Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Vote For Mr. Jim Is A Vote For…

My life’s journey has filled me with many visions and silly dreams o-so-grande! Many of my visions have never been realized… after all, I am but one spirit and visions are like a field of clouds endlessly disappearing on the distant horizon and I can only hold onto one at a time.

Today, I will share with you my most recent vision that will not be realized because I am but one man and this dream would require the voluntary participation of all persons living…

Mr. Jim for Mayor of London, Ontario, Canada

A few years ago, we had a Mayoral Election, here in London. A vision/idea/inspiration stirred within me. Over the weeks, it developed into quite an elaborate scheme. The time was too short to instigate my ideas and soon enough the dream began to evaporate as most unattended dreams do.


A while ago, I saw this image posted on my Facebook newsfeed page and I was profoundly inspired by this short and simple statement. It moved me. Our planet has a long history of great minds and I have grown to realize that most things that I think about have already been thought about… and they are usually expressed far more eloquently than I could ever.

Over the next several days, memories of some past thoughts began to swim through my mind. I embraced them. I challenged them. I tried to let them go. I couldn’t.

In moments like these – I’ve grown to learn – it is best if I follow them… and so I did.

For the next several weeks, I put pen to paper – taking the ideas out of my mind… releasing them. Oh my! How the pages of my notebook began to fill!! I was actually in the initial stages of beginning to attempt to bring these ideas into a reality when I realized that this task I was setting myself up for would be beyond my scope of capability – thanks to the input of the few people who I had trusted my idea with.

I also realized that this outlandish scheme would go against my destined life’s path. I was not born to seize a position of power, but rather I was born to seize opportunities to empower others and share inspiration!

…and so I stare at my notebook pondering its value.

I have decided to share my vision with you – my blog readers – with the hopes that these rather grandiose ideas may simply inspire others in some way, shape or form… and with a smile!!!


To begin my campaign to become the Mayor of London, I had to have a platform – a set of plans by which I would govern the community. I first began to look at the subject of transportation.

Presently, London is spending far too much time and resources building and maintaining its roads. We always hear the points that road construction creates jobs and that wider roads are needed to prepare for future traffic flows. I believe that both of these points are false.

Road construction does create many jobs, there’s no disputing that, but it also allows huge percentages of budgeted monies to leave the community – and this is not good. The workers are local and hundreds of families are provided for – and this is good - but I would calculate that the smallest percentage of the project cost goes to these families. Where does the rest (the majority) of the money go?

As my campaign unfolds, I would be investigating points, such as this, to shed a clear light on how London taxpayers’ money is being pulled from our community with such ventures. I would then inspire the community to think of new and different ways that London could use tax payers’ money to create a stronger local economy with the goals of such ventures leading to a more self-sufficient city.


The most important point is the fact that we are building communities that require large roads and this must be stopped. We build subdivisions – isolated from the commercial, retail, entertainment and business sectors of our city. If we reinvented community planning, we would be able to create a scene where people lived close to where they work, shop and socialize – walking, or riding bicycles to most appointments.

If we think about it, we really have an easy task ‘reinventing’ our communities. All we would have to do is look at the historical plannings of our communities that thrived at the beginning of the last century when cars were not as abundant.

If elected Mayor of London I would promote a greater use of local transportation. I would have extended bus routes, servicing areas that presently have no bus services. I would extend the hours of bus operation.


London buses begin their last routes around midnight. By extending the hours of operation, more jobs would be created in the bussing sector, people would be able to attend late night concerts, coffee houses, bars and other social events, thus circulating more money within our local economies, thus creating more jobs. More food would be served, thus creating the need for more local produce, thus ensuring that our farmers wouldn’t need to look at distant locations to sell their products, thus keeping more trucks off of the roads.

I’m starting to see the local, interconnected structures that would benefit from one simple and small change?

The cost for bus transportation does absolutely nothing to encourage citizens to ride the bus. Even if you had to travel from one side of London to the other, for work, it is cheaper to pay for nonrenewable resources (fuel) to get you there.

If you buy a bus pass and don’t end up using it for two trips a day, five days a week, then you would have been better off paying for each trip separately. This point really irritates me!

As Mayor of London, I would lower the prices for bus fares. If you buy three monthly passes you would receive $20.00 towards your next monthly pass. This is a saving of $80.00 a year… almost one month free! Because you would be not contributing to the wear and tear of the existing roads, by driving a car or van, I would offer a discount on your home property tax – even more savings.

The best inspiration is example. If elected Mayor, I would be encouraging all City worker to use the bussing system – Me, council members, city officials, etc. This would at least double the number of passengers on the bus. If more people are riding the bus then less cars on the road, less wear and tear occurs, less repair is needed, wider roads and expansions become obsolete. Now… where have I read the word ‘obsolete’ before?!!!

