Rick’s free lunches

They say “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” but this adage is not always true.

The Bells Corners FREE Bike-taxi is really free – there’s no tipping allowed, including monetary tipping.

Another example – Rick gets LOTS of free lunches! And so do those around him: employees, corporate donors, businessmen, kids, family members, friends, even journalists!

It seems that Rick can’t do business without “refreshments” at hand, and he loves to pick up the tab for everyone and then pass it on to the taxpayer. His “municipal government education outreach program” means that many hundreds of students have to listen to Rick tell them what a swell guy he is for a chance to gorge on taxpayer-funded pop and doughnuts.

A six-figure salary, a generous pension, a FABULOUS expense account, a $6000 annual car allowance and all of the “perks” that go with power – can’t the councillor afford to buy his own lunch once in a while? His employees seem to be VERY well paid for not doing much – can’t they brown-bag it some days? And all of those rich corporate donors, businessmen and former politicians – can’t they talk to the councillor without being treated to lavish hospitality at taxpayer expense?

Let’s look at what Rick billed us for in December, 2011:

Why is Rick treating Best Western honcho Shawn to lunch at a competitor’s place? Rick has two sumptuous offices – can’t he use them? Does he always need a doughnut or a slice of pizza in front of him to do business?

Rick and Jim have a lot in common – especially a fondness for hypocrisy.

Hmmm, the name John Rossiter looks familiar. Jennifer McIntosh would be the Rick-friendly journalist who works for OttawaThisWeek. I’m surprised that she let the councillor pay I’ve been informed by Metroland Media that the $28 bill was for the councillor’s lunch only– no part of the sum paid for anything that Ms. McIntosh had. I sympathize with “community” paper reporters who have HUGE workloads and TINY pay cheques. The Westcliffe Steering Committee might mean Bill, Jordan and other mini-Ricks. Anyone recognize some of the other names?

Hey, there’s another name I recognize – Nick Vandergragt, aka Sunny Side Nick, the CFRA journalist “media personality” talk show host who dissed OttawaCouncilWatch until even Nick saw through Rick’s whoppers and started mocking him for his Don Robertson/Lloyd Francis blunder. Isn’t there an ethical problem here? All the journalists I know would never let a politician pick up the tab (Ethics-for-journalists 101). That’s supposedly the official policy at the Sun, the Citizen and CFRA.

The councillor got all the political benefits from “Rick Chiarelli’s Rockin’ New Years Eve,” including fawning articles by Rick-friendly “journalists” Doug Hempstead at the Sun and Ken Gray at the Citizen. It was a free event for everyone but the taxpayer. Only $188 for the linen and “refreshments” for Team Chiarelli, but that’s just a drop in the bucket when you consider wages for Rick’s numerous employees and all the other undocumented costs. And why can’t Rick buy his own tickets if he wants to pig out at the Chamber of Commerce Food Extravaganza?

Add it all up and Rick burned through $209,332 tax dollars in 2011, most of it on promoting himself. As for Rick’s charitable donations – can’t he use his own money and let the taxpayers pick their own charities?

Posting hospitality details on the ottawa.ca website was Jim’s idea – a way of camouflaging his self-serving failure to clean up municipal election financing when he had the chance as Dalton’s minister of municipal affairs.

Rick fought it tooth and nail – he hates having to be transparent and accountable, as reported in the Sun:

Although Coun. Rick Chiarelli, who sits on the committee at which the mayor first introduced the amendment, sees some complications with this degree of public disclosure. While he thinks most disclosures would be harmless, there are cases where it may violate privacy.

“This is supposed to be a balance between freedom of information and privacy.”

Chiarelli recalled one meeting he hosted with community members looking to stamp out dangerous elements in their community. He ordered food for the discussion. To divulge their names would be to expose them to the troubles in their community they were looking to snuff out.

I suggested the balance is in not buying anything for people who wouldn’t want to be identified. But, Chiarelli countered, this isn’t always possible. Sometimes the only time stakeholders are available to meet is during lunch and dinner and he considers it impractical to not provide some form of refreshment.

Hmm, Rick and anonymous people are meeting secretly to “stamp out dangerous elements in the community” while eating taxpayer-funded fast food? Go, Rick, go!

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2 Responses to Rick’s free lunches

  1. Wookie says:

    Ricky doesn’t deliver on his promises.

    • That has to be the understatement of the year.

      Rick’s record in a nutshell:

      1) If Rick announces something is going to happen you can bet that it isn’t. His most recent embarrassment is baseball, which I said from day one was not coming to Ottawa. Rick is a narcissist who loves media attention so he’ll announce stuff when it is in a way-too-early stage just to get in the news. He has Doug Hempstead at the Sun and Ken Gray at the Citizen to publish his imaginary announcements, but none of the real reporters believe anything this clown tells them.

      2) If something does happen Rick takes credit for it, even he had nothing to do with it. 100% of the time, from saving PBS to the Vox demolition — Rick credits himself, but if you actually know the facts he had nothing to do with it. I feel bad for him because he needs these fake accomplishments and now, with the internet, it is a lot harder to maintain the lies. Rick must have told people that he was instrumental in the Vox demolition when in reality he had absolutely nothing to do with it — zero.

      3) If Rick pretends to be on your side he is actually screwing you. I’m actually pretty pro-development but I’m also pro-honesty. I would be fine with announcing a project and then just dealing with the fallout of the community not being happy. Rick’s modus operandi on the other hand is lying and wasting everyone’s time. He’ll pretend to be with the community but really his purpose is just to waste time and frustrate community activists. In the end it always plays out exactly the same way — the developers make some meaningless concession on something that they had included in the original project only so it would be possible to concede it later. Rick then tells the people he’s pretending to work with that if they don’t accept the new offer they will be the ones who will look unreasonable. It happens every single time. Rick has a lot of contempt for the average citizen and a deluded sense of his own rather average intelligence. He thinks he is fooling people but he isn’t.

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