Weeknote 6, 2021

I’m going to break from tradition a bit and recap bearing witness to the muderclowns handling our pandemic to the end of this post because I’m going to try to make this weekly update a little less of a downer.

§1 Is my voice “diverse”?

This City of Windsor press release headline that makes me cringe: “Windsor-Essex Seeks Diverse Voices for Community Safety and Well-Being Plan with New Survey and Public Meetings.” The headline needs some copy-editing.

These complaints are all, on some level, about something ineffable. They refer to a feeling—the feeling that a term that once stood for an important and radical idea has become an empty buzzword, or even a deceitful one. You can see the evidence to back up this impression in a related and subtly unsettling linguistic trend toward using “diverse” to describe individuals.

In the press release announcing changes in response to the outcry over the fact that all 20 Oscar-nominated actors were white for the second year in a row, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences said that its board was committed to “doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.” Doubling the number of diverse members. The Academy didn’t say in that sentence that it wanted its membership to be more diverse. It said it wanted a higher number of diverse members. Which implies that a sole human can be “diverse.”

A Person Can’t Be ‘Diverse’: Why advocates are backing away from a theoretically helpful term that’s being misused in ways big and small, Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, January 26, 2016

I previous wrote about how other cities were reaching out to their residents for their Community Safety and Well-Being plan in Weeknote 3.

The survey itself can be found online and there will be a virtual community consultation on February 23rd.

This is the first survey from the city that asked me about gangs which I found very curious.

My gang.

There is a single question of whether you trust the police and while there are several questions asking about one’s particular community, there are no questions to measure discrimination or systematic racism.

§2 The Windsor Police Incident

Speaking of the police, I think the Windsor Police Incident Dashboard can be cited as a example of a map being used to obscure data. The place of an incident is key and so the map is good in this regard. But what the map lacks are services around time: there is no RSS feed available for the information to be presented, no way to create an alert, and there’s no way to export information. It’s not bad. But its not good.

My confidence in this map isn’t great because several weeks ago the WPS sent a SWAT team to a house on my block and I cannot see an incident in my neighbourhood that would explain why I saw what I saw.

§3 Links

While I was looking for more WPS stats, I checked in with the lovely Windsor Open Data Catalogue and because I was curious, I checked out the top Website pages of the City of Windsor site. That’s how I found the links page that the City of Windsor employers use:

§4 Retaining talent vs Building community

I think it says something that the most popular post I’ve ever written on this blog was a rant that I wrote out of pure frustration with the City of Windsor.

As the poet laureate of the perpetually disappointed, let me tell you that I find the phrase ‘Talent retention’ bloodless and uninspiring.

To view the city as a talent pool is to see the city from the point of view as if you are a corporation.

We are not corporations. When we walk around a vibrant and joyful street festival in Montreal, we do not remark on how much talent is retained.

I recognize that I haven’t done enough of articulating the future I want on this blog.

To that end, I’d like to draw your attention to this presentation by Strategy Designer Dan Hill at the Viable Cities Strategy Day conference that I learned of from Sara Hendren.

There are so many videos of fantastical future cities out there but I want to bring your attention to this one, because I think Hill provides a realistic process of how a street in Windsor could be economically revitalized. In other words, Hill demonstrates how a street can retain storm-water AND talent.

You can start at this point if you just see that part.

That being said, I really do hope you watch the whole talk because Hill makes a very important point: we need cities to ask and answer questions, not just absorb technology.

A case in point:

Compare the statement above with this text from Windsor Works document:

§5 The City of Windsor’s Power Gap

I didn’t see much of a local response to Robyn Doolittle’s PowerGap investigative reporting in The Globe and Mail, so I will duly note it here,

The PowerGap survey suggests that The City of Windsor is baking in years of gender inequity in its employment cohort.

§6 Politics is not a great system for delivering democracy

I enjoyed this episode of The Agenda dedicated to Polarizing Politics, Canadian Style.

I’m on Team Susan Delacourt.

§7 Meanwhile in Ontario…

And here’s a tweet thread from the Ontario Hospital Association President & CEO:

And yet, the Windsor Regional Hospital chief of staff went on record to describe the province’s opening plans as reasonable. This feels suss to me.