Thursday, February 12, 2009

ARSE-O-theWeek: Sam Katz

[as originally posted 01/02/09 on my formerly free thinking blog ]

Oh, you bridge-building mayor you! Who opines his city councillors
"are not doing the right thing" when they oppose him; who calls them "hypocrites" and accuses them of "not telling the truth."

Congratulations Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz - you are Arse-O-the Week!

Okay, we know this is strictly an inside the frigid 'beltway' story. But sometimes, the big hairy arse turns out to be the gorilla in your midst. So, what has Winnipeg's Krafty Katz done to merit this award?

Well, to be clear, it has nothing to do with his propensity to deny we citizens access to the results of taxpayer-funded polls. No, it has nothing to do with that. Also, it has nothing to do with his reversing his position on Winnipeg's rapid transit system after his tenure has so far been practically defined by his opposition to the project. No, it has nothing to do with that.

Also, it has nothing to do with the fact that his private business transactions and questionable dealings repeatedly get in the way of governing. So much so that it recently, distracted "city council from its normal business for almost a month." Nope, nothing to do with that. Nor is it because he rejects a standard solution to this problem because he believes (as a fellow frogger blogger said): that "a blind trust — an actual legal structure — is 'unadulterated nonsense'."

It's not even because his professional baseball team has just avoided having to pay more than $300,000 in outstanding interest to a former government sponsored Investment Fund because, as Katz claimed, their was a phantom deal "that forgave ... hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest on two loans." Too bad, so sad, there was no "written agreement" - it made things very tough on the Queen's Bench official who ruled in Sam's favour "despite the inconsistencies in the evidence" surrounding the "alleged agreement."

And we didn't even consider his shameless promotion of minor business news, out of all proportion to its real impact on our daily lives. (e.g.
"There's no doubt there are many Winnipeggers that are jumping for joy and are excited beyond the excitement they might have for a birthday, an anniversary or winning the Lotto 6/49. People love IKEA, there's no question about that.")

And it is definitely not because of the sordid details of his
messy divorce and "about putting (his) wife on the payroll, about nannies’ salaries and so on” which have become easy fodder for the press.

Finally, to be absolutely clear, it is not because he is Jewish. We Two Arseholes firmly believe that one's faith has no bearing on their capacity to rise to the level of supreme Arseholed-ness.

Here's how he has risen to that level:

First elected in 2004, he said he entered politics because he 'believed' he "could do a much better job than the politicians that were running." Well, 'belief' is a funny thing - and sometimes one's 'belief' it is just plain wrong. Since taking office, this self-proclaimed non-politician has demonstrated a striking inability to govern for all citizens. Rather, intent on preserving the primacy of the business-elite, Katz governs from the right, for the right, because (don't ya know) he is always "right". As another local blogger noted, Katz's "not a politician" claim simply doesn't ring true. More accurately, said another, Katz should have claimed he is "not a GOOD politician."

Katz doesn't play well with others and (as a local hack highlights) he is prone to Dubya moments of disconnect. Asked if he had any failures in 2008 Katz said: "I can't think of a specific failure, per se. If there's one that you have in mind, please let me know."

Here's one. Recently he said
: "Who knows what next year will bring" - well it is our sad duty to report that next year is now here. Today we go to the City Clerk's Department website to see what the Executive Policy Committee is up to these days. Hmmm..let's see: a meeting of this Star Chamber is scheduled for Thursday, January 8th (6 days from now) and as of this late Friday posting there is as yet no agenda posted. No agenda? No agenda! Sam has no agenda?

Of course he does - it's just not one the public will swallow. Working to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of your friends among the business elite is hardly a civic agenda. It is, of course, a plan - a class plan, if you will.

Katz once reflected how, as children, he and his brother "called each other all sorts of names in Yiddish". We don't know Yiddish and our vocabulary is limited, but we think ARSEHOLE fits 'His Honour' right now. The "agony" that his tenure has wrought far outweighs the collective "ecstacy" that's for sure.

A third term for a man who once said "two terms is enough for me"?

Oy Gevalt!

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