Supportive Housing Proposal – discussion pointless without information

I want to thank the gentleman (and his wife) I spoke to after this afternoons (Monday October 20, 2008) Council meeting for his patience in taking the time to talk to me.

Listening to what he and his wife had to say was though provoking and sent me back to read all the documents and material again from as analytical/language/neutral prospective as possible.

I read the handouts, went to government web sites and read the materials there and went back over all these materials again.

The conclusion I reached was that the documents were written in bafflegab (confusing or generally unintelligible jargon; gobbledegook), complicated by government bureaucratese (a style of language that is full of circumlocutions, euphemisms, buzzwords etc) and ass covering language.

It is no wonder that at the community meetings city staff (with apologies) appeared somewhat clueless and less than truthful vis-à-vis the proposed housing. Reading over the material available this afternoon, this housing could be anything; mention is made of the second stage housing I was told it was to be and was speaking of OR it could be minimal barrier housing OR it could be something else entirely.

There is no way to tell what kind of housing we are speaking of. Without knowing what type of housing we are talking about there is no way to make any judgment, must less a decision, on location.

I spoke to Mr. Giesbrecht this evening (Monday) and while I am not in agreement (or necessarily disagreement – to many unknowns), with his preference to build nothing there I do agree with his point that without knowing what other options as to location are available and the pros and cons of the locations you cannot judge “best’ location. I would go so far as to say that without knowing what kind of housing we are speaking off there is no way to judge if a location is even suitable, much less good or the best.

We agreed that from the information provided one cannot know or understand what type of housing or who the occupants will be or who will be responsible for the operation of the housing and that that information is critical. Speaking to Mr. Geisbrecht did send me back to read the Questions and Answers handout from the City.

I said to some people on Wednesday night in reference to the first community meeting that I was not sure that this type of meeting and the timing was a good idea. I can now say that this type of meeting and the timing was an ill-considered idea.

Until the city and citizens know what kind of housing, tenants and operating organization we are talking about any discussion is pointless. Garbage in garbage out, certainly applies here where we are missing the most vital pieces of information needed to judge the matter which means any decision at this point could be flawed, wrong or garbage – or all three.

The city cannot and should not be having a discussion on the matter of this proposal until they (and citizens) know what is being talked about in terms of what kind of housing, tenants and operating organizations are under consideration.

We need to step back and wait for the information needed to have an intelligent conversation, make an informed judgment and come to a sensible decision is available.

At that point we will at least all know what we are talking about and if we have points of disagreement we will at least be disagreeing about the same thing. We will not be arguing/comparing apples to oranges to watermelons to kiwi to pineapples etc. as we currently are doing.

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