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Kingston Concerned About LVEC
Currently known as the "KROCK Centre"
Formerly the "Kingston Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre" or KRSEC
Formerly the "Large Venue Entertainment Centre" or LVEC
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The KCAL News Feed -- November 2006
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November 15, 2006

2006 Municipal Election Results

Here are the interim Municipal Election Results as published by the City:

Mayor

Rick DOWNES - 15,548
Kevin GEORGE - 5,870
Harvey ROSEN (Incumbent) - 16,278

Countryside District

Joyce MACLEOD-KANE - 1547
George SUTHERLAND(Incumbent) - 1473

Loyalist-Cataraqui District

Sean FOLEY - 1403
Jibin JOSEPH - 916
Rob MATHESON - 1556

Collins-Bayridge District

Bittu GEORGE - 1309
Lisa OSANIC - 1818

Lakeside District

Ted BROOKS - 1180
Dorothy HECTOR - 2254
Mike SINGH - 924

Portsmouth District

Kindra BREAU - 303
Mark GERRETSEN - 2311
Moe ROYER - 788

Trillium District

John CHOWN - 1167
Anna ROBERTSON - 277
Vicki SCHMOLKA - 2164

Cataraqui District

Tom DALL - 414
Patrick FOLEY - 228
Sara MEERS (Incumbent) - 1771

Kingscourt-Strathcona District

Steve GARRISON (Incumbent) - 1727
Rob GILMOUR - 1051

Williamsville District

Glenn BARNES - 335
Brian EVOY - 635
Andrew GOODRIDGE - 80
Ed SMITH (Incumbent) - 834
Todd SPECK - 185

Sydenham District

Nathaniel ERSKINE-SMITH - 297
Bill GLOVER - 1180
Alex HUNTLEY - 163
Floyd PATTERSON - 912

King's Town District

Rob HUTCHISON - 1531
Sean MOLLOY - 61
Mark POTTER - 646

Pittsburgh District

Leonore FOSTER - 2005
Richard MOLLER - 752
Brian D. REITZEL - 910

Published: 11/15/06 10:12:08 PM
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Election: End of the road for the posse of Georges

Limestoned summarizes it nicely: No more Georges on Council.

Note that friend of KCAL George Beavis was elected as a school board trustee.

Published: 11/15/06 10:44:26 AM
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November 9, 2006

Todd Speck's remarks at the Williamsville all-candidates meeting

We're happy to post a copy of Todd Speck's remarks at the Williamsville all-candidates meeting.

It's a well-deserved upbraiding of current mayor Harvey Rosen and Williamsville incumbent Ed Smith. Read the whole thing.

Williamsville: it's time to elect a councillor who will stand up to the special interests that have hijacked the political agenda of this city.

From what we've been hearing, this looks to be happening city-wide.

Published: 11/09/06 04:17:43 PM
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Bittu George's grossly misleading campaign brochure

Bruce Todd writes:

Today I received a huge flyer from Deputy Mayor Bittu George.

The flyer is four pages, and almost the size of Kingston This Week.

D-M George brags about a number of his accomplishments, but he omits a number of issues he has supported, contrary to a lot of opposition in the city. For instance, interestingly enough, there is absolutely no mention of his voting record for one of the largest projects in Kingston's history, in which he strongly supported throughout the last three years the building of an LVEC in the heart of Kingston's downtown, with no dedicated or on-site parking. I wonder why!?

For the record, here is Bittu George's voting record on Council, including the LVEC (LVEC votes illustrated below).

Conclusion: Bittu George is 100% supine to the Downtown Kingston agenda as personified by Harvey Rosen and as set by the Downtown BIA and KEDCO.

We can't remember a single notable non-softball question posed by Bittu George, on any issue, over the past three years.

Certainly Bittu George was an LVEC pushover on Council.


Click to see a more complete picture of Buttu George's voting record.

Click to see where Bittu George sits in the The KEDCO / BIA web

Bittu George isn't the only one misrepresenting his voting record in this election.

Published: 11/09/06 01:01:17 PM
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November 8, 2006

Updated KCAL Feature: LVEC Timeline

We've just updated our interactive LVEC news item timeline. This is handy when you're looking for details a particular event in the past.

There are now three bands in the timeline.

Click and drag to scroll the timeline left or right. Click on any item to see details.

