Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Truth Will Out

Robertson admits to unpaid SkyTrain fine

Vancouver mayoral candidate says the $173 fine is too high
Confession: This story was handed to me on a plate last weekend. My source asked me to run with it, either on my blog or in my weekend Province column. I gave it a lot of thought, asked advice from several of my closest friends, and decided that this was not for me. Among other concerns, I did not want to be one person responsible for killing Robertson's chance at being mayor - even though I don't support him. I am glad that the story has now surfaced and I am horrified at Robertson's ridiculous response to it.

Here are the basics of the story:

Vancouver mayoral hopeful Gregor Robertson says he has yet to pay a $173 fine for accidentally riding two SkyTrain zones on a one-zone fare because he wants to draw attention to what he calls unreasonably high fines.

Total bull.

This is classic 20-20 hindsight spin and none of it is true.

Here's what really happened:

Robertson says he told the officers it was "a dumb mistake" and paid an extra dollar immediately at a ticketing machine to upgrade his fare for two zones.

The other night - Wednesday - when I was moderating a debate between Robertson and Ladner, Robertson actually claimed that the best transit systems in the world don't charge for longer fare zones, that they charge one single fare no matter how far you ride.

This is completely false.

Every system that I have used anywhere in the world - Dublin, Washington, DC, London, Rome - charge by distance travelled, as they should.

He also claimed that turnstiles that don't allow you in or out until you've fully paid, don't really pay for themselves.

Completely false.

Now, why is he contesting this ticket?

Do you know what that contesting will cost you and me?

Several thousand dollars in court time.

Robertson has already cost the tax payers several hundred thousand dollars by leaving the Legislature to which he was elected by people who trusted him to represent them for the full term of his office to run for mayor - an act of sheer ego and utter indifference to his constituents.

Behind the winning smile is ...what?

You think Gregor Robertson will improve this city?

Gregor Robertson is armed with false reports (including his pathetic and dangerous belief in the "proven science" on safe injection sites...he threatens to open five more Insites on a street near to you soon) and false and expensive ideas.

Go ahead, elect him because he's cute and charming.

And watch the city finances collapse under the weight of inappropriate and expensive social engineering and watch him call for study upon study of policy issues because he doesn't really have a take on anything important.

He just knows that he'd like to be mayor. Sort of...


Anonymous said...

Gregor Robertson really reminds me of Tony Robbins. Package up all these ideas that other people have used for years and make it sound like you have created them for the first time.
The sheep will follow and throw money your way.
Gregor completely lost me when he announced he wanted a "round table" on prostitution. What on earth does that mean?
After I stopped laughing, I decided anybody but Gregor.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you for this hysterical diatribe. Leave town. Your writing was much better when you were away.

Anonymous said...

I can't see myself voting for either candidate.


Anonymous said...

Yawn said...

David, after endorsing Sam Sullivan in the past election, I completely trust your judgment.

2005 NPA mayoral candidate buys drugs for a hooker to smoke in his van

2008 Vision mayoral candidate buys a one zone ticket instead of a two zone.

One of them gets fined. Is there something wrong with this picture?

David Berner said...

That's right.

I did endorse Sam Sullivan.

To make matters worse, I actively helped him get elected.

And then...

The moment he was elected, he shoved his Little Boy Act under the sofa and let his true Fascist Lunatice personality emerge.

I was completely wrong.

That happens sometimes.

Life 204.

Anonymous said...


Awake early today, I decided to bite the bullet and pick up a few items at Wal-Mart - a store I love to hate.

The place was a madhouse, checkout lines as far as one could see.

Two products they didn't have, but I piled the others in a shopping cart, on top of my own rainjacket, and went through the checkout.

Not until I was loading everything into the trunk of my car, did I realize a $4.17 bottle of juice had rolled under the jacket, and had not been paid for. No-one saw what happened: not me, not the clerk, not other customers, and not the usual clerk at the Exit.

Up in the parking lot, I had two options: shrug, and put it down to "one up for my side", or trudge all the way back to the store and pay for it. No contest...after all I needed the exercise. The reaction at customer service was astonishment and appreciation - made me feel good, Gregor.

David - you'll remember that I ended my earlier email by saying, "I would rather have honest hesitancy..." I guess I should have explained that the emphasis was on "honest."

It seems Gregor Robertson missed the sermon, "If/when the law is an ass, you work to change it, you don't break it."

One of the things that has always bugged me about politicians - and other people 'in authority' over us - is that they come in off the street and immediately start telling us that, by sudden decree, they know what's good for us.

So, by that decree, we must endure four years of a premier who got elected into a "New Era", and promptly closed his "open & transparent" door, broke every promise in the book - and then drove drunk;

We endure an arrogant sonofagun who looks us in the eye and tells the cameras that the RAV-line is on time and BUDGET.

The people of Coquitlam get a mayor who's found guilty of beating up women and then thinks he should get another stab at telling taxpayers what to do.

The people of BC get several RCMP officers - one of 'em a school liaison officer - who are charged with driving/crashing vehicles while impaired...The "do as I say, not as I do" rule.

North Vancouver gets a school trustee hoping for re-election who, it is also alleged, also blew over .08, but who seems to think that because he did so 'on his own time', he didn't need to tell his employers - that's us voters - or Board colleagues of his personal peccadillo.

And the latest 'reveals'? The same arrogant sonofagun who, puffed up by back-slapping fellow Whistler delegates, and unable to discuss the serious issues faced by British Columbians, decides to strut his stuff and defile the democratically-elected Leader of the Official Opposition.

And today? Gregor Robertson...If they don't care about the people, can they not even set an example for their families?

I, for one, am fed up with it - not just fed up, I'm mad. You know, something like, "Hell hath no fury, like a voter scorned."

