Anything you say will be misquoted


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It’s a tradition dating back to the early days of City Scope in 2005 when we greeted the new year with an overview of the previous 365 days, focusing on the wit and wisdom of those who inhabit the council chamber at city hall.
That custom has continued unabated — albeit expanded — to include quotes from a variety of sources, including Times-Journal readers.
As an unabashed collector of quotes, this flashback is an enjoyable task that neatly ties the preceding 12 months into a tidy packet to open and savor at the demise of another year.
And as American writer and editor Daniel Okrent deftly observed, “I’m afraid we’ll see reporters stop chasing quotes around the same time dogs stop chasing cars.”
With that preamble, let’s glean a year’s worth of columns to capture the essence of 2013 in a local context.
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You have a cold, city council will have a code


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Mayor Heather Jackson’s announcement at the close of Monday’s council meeting is, if anything, long overdue. In fact, her first step in establishing a code of conduct for city council is a process that should have been jump-started ten years ago during the bitter debate over a new twin-pad arena for St. Thomas.
If you ever bump into former alderman Sharon Crosby, have her recount the tale of why she didn’t cast a vote on the final arena motion.
What prompted Heather’s motion to initiate a code of conduct – among several factors – is the drip, drip, drip of leaked information trickling out from in-camera council meetings.
That is why she has turned to CAO Wendell Graves and Human Resources Director Graham Dart to craft a binding document designed to keep this and future councils on the straight and narrow.
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Who is accountable for accountability?


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It was a rubber-stamp item on Monday’s city council agenda; authorizing the deposit of $59,047.62 into a reserve account of Valleyview Home.
The money is the final distribution of funds from the estate of Ralph Counsell, a former Valleyview resident who donated $400,000 to Valleyview with the stipulation the money be used in the activation department for the benefit of residents.
The activation department is responsible for the recreation, therapeutic and social activities of the residents.
In a report to council in November of last year, Valleyview staff recommended items like a Karaoke machine, bingo machine and cards, televisions, decorations and a movie projector, among other things, be purchased.
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Police HQ debate set to flare up again


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The debate over whether to renovate the existing police station or construct a new, purpose-built facility will flare into life again Monday as city council deals with a report from The Ventin Group Architects.
The firm will present a pair of options to be considered should council choose to maintain the police service in the Colin McGregor Justice Building.
Trouble is, both scenarios are pricey — $15 million at the low end to $18.4 million for a major renovation/expansion.
The Ventin report details the substantial amount of work required with either option to upgrade the 1969 building.
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