Published: 11/08/06 12:13:12 PM
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November 7, 2006

Wendy Erickson-Gray: A citizen doing good homework

Wendy Erickson-Gray recently created and circulated this 8-page vision of the Memorial Centre property. It features two rinks, an expanded pool (possibly up to 50m in length), space for the fall fair, fence options, and plenty of greenspace. You won't find scale technical drawings but, remember, for months we saw squat from the LVEC's professional planners and consultants until the penultimate moments.

Once you look past the clip-art -- after all, people must use the tools they've got -- and read the captions, there's good substance there.

It's certainly commendable to come forward with something like this. Does this dovetail with what the Memorial Centre Revitalization Committee is working on? We don't know because their work is not (yet) online. But that doesn't much matter at this point. What matters is this vision could solve a number of otherwise intractable problems.

The Memorial Centre revitalization Committee made one major tactical error: somehow the marooning of the M-Centre became disassociated from the LVEC project. In other words: the cost of marooning the M-Centre isn't being tallied as a cost of the LVEC. But at the end of the day, there is apparently plenty of money for Harvey Rosen's LVEC. Those bills will be paid whether the project costs $40, $50, or $60 million. Despite what Mayor Rosen says, ALL cost overruns, in addition to what's being filched from capital reserves, come from taxpayers,

But now the Memorial Centre revitalization will need to scrape for every dime, every inch of the way. The Memorial Centre Committee should not assume that it ranks before any other facility in Kingston. Some of our other facilities and parks are borderline pathetic in their level of maintenance, both day-to-day and deferred.

Moreover most of the money that comes will be needed for upkeep on the old building, which is a yearly six-figure proposition.

Where is that money going to come from? Short answer: as things stand now, it's not.

So despite what some pro-North Block people are saying, moving the LVEC might, in fact, give us a bigger and better bowl at a lower price, all things considered. It's not hard to imagine that Ellis Don might be delighted and prefer to build a bigger building with lower project risks, far fewer logistical constraints, and broad community support.

After next Monday's election, the pro-Downtown ruling faction of Council will no longer be monopolizing the decision making in the City of Kingston. There looks to be be few, if any, Downtown-Kingston pushovers on the next Council, down from eight or nine voices previously. This changes everything.

This discussion should have happened two and a half years ago.

Published: 11/07/06 02:54:34 PM
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November 6, 2006

Matthew Gventer: Kevin George's voting record questioned

Last Friday, this letter from Matthew Gventer was printed in The Whig. Therein:

At the King's Town district all-candidates meeting, I asked mayoralty candidate Kevin George how he could claim to be interested in more consultation with citizens and greater access of citizens to council when he chaired the committee that brought in bylaw changes that restricted citizen access, and voted for those changes. He said he had to present the bylaw changes as committee chair but voted against them. I read the minutes of the Nov. 30, 2004 Committee of the Whole meeting and the Dec. 7 council meeting, which gave third reading to the bylaw.

Only councillors Rick Downes and Steve Garrison voted against the bylaw changes. George voted for the changes.

In a Kingston Life article this fall, the author lists George as having voted in favour of the city picking up the flood- damaged effects of people whose homes were flooded several years ago. In fact, he voted against it. In fact, he was one of three councillors who voted against reimbursing dumping fees for residents who had already taken flood-damaged effects to the dump. I asked him why he was so insensitive to the people who had suffered this disaster. He answered that he was looking for a way to help people without using taxpayers' money. Isn't it reasonable for our taxes to be used to help each other in times of disaster?

I asked George why he voted against the referendum on the sports and entertainment centre proposed by councillor Rick Downes. He said he made a strategic error. I asked why he opposed a public meeting on the Kingston Centre development. He argued that it was private property and that the city had no authority to hear the issue. Loblaws didn't have to pay attention to what the citizens said, so a public meeting would be a waste of money. My wife pointed out that at least Loblaws would have had the choice to listen or not.

Looking further into this, with LVEC votes in mind, we notice something about mayoral candidate Kevin George's candour about his LVEC voting record on this Council.

