Academics Discuss Bullshit Numbers Used In P3 Referendum (But May Not Actually Use Word “Bullshit”)

Me, happy, waiting for the ferry between Valletta and Sliema, not thinking about P3s even a little bit.
Me, happy, waiting for the ferry between Valletta and Sliema, not thinking about P3s even a little bit.

It’s been months — many, many GLORIOUS MONTHS — since I’ve even thought about P3s. You can’t imagine how rich a life you can have without thinking about Public Private Partnerships. It’s like all of a sudden you have all this extra space in your brain for things like joy.

Sadly, like loving the Riders, thinking about P3s and their implications on your municipality is something you simply HAVE to do if you’re going to survive in Regina.

It’s tragic but true.

So if you want to get your P3 freak on this week, the U of R is putting on a little talk on the subject by Bill Bonner and Morina Rennie from the Faculty of Business Administration. It’s called: “Regina’s P3 referendum: A vote hijacked by a war of numbers from nowhere.”

Quite the mouthful. I’d love to go but can’t because Malta. But otherwise I would because it’s right up my alley. Check these bits from the description…

Using Actor-Network Theory we focus on the enlistment by P3 proponents of numbers from the Value for Money chart… Despite the lack of verifiable substance these numbers were enlisted by P3 proponents and came to speak volumes during the referendum… This was aided by the public option proponents who challenged those numbers and added similarly unverifiable numbers of their own… We problematize the Value for Money calculations used so persuasively in this local referendum with the hope of providing others facing similar situations the ability to shine a spotlight in the lack of substance of such numbers…

Holy shit! Problematizing numbers with Actor-Network Theory!?! It’s going to be a THRILL-FEST! That’s the kind of academics kids can mosh to!

Somebody has to go to this thing and make a video and put in on Youtube so I can watch it. Please.

I’m serious.

The event is Friday March 6 at 10:30 am in the Education Building, Room 558.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention how Morina Rennie, one of the two profs speaking on Friday, was a guest blogger here on Dog Blog back during Regina’s Water War. Her post was titled, “The Uncertain Costs Of A P3” and is probably still a good background read.

Friendly Update, City Hall: When A Record Road Repair Investment Is A Budget Cut

Click me for more city hall stories…CORRECTION: Everything I wrote below is WRONG WRONG WRONG. I explain and apologize here.

Phew! Good thing I’m in Malta and not in Regina otherwise I might have felt compelled to cover the city’s 2015 budget. It was passed last Monday and I wasn’t there to watch. I don’t even remember what I was doing instead but I can assure you, it was a lot more fun than sitting in Henry Baker Hall for five hours.

So, sorry, Regina. No live-tweeting a read-through of the budget this year. No getting cranky about property taxes.

Oh sure, I downloaded the city budget. Force of habit. But I’m not going to read it. Not going to think about it. Not going to write about it.

But if I was going to… I’d probably start by taking a look at a claim that’s being repeated in a lot of the budget coverage: This year’s record investment in road repairs. The inadequacy of the road renewal budget is something we’ve been writing about for years so it’s something I like to keep an eye on. And, from what I’m reading, it sounds like city hall is taking a historic step towards remedying this enduring problem.

See! Here it is, mentioned on page two of the city’s 2015 Budget Highlights document:

budget2015roadrecord

Sorry. Got a little excited there. Left my notes in place.

Of course, if I was covering the 2015 city budget and not sitting outside drinking a Cisk beer on a clear Maltese night, I might read that line in the Highlights document and think, “$18 million on road repair is a record? Gosh, that doesn’t sound quite right.” And then I might go through my collection of old budgets.

Good thing I deleted all my Prairie Dog files before I came here!

Oh shit! Look at that! Seems I forgot to kill the “Old Regina Budgets” folder. Wonder what the 2014 Budget Highlights document says?

Continue reading “Friendly Update, City Hall: When A Record Road Repair Investment Is A Budget Cut”