Being a journalist…in training, one of the essential habits I need to develop is paying attention to the news. I’m working on it. When you do, you realise that there is a lot going on in the world, and it is fucking crazy.
One big thing that occurred was an issue dubbed “Ticketgate”. As you might be able to tell from the name, it was a political scandal.
It all started with a big announcement: Elton John is coming to Sudbury!!! One of two Canadian stops. Apparently he likes playing small venues. Me and my classmates first heard about it from our coordinator on The Cambrian Shield, Chris. One of my classmates, Shaun, was assigned to the story and Chris tried to get him an interview with the man himself…no such luck…apparently Elton don’t talk to the press. Chris tried mentioning that we were not mainstream media…and outing Shaun (he’s not actually gay, which is why it’s so goddamn funny), didn’t work. I guess one wouldn’t expect that to work, but at least he tried. I guess Elton had some bad experiences and he hates us now or something…just like Steven Harper.
But I digress. The journalist on the city hall beat for the Sudbury Star, Denis St. Pierre (I think that’s his name, I’m workin’ off of memory here), broke the story that after people waited outside in the freezing cold (this was in winter by the way) for several hours, some leaving empty handed because of how quickly they sold out, 100 tickets were reserved for city council members…I’ll repeat that…100 tickets were distributed among 13 people before being released to the general public…100…divided by 13…that’s a little under 8 tickets each.
Now, I understand reserving tickets for arena employees, prevents conflict of interest and is one of those sweet perks that come with the job.
I also understand giving the council advance tickets. These people represent us, or at least they’re supposed to, and they need to make appearances at stuff like this. I mean Elton is big name, if a councillor doesn’t show up it looks like they’re snubbing the guy. That’s a big deal, I mean no one gives a shit if they snub Def Leppard or Brian Adams (I’m a fan of those two by the way) and it would be expected if they snubbed Avril Lavigne (she sucks), but Elton John is a fucking knight for god’s sake, that’s like flipping off the Queen, and that may be fine for the United States, but Canadians show fuckin’ respect, unless it’s Avril Lavigne.
I also understand giving more then one ticket each, I mean I’ve been to a concert alone and it sucked…the being alone part-not the concert, the concert kicked ass, but it sucked that there was no one there to experience it with. Anyway, you also never hear them giving only one ticket away in those radio contests, imagine that:
DJ: You just won a single ticket to the Elton John concert
Winner: Oh great, ‘cus that’s exactly the type of thing I want to see alone. That way all my friends are pissed, my girlfriend feels like I’m blowing her off, during the concert I can turn to the person next to me and mention how exciting this is and they can respond with “get the fuck away from me,” and when a balled starts I’ll get to make-out with a guy named Biff. Yes, this is exactly what I want, thank you.
You never hear that do you?
However, here’s what I don’t understand: Eight tickets each? Really? Eight? I’ve been to a City Council meeting…none of them are that fat. Eight tickets-that enough for you, your best friend, your spouse, their spouse, your grandfather, your second uncle, your fifth cousin twice removed, and a stranger off the street. They don’t need that many tickets, they can live with two, and if their friend really wants one-they can tell them to stand outside in the cold for three hours, like the rest of the population!!!
Now at this point you’re thinking: “This is pretty bad.” Or, you’re thinking: “So what? It’s not like they tried to hide it.” Well, no. You see the law states that all city council meetings must be open to the public, with only a few narrow exceptions, and council discussed this whole ticket thing in a closed door meeting…that’s right, they broke the law, they went out of their way to hide it, they knew it was wrong.
Also, it seems that council also spent $14,000 in taxpayers money to pay for media consultants to deal with the fallout. They used our money to try and fix their mistake. Talk about adding insult to injury.
And finally, this is where it gets good, after the story broke, Denis, once again the man, intercepted a relatively interesting e-mail. Where a high ranking civil servant suggests to council that they blackball The Sudbury Star from all advertising by the city (papers earn most of their money through advertising). This is what laymen call, malicious. A few councillors responded and approved the idea…not too bright.
Now of course, they denied it, but this is typical of politicians, they don’t care about justice, they don’t care about serving the community, they care about getting as many perks as possible and getting re-elected. Now I know what your thinking: “That’s unfair, there has got to be at least one honest person on council, I doubt people suck that much.” If that was true, don’t you think that one would say: “Are you sure we really need eight tickets each?” or “Don’t you think it’s a bit assholish to blackball The Star for doing their job?” I’m telling you, it’s too bad that the election is not for another two years, because I can virtually guarantee that not a single councillor, nor the mayor, will be reelected.
Thankfully this scandal does have a silver lining because in the end they returned 71 tickets. The remaining tickets were already sold to friends and family or donated to charity so they could not be returned. I believe the remaining tickets were given to radio stations. But it still annoys me that they took the tickets to begin with. Not one councillor or civil servant said, “This is a bad idea.” Or maybe they did and the councillors replied with a polite, “Go Fuck Yourself.”
One final point of interest, according to CBC News, council took 100 tickets, however according to CBC News, council took 120 tickets. Same news source, two different totals…something is wrong here. We’ll say 100 tickets, that way council looks just a little bit better.
Finally, I just wast to say I hold nothing personal against them. I once interviewed the mayor, he’s a great guy, and I doubt any of them intended to be malicious. But the thing about these scandals is that you learn from them. Now they know that if you take unnecessary advantage of a perk, people are going to get pissed. But my point is, they should have known that. Hopefully they learn from it and never do it again, and if they do (learn from it), they are definitely smarter then the current U.S. President…seriously, I doubt he even knows people are pissed about the shit he did.
You know, now that I think about it, they probably will get reelected…that’s just how fucked up the system is.