Here is a 6-page document titled " Councillor Kevin George Voting Record (Recorded Votes only) 2003-2006-08-10" you can download from Kevin George's website. The full URL is: http://www.votekevingeorge.com/Images/Voting_Record_Table.pdf

Consolidating all the LVEC votes in one table, -- LVEC votes are scattered throughout Kevin George's document -- we tally four votes:

The Kingston Taxpayers Association website lists 19 LVEC recorded votes. Here's a more complete picture of how Kevin George voted on the LVEC. Conclusion: Kevin George, in his campaign documents, doesn't tell the whole story and, in particuar, his omissions tell us a lot.

Published: 11/06/06 10:42:58 PM
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November 5, 2006

How Gananoque could EASILY trump LVEC
Know that debt financing for the LVEC is a 30-year deal.

Among the many risks completely ignored by the LVEC business plan is that nearby Gananoque might take a hint from the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York (about 20 miles East of Syracuse).

The Turning Stone Casino has an 800-seat dinner theatre showroom that's booked pretty solid with some great acts. For example, between July and December 2005, Turning Stone hosted The Beach Boys, Kenny Rogers, Chicago, Engelbert Humperdinck, Rich Little, Olivia Newton-John, Jay Leno, Steven Wright, Three Dog Night, Little Feat, George Thorogood, Huey Lewis and the News, Crosby Stills and Nash, Loretta Lynn, Steve Miller Band, Billy Ray Cyrus, Vince Gill, Don Rickles, and many other lesser names.

That's in one single six-month period.

Don't think that Gananoque couldn't replicate this. And soon.

Note that for many Kingstonians, driving to the Casino in Gananoque would be quicker, less expensive, and far less hassle than driving downtown and parking (somewhere) to then walk to the LVEC. Especially in winter. For Downtown Kingston, it never enters that building a small sub-optimal LVEC in a sub-optimal location might, in fact, soon be shown to be a very dumb idea.

For many Kingstonians (we'll know just what proportion on November 13th) the LVEC, as conceived, is already clearly a dumb idea.

Below is a summary of the list of 27 shows in Turning Stone's showroom for just the next three months. By contrast, over the same upcoming three-month period, London's John Labatt Centre lists just 12 non-hockey events. The Hershey Centre in Mississauga, which is managed by the same operator that will manage Kingston's LVEC, lists just 5 non-hockey events. Over the same period, Oshawa's new 5,500-seat General Motors Place lists just 8 non-hockey events. These counts in London, Mississauga, and Oshawa include multiple shows for the "World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions" who are also coming to Kingston this year, but the poor lame little LVEC won't be able to accommodate this show without closing King Street for staging purposes.

Summary of the list of shows in the Turning Stone Casino showroom
for the next three months:

November 3 Kris Kristofferson (singer/songwriter) $40/$45/$55
November 4 Kevin Nealon opening act: Joe Starr (comedian) $30/$35/$45
November 07 Jewel (adult contempoary) $65/$70/$80
November 08 Ruben Studdard (R and B) $15/$20/$30
November 10, 2006 Cosmo (classic rock) $10/$15/$25
November 11 The Slackers Comedy Tour (comedy) $25/$30/$40
November 15 The New Cars (classic rock) $50/$55/$65
November 16 Los Lobos (Hispanic-American rock) $25/$30/$40
November 17 Mo'Nique (comedian) $40/$45/$55
November 18 (2 shows) Friends of Bob and Tom Show (comedy) $30/$35/$45
November 23 The Vietnamese Concert variety show $20/$40
November 24 Dr. Dirty - John Valby (comedian) $15/$20/$25
November 25 Craig Morgan (country) $35/$40/$50
November 29 Davinci Code (movie) Free Admission
December 3 The Pretenders (classic rock) $55/$60/$70
December 4 Clay Aiken (Christmas Show) $75/$80/$90
December 4 The Wreckers & Little Big Town (country) $40/$45/$55
December 9 Benny Mardones (classic rock) $30/$35/$45
December 12 Kenny Rogers Christmas Show (country) $80/$85/$95
December 15 Linda Eder (Christmas Show) $40/$45/$55
December 29 Jim Gaffigan (comedian) $35/$40/$50
January 13 Bennie & the Jets: A Tribute to Elton John (classic rock) $10/$15/$20
January 20 Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular (class rock) $15/$20/$25
January 26 Aaron Lewis of Staind (rock) $50/$55/$65
January 27 Air Supply (adult contemporary) $25/$30/$40
February 1 Scrap Metal (classic rock) $15/$20/$30
February 3 Saturday Night Live Reunion (comedy) $40/$45$55

Picture scanned from Gananoque's ad in The Whig, November 4 2006, page 6.
Published: 11/05/06 04:16:20 PM
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LVEC EDUCATED: a new LVEC-related blog

There's a new LVEC-related blog in town, penned by an alias named "Dogma". Check it out.

http://lvec-showtime.blogspot.com/.

