Spare a quarter?

Holiday season is a great time to ask for donations. Christian food bank marketing is everywhere but there’s some generosity left over for other charities. This woman collected over a thousand dollars in a few days at the Metro.
People are generous this time of year but it falls off after Christmas. This guy plans to tough out the cold and the humiliation until Dec. 24.
He’s usually “calming traffic” in the LCBO parking lot from 4-5 p.m.
He then moves to FreshCo from 5-6 p.m. tod
Sometimes he gets donations of clothes and food but usually it’s cash.
So many people need help! Pity the working poor who have no choice but to get cash for food and rent at Ottawa’s only drive-thru pay day loan business, even if it costs $63 for a two-week $300 loan.
Ghostly figures at Big Mort’s Little Pub.
Epoch Times bounced out of Loblaws but still available at the Metro.
Cool gifts en français beside the Butchery.
Where Wallack’s used to be.
DeSerres in Bells Corners.
Wealthy business owners get relaxed at the Bells Corners Spa.
A slightly different clientèle at the Paradise Spa.
The DND military occupation of Fort Rusty in the Bells Corners Wild West is delayed yet again!
Life at the frontier is unbearable
Donald Trump has his gushing fans in Bells Corners.
Trudeau’s democracy survey – some love it, some hate it. Some real questions, some satirical questions from journalists – can you tell the difference?

Journalist shining a politician’s shoes.
Sue Sherring, a pale imitation of Earl McRae, is finally gone. She was way too friendly with the sleazy politicians she covered but sometimes her aim was true:

Well done, taxpayers. Thanks to you, Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney now takes photos on a fancy $3,400 camera, College Coun. Rick Chiarelli is a member in good standing with the Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association of Ottawa and the much-maligned taxi industry regularly gets a boost in business from several city councillors.

Hey, why use your taxpayer-funded car allowance when you get to hop in a cab at city expense?

Yes, these are just some of the ways city councillors are gobbling up your hard-earned tax dollars.

The Sun recently accessed receipts from councillors’ city charge cards.

The information — more than 1,700 pages of it — came in two parts.

Seems there’s no item too big or too small for a councillor to charge to the taxpayer — everything from $2 coffees to Tierney’s high-end camera. (To be fair, that price tag apparently includes accessories.)

Tierney doesn’t get to keep the camera — it’s owned by the city now — but it is Tierney’s to use as long as he’s in office.

Charging taxis back to the taxpayer is particularly annoying.

Each councillor already gets a car allowance of roughly $7,000 a year. They don’t have to account for it. It’s given in recognition of the many miles they use their cars for city business.

While it may occasionally be easier to take a cab, why wouldn’t city councillors use their own money, given the car allowance, which goes directly into their pockets? Isn’t that just double-dipping?

“I see what you’re saying, I see your point. I hadn’t thought about it that way,” said Innes Coun. Jody Mitic.

Let’s hope the next time Mitic and some of his colleagues want to take a cab — they dip into their own wallet, not ours.

Capital Coun. David Chernushenko bought a $30 membership to the Canadian Botanical Garden Society.

Hard to understand how that relates to city business. In fact, that’s just what one city staffer wondered as well, writing this on the expense sheet given back to Chernushenko.

“I don’t understand how this org relates to city councillor role,” the unnamed staffer wrote.

The city clerk’s department oversees councillors’ expenses.

It was left to Chernushenko’s staffer Sarah Loomis to write the reply.

“Not sure how I should answer how it fits to the councillor’s role. He has made donations to multiple organizations that are not consistuency related,” Loomis wrote.

“But it is located in his ward and he believes they do good work.”

Good grief. Not sure the best answer to misspending taxpayers’ money is to suggest he does it all the time. But let’s thank Loomis for being perfectly honest.

Of course, belonging to the Canadian Botanical Garden Society for $30 is a bargain compared to the $300 Chiarelli spent signing up to the Italian Association.

Chernushenko also made a $70 donation to the Canadian Organic Growers’ Senior Organic Gardeners group. Guess he just loves flowers!

With many donations, councillors actually get a tax receipt for the donation.

Other councillors benefit from using their Air Miles card — earning points while they use our money,

And, when flying, it seems most charge the $30 or so for seat selection and extra luggage.

One such expense from Tierney cost $144. Apparently, not able to pack light, Tierney paid $50 for two extra bags and then another $75 for excess baggage.

Chiarelli bought four men’s vests at $10 from Giant Tiger for the office, with no explanation offered.

That’s a bargain compared to the almost $900 he spent buying engraved pens. And then there’s the $634 spent on customized T-shirts for staff and volunteers at events.

Yes, that’s all our money.

Mayor Jim Watson has gone a long way in restricting some of the things councillors can spend their budgets on.

But if there’s enough money to spend $900 on pens or $3,400 on high-end cameras, he still has a long way to go.

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One Response to Spare a quarter?

  1. David Reevely says:

    In other news, @SusanSherring is leaving the Citizen-Sun and I have some things to say. I’ve only known Sue for about half her career, and for most of that time as a competitor.

    First, as the Ottawa Sun’s Page 6 columnist. That was a gig where she did EVERYTHING, as long as it involved Ottawa: Often it would be a compilation of three or four things in one column, an account of a sweet event at an apple orchard, a City Hall bit, a follow-up on a crime story, a bit of political gossip. Bang-bang-bang-bang.

    This was done before it was just a matter of harvesting Twitter for viral stuff. All reported the hard way. Things that could have been stories on their own, stripped down to their very best bits, presented to you all together.

    In 2003, Sue started covering City Hall as her main gig. I went to the archives to double-check the date and saw the first things she did.

    First thing: Ben Franklin, the sainted mayor of Nepean, had died. Sue knew him well. Wrote the definitive piece on what he meant there.

    (Which she could do, as a Nepeanite. Most Ottawa journos are downtowners. Sue is from the suburbs and not shy about it.)

    Second thing: A scoop about Jim Watson getting back into politics, being courted by the Liberals for Ottawa West-Nepean.

    He sort of laughed it off at the time. Oh, I have a lot of conversations, type of thing. But it’s what he ended up doing.

    Then a scoop on city council seeking to settle a court case with one of its own, Shawn Little.

    Then a piece musing about whether Steve Kanellakos was angling to become city manager. That one was a bit early but look what happened.

    When Sherring was our competitor, we knew we always had to worry when we didn’t know where she was.

    She hammered away at the green-bin contract, for instance. That was a years-long project.

    Finally it came out that the city had basically just guessed how much compost we’d be sending Orgaworld.

    Sometimes big, sometimes small, ALWAYS things you wouldn’t have known if Sue hadn’t dug them up.

    And she’s always stuck up for suburban Ottawa, in the best way. Keeps Glebeites like me honest that way.

    Early this year, the Citizen and Sun were rammed together. For totally arbitrary reasons, in a way that privileged the Citizen people.

    For a Day Oner at the Sun, that can’t ever have been easy. Her DNA and the Sun’s are bound up together.

    Sue has been graceful and gracious at every stage. A fantastic teammate who never stopped doing her fine work. I miss her already.

    Now go read her column.

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