Dear Urban Diplomat: My condo board wants to charge dog owners an extra fee. How can I push back?
A few members of my condo board read about that King West building’s plan to institute a $15 monthly fee for residents with dogs (to cover extra cleaning costs, supposedly), and now they’re floating the idea of putting one in place in our building. The dozen or so dogs that live here—including my own—have never made any trouble or caused any messes. This seems like a blatant cash grab. What can we do about it?
—Barking Mad, Corktown
I may be biased (full disclosure: yours truly has a shih tzu named Adonis), but what your condo board is considering is ludicrous. Whether they’re human or canine, condo residents are bound to cause wear and tear—and singling out one group to pay an extra maintenance fee smacks of calculated opportunism. Should your building post an official notice announcing the rule, you and the rest of the pro-pooch lobby will have 30 days to ask for a meeting and challenge the fee. If your powers of persuasion fail to sway the board—or your building’s management—it may be time to get a condo lawyer involved. The new revenue stream will seem less seductive when they’re facing a costly legal battle.
Dear Urban Diplomat,
My friend became a dad six months ago, and every time I suggest a get-together, he insists on doing something baby-friendly. Last week, the three of us went to a Jays game; my friend assured me his son would nap in the Bjorn for the duration and we’d have plenty of time to catch up. But we barely saw each other—he had to keep getting up for walks around the stadium, because the kid wouldn’t quit screaming. I miss the good old days when there was no infant tagging along. How do I get my pal to ditch Junior every once in a while?
—Two Men and a Baby, Bloorcourt
Parenting means making sacrifices, and of course your pal will prioritize the needs of his tiny, fragile child over your needs. Is the sound of infant wailing grating? Sure. Could and should your friend take a night off from parenting every so often? Absolutely (for his sake, not yours). But this is a short-term problem: the baby will eventually mature out of his crying fits. You might consider following suit.
Dear Urban Diplomat,
After waiting months for a reservation, my wife and I snagged a table at a popular upscale restaurant downtown. The meal was scrumptious, but I could barely savour it because our server’s vocal fry was a constant source of irritation. Seriously, she sounded like a defective carburetor. I think that quality establishments should be more rigorous when selecting front-of-house staff. Should I lodge a formal complaint?
Wait staff are already policed on just about everything: their hair, their clothes, their weight, not to mention the words that come out of their mouths. Thinking you have some say in the timbre of those words makes you part of the problem. If you really can’t stand the minor annoyances that arise from interacting with other humans, do yourself (and your potential future servers) a favour and order in.
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