It seems very similar to Harvey Rosen's blog in that, so far, it has zero outbound links and, apparently, isn't compelled to substantiate anything, or link to supporting evidence, assuming any exists.

Hopefully this will soon change.

For example, one of LVEC EDUCATED's first posts talks about the October 24th, 2006 Whig Standard page where Bruce Todd and Don Curtis' arguments are juxtaposed. LVEC EDUCATED's post doesn't provide a link to the letters, which leads us to conclude that this blog is probably more about making a "show" of promoting the LVEC to project backers than it is a genuine attempt to educate the citizens of Kingston, as implied by the blog's name.

Whoever is behind this blog, its early days are certainly all about gushing all over Don Curtis who, we know, wrote his opinions without disclosing his direct ties to KEDCO, which is ethically consistent with what we've been seeing from many LVEC proponents. So far LVEC EDUCATED appears no different.

Published: 11/05/06 02:28:32 PM
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Whig Editorial: KEDCO plays politics
Saturday's editorial in The Whig is right on.

The gyst is: KEDCO is meddling in the election by announcing FIVE new initiatives, 11 days before the election.

KEDCO general manager Jeff Garrah told The Whig that the agency wanted to release the information about the new developments earlier but was waiting for permission from the companies. "It's not as if we were stacking all these up... and wanted to release them in the middle of an election campaign," he said.

This CKWS-TV story from October 2nd 2006 shows us Bernie Robinson, Chairman of the Kingston Economic Development Corporation, which gets $2.3-million in city funding annually, stumping for incumbent mayor Harvey Rosen, on TV, at the opening of Rosen's campaign office.

How slimy is all this? You decide. You're paying for it.

Published: 11/05/06 01:30:44 AM
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November 3, 2006

Carl Holmberg: To ease tax pressure, economy must grow

Today the Whig published this letter from Carl Holmberg.

Sure, of course, everyone agrees that Kingston's tax base could use a boost.

But according to Mr. Holmberg:

Speaking of marketing and sales, we have a bone to pick. Carl Holmberg, remember, is a founding member of Friends of the Entertainment Centre, a group formed solely to sway Council, and was part of the extensive Downtown Kingston sell-job surrounding the LVEC.

This group and some others generally agreed that

... was a fine idea.

What Mr Holmberg is saying about Mr Downes just doesn't square with reality. A big part of KEDCO has been all about selling the Downtown Kingston agenda to the amalgamated city of Kingston.

Rick Downes said this on December 19 2005:

Over the past two years the LVEC has been packaged, marketed and sold to council under the guise that its proponents represented the "silent majority." Even Carl Holmberg, vox populi, has the temerity to claim that "by far and away" the majority support the LVEC. Of course, by now we understand that these people are speaking for their own vested interest. Their business interest has morphed into the public interest. The believers have converted us all.

The "Friends of the Entertainment Centre" website, it should be noted, had a botched debut, questionable steering, and went dark in August 2006 after only one year.

Today the Friends' domain serves as a portal for porn. See http://FriendsOfTheEC.org.

How embarrassing is that? This otherwise proud and committed group of Kingstonians could not muster the will, or the nerve, and the $25 it would cost to keep their website online for a moment longer than needed.

Friends of the Entertainment Centre (2005)
Friends of the Entertainment Centre (November 2006)

The FriendsOfTheEntertainmentCentre.org domain was registered to Mat Abramsky who was, for a time, tasked with "special projects" for KEDCO and who, moreover, is the son of Jay Abramsky, a senior KEDCO board member. The accountability of KEDCO and some of its operatives for their undue influence over Council -- by overtly manufacturing the pretense of city-wide public support for the LVEC -- is apparently being avoided here.

More recently, Mr Jay Abramsky is described here, in Harvey Rosen's October 26th, 2006 blog post, confronting Rick Downes. Evidently, for Mr Abramsky and for Mayor Rosen, volunteerism trumps ethics.

