Thursday, April 19, 2007

Follow the Money

Two stories in this morning's paper reveal the problem of not having enough real writers or enough real resources or enough political will to pursue stories to their natural conclusions.

Both stories concern City Hall.

In the first, we are teased about the possible re-alignment of taxes. Maybe businesses will be taxed less and homes a bit more. All of that is worthy of consideration. All of that is important, especially to small business owners who pay the highest tax rates in the country, and to home owners who pay a small fortune in taxes themselves.

But nowhere have I see or heard anyone ask, "What are we getting for our money?" Nobody has asked Vancouver City Hall to hold its books to the light.

The truth is that, like all good bureaucracies, Vancouver City Hall spends untold millions of total nonsense. Do you know about all the departments and all the meetings and all the discussions and all the real work that never gets done because first it has to be talked about for 6 months.

It is clear to anyone with a moment's business experience that 50% of all City Hall business could be dropped today and the only difference that would make is that we could lower the taxes for everyone.

I know of an architect who was making about $160,000 a year in private practice. That was the good news. The bad news was that he was working 26 hours a day, 9 days a week.

He smartly moved to City Hall as a Planner or some such. Now he earns exactly the same amount of money, but he works 4 days a week, leaves the office at 3 and spends quality time with his wife and young sons. Good for him.

The second story concerns the admirable efforts of the Vancouver City Police to catch those 2 assholes who beat the woman almost to death the other morning as she went to the 29th Avenue Skytrain Station. That's the good news. The Police are trying to catch the Bad Guys.

But the story not told is that the Police should be at that Skytrain Station and 10 other "hot spot" Skytrain Stations every morning and every night. But that's not going to happen in our lifetimes because City Hall doesn't want more police.

In fact, if you know anything, you would know that THE NUTTY MAYOR is on an active campaign to limit and discredit the police. The Mayor hates the Police and wants LESS of them in every way. Very soon he will announce the appointment of his new Director of The Civil City. And he expects the Chief of Police to share duties with this new WunderCat.

You want more police. You want more police in public, on the stroll, visible, obvious, present.

But you are not City Hall.

Baghdad Explodes; Bush Persists

Shortly after the American attack on Baghdad, Donald Rumsfeld was asked about "the insurgencies" that were obvious on every street corner. The then Secretary of Defense dismissed these actions and isolated and irrelevant and "clearly just looters."
Well, Rummy is gone - thank Christ - and yesterday "the looters," in a series of coordinated attacks killed almost 200 people.
The day before that, Bush cheapened the lives of the dead by using the old, emotional blackmail stunt of referring to the sacrifice of soldiers and their families in his latest attempt to justify this dreadful, unwinnable war.
Look at the destruction for yourself.

Bruce Springsteen - Highway Patrolman

Here's The Boss at his best. From the quiet, haunting acoustic album, "Nebraska." How reflective is this of the last few days?