So you don't hand BC Liberals the bat to hit you with, and expect people like me to suck-it-up and move on.

As far as I am concerned, the very BEST thing Vancouver voters could do for democracy two weeks from now, is to mark their mayoralty ballots, "None of the above."

And I'll vote provincially for the first person who swears out an affidavit that guarantees to change the laws, so that (a) miscreants like Scott Young can be kicked out of office immediately; (b) so that anyone found guilty of a criminal charge cannot stand for election - ever; (c) a person facing unresolved charges - even for unpaid fines - cannot stand for election; and, (d) that promises which are fundamental to a campaign platform, may not be broken unless they are ratified by the people by another election.

Given the time and space, there is so much more that could/should be said, but I'll leave it at this: My signature for this message is hereby changed from Liz J. to...


John said...

I had actually been thinking of voting for Robertson because he promises to get rid of the useless "downtown ambassadors" and the even more useless Geoff Plante and his "civil city" office. He said he would put the money into actual policing, which is where it belongs.

After today's Province story and his pathetic attempt to explain why he hasn't paid his fine, I will never vote for this loser.

Now, if we can only convince Ladner to get rid of the absurdly useless ambassadors and the whole Geoff Plante fiasco.

David in North Burnaby BC said...

The preposterous argument that the fine is too high just blows me away. Punishment, Gregor, is negative reinforcement aimed at ensuring one does not repeat the behaviour one is being punished for. If its not unpleasant, it doesn't work.
Just like 6 months house arrest for violent crimes ...

Anonymous said...

The problem with SkyTrain's and TransLink's fare policy is that it is Vancouver based.

It is one fare zone from Tsawwassen Ferry terminal to Langley, yet 2 fare zones from Pattison to Joyce St.(no stop). Most Transit systems charge for distance traveled, with exceptions like Toronto which charge a flat fare.

Trouble with TransLink, SkyTrain, et al, is that it is completely user unfriendly. The ticket machines do not help the casual user and Niels one is up on transit,the whole exercise is frustrating.

A note on fines: I think the fine for not having the right fare is a tad excessive, rather there should be a cash penalty, say 10 times the fare owed of a date with the court. This is European practice. It seems the fines on SkyTrain, like how the metro system is operated, is by people who never use the system.

Another item that demands scrutiny is free passes and who have them. it would be an interesting exercise to see who TransLink gives free passes too! As an MLA, Mr. Robertson may have been exempt from the TransLink's tariff, when the infraction took place?

Anonymous said...

A true story - when I regularly took the bus in the late 90's, the change from peak to off-peak fares was 9:30 am (since this time, off-peak fares is after 6;30 pm.). Two stops, not more than 300 metres apart saw a fare change from 3 zone to all zone. It was nuts.

I have also had bus drivers demand peak fare surcharge on all day passes and was thrown off the bus for not doing so. Loud discussions with transit officials confirmed that such charges were not warranted, but no apology!

I seldom take the bus now, I rather have a tooth pulled than take transit. I hate the bus and I hate TransLink. God save us from this incompetent lot.

Not My Mayor! said...

This guys is a liar and a loser. A perfect role model for the other cretins who thumb their noses and cheat the transportation system.

MurdocK said...

Consider that all such 'politicians' are self-selected.

Unless and until there is a space on the ballot for a write-in candidate then all elections are 'fixed' since the candidates are all 'self-selected'. Meaning only the ego centered are likely to want to run for the office, skill set, connections and other credentials notwithstanding.

Martino said...

Mistakes happen...but a real man or woman owns up to it, makes it right, and moves on. If there's injustice involved in all this, a greater man or woman will do things to make it right for people down the road.

Mr. Robertson is entitled to his day in court. Is it a waste of money and time for you and me? Perhaps, but it's his right as a citizen. However, he's all but admitted his guilt in this matter. His sheer stupidity in not paying this fine shows how much he DOESN'T want to be the Mayor of Vancouver.

I will give Mr. Robertson this though...his ass was actually on a transit vehicle. Can Mr. Ladner say that?

After election day, I'm sure Gregor will sit amongst the signs and ribbons and wish he ponied up the $173.

Anonymous said...

Thought I'd point out that the Boston T only has a single price to ride - you pay to get into the system and there's no worry about "zones", etc. It makes things a lot simpler. I believe it's the same in NY and Paris and Montreal (confirmation?). Not offering an opinion on the candidate's behaviour either way, but I think the "completely false" statement ain't quite right. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

The T in Boston is one price - you pay to get in the system and then ride to wherever you're going. I believe NY, Paris, and Montreal are the same. Not commenting on the candidate's behaviour either way, but I know your statement that this practice doesn't happen is, well, wrong.

(sorry if posted twice)

Anonymous said...

I'm simply struck by his remarkable lack of judgement and basic political acumen on this. The first thing any candidate does when they run for office is clear up their traffic tickets & any taxes they owe. This was a political problem he could have easily avoided simply by writing a cheque.

Now he's made it worse by taking a trivial issue he can easily make go away and turning into a platform for class warfare. It's a poor example of a politician who needs to learn a lesson in picking his battles.

Anonymous said...

Paris Metro uses a zoned system - further travel means higher fare.

James Danny said...

Hi David, I read your opinion piece in the Province last week endorsing Ladner. I agreed with you that either would make a good mayor.

I think the transit fine has to be put in perspective. After all, our premier is a convicted drunk driver. The former mayor bought drugs.

Put into perspective, this isn't that big of a deal. I still think Robertson will make a good mayor. ...but I wish he had just paid the fine, I'd feel better when I give him my vote.

MurdocK said...

Beauty and Folly are old companions.

~ B. Franklin