Friday, August 1, 2008

Today's Province Column

Friday » August 1 » 2008

Want to be mayor? Take my advice and stick to these three key issues

David Berner The Province

Friday, August 01, 2008

Here's my advice to Peter Ladner and Gregor Robertson. You want to be mayor of Vancouver? Pick three big issues and stick to them.


Jump on the treatment bandwagon now. Ordinary citizens are crying out for treatment facilities for their sons and daughters. Most are bone tired of the free needles, free shooting galleries and free drugs that have resulted in no improvement whatsoever in the urban human landscape.

The Harper government is poised to support real treatment options. And if you want to be mayor, vow to work with the man who holds the purse.

Presenting yourself as a warrior who is not afraid to stand up to senior governments will not be a winning strategy when it comes to addictions. People are looking for action, and action comes at a price. The price is working with senior governments.

And don't be politically correct. There is no need to be hostile in your campaigns about harm-reduction policies. But there is no profit in singing their praises either.

Stay on message -- treatment, more treatment.


My sweetheart waits 10 to 25 minutes every day for buses in the Vancouver area. This is unacceptable.

On a recent visit to Edinburgh, I never waited longer than two minutes night or day for a bus.

In Dublin, the beautiful new LRT shows the next trains arriving at two, six and eight minutes on an electronic display. In one year of operation, the system has paid for itself.

Do not support one more cut-and-cover SkyTrain fiasco. Do not support anything but an LRT to the University of B.C. Do not support anything that will cost mom-and-pop businesses their life's work -- as the Canada Line has so cruelly and efficiently done.

The new mayor of Vancouver must be highly vocal on both the Metro Vancouver board and the mayors' council on transportation.

He should call for safety and security for riders and drivers on all public-transportation systems and create policies that support those goals.


We have reached our limit. Homeowners and businesses can pay no more.

Enhance the real services. But, wherever possible, remove the redundancies that bloat the city budget.

We need police and libraries, especially libraries that are open. And we need streets and roads in good repair.

But how many departments with how many employees do we need in social planning, cultural services and public health?

I'm not suggesting these areas are of no concern. But I urge every reader and every mayoral candidate to spend an hour on the Vancouver city hall website. Ask yourself if this or that particular expenditure is essential to our well-being or even vaguely helpful.

Want to be mayor? Take my advice.

[That is NOT my is s B&B in Sooke.]


Anonymous said...

I hate to admit it, but ...
I concur on all three points.

If this common sense approach takes hold, we could have the most boring civic election in years.


Light Rail Guy said...

Thanks David for mentioning light rail. It's so refreshing to have someone accurately state what's happening with LRT around the world. Both the Dublin LUAS and Nottingham's NET light rail operate with an operating profit >> after including annual debt servicing charges! Trans Link claims an operating profit for SkyTrain but conveniently forgets about the $200 million or more provincial subsidy for debt servicing charges.

Simplicity, on-street operation, and fast service have made both new light rail lines winners.

Ladner and/or Robertson should understand what LRT is and understand what a positive influence it has in areas where it operates.

Anonymous said...

I sure agree with you about the bloated civic government.
After dealing with 17 different people (buck-passing) over a problem.
Studying city "charts" to get to the right person. Being passed on ,passed on.
I have come to the conclusion that it is a miracle that this city somehow runs.

Anonymous said...

Good points, everyone, but the West-side/SkyTrain/NIMBY politics still rule Vancouver politics.

So as long as everyone else in Metro Vancouver pays for the City of Vancouver's expensive frill, nothing will change.

But..........If and when the Vancouver taxpayer actually has to pay for its own infrastructure improvements, then cost effective transit/health improvements will happen. If others pick up the tab, nothing will change.

As a heavily taxed out taxpayer, NOT, living in Vancouver, I detest spending $2.5 billion on a Subway line, that will carry about the same ridership as the B-Line buses and when the Arbutus Corridor could have been used for about $2 billion cheaper!

The $2 billion could have been spent on other just as needful projects.