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  1. Why did the Republicans lose the election? How should party members go about rebuilding America's Conservative Party? My problems with party (in order): 1. Too dependent on white evangelical and redneck support (they need to be able to attract educated northern voters and minorities too). Since when did the party that abolished slavery become a party that many racists support? 2. Too many half-wits. When someone of Sarah Palin's intelligence is considered a rising star in the party you have a big problem. 3. Too corrupt. During the tenure of the Bush administration we constantly heard stories of corrupt officials. 4. Too far right. I am a conservative myself. But there are just some members of this party who are a little extreme for me. 5. No new ideas. Where's the daring new schemes of the Reagan era? What happened to the days when it was cool to be conservative? The Party also seems to be suffering from unity problems. There are the McCain Republicans (Rudy Giuliani, Ron Paul, etc) and the Bush Republicans (Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney). It seems similar to the divisions in the Canadian Liberal Party between the Martin Liberals and Chrétien Liberals. In short, the Republicans need their own version of Obama. A good speaker and debater, a uniter not a divider and an intelligent person. If Harper was American he'd make a great leader despite the fact that he's not the best speaker. McCain would make a great leader but is hampered by his lack of knowledge on the economy.
  2. Westmount needs you! With this mailing, we are appealing to your civic duty. We need your input on the most important project the City of Westmount has put forward in its long history: the rebuilding of the Westmount arena and pool. Council would like to proceed with this project, but only if a majority of taxpayers is behind it. It is your money, after all, that will help pay for it. I shall not pretend that the history of this rebuilding project so far has been a smooth one. Mind you, nor was the struggle to restore and expand the Westmount Library in the 1990s, but it was a project most citizens became very proud of. Your Council feels this same success can be repeated with the arena/pool project. But only if it is a rallying point and not a focus of division and rancour. There were two separate designs suggested for the arena/pool project by the previous Council during 2009. A great deal of work went into these proposals, but they received mixed reviews in a series of public meetings. The whole of Westmount, however, was never canvassed. The new Council, since its election in November 2009, has been working on ways to address the objections raised by citizens to the prior proposals. Objectors fell into two broad camps: people in the neighbourhood saw the new arena as a massive intrusion, a wall 30 feet high by 500 feet long from St Catherine Street to de Maisonneuve, jutting into Westmount Park; meanwhile, the pool itself ate up precious green space. For the rest of Westmount, concerns had more to do with the cost: do we really need to go from one-and-one-half to two rinks? Why can’t we just fix up the existing arena? Others felt we needed an indoor pool more than a replication of our current sports mix. The cost concerns were substantially mitigated by the crowning achievement of my predecessor Mayor Karin Marks: she managed, by dint of incredible perseverance - and the help of Jacques Chagnon, our local MNA - to get $20 million of infrastructure grants for the project. It is Canada’s and Quebec’s contribution that allows us to build a $37 million arena/pool complex that will cost Westmounters $17 million. In fact, the cost to taxpayers will probably be closer to $12 million, thanks to contributions from Westmount schools, foundations, and private donors. This cost translates into an additional $200 a year in taxes for the average single-family dwelling. What about the neighbours and the sheer bulk of the arena? Well, if we had to describe the essence of our city, we would surely be torn between invoking Westmount’s unique architectural heritage and Westmount’s prized greenspace. This Council wants a project that respects both. We want the park to win the battle between it and the arena. We do not wish to plunk a massive piece of architecture down in an established greenspace. So we have gone underground. Council’s plan is to bury the ice rinks, putting tennis courts and grass on top of them - creating the ultimate green roof. Skylights will bring in natural light. Only the entrance pavilion and Teen Centre will be above-ground. more pics and full desc. http://www.westmount.org/pdf_files/ArenaPool_Proposal.pdf