instruct. "We should have a tower ratio throughout the school system." he said, while pointing out he is referring to the actual number of students each teacher must teach and not the inflated student- teacher ratio that is used by the department of education.