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You decide, from knowledge

I can think of few traits worse than slothful ignorance. Ignorance is far beyond stupidity, imbecilic, feather-brained or clueless because, amazingly, ignorance can be cured and yet few seek remedy.

I can think of few traits worse than slothful ignorance. Ignorance is far beyond stupidity, imbecilic, feather-brained or clueless because, amazingly, ignorance can be cured and yet few seek remedy. Perhaps that is because it is easier to remain ignorant than informed. The seas of ignorance are great places to fish for those who foolishly group together to rant and rave about issues, provided they are fed a steady diet of inaccuracies. Sadly, during the past two years in St. Albert, those who would net us all have worked hard to ensure ignorance abounds.

We’re an ideal population for spreading ignorance: busy individuals, family oriented, good jobs, concerned about personal issues and conditioned to accepting the designation of a ‘bedroom community.’ Once upon a time we were a suburb but St. Albert like any other community cannot survive as we were or even as the status quo. Don’t believe me? Read a marketing text, study any historical perspective of communities over the last 25 years and you quickly see the choices are ‘go forward’ to the future or ‘fall back’ all the way back to 1930 or further. This is not opinion, it is proven fact. What do you want to do? I want to live in an exuberant, exciting, growing community ever meeting the needs of those who chose to live here.

I want those who live in this community to be able to develop their future visions of St. Albert, based on facts rather than repeated rhetoric designed to misdirect the information gathering process. I want this community to have affordable housing, great recreational facilities, to remember its history (we share a history back to the ice age and the formation of Big Lake, this community was instrumental in the development of western Canada and northern Alberta), to have all the arts available right here, but mostly I want to hear from the community builders not naysayers.

I want vision for the future, instead of penny pinching, backbiting and whining. I have an email from a council candidate suggesting that ‘... ratepayer groups are the official opposition of municipal councils.’ Not so, they may be the unofficial opposition and if they are, I would expect better than what we are getting. The facts, accurately shared for discussion, would be a great start.

Among the many inaccuracies floating in the local wild winds are the facts about the Stewart Steinhauer sculptures offered for sale to the city. First, the dollars being circulated are incorrect. The five pieces are offered at $232,500 and an additional $23,250 would be placed in a maintenance trust fund, a total of $255,750, not $265,000 as reported. Steinhauer has offered to be paid in equal increments over five or six years at no interest. Art is always worth what someone else will pay for it and several who collect his work estimate the total value of these pieces at about $500,000 to $700,000. The choice is take them all or take none. The annual expense is between $43,000 to $51,000.

There is an acquisition process now under way, first to determine if by artistic standards they are worthy of adding to the city’s collection, secondly to determine the value of the pieces. Then comes the discussion about budgets, can we afford them? Good question, will we not have streets plowed clean, paper purchased, who or what would have to be cut from civic services, if anything? Finally, how would this acquisition enhance our city and does that have real value?

Personally, I believe we should own these pieces and I also believe there are a number of excellent local artists who need to be considered for additional acquisitions in the coming years. I’m waiting to hear from the two committees appointed by cultural services with their recommendations since they have the expertise and that’s why they were appointed.

Enough with living in the past, no visions of the future that you can’t articulate — sit down and be quiet. If you disagree and have good reasons, great. I’d like to learn something new. Sit down, I’ll buy the coffee, tell me what’s on your mind.

Of course, maybe it’s just me.

Read Andy’s blog -— Maybe it's just me, Saturday mornings at maybe.andymichaelson.com