Friday, 24 February 2017

Reflections On "CHANGE"

In early February, we had our annual general meeting (AGM 2017), elections were integrated into the agenda of the meeting, and a speech from the President of The Board reassured more than 190 unit owners that “The State of The Union”/Condominium Corporation is in an enviable position, due to the relentless efforts of 5 owners/volunteers who sit on The Board of Directors , and with the help of a management company protect and shape a glorious future for the republic that operates under the legal name of Metro Toronto Condominium Corporation (MTCC) 000-Not the real number of the corporation.

Like previous elections, candidates belonged to two camps and since in the previous paragraph we used the analogy of a country and a government”, based on the same analogy we had 2 candidates from the ruling party (Board members) and 1 candidate from the opposition (Owners Alliance). All candidates had 2 minutes to deliver a short speech, and in this article we will reproduce “ad verbatim” a portion of The Alliance’s candidate speech, and then produce a “Forensic Analysis” of the key facts that paved the way for an anonymous unit owner to express his anger through a letter dropped at the door step of the Alliance’s candidate, a few days after expressing his vision in the resume distributed with the AGM documents delivered in the building.

Before we proceed to providing the details of the speech, we would like to clarify to our readers what the Alliance’s candidate mentioned in his election Resume/Bio:

 As a movement we pursue the following three critical goals:
-      An end to 100% increases in maintenance fees every 10 years.
-      Confining annual increases in maintenance fees to inflation figures released by “Statistics Canada” (2, 2.5%).
-      An end to existing AGM election rules that adhere to the “standards of The Condo Industry”, but fail to meet the standards promoted by Elections Canada, an institution that clearly advocates the full and unhindered disclosure of the total number of votes obtained by each electoral candidate, and full access to documents used to tally the scores of a winner or a loser.

I strongly believe that with fiscal prudence, responsible governance, open dialogue, and constructive criticism the previously mentioned goals can be reached. If you share my vision and would like to make any suggestions, you can reach me in writing at …”

In a very angry tone the anonymous neighbour overwhelmed by fear wrote:
You must be blind, stupid, and ignorant. After 4 elections you failed to see that those who cast the vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything. We don’t want your rotten ideas and visions in this building. Leave us alone. Move Go and live somewhere else. Angry neighbor.
The Alliance’s candidate after reading the letter during the election speech replied:

“I hope the author of the letter is here tonight and listening carefully to my response. I do not like your vulgar statements, but as a firm believer in freedom of expression, I will sacrifice my life for your right to express them. I am also sorry for all the psychological pain and suffering you had to go through during the last few years because of my principles and visions.
I strongly suggest that you seek medical help for anxiety, insomnia, and depression because I am not moving anywhere, and as long as I am living in this building you will see me again next year and the year after until the building is ruled by the highest level of transparency that can be targeted and achieved.”

I examined the original letter written on a unique type of paper that provides several clues about the profile of the author.

[1] The paper is a thick paper specifically used for typewriters. You hold it against a source of strong light and you will see the name of the manufacturer who no longer produces that type of paper.
[2] The condo owner who wrote the letter (hand written) worked in an office environment where typewriters were the norm not computers. By retirement age he or she managed to bring home a significant amount of the paper that he/she still uses decades after typewriters became defunct and considered relics from the “Dinosaur Age” of technology.

[3] The anonymous author is an avid supporter of “The Condo Industry” that has successfully peddled to condominium owners all over the Province the argument that unless you spend an x amount of dollars per Squ. Ft., supported by annual rates of 6 to 8% increases in maintenance fees, your unit will lose value and your investment will bring an extremely poor return the day you decide to sell it.

[4] It is obvious that the Alliance’s candidate, by advocating in his vision the notion of “Confining annual increases in maintenance fees to inflation figures released by “Statistics Canada” (2, 2.5%)”, sent his anonymous neighbour into a panic mode. Facing the existential threat of losing value on his/her most valuable asset, his/her condo unit, the angry neighbour instead of attacking the argument and providing solid evidence that low maintenance fees undermine the value of a condominium, he/she decided to attack the author of the vision.

[5] The anonymous author did not mention that the statement “Those who cast the vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything” is attributed by many historians to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. But he/she is extremely serene with the fact that we have an elite group of decision makers in the building, who fully and loyally adhere to the dictates of “The Condo Industry”, and with an iron fist make sure that no one who challenges the edicts of the industry reaches the inner circle of power.

In conclusion, I would like to remind the anonymous author that the only constant in life is CHANGE. Individuals, groups, and nations hate change because change is disruptive even if it paves the road for very serious and meaningful improvements. It is good that most visionaries in documented history were never intimidated by the ruthless anger of those who feared change. Imagine if we refused to change our understanding of how our solar system works, and stuck to the notion that the sun revolves around planet earth and every person, who insists that planet earth is not flat and the classical religious understanding of planetary movements is wrong, should be the subject of an “Inquisition” and then burned at the stake. Refusal to adopt change would have forced us to remain engulfed in the stark realities of “The Dark Ages” of the 10th century.

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