Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Victor See Through Kim Capripants

There is a well-known governance principle that defines the relationship between elected bodies and staff.

It states " Elected officials should keep their noses in and their fingers out".

Translated, it means elected officials should not be giving staff direct assignments. They should define the broad goals for the business plan, let staff execute, and then evaluate their performance.

Apparently, nobody on Vancouver City Council is aware of this principle. Our councilors think they are staff managers.

The latest example is Kim Capri's direction to staff to do a "study" on eliminating plastic bags. Apparently Ms. Capri saw an Internet report about a similar initiative in San Francisco and felt it required a special staff study.

Other recent demands for staff studies by councilors cover items ranging from free bicycles to organic food in city-owned establishments. The Mayor is good for one of these bathtub ideas every week resulting in yet more unplanned staff studies.

Here is the problem with these requests. Vancouver City Hall employs some very expensive people, with salaries reaching $300,000 a year. Presumably these people are busy. If so , they don't have time to drop everything because Ms. Capri saw something on the web. If they do have enough slack time to write position papers on every lunatic idea from councilors, then we have too many highly paid, under-worked people on city payroll. Pick one.

The other problem is one of legal liability. If staff are getting direct assignments from elected officials instead of their managers, it throws performance appraisal out the window. Any employee receiving a poor review for failing to meet goals can rightfully complain that they were pulled off their work by interfering councilors.

Note to City Council. Staff is not a toy you get to play with upon being elected. .

Child Poverty Cup Comes Home - Again

OK. We didn't win the Grey Cup.

But we have won another sweepstakes.

For the fourth year in a row. Yay, BC!



Employment & Income Assistance Minister Claude Richmond, who has managed to secure comfy public purse jobs for himself for many years now, say the statistics are out of date. Of course that's what he said last year and the year before. And the year before that.

At the same time, the Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has announced that the Ministry of Children and Families is doing very little to implement Judge Ted Hughes' recommendations to improve matters for...well, children and families.

Hughes made 62 recommendations. Minister Tom Christensen (whose resignation I have called for in these pages twice in recent months) has implemented 18. He's working on the others.

Slow to do anything substantive about helping children and families, which apparently is his mandate and duty, Christensen was quick off the mark to write a letter to Turpel-Lafond disagreeing with her assessment.

Only catch is the Minister didn't send his letter to the recipient. He had it tabled and read at a government meeting yesterday. Before Turpel-Lafond even knew it existed.

Children and families are going begging and child poverty is soaring in this province boasting a raving happy economy.

But once again we ask, where or where is the Premier?

Oh yes, he's in Asia. Doing business.

Elect a different government.

One that takes notice and care of its children.

Who's Teaching the Teachers

Millions of Canadian parents (1 in 3) are now hiring tutors for their children.

The lengthy explanations defy the obvious.

Teachers are not doing the best job.

Private schools, home teaching and tutoring...there must be some reason, you think?

Meanwhile, back in the political arena, the BCTF doesn't want children to experience the stress and trauma of tests.


Where is the "Help" at YVR?

The Canada Border Services Agency, which once again has let a criminal immigrant stay in Canada, is now saying that it will clean up its act at YVR.


But there is no mention of the simplest thing.

How about a team of three employees who act as roving ambassadors - 24/7 - to look for people who are understandably lost and confused in the loony bin of corridors and lines that YVR presents? How about people who are actually paid to offer help?

What a concept.

YVR is making a fortune, not only in Richmond, but selling its expertise to a number of other airports around the world.

Go ahead, spend a bit of cash, hire a few people, save a life.

I'm Cracking Up on the Cambie Line

Remember Dick Tracy?

Someone would have a complete hole through the centre of his body, would flick his cigarette and say casually, "Forget it. Merely a superficial wound."

Comes to mind as we listen to the indifferent managers of the Cambie Line who are now telling shop owners with cracks in their walls and floors that these damages are not urgent because "your shop isn't falling apart."

So let me see if I understand this correctly.

After destroying many of the mom-and-pop businesses along the construction site because no on will bother to shop there, the company is now rattling the foundations of these shops and saying, "Oh, gosh, what's your worry?"

Where is the Premier?

Oh, I forgot. He's in Asia doing business.

While business in town is falling down.


Elect a new government.

Boot the Groundskeepers, Sue the NFL

How many years has the National Football League had to get their act together? 60?

That surface of new sod, grass, mud and rain in last night's dreadful contest between Miami and the Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh was a disgrace and an embarrassment.

3-0 with a field goal in the last 17 seconds. Gimme a large Canadian break.

All ticket holders and ESPN/TSN should demand of the NFL a refund.


And completely unnecessary.


A bit of a musical genius - trumpet player, singer - he was also a deranged heroin addict with all that that brings to the table, including falling out a hotel window (or being pushed, who knows?)in Amsterdam to his death at a young age.

ANYWAY...his singing of the American Songbook is choice...