We've heard Carl Holmberg-style "Watch Kingston Grow" songs elsewhere. The Kingston Accommodation Partners campaign, about which Claude Scilley said:

it is being touted by a campaign so misleading it would never be approved to sell used cars or soap.
-- Claude Scilley, Sports Editor, Whig Standard, May 27, 2006.

... is set to go dark on April 11 2007, five months from now, and a full eight months before the LVEC is supposed to open.

Read 'em while you can. Note the KEDCO logo on all the ads.

KEDCO.

KEDCO sits squarely within the Downtown Kingston echo chamber, and in the matter of "selling" the LVEC to Council, KEDCO was a central player.

It was KEDCO that dutifully produced the document titled Economic Benefits of the Kingston Sports and Entertainment Centre (LVEC), commissioned by Downtown Kingston insiders, paid from budgets administered by Downtown Kingston insiders, for the sole benefit of Downtown Kingston insiders.

In April 2005, we said this about the KEDCO LVEC report:

The problem with these LVEC proponents is there are never any downsides. The following words appear zero times in the nine page document: "risk", "debt", "finance", "pay", "expense", "water", "waterfront", "harbour", "shore", "unique", "outdoor", "boat", "parking", "walk", "customer", "patron", "rain", "snow", "weather", or even "Wellington", or "Anglin".

The word "Buskers", an outdoor street festival? Six times. "Winter" appears exactly once. (Link)

Read also what Stewart Fyfe has to say about KEDCO's LVEC report.

One conclusion of the KEDCO LVEC report: the LVEC will generate $22.5 million in annual "impact on economy (GDP)".

Huh?

$22.5 million divided by the 300,000 expected annual attendance, equals $75 per ticket sold. Think about that: the KEDCO report says a sold-out Frontenacs game, therefore, will be worth (5,000 X $75)=$375,000 in "benefits" to our minicipal commonwealth. Imagine that.

During the last term of Council, just what was KEDCO supposed to be selling, and to whom?

Kingston's "marketing/sales department", as Mr Holmberg calls it, has a lot to answer for, and little to show. It has spent rather too much time conning Kingstonians and their City Councillors. It has certainly served admirably as a pawn of the land and business owners in Downtown Kingston.

See, council is elected to make decisions. But once elected, the KEDCO and the BIA get systemic regular access to influence the decision makers for the duration of the term. The City of Kingston even recenty decided to move a large number of City staff into downtown offices, all the easier for Downtown Kingston players to influence them too.


The The KEDCO / BIA web

That's how Downtown Kingston set the agenda for the whole of amalgamated Kingston between 2003 and 2006, and a small, shoe-horned, and massively unpopular rushed LVEC is what we're apparently stuck with.

KEDCO fully deserves the reset that's coming after this election.

Published: 11/03/06 02:42:34 PM
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A glance back: January 28 2006

Late last January we all learned a lot about Councillor Kevin George, Mayor Harvey Rosen, and Councillor Rick Downes. This Whig Standard editorial and article from January 28, 2006 should not be forgotten now. It's about being consultative on the LVEC, about our neighbourhood rinks, and how we really got here.

Read the whole thing.

Published: 11/03/06 12:16:52 AM
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November 2, 2006

Another municipal blog: LIMESTONED

Here's another Kingston municipal blog with several LVEC-related posts already: LIMESTONED.

Published: 11/02/06 03:40:59 PM
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November 1, 2006

A glance at government funding for LVEC
There's a conspicuous blank spot on the sign proclaiming LVEC at the North Block site.

This is surely where the "new federal government of Canada" logo will go once federal money materializes. It might be a long wait: we've heard whispers that the arena project apparently doesn't pass some stinky prerequisites for federal funding.

Also, there's also a notable omission of the LVEC in the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion's news page. Kingston's LVEC should be listed there around the end of May 2006. A subsequent announcement of similar genre, funding for the National Soccer Stadium at Toronto's CNE (highlighted below), is listed.

How solid is LVEC government funding, anyway?

Under Rosen-era "open government", who knows? The LVEC Steering Committee hasn't met publicly in 16 months, and its most recent public minutes date from May 31st, 2005, that's May 2005, a mere 17 Months ago. In other words: zero public input or accountability since long before the North Block site was "selected".

Published: 11/01/06 10:43:37 PM
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