Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Triptych

New threesome, finished today. Just needs to be varnished then it will be off to Toronto in November for a show. (Details on that will follow)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cultural Capital

So many people, both voters and those in public office, don’t seem to understand the cultural capital a city gains from having such things as a bustling downtown, an arts scene, sports and recreation programs, heritage preservation and other services. Nor do they actually appreciate the value of this cultural capital due to the fact you can’t easily attach it to a monetary figure.

Over the past couple of years economic downturn has sparked a trend towards a more conservative government across all levels and regions. Putting officials in charge whom are known for their disdain of these expenses, vilifying them in their rhetoric, branding them as frivolous expenditures. Under this rule important programs and services are cut under the guise of running a lean operation yet millions are wasted on ridiculously overpriced, poorly managed projects and white elephants like the G8/G20 and the Olympics that do nothing to benefit the average citizen.

I am absolutely not an idealist, I am a realist. I understand the importance of balancing a budget and that it isn’t easy to make sacrifices. Nobody wants a tax increase. There is only so much revenue generated and you can’t have everything. But the responsibility involved in balancing a government’s budget goes beyond number crunching and requires some intellectual thought on the big picture, the affects on the quality of life of all citizens. Instead of taking the politically easy way of cutting funding to small but important community groups and improvement initiatives justifying it by labeling them as non essentials the government needs to assess spending in their own departments and all partner organizations. They need to improve on the auditing process and make all their associated groups more transparent and accountable. $300,000 spent on a frivolous consulting contract may be cut to 1/10th that to train existing employees rendering them capable of making the decisions and recommendations themselves. The balance could fund an artist run center and after school sports programs in a medium sized city for a year. There would likely still be money left to dump in to a pool for educational grants or small business initiatives.

Any one with some basic math skills can balance a budget, what we need in public office are intellectual people capable of seeing the whole, that can actually balance a budget in a thought full manner and implement regulation to insure proper management of funds thus leading to moderate taxes, lean operations, abundant and functional services and programs with long term sustainability and the capacity to weather financial storms. Leaders that are more interested in actually running a successful operation. An operation committed to providing its shareholders, the citizens, a secure and enjoyable life. Leaders that are not just interested in playing a political game, wowing the masses with rhetoric and out of context attack ads.

It is after all intellectual thought, the arts, culture, sports and all the other “frivolous” quality of life things that set humans apart from the other animals and I think it should be considered an essential investment in our society as opposed to a burden on the economical system.