Every Secret That I Hide Keeps Me Locked Up Deep Inside

Been a busy few weeks trying to get PBW2_2015 up and running. Jury’s still out as to whether we’ll be permitted to run our process this year. Meetings with NAs are happening, but I also need to book a meeting with our Ward 2 Councillor, and his right hand Office Admin recently assured one of the Community Animators that our Councillor is booked solid through the New Year. That could put our schedule back at least one critical month of outreach and team training, if we can’t get meetings with him and with the Ward 2 Community Council ASAP. We can push things back by a week or two, but if we lose the rest of December to inaction, and have to wait until after the (currently unscheduled; soon…) W2CC Meeting, then January could be a bust, and our proposed February Launch Party may be pushed back. Every delay will hurt us.

I have to be pragmatic and not ask too much of too many, and the plan does have room built in for making significant changes, but those changes need to be drafted and approved sooner rather than later, so everyone who is volunteering time helping to organize meetings and information sessions can and will be able to get onboard as early as possible. And though we’re feeling really good about the process we’ve got in store, it could still die on the vine if our Councillor doesn’t like our plans enough to give us the go-ahead. There are things we can do in the meantime, and things we can do in any case, but one million dollars of ARSCR Fund money only happens at the Councillor’s discretion.

We currently need access to an operating budget (I’m currently preparing the list of ‘office’ expenses we know we’ll absolutely need financing for almost immediately, and throughout the year), and we need the assurance of our Councillor that we will be permitted to run the PBW2 process for Ward 2 to allocate ARSCR Funds for 2016. We also want to open the discussion of what our Councillor needs to see from us before he’ll go to bat for monies that aren’t tied to the ARSCR Fund and its ‘hard infrastructure’ limitations. We know the hard reality of what we’re asking for, but we also know that residential will can help a Councillor make things happen over a shorter time that can affect real change faster than any other process in representational democracy. It’s probably the best feature of our current system: Councillors as community troubleshooters.

I don’t want to abuse our special relationship with the Councillor, who has been pretty understanding, all things considered. But we need to eventually make changes to PBW2 that will truly help ward residents, and help them to realize their own potential both as citizens and as civic engagement advocates. I’m so sure we can help make these changes reality, but it takes forward thinking, courage and determination to make these things happen, both from the residents and volunteers, and from our political leaders as well.

A day may come when the relationship between City Staff and residents will be a more direct and responsive one, where Councillors will act more as facilitators than as career politicians, but our current reality is, we have ideas and contacts and public good will that can achieve goals that City Staff are perhaps unable to achieve on their own, siloed as they are in City Culture and the million and one process rules they have to be mindful of every day. We as residents have a greater awareness of what needs to be done, because we live in our neighbourhoods and speak to our friends across the city on a daily basis, where City Staff have to work by long game plans that may or may not be relevant by the time they are ready to implement the changes requested through official channels years or even decades earlier.

I’ve been thinking about this stuff for too long, it seems.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to find time, energy and inspiration to do some paintings and finish my novel. We’ll see if today’s communications resolves the last of my immediate concerns and permits me to take some time off this week/month to focus on creative work (and the holidays, of course). Getting our house in order has cost me more time than I care to admit. PBW2 has been limping along behind the scenes for over a year, powered almost entirely by hope and passion, both of which have been in short supply just lately. One way or another, I’ll know what I’m doing for the rest of the year by the end of the month… or perhaps even by the end of the day. Such an inauspicious day for such important matters to be decided. We shall see.

Enough cryptic stuff. Progress report:
Still one and a half chapters out from the end of RETURN TRIP
Still four composition drawings away from painting the canvases I just bought last month.
Still waiting for the operation on my elbow, to recover the sensation in my left hand and get back to work on STEEP INCLINATIONS.
Still don’t have the right contacts to get a show in one of our downtown galleries to show my work of the last year. I hope to have another show’s worth of pieces for next winter, but the real crowds will be here for the summer Pan Am Games, and I hope to be showing somewhere nice by then.
Still need to get the infographics ready for the information sessions of the next month.
Still need to buy new shoes. Maybe get a haircut, too. Most people prefer giving money to short-haired people, it seems. What’s that about, anyway? My hair doesn’t spend money.
Still need to do the dishes. That will happen soon.
Still need to get something out for dinner.
Still need to sell some books. Probably need to order some printed copies for friends who offered to buy signed copies.
Still have about ten buttons left to sell. Original art, folks. It doesn’t come any cheaper at this quality level. Acrylic abstract expression. NOBODY does this like I do. Genuine wearable artwork.

Have to get ready to leave. Catch up with you again soon. Thank you for reading.


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