So… I have been a school bus driver for several years and isn’t it funny that one of my plans to alleviate the strain of smog and pollution would be to work with transportation companies to make drastic cutbacks in school transportation?


Last spring an article appeared in a local newspaper, showcasing how small groups of parents have organized to create ‘Walk to School’ programs. Parents have organized to walk and collect students along the sidewalks as they make their way to school. I smiled when I read this article. Their inspiration was simple – by walking they realized that they would not be contributing to pollution!

Here’s the link to that news article - http://www.londoncommunitynews.com/2011/10/walk-to-school-day/

Also, last year, a new City plan was put into motion that would see that the distances that a student lived away from the school before they had to attend a school bus was actually shortened. This meant that students who previously did not qualify for bussing service now did. This means that more buses are needed, fewer students had to walk, more pollution is created and the roads take more abuse, needing more repair. This means that a small handful of local jobs were created and that larger sums of money would be leaving our community, lining the pockets of the large resource extractors!

As Mayor of London, I would council with parents and teachers to work on a plan that would significantly increase the distance that a student can walk to school. We would create larger ‘Walk to School’ programs.

Uh-oh! This means job losses in the bussing sector.

Let’s take this a step further…

How many people work at large firms throughout the city? The City court house, the Bell building, Victoria Hospital, large manufacturers, law firms, etc. As Mayor of London, I would work hand in hand with these businesses that employ many local workers to organize set routes and times throughout the City that would allow a large percentage of workers to take a bus. Yes! The school busses that are no longer needed to transport children, will now be needed to transport their parents! Jobs saved!! Again, fewer cars on the roads, less wear and tear, less maintenance needed and above all… less pollution!!!!


Currently, Londoners create around 200, 000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide emission every single day. We need to start working and thinking together – as a community - to reduce these numbers significantly, with further ideas waiting to be introduced to reduce these numbers even more!

Okay – that’s page one of my notes!!!

Let’s take a very quick look at a few other ideas…


We all know what a factory farm is, but we never think that factory farmed animals actually end up on our dinner plates, when much of the meat that we eat actually is! What would we do if the Mayor of London inspired all food based industries to stop using or selling factory farmed animals?


We’d be a lot healthier for one thing. We would be acting in accordance with the laws of conscientious behaviour ensuring that the millions of animals that feed us do not live a life of suffering and misery!


This one simple – community agreed to action - would change to entire landscape of our City and neighbouring communities. Suddenly, free-range farms and food manufacturing jobs would spring up like a Canada Day fireworks celebration. I see a future of jobs, jobs, jobs!!!!

Human beings are biologically vegetarian. We are not designed to eat meat. Fact! As well as introducing ideas that would ensure a more humane existence for millions of animals, I would, as Mayor of London, introduce ideals that would change our eating habits to embrace a more vegetarian lifestyle. We don’t have to give up chicken burgers entirely… maybe just not eat as many. This would lead future generations to better solutions, better philosophies and a more sane existence – but for now this radical change would be a soft beginning.

As Mayor of London, I already practice what I preach. I may not be 100% vegetarian, but I embrace a very heavy vegetarian diet – you’ve all read my gardening stories. I would encourage City Hall to go vegetarian! Workers could bring ham sandwiches to work with them – after all… vegetarianism is a voluntary choice, not a rule put in place by a dictator. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to think that at City Hall only vegetarian meals would be served in the cafeteria?

So… I mentioned early the fact that our present day building practices in regards to subdivisions is completely wasteful. As Mayor of London, I would set a course of action to allow the City to go into business for itself. One plan… the City would begin buying residential subdivision properties in order to create restaurants, convenience stores, postal outlets, etc. Imagine at least two houses on each subdivision street being renovated for such a purpose. Hmmmm…. more jobs! Designing, building, landscaping, etc. Local residents can now walk to find a few of the amenities that they previously had to drive to - one step closer to an ultimate solution!


Another action that I, as Mayor of London, would instigate would be to inspire the community to create more locally owned and operated retail stores. Between the year 2000 and 2002, I lived in Nelson, BC where such an ideal presently exists. This is not new! Many communities have already embraced the fact that this community plan allows the growth and development of local manufacturing and retail. Local jobs, local merchandise, local economies have been blown out of London by Wal-Mart and Rona stores (to name just two) … and now it’s time to grow them back!!!!

For more information about Nelson, BC - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson,_British_Columbia

To see a nice collection of photos that I took while living in Nelson - http://bitsandpeaces08.blogspot.ca/2009/01/up-on-roof.html


The new school year for our children has just started. All parents want their children to work towards receiving a good education for their future. New backpacks are purchased, along with notebooks, pens, calculators and lunch bags. Isn’t it ironic that the purchase of these items is ensuring that our children have a more dismal future than the world’s greatest minds could ever calculate?!!

The landscape of China is becoming a wasteland as more and more products are manufactured in this country, thus depleting their forests and other natural habitats in the pursuit of the resources that are needed to create these products. Once manufactured, they are bound in plastic wrap, packed into transport containers and shipped across the oceans in the largest ocean freighters ever built, to be unpacked, redistributed, bound in plastic again and again, until they finally end up in a landfill.

Can’t we make backpacks out of agriculture fibers here in Canada? Here in Southern Ontario? Here in London?

Imagine a landscape full of fields of hemp. The roots help to prevent topsoil depletion. The plants need no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. Imagine local processing plants that turn these plants in useful fabrics. Imagine these fabrics being locally processed to create clothing, belts, backpacks, paper, notebooks and possibly (I’m not quite sure on this point) ink for our pens! Imagine one or two trucks being employed to transport these items throughout our City, thus eliminating so many wasted barrels of oil, thus eliminating millions of tonnes of Carbon Dioxide from the air that we need to survive!


And whilst I’m rambling on about creating a community labouring in local manufacturing, let me state that as Mayor of London, I would work with existing retail stores to promote and sell more of these types of products.

Imagine you’re in a record store and on the front counter there is a display selling local manufactured chocolate bars. Or you may be in a clothing store and along with purchasing a new hemp T-shirt, you decide to buy a calendar for the new year filled with the expressions of a London artist. All of this sounds like more and more local jobs. All of this sounds like a city that will soon be developing a new sense of local culture. All of this sounds like a break from premeditated economic slavery that is presently governing the power structures of our world.

I’ve listened to many examples of communities who are trying to create new forms of currency, to promote many of the ideas that I’ve stated here. I’ve never believed that this radical approach to economics is necessary. Money and it’s value needs to be reexamined and reevaluated – yes – for sure… but the basic philosophy is the same. Money is a form of determining value (for product or service) and is designed to smooth financial transactions. It’s a lot easier to take a $10.00 bill to my local sandwich shop to pay for my lunch that to carry a goat under my arm to barter for a bowl of garlic and potato soup!!!

But… local currency – working alongside existing territorial currencies - can help to promote new and growing local cultures as well as to promote a pride for the places that we live.


To this point, I must say, that as Mayor of London, I will be working with the economic sectors of retail to create London’s very own loonie. This loonie will be locally manufactured (yeah – more jobs!) using recycled metals (yeah – more recycling!). The London Loonie will be designed locally, with the assistance of local artisans, with the intent on showcasing the vibrant lifestyles that we take so much pride in! This loonie can be used to purchase locally manufactured items.

Remember that chocolate bar that you wanted to buy at that downtown record shop? It has a cost of $2.00. You can buy it using good ol’ regular Canadian currency, or you can use the London Loonie – you’ll just need two of them, or a combination of the loonie with Canadian currency.

This loonie will make a great collectors’ item or souvenir for out-of-towners and can also be purchased at any local retailer for $2.00 – with the profits of this sale going to the City trust fund. As the City trust fund grows, the City will then be able to offer its citizens additional tax breaks concerning property tax payments. This means that we’ll all have a bit more money in our pockets so we won’t have to work as many hours at a job, thus making it easier to spend more time with our families and in our gardens.


Since education is of such importance, especially when considering the mess our world is in, I, as Mayor of London, will be establishing a continuous series of lectures and conferences to share new ideas about the new social structures that our city should be inspired to embrace. Each time you attend one of these lectures, you will receive a property tax cut (putting more money into your pocket) and one London Loonie – for free!! This is how the loonies will begin the process of circulation – a reward to citizens for taking the initiative to become more involved in creating a healthier and more stable community.


As Mayor of London, I will reduce home property tax for all of those who wish to plant and harvest a family garden.


As Mayor of London, I will work with our neighbourhood planning departments to create new residential constructions using geo-thermal technologies. Asphalt shingles will become obsolete (there’s that interesting word again) as we install locally manufactured metal roofs, complete with small wind powered generators.

As Mayor of London, I will work with existing power companies to create a City that is energy self-sufficient where more and more homes will have the opportunity to be powered ‘off the grid’.


As Mayor of London, I will inspire homeowners with large lawns to reduce the size of their lawns, thus reducing pollution and increasing natural vegetation. I’m referring to those homes that have 1-3 acres lawns… this is very wasteful.

As Mayor of London, I will create a system where retailers are responsible for recycling packaging materials such as styrofoam.


As Mayor of London, I will involve myself in the local music scene – and possibly create my own band “Mr. Jim and the Renaissance” – to keep the heartbeat of this city upbeat and happy!

The Alarm – Marching On - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDNvWDV7eTU

I had a bit of fun with my list!!! If you can’t have a bit of fun with some of your crazy dreams, then you’re not really livin’!

My notebook then continues with campaign strategies, media agendas, interactive web page designs, etc. How I would organize my campaign is of little concern, here. What is of concern is the inspiration and the motivation behind a set of values that could change the world for the better… for my son and all the world’s children! I love you Devon!!!

Daddee

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