Howdy Doody Time

The Haliburton Highlander brings a new level of obfuscation to its table… “as much as nearly…”


I’ve been away for a while, sitting on my arse on a beach in Montana.

I return to the Highlands and am tasked with degausing the latest animated tidbit from Highlander publisher Bram Lebo.

Apparently there’s a policing crisis goin’ on in Haliburton County. And Lebo, in his latest screed has decided to bring his noodle into play, weighing in on the issue with some incredible, err, incredulous, err incredibly incredulous dope on what’s goin’ down five-oh side.

Rarely have our councils been as speedy and resourceful as they’ve been these last few weeks when it comes to trying to stop proposed changes to the OPP billing model. Those changes would increase our policing costs from $3.5 million per year to over $8 million per year, necessitating tax increases as high as almost 40 per cent. Essentially, the new model would have each municipality contributing to the OPP’s provincial overhead based on its number of households – permanent and seasonal – naturally without any input into how that overhead is spent. (Bram Lebo, editorial commentary, or what passes for it in his dystopian universe.)

First. I want to see the numbers. I want to know where he got the numbers and I want some 4-1-1 on this:  “necessitating tax increases as high as almost 40 per cent.”

So what is it? I ask because the author of this paltry screed says, “as high as almost.”

And as high as almost 99 percent of me will prevent me from going any further than this.

I hope I don’t have to explain why a scrunch with the words “as high as almost” would turn off most readers.

Mr. Lebo does go on. He jumps all over Reeve Barb Reid (Minden Hills) for presuming that it would cost money to complete a survey on the feasibility of starting its own local detachment.

“But how is it possible to know something is expensive before you’ve actually taken the time to cost it out? It’s not, of course, but to dissuade us from even considering such an exercise. (Reeve Barb) Reid added that it would cost $80,000 to hire a consultant to write a business case and find out. That’s nonsense. A business case is no more than an imaginary budget. All the information we need for a business case, the costs of buildings and cars and salaries and uniforms, all of it is readily available public information. Surely among the five treasurers and five CAOs employed by the county there must be one with the skills and time (about two days) to write a business case.” (Bram Lebo on why Bram Lebo is so goshdarn smart.)

Okay Minden! It’s your call. Why not grab the rink guy and the roads guy. And a councillor. And get together for a two day binge on law enforcement.

Put ’em in a room with an excel spreadsheet and some Microsoft Office shit.

And let ’em have at it.

Or better yet.

Why not hire Bram Lebo? He says he has an MBA. He says he’s a lawyer. Yes I know. Pinch of salt. Yes, they do grown on trees.

And even though Mr. Lebo was incapable of running Maple Key Media back around Christmas time. He was unceremoniously pooped from the director’s deck. Even with all that baggage I’d say promise him as much as nearly $10,000 to sit down for two days in his study and take Barb and Laura Janke through the scenarios. (Here’s the deal. Promise him that money. But don’t pay him. When he comes hat in hand? For his stipend?  Just say this: “You get nada! Karma Bitch!”

I just returned from Montana and I have in the past questioned why small town Ontario does not have the wherewithal to just hire a sheriff. Put him on staff, elect him every four years. Let’s face it. I know 125 people in Haliburton County who know more about the illicit drug and theft rings around these heah’ parts than an OPP detachment could glean in a decade.

I mean what’s a sheriff? Oh, if it’s Longmire? The star of a niche television show on Netflix and the subject of some great books by Craig Johnson? Wow. Then you need a badass! But this is Haliburton. Not Abseroka County in Wyoming… Where there’s always a murder to solve.

When I’m in DillyMills County in Montana, it’s not unusual to sit down to coffee with former special forces sergeant Jon Tribbleberry. He’s the sheriff of DillyMills. He wears jeans and a cowboy hat. He’s got three full time officers, and a small office off Main Street. And he drives an old pickup with a 400 Hemi. He is laid back and he’s got his finger on the pulse of everything that goes down in DillyMills, Montana.

No fuss. No muss.

If something big goes down? He calls in the State Police. Other than that?

DillyMills is a pretty serene place.

Just like Haliburton County. Why not a sheriff?

Anyway. That’s my solution.

Lebo? Oh Lebo always has a solution. Wait… as much as nearly almost all the time he has a solution.

Here he is again at the end of his unctuous tome.

“We have over 200 municipal employees in the county and 24 councillors. Somewhere among all those people there have to be the skills and motivation to evaluate options, make plans and get things done.

If there isn’t that motivation, if there aren’t those skills in our municipalities, county and councils, we whose future depends on intelligent, deliberate stewardship of our communities and economy can’t afford it. Not another four years. Not another four months.
No amount of effort can compensate for a lack of accuracy. For crying out loud: open a spreadsheet, get some information, and figure it out.” (Bram Lebo who is as much as nearly 99 percent of the time? Boring! And functionally devoid of clever.)

It’s pretty simple. Hire a Sheriff.


Where’s my $80,000?