| Sep 07, 2006


Feature Article - September 14, 2006

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Feature Article - September 14, 2006

We won't get fooled again

The first day of school. At 7:15 a.m. three girls/young women appear in the kitchen, hair clean and combed, clothes matching and stylish (at least to me), ready to pack lunches into their school bags, ready to head off to the bus for another year of school.

For my wife and myself, our dread about another school year receded as we considered how easy this morning had been. We didn’t have to yank anyone from bed, and there was no bickering. They made their own lunches, or they would have had there had been any suitable school lunch food in the house.

But wait a minute... The same thing happened last year, and the year before. It’s no trick to be ready for the first day of school. Everyone is excited, there is no homework due, the teachers will be happy to see them.

Flyers

What about tomorrow, when the novelty has worn off? What about November 18th, January 14th, or March 10th, when it is dark in the morning, and there is homework that is either not done, or lost, or both, and the girls/young women have been up half the night avoiding homework by messaging their friends instead?

No, we’re not going to be fooled. We know the school year is going to be a nightmare, we know all of the good intentions that are written over all of the September 4th faces will fade and be replaced by stubborn, tired ones. Reality will kick in, very soon. The co-operation of September 4th will turn into repetitive battles over nothing at all.

We shouldn’t be too hard on the girls, however; they aren’t alone.

Plenty of others start with good intentions only to descend into bickering and pettiness.

A school classroom isn’t all that different from a township council chamber. At the beginning of their term councillors smile at each other and the public, they seem to like each other, and everyone hopes the new council will be different. Councillors express respect for the township staff and the public, and it seems that harmony will reign and old battles will be left to the past.

But now, with an election looming, township councillors are like students in May or early June of the school year, when the accumulated stresses and disputes of the school year have built up, and they are basically fed up with each other and with all the issues that hang around, like school assignments that didn’t get handed in on time.

This was the atmosphere at South Frontenac Council this week, when the issue of the K&P Trail returned. Councillors who fought about the trail six years ago, and three years ago, fought about the K&P trail again. And they said the same things. And the issue did not really get resolved.

The upcoming elections are like end of the year report cards. The voters will finally have their say, and they may remember everything that has happened since the last election.

After the election, council will re-convene. Most of the members will likely be the same, but there will be some new kids on the block. They will all commit themselves to getting along, and will be polite at the first meeting, and maybe at the second meeting as well.

And then someone will say something about the K&P, or Sydenham Water, (or Verona Water?), or the Mitchell Creek Bridge , or hazardous waste, and the sniping will start again.

I guess life never does really change, either in the school yard or in the council chamber. I’ll just have to enjoy my cheerful daughters while I can, and look forward to a pleasant “first day of school” atmosphere in the council chambers for a few weeks in November